Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 The Money

Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 The Money at MGM Grand, Saturday, December 8th is the shorthand of all you need to know.

`36 Rounds & Counting

36 Rounds & Counting

I did become excited about this fight when Bob Arum bigged up a Mexico City venue, just the place to make Marquez step out of his shell and try for once to really take it to Pacquiao, and just the sort of challenge that Pacquiao loves, a Mexican Bullring packed to the hilt with El Locos screaming for  mano a mano Mexican style boxing that the Filipino relishes. Imagine the contagion spreading around the world on fight night with HBO and Larry Merchant broadcasting from Mexico City as tens of millions storm the worldwide broadcasters for a stream of the fight on whatever set ups they’re using!

Nope, ain’t gonna happen that way.

I gather the numbers didn’t work since Marquez has been a Vegas fighter for most of his career and lacks the overwhelming Mexican support that Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales enjoyed. Marquez is a Top Rank fighter now, so Arum gave him a trial run  in Mexico City against Ukrainian Serhiy Fedchenko for the WBO junior welter title. Marquez aggressively outpointed Fedchenko for his 4th divisional title.

Pacquiao has also become something of a Vegas fighter with Arum carefully booking him at MGM Grand, Floyd Mayweather Jr’s home for the last several years. Mayweather might decide to take the plunge and make a Pacquiao fight on the spur of the moment, so Arum maybe looks to keep the Grand booked for all future Pacquiao dates.

The Trilogy

The Trilogy

As you can see, Marquez was well packed and ripped for the rubber match in a fashion that he has never been thanks to Angela Heredia, one of many infamous trainers part of the BALCO scandal. Somehow he avoided the convictions and jail time others in the scandal were handed, probably by plea deal in exchange for favorable prosecution testimony.

Regardless of whether or not Marquez has fallen into the PEDs trap, his conditioning has been at career bests against Pacquiao. I had hopes that he could provide a good fight against Mayweather when he moved up two divisions a few years back, but then he started taking his frothy health cocktails drawn from a spigot hooked up to his own private pistola, well, I winced and hoped I wouldn’t heave. Then the comic book endurance and strength training of him throwing around large rocks at altitude evaporated whatever chance he had against the crafty Mayweather.

Pacquiao is taking on his third P4P fight in a row with Timothy Bradley sandwiched between Marquez, and, boy howdy, what a surprise wake up call against the undefeated physical phenom. Pacquiao took it big time to Bradley for 9 rounds, hitting him so hard that the shock waves popped tendons in Bradley’s ankles loose from their moorings. Incredibly Bradley didn’t go down in spite of sporting the usual Pacquiao souvenirs of a lumped up, mashed out of place face before convalescing in a wheelchair after the fight ended.

Even more incredibly, the Vegas judges awarded Bradley the split decision in a fight nobody thought was even close. The outrage was such that the WBO commissioned 5 veteran judges to review the fight and awarded Pacquiao the unanimous decision, yet Bradley still holds the WBO title. Bob Arum called for an investigation of himself, wanting to distance himself from the grievous improprieties of the Nevada commission who stacked the judges.

Bradley did physically extend out Pacquiao’s conditioning more than any fighter yet. The 9th round is what turned around the fight for Bradley as he was completely exhausted, a sitting duck for legendary straight left hands that made Pacquiao the most celebrated fighter since Muhammad Ali. Right at the point of the knockout, Pacquiao hit the wall and went into slower and slower motion until they were standing there looking at each other in disbelief. Neither had anything left to mount a decent assault for the rest of the fight, yet Bradley won the judges over while the rest of boxing told him that he really didn’t win the fight. Yeah, thanks guys.

The decision was a headscratcher until you consider the source. This is boxing in Vegas that’s moving closer to pro wrestling in plot line and choreography, see  the Ortiz/Mayweather outrage, and in outcomes, see any of dozens of their fights every year where the judging defies all logic.

There always has been a long standing prejudice against big sluggers like Pacquiao when they fail to knock out their opponent as was expected. Big Vegas Players lose huge sums no matter how technically nuanced Pacquiao has become under Freddie Roach, so it means nothing to judges who know the bottomline. The Marquez and Bradley fights were the easiest fights Pacquiao has had in ages as evidenced by his postfight choirboy looks as opposed to his typical mangled features after he lays down ferocious beatings and knockouts as the most celebrated offensive fighter of the decade. All the lumps were transferred to Bradley and Marquez.

Pacquiao didn’t help his concentration by the revelations of his marital woes hours before the Marquez fight when he was supposedly served divorce papers. His concentration further lapsed before the Bradley fight when he came out against gay marriage in the home state of the powerful Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a liberal democrat in support of gay marriage who Pacquiao had previously campaigned for. Boxing results shouldn’t be determined by politics, but the reality has always been that if the referee and/or judges want, they can determine the outcome of any fight, not the fighters, and the Nevada Commish is a political appointment.

Pacquiao suffered his first officiating outrage with the Agapito Sanchez  Technical Draw when the Dominican Billy Goat butted his way out of the fight. I’ve never seen a better example of a fighter that should have been DQed after it was obvious butting was the only offensive tool in his arsenal. Then the admitted scoring error in the first Marquez fight that would have given Pacquiao the split decision instead of a draw. Then the missed 2nd knockdown by referee  Kenny Bayless in the rematch that should have been at least a unanimous decision for Pacquiao if not a knockout when Marquez walked to Pacquiao’s corner, clearly out on his feet. Bayless is also the ref for the 4th installment, so we’ll see if he can get it right this time around.

Maybe Marquez can borrow some of the fight from diehard JMMarquez fans who continue to litter the internet with bitter claims of victory over Pacquiao. He really does need some extra fight to him IF he REALLY wants to beat Pacquiao.

The Rubber was a stylistic technical disappointment for both. Marquez throw a some furious popcorn flurries off the backfoot that never put a dent into Pacquiao’s features, whereas Pacquiao leading right hooks swiped Marquez’s left eye half closed and his straight lefts lumped up his right side, but he never really went after Marquez nor did he ever hurt him or knock him down like previous encounters.

Pacquiao for his part needs to understand the sympathies that Vegas holds for Marquez and bring back some of his aggressive offense that made him such a legend. No need to abandon technical boxing, just step up the intensity a few notches or risk another controversial decision that might not go his way.

It should also be noted that Pacquiao continues to break his own record for the most Ring P4P fights, the Marquez rubber being his 11th and Marquez will vault into sole ownership of 2nd place with his 5th P4P fight. He’s currently tied with Mayweather for 2nd place with 4 each.

FYI, you can read about the compelling parallel P4P histories of Pacquiao and Mayweather here:

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

Another interesting development going into this fight is that after Mayweather was released from prison, he quietly paid out a private settlement with a public apology to Pacquiao in exchange for dropping the lawsuit that Mayweather had lost every round in. The IRONY is now Mayweather has been hit with hard rumors about 3 positive drug tests that were hushed up by Golden Boy Promotions and the  USADA drug testing cartel. Here’s the skinny by Thomas Hauser that pretty much backs up what I’ve been saying about the poor reporting in the boxing media about drug testing, plus plenty of new revelations:

http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-ped-mess-part-one

Yes, most anywhere we look in the boxing world, there’s a lot of cynicism over the 4th fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. It doesn’t seem possible they could top their previous PPV total, yet there should be plenty of interest in the fight come first bell.

Who wants to miss what could be the best fight by far between these warrior adversaries? Not a chance. 

Miguel Cotto Goes Trout Fishing In America.

The expedition begins December 1st at Madison Square Garden, New York when Miguel Cotto casts into the waters hoping to hook, fight, and land the undefeated WBA champ, Austin No Doubt Trout.

Cotto vs Trout

Cotto vs Trout

Upstate New York is known for it’s crystalline cold waters, but this fight is probably going to be a down and dirty affair since Trout is a prime aged 27 years of age and looking for his first respect in boxing in spite of holding the WBA junior middle title for two years. Now he’s in his 4th defense against a fighter who could be in the Hall of Fame some day.

You want to talk about respect, that’s something the 32 year old Miguel Cotto used to have a lot of before losing his way after an all time beatdown against Antonio Margarito. His personal life further took a beatdown, and then the beating by Manny Pacquiao.

These are the kinds of beatings that lesser fighters have to retire on, but Cotto stormed back with 3 straight knockouts as he claimed the WBA super lightmiddle title to find new respect and Ring ratings.

Then he manned up for Floyd Mayweather Jr’s Go To Jail fight and waged a battle against Mayweather who had no choice but to fight the pressuring Cotto. It was entertaining for the crowd, and oddly enough, Cotto came out scarcely marked unlike his big wins where he always emerged tattered. Mayweather suffered a badly bruised and bloodied nose and looked the loser by fight’s end for the first time in a long time, but the judges saw it different and kept his unbeaten streak alive….for now.

Mayweather was an easier fight for Cotto than his Margarito/Pacquiao fights since Mayweather is not a puncher, so of course Cotto thought he won the fight. I would tell him he lost the fight when he faded as Mayweather faded in the late rounds. He should know from experience that the money fighter almost always gets the even rounds by typical judging standards.

To be fair, Cotto only had a 6 week training camp due the emergency nature for the fight to take place before Mayweather went to jail. He trained at double that figure for Pacquiao and the Margarito rematch.

The Mayweather fight did excellent PPV numbers, so naturally he’s thinking, “What if I get the Mayweather rematch for my old super WBA belt with more time to train?”

Austin Trout holds the regular title, wanted a big fight, so in boxing like in any human concern, when two folks get together and like what they can do for each other, the deal gets done. Austin Trout lacks the pedigree of Cotto, but he’s a natural at the weight, something Cotto is not, and he’s got that yon Cassius lean and hungry look to him that was so fatal to Julius Cesar.

Trout doesn’t have much pop in his fists considering the lower tier opposition he’s been fighting, but at this level, any of these guys can land a sharp shot to turn out the lights. Problem for Trout is he’s got one of boxing’s all time bruisers who can box as good as he slugs. Perhaps the saving grace for Trout will be that he happens to fight as a southpaw.

Cotto got knocked out by the last southpaw he faced, but that was Manny Pacquiao. Got to go back to 2007 for the next southpaw, a competitive fight with Zab Judah whom Cotto brutalized in that run over by a truck fashion that he specializes in. The year before it was Carlos Quintana, an undefeated southpaw that he mashed up, and both Judah and Quinatana are still around making some noise.

Someone’s gonna have a fight on his hands if he wants to land the big whopper, so get your gaff ready and stay tuned.

Tyson’s Fury vs Kevin Johnson’s Holmes

Tyson Fury will have his ears full of Kevin Kingpin Johnson before they ever step into the ring. Johnson has been conjuring up the distant memory of former WBC champ Larry Holmes to assist him in rattling the cage of young Fury before their 12-round  non-title showdown at the Belfast Odyssey Arena on December 1st. 

Fury Time

Fury Time

That’s in Northern Ireland for those discriminating folk who want to consider how raucous a venue it is likely to be. If past forms hold true, Fury should easily outpoint Johnson who disgraced himself against the last big man he faced, Vitali Klitschko.

Fury saw his big fight against Denis Boytsov fall out after Boytsov said he wasn’t ready for the step up in class in spite of being Ring ranked if you want to talk about some bogus rankings. Johnson was willing to take the fight on 3 weeks notice, probably because few would pay to see him in the states. The Brits and Euros pay more because that’s where the heavyweight interest has gone thanks to American horizontal heavyweights getting knocked over by the dozens overseas these days, some great sport for overseas fans.

Heck, the Klitschko brothers’ long time American sparring partner, Johnathon Banks, who has been based in Germany for a number of years, he came over to the states with some of the Klitschko magic and took on the latest, greatest, next big HBO/GBP/Al Hayman promoted American heavyweight savior, Seth Mitchell. Banks knocked him down so many times that Mitchell ended in a fair big man imitation of the wondrous Zab Judah chicken break dancing jig before being counted out.

Yes, Virginia, after more than a century of ruling the Big Man division, Santa Claus no longer passes out world titles to American heavies. Might have to wait out another generation before fat Americans get some lean and mean back to their form to make a decent fight.

To the particulars, Fury is bigger than Vitali, 6-9 with an incredible 85” reach, and he’s as busy as Vitali used to be a few years back. Though not known as a big puncher, anyone that big has something of a punch, and with his volume I wouldn’t be surprised if he stopped Johnson, but only if Johnson actually shows up to fight.

Of course if Johnson reprises his Vitali fight, he’ll cower on the ropes all covered up as he fumbles for his tough guy sunglasses. Fury can throw one punch and then go nurse his pints of Guinness at ring center until the last bell rings and win all 12 rounds.

Yeah, I shouldn’t make fun of hard working fighters, but Johnson is special. He fights with his flapping mouth in a fair imitation of British Heavyweight Audley Harrison, sounding off about how he’s gonna bring the pain, ie:

“I’ll beat Fury so bad he’ll want to retire.”

Whatever floats his petticoats to make it to the ring come fight night. I guess we need to acknowledge the fractional chance of an upset. Fury might be sick or otherwise unwell, and he is still something of a kid at age 24 trying to grow into that 85″ reach, but well or otherwise, this kid loves a good fight, something Johnson is not known for. Fury has been upgrading his training and improving his boxing technique in anticipation of a title challenge next year, but he’s still weak on defense, Johnson’s biggest prayer and only hope.

Prayer and hope in extra measure are needed since Johnson is neither a heavy hitter nor a volume puncher. The best win on his record is a squat Aussie slugger, Alex Leapai, who put him in a fight before being knocked out, so that has to be respected of Johnson who seems well on his way to becoming a traveling journeyman heavyweight.

Kingpin, Have American Passport, Will Travel.

He seems destined to sport some shiny new Fury black and blue tattoos to take back to America where the sun don’t shine on the heavyweight division….never more, never more…..

That’s just the way it is Today. How many Tomorrows that may be will be up to Kevin Johnson who will be ready to be locked and loaded into the ring this coming Saturday, but can he pull the trigger or will he soil up on the ropes again? 

Ricky Hatton Comeback Against Vyacheslav Senchenko?

Ricky Hitman Hatton is coming back from “retirement” this Saturday, November 24th to fight former WBA welter champ Vyacheslav Senchenko at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, that much is certain.

Redemption

Redemption

What isn’t certain is how serious Hatton is about continuing his career and how much he has left to fight in a very competitive division. What is certain that he will mint plenty of coinage, more than any other fighter in the world not named Pacquiao, Mayweather, or Klitschko thanks to his loyal support base of fans and morbid curiosity seekers wondering if he still has the Hatton magic that made him such a megastar.

How ironic can it get in boxing that 35 year old Vyacheslav Senchenko is about as little known and undersung as it gets, fighting all his bouts in Ukraine, a hot bed of talent but not a hot bed of pro boxing. His opponents have all been the usual Eastern European suspects found on any top Euro fighter resume, a solid but limited record. His big step up was against Pauli Malignaggi who stopped him on cuts, so it’s fair to say at age 35, he looks for redemption just as much as Hatton is.

The Hitman has proven to be the superior fighter at a much higher level than Senchenko, but Hatton has been out of the ring for well over 3 years. His accomplishments during that time have been sordid revelations of drug abuse, a recent fight with his dad, and food and alcohol binges of a man circling the drain of life. He did become a promoter of some note, an up and comer doing well for now, and he has business ties to Golden Boy Promotions. A fight between him and Oscar de la Hoya has been long rumored, so who can say where he goes in an era where fighters move seamlessly in and out of “retirement” at will?

I expect Senchenko to be the typical tough, well schooled Eastern European who has an excellent opportunity on his hand, much bigger than when Malignaggi came to town, but how he reacts to the raucous MEN crowd cannot be predicted.

I expect Hatton to come out pressing and swinging, that’s what short armed fighters have to do. Hatton also used to have some underrated boxing nuance, so at very least we will get an all action fight out of the thing, and if lucky, a high end drama and spectacle.

No title is on the line that I can see, nor do I know the contract weights, but surely 150 lbs would be the limit. Hatton enters with a career record of 45-2, 32 KO and Senchenko at 32-1, 21 KO. Both are coming off losses in their last fight.

The card also features British stars Rendall Munroe and Martin Murray and is presumably promoted by Hatton, so it’s a good night for British boxing.

Robert Guerrero vs Andre Berto–Guerrero Means WAR!

The Interim WBC welterweight title is up for grabs Saturday, November 24, Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California when Robert Guerrero defends against former champ, Andre Berto. Guerrero has been making steady inroads on his way up in the boxing world while Berto has been on the way down after a hard loss of his title to the oft disparaged Victor Ortiz. Then Berto booted their lucrative rematch over a positive trace of nandrosterone in the prefight drug tests done by VADA.

Let's Do It!

Let’s Do It!

Robert The Ghost Guerrero is a fine champion long relegated to the back pages of boxing due a myriad of problems beyond his control.  However, when opportunity came knocking with a chance to secure Floyd Mayweather Jr‘s old WBC welterweight belt, The Ghost jumped all over it. Floyd Mayweather has been in his sights for a couple of years now with Guerrero making some prominent challenges, but he needed to step up 2 or 3 divisions to make the fight, so nobody took him seriously.

Guerrero means Warrior in Spanish, and War is what he waged against Selcuk Aydin, a bruising, brawling undefeated WBC Silver Belt holder from Turkey who always shows up to fight hard. Guerrero fought a tough, gritty fight to show he could step up 2 divisions to handle the strongest fighter he’s ever faced in his career. Mayweather may not be as strong as the young Turk, but he’s got boxing savvy oozing out of his pores and is a tough nut to crack, and tougher to get into the ring, only fighting once a year, so it may take a ghost to track a ghost down, we’ll see.

Enter Mayweather stablemate, Andre Berto, who has taken a different tact from Guerrero. After shoeshining his way up the rankings to become Mayweather’s old WBC #1 challenger, he  won the vacated belt in the cushy way too many modern fighters go about it, that of fighting a set up against a fighter who shouldn’t even be ranked.

Berto was disgraced when he tested positive, a real shame since he scored a TKO on cuts over IBF beltholder, Jan Zaveck to set up the lucrative Ortiz rematch, all blown to smithereens now. Redemption will have to come about the hard way, a classy win over the ascending Guerrero who will be the best fighter Berto has ever faced. He can thank the much beleaguered California commission for giving him a license after his failed drug test. Golden Boy is Cali based, and you know how that works.

Andre Berto’s strengths are a left jab, good conditioning, and some heart he showed against Luis Collazo and Victor Ortiz after he was knocked down. It could also be said he’s the naturally bigger man and easy to hit.

Guerrero looks to be the hungrier fighter with more to prove to himself. He should be the better overall boxer and has more experience. He’s also shown plenty enough grit and heart when needed, so on paper, this is a pretty even match, but Berto will also be the best welter he ever faced, a prime boxer type with some hand speed compared to the brawling, looping Aydin.

I like Guerrero to outbox and outslug Berto when needed. He’s a smart boxing southpaw going against the record of Berto against top boxing type southpaws; a knockout of Carlos Quintana, a disputed win over Luis Collazo who knocked him down, and a hard loss to Victor Ortiz where Berto tasted the canvas again.

I see a fight going the distance since neither is a big puncher at the weight. I only hope the judges can score a bout as well as the fighters are gonna fight it,  likely a highly competitive fight fought at a higher level than the typical boxing judges could ever be counted on.

Beating Berto would be another line drawn in the sand for Guerrero who might be seeing the end of his career coming and is pulling out all the stops trying to make a megafight, but talk is cheap and the best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

Soon enough it will be one fighter mano a mano against the other fighter,  and with luck the ref will stay clear and let them decide who it’s gonna be.

It’s Big Boy Time–Wlad Klitschko vs Mariusz Wach

November the 10th at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany marks a another milestone in Wladimir Klitschko‘s boxing career when he aims for his 20th title victory against a fighter with height and reach greater than his.

Mariusz Wach  runs about the same size as Wlad’s older brother, Vitali, almost 6-8, generally around 245-260 lbs with an 82″ listed reach. He’s also undefeated with a 27-0, 15 KO record, coming off of 7 straight knockouts starting back in 2009.

Big & Bigger

Big & Bigger

Wach of course lacks the depth of Wlad’s stellar record, but he is prime age for a big man these days at a very fresh 32, and he sports a mixed martial arts and amateur boxing background much like the Klitschko brothers. He looks to be tough enough at the level he’s fought at and is a come forward attacking fighter, so what more can the Klitschkos do but fight the few heavyweights left who are willing to step in the ring with them?

Wlad’s record against similar sized fighters, Tony Thompson, Jamel McCline, and Ray Austin is 4-0, 4 KO, not exactly the best promotional selling point for Wach making a compelling fight. Thing about the Klitschko fights is that German and other various European fans love the theatrics of the Klitschko promotions which feature a smorgasborg of music, razzle dazzle light shows and pop personalities revving up the premises in advance of the main event. The promotions are well packed, and of course with Wach being of Polish heritage, well, Poles really get behind their own even when it looks hopeless.

Make no mistake though, Wach is far from hopeless. His size, strength and toughness  alone make him a very awkward, dangerous fighter. Typically teams upgrade the quality of sparring partners for an opportunity like this, so if Wach had previously been on a learning curve as he worked his way up the chain, #21 on Boxrec, #4WBC, #15 WBO, there could be a big spike in his skills and conditioning for this performance.

All that could be completely negated by the proven quality of Wlad who usually starts off very cautious behind his jab to rack up points before picking his spots for the usual knockout result. Perhaps as big a challenge as the size of Wach will be the absence of his long time trainer and mentor, Manny Steward, whose untimely passing has left a big hole in the boxing world.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/a-legend-passes-manny-steward-r-i-p/

Fellow stablemate Johnathon Banks was tapped by Steward to anchor Wlad’s corner, and of course Wlad’s brother, Vitali Klitschko should be there in support as both brothers do when the other fights.

The heavyweight division is strangely active as the year draws down with some compelling action that will lead to next year’s title challenges.

Johnathon Banks is also a quality heavyweight with his own big fight against rising American contender, Seth Mitchell. Banks is a legit boxer with skills, whereas Mitchell has a modest pro football background with a limited amateur background. As such, I expect Banks to easily handle him, but as to whether he’ll get a fair judgement at Boardwalk Hall Atlantic City where the fight takes place this November 17th, let’s not get started on the horrors of judging fights.

Everyone knows about the poor judging but nothing can be done until boxing cleans up it’s act, so fat chance.

Fellow undefeated and Ring ranked Tyson Fury invites Denis Boytsov to Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland on December the 1st to mark up somebody’s zero, probably Boytsov who has a softer record with a history of hand injuries. Props to both camps for making the fight when each could be sitting on their rankings hoping a lucrative title fight will hatch.

Last but not least, the rematch of the fight of the year quality donnybrook between former lightheavy and cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek and his cruiserweight rival, Steve Cunningham who took the loss the first time around. The fight takes place December 22nd, ostensibly in Cunningham’s backyard of Sands Casino Resort, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but the born and bred Philadelphian has tragically been under promoted in Europe thanks to an ill advised compact with Don King.

Adamek will be the obvious favorite with a stellar 47-2, 29 KO record against Cunningham’s 25-4, 12 KO, but this is the kind of fight a paper record can’t predict. Cunningham has always been speedy and top class even if he’s taken more losses in less fights. Adamek looked a bit slow at his heaviest weight ever when he outpointed the defensive minded Chambers, so I predict the punches to be flying with first class boxing skills as in the first fight.

Both will be 36 years of age for the fight, so there it is, the final countdown of the top action in the heavyweight division for the rest of the year.