Monthly Archives: December 2013

Montreal Iced Over~~Lucian Bute vs Jean Pascal

The NABF light heavyweight title Lucien Bute won from Denis Grachev in 2012 is up for grabs for the first “big” fight of 2014, Saturday, January 18th in Montreal at the Bell Centre. There’s no hometown advantage as both fighters enjoyed their greatest success there as very popular assimilated Canadians, Lucian Bute being from Romania and Jean Pascal from Haiti

Their biggest hurdles have been problematic setbacks that have knocked both from their prime form even though Pascal is only 31 and Bute only 33 years. Neither took much career punishment in the ring, yet how quickly they flamed out after being the toast of Montreal, now reduced to a squabble over the NABF bauble. The 37 year old previously unheralded ex-c0nvict Adonis Stevenson of Haiti has eclipsed the both of them in Montreal and in Ring ratings with a stunning year in 2013.

Who’d have thunk it two years ago?

Lucien Bute vs Jean Pascal

Lucien Bute vs Jean Pascal

 This will only be Bute’s 2nd bout at lightheavy after a long reign as the IBF supermiddleweight champ, 11-1, 8 KO in title bouts with a career mark of 31-1, 24 KO. He did not fight in 2013 after this May 2013 bout was originally rescheduled because of Pascal injuries and then rescheduled again. Whether Pascal can make it to the scratch line this time around on the fight date is unknown, but he still scrapes by with a #10 Ring ranking and amazingly #5 by Boxrec. Bute has dropped out of Boxrec rankings because of inactivity thanks to Pascal, yet amazingly hangs on to his #3 Ring ranking at supermiddle. Go figure since Ring will never be able to.

Pascal is the finer posing physical specimen,  yet woefully delicate with a distinct lack of stamina and pop. He’s 28-2-1, 17 KO for his career, yet never hurt much less knocked out a true world class contender in his five years at the top, 4-2-1, 1 KO overall in title fights. Somehow he managed to deck ol’man Bernard Hopkins twice early in their first fight before running around like a flapping headless chicken to let the uselessly flailing Hopkins back in the fight for a draw. Then he let the ol’timer whup him in the rematch that I will forever refuse to watch so as to save a modicum of respect for boxing.

So how much more disgrace can one fighter bear you might ask yourself?

Plenty more if Pascal plans on moving up to heavyweight as he made noises about, but such posing is what the French Canadians seem to be willing to pay for, so in that regard Pascal is a success. I wasn’t going to cover this fight because it will likely be so ugly as to defy polite descriptors, but since both were so popular in Montreal, there it is in a nutshell. Their suns are setting as they make one last run at a money fight.

Bute had a particularly shocking fall from grace when he was stopped after showing little punch resistance to big slugging Carl Froch as Bute did his best impersonation of a deer frozen in the headlights of a truck. He had been a long time Ring P4Per, an elite fighter scarcely needing to even break into a sweat from his compelling southpaw stance he was handling his competition so easily, but Carl Froch is cut from a different mold of the typical contender and former champions Bute had previously disposed. Bute had one good round where Froch absorbed the best he could throw, and then, poof, Bute folded and the damage was done, exacerbated by disgraceful British officiating as Froch and his promoter Hearns threw a party before the standing Bute had even taken a count by the referee.

I dare say a team of 8th graders could oversee a more respectable fight than the multitudes of n’er do wells running boxing these days, but 8th graders are legally frozen out of pro boxing.

Speaking of, I hear tell the curtains may be coming down on Montreal boxing, a shame if true. I’d surely think some youngsters must be in training to have a chance at such glory as has been fought for at the Bell Centre these past several years. Stevenson and the 25 year old David Lemieux look to have plenty more fights in them, so a stay of execution seems warranted for now.

Pascal and Bute are supposed to be dope tested by WADA whatever that means in the elusive world of ever changing testing parameters in the boxing and illicit drug testing cartel businesses. Bute should prevail against Pascal and could stage a title challenge at lightheavy this year, but he’s got to wrangle a decision from the forever fleeing Pascal, so who can say?

Maybe Pascal feels the pressure and makes a last stand for a classic encounter. There’s always hope in boxing land for a good fight, so let us hope for the sake of Montreal boxing they can break up this impacted ice flow.

Marcos Maidana Tracks Down Adrian Broner

Looks like Marcos Maidana gets another shot at redemption against Adrien Broner at the Alamodome in San Antonio December 14th. Maidana has actually done quite well for himself after his torpid debut at welterweight against Devon Alexander last year. He is really a small framed junior welter, but he takes his orders from Golden Boy who wanted him in a more glamorous division where they needed quality name opponents, opponent being the operative word here. Maidana has been used in the non starring role against heavily hyped Golden Boy “stars.”

The Golden Boy promoted Maidana got off on the wrong track with  when he knocked out their Oscar de la Hoya heir apparent Victor Ortiz in a spectacular encounter. It didn’t help that competing manager contract disputes over his services soon combined with a terrible traffic tragedy in Argentina that made his services in the US problematic for a spell. He was then poorly served by unsporting officiating in the big name Amir Khan and Eric Morales debacles, yet onward he punched with a current 84% KO average, one of the highest in boxing in support of his 34-3 record.

Tubs & Lean

Tubs & Lean

Adrian Broner has been the heavily hyped Al Hayman fresh flash posterboy, yet now looking quite corpulent around his corpus, seemingly so “flush” as to “dump” $20 dollar bills during his potty sessions if his inflated ego video productions offer up any proof. After being touted as the next Floyd Mayweather Jr by the Hayman/Golden Boy combine, he’s been matched against an assortment of carefully selected featherweights, dwarfs, and feather dusters who have actually done quite well against his plodding defenseless version of the Floyd Mayweather shoulder roll. Now he goes against a true  slugger in Marcos Maidana who has knocked out the bigger, stronger, more talented Victor Ortiz and the tougher Josesito Lopez.

While only 24 years and still developing, Broner is still officially unblemished at 27-0, 22 KO, 81% knockout ratio. Most of those fights were at 130 or 135 divisions before completely jumping over the 140 division, now in his 2nd fight at 147. Likely he’ll never make 140 and why should have have to if the bigger money is in 147?

Yet ridiculously the Gimpy Ring ratings continue to rank him at both welter and lightweight and P4P, a total failure of logic other than being a rubber stamp for the Hayman/Golden Boy paymasters who have taken over the spare bones and mangy hide of what used to be a proud magazine in the days of Nat Fleischer.

Fortunately for Broner, Maidana is no Fancy Dan in the boxing department though he can box some when he has a mind to. Unfortunately for Broner the Maidana power is proven at higher weights. Broner has shown poor defense in his career, probably due to being in against little guys with little demonstrable power at those lighter weights. Hard to say if he can improve his defense, but on any fair playing field, Maidana must be salivating at the thought of an easy to hit plod forward style, a perfect stylistic match up for him, but that may be illusory.

The reason being that Maidana is seemly yet again “the opponent” if recent form of Hayman/Golden Boy fights follows script. They continue to prop up Broner and Amir Khan as stars for example against all evidence of their limitations with the hope they can maybe make a decent PPV with Floyd Mayweather Jr who doesn’t have any credible Golden Boy fighters left to dance with. No problem, this combine will manufacture cardboard cutouts for Mayweather to “fight.” 

Golden Boy has actually had some really great fights over the past few years, like James’ Kirkman against Carlos Molina and Angulo for example, but poor Kirkman can’t seem to stay out of trouble and jail. He’s recently been released from captivity, signed with his new 50 cent manager, and rushed on a ‘Top Rank card this weekend in Madison Square Garden, so strike him as savior for Hayman/Golden Boy when Mayweather retires. Keith Thurman has discipline and potential, but he’s been way underpromoted for whatever reason. Meanwhile the GB Argentinians, Matthyse and Maidana, they’re poor boys from a poor country, so they’re willing to brave the ring officials stacked against them, yet against the odds they somehow managed to make some the best fights in boxing.  And you wonder why they claim boxing is dying when the best, most exciting fan friendly fighters willing to fight anytime, anywhere get the short straw in what should be their biggest opportunities.

Perhaps there’s some hope in that the fight is in San Antonio which has a rich boxing tradition. San Antonio is where Manny Pacquiao burst into the spotlight in his demolition of P4P great Marcos Antonio Barrera not that many moons ago, but another era in the flash primes of typical fighters. The dubious Laurence Cole is the likely assigned ref, a dissertation of all his ring transgressions being the perfect submission for the ambitious business or a law grad. I should note his near flawless handling of his last fight I witnessed, the Alvarez vs Trout highly technical boxing match. He only made one mistake when he broke them up in the first round while they were in an exchange. He immediately recognized his error before laying back to enjoy one of the cleaner boxing exhibitions this year, so maybe there’s some hope for this fight since it could be a great slugfest if there is no interference..

We’ll be watching.