Monthly Archives: February 2014

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Brian Vera~Rematch in the Alamodome

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was the favorite posterboy of former WBC Honcho For Life Jose Suleiman, R.I.P. He is also the favorite target of wrathful fans still furious over him being named after his legendary father, but now Junior looks to right his wrongs of his last bout against former Contender star Brian Vera with their rematch in the San Antone Alamodome on the first day of March 2014.

The First Time Around...

The First Time Around…

Junior was coming off a long suspension for marijuana use, way longer and infinitely more expensive than that handed down by the derided NSAC who slapped Floyd Mayweather promoted Mickey Bey with a bare 3 month suspension/$1000 fine after testing 30x over allowable “normal” testosterone levels. There’s no use in looking for justice in Nevada whose honchos were also quoted as saying they would no long rubber stamp fights after emasculated howls of Mayweather fans shook up Nevada big shots over the Saul Alvarez results.

So out with the old Nevada honchos and in with the new Nevada honchos with fresh, shiny faces and redesigned teflon rubberstamps.

Junior was so overweight in his return from suspension that the Vera fight was hopelessly lost unless Vera allowed enough leeway for Junior to squeeze in at 172.5 lbs. The usual flood of vitriol followed even before his disputed win, the public outrage being such that the Vera rematch was the best lucrative option as Top Rank struggled with what division the ever growing Junior will end up in.

Junior was also heavily disparaged during the most acclaimed moment of his career when he nearly pulled off a stunning knockout of reigning middleweight champ Sergio Martinez as time was running out. A chip off his ol’man’s block he looked as he damn near reprised the storied Meldrick Taylor knockout in a bout of legend that still gets folks grills broiling over the officiating “controversy.”

It just so happens that San Antone is a great place for an all action mano a mano fight that the rematch guarantees to be. Junior “promises” to be better prepared at the reported 168 lb contract weight, still well over Vera’s optimum weight, but  the Texas born and bred Vera must be feeling good about the rematch which is netting him a large purse and more recognition than he’s had in his solid career thus far. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the WBC add a bauble for them to scrap over, like an Interim Diamond Doodle Belt or an Inaugaral Platinum Poodle Belt, whatever fecundity they can come up with to tickle the WBC coffers.

As such this will be a moment of truth for both fighters. Vera needs to put on another good showing that might well land him a middleweight title shot down the road since I can’t see him really contesting against top super middleweights. Junior’s future is more uncertain in that he can no longer squeeze into the middleweight division and may well have problems making 168 lbs. He has so overgrown his natural big fight rivals, Saul Alvarez and Sergio Martinez, that the WBC went and rated him as mandatory to aging WBC 168 lb champion Sika Biko, a fight Junior could well win if he shows he can squeeze under the 168 lb trip wire. Andre Ward and Carl Froch have been making noises about easy money fights against him, but I doubt his sugar daddy Bob Arum would sacrifice him just yet when Junior could possibly have a successful run of WBC super middleweight title fights against the usual suspects.

The undercard features a fascinating bout for the simon purist guaranteed to be a grave insult to other ranked fighters and boxing critics. The highly acclaimed two time Olympic Gold Medalist southpaw Vasyl Lomachenko with a 396-1 amateur record that is likely the best in history, he challenges current WBO feather champ Orlando Salido, 40-12-2, 28 KO. The just turned 26 year old Lomachenko has only a single recognized pro fight against journeyman Jose Ramirez, a dubious bout that looked like a weak set up for the WBO International featherweight bauble  that Ramirez had only won the fight before. Salido may have some heavy use miles at 33 yrs of age and 358 rounds of war, but he’s still as hard a fighter as can be found in boxing who utterly destroyed the much touted P4P Puerto Rican phenom Juan Manuel Lopez, blasting him out twice for good measure. Poor Lopez has yet to recover his form.

Why the sudden push of Lomachenko to a title is likely to be found in the money HBO will be offering for the spectacle they expect to make out of it. I have nothing good to say about the bout given the shaky circumstances of Lomachenko’s first fight, but he’s the latest promotional darling and money fighter so look for the ref and the judges to give him all the breaks as they nickle and dime Salido in the ring and on the cards. I waive any further comments until I have a chance to review the fight for “relevancy,” but if waged legitimately and Lomachenko indeed turns out to be “the one,” well of course it would be good for boxing. Unfortunately more promoters will be looking to bum rush willing novice fighters into the limelight of a title as the panic over the impending retirement of aging PPV stars with nobody to replace them spreads.

Perhaps with near 400 amateur ama bouts plus a reported half dozen fights under the auspices of the AIBA organized World Series of Boxing that he won, Lomachenko may not be boxing’s virginal, fresh faced cherub, but the step up in conditioning alone is huge at the championship pro level not to mention the power and variety of punches and stratagies used.

We’ll see soon enough what the refs, judges, and antisocial media ninnies have to say about this promotion which seems almost guaranteed to kick off the year in controversy.

167.5 lbs X 2

167.5 lbs X 2

Lomachenko 125.25~Salido 128.25 loses title on the scales

Lomachenko 125.25~Salido 128.25 loses title on the scales

 

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Mo’ Macao~~Miguel Vazquez vs Denis Shafikov

That’s February 22nd at Cotai Arena at Venetian Resort in Macao where Top Rank honcho Bob Arum seems to be establishing a comfortable set of digs for his up and coming exotic stable of Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Eastern Euro boxing stars he has been signing of late.

Miguel Vazquez

Miguel Vazquez

As such, the Zanfer Promoted headliner Vasquez is being isolated in Macao on a Top Rank card. Well, there it is, proof that Top Rank and their fighters have always maintained a working arrangement with other promoters no matter how strained things look in the bright glare of public mutterings.

On paper Miguel Vazquez, 33-3, 13 KO, is old school credentialed Mexican tough, yet something of an anomoly in that he is a tall, light punching stylist as opposed the shorter stereotypical Mexican slugger. He’s also oddly paired with infamous trainer Javier Capetillo of the Antonio Margarito plaster crumbles handwrap scandal. Denis Shafikov, 33-0-1, 18 KO, was a solid juniorwelter/welter prospect out of Russia who only moved down to lightweight last year against two modest journeymen, yet here he is with his new Top Rank contract in the prestigious Macao venue challenging lightweight champ Vazquez in his 6th defense of his IBF title. A mighty fine deal Shafikov and Vazquez have that many fighters would love to trade places for. 

Denis Shafikov

Denis Shafikov

At least the squat Shafikov has one advantage on paper, that of having fought last year. Poor Vazquez had the rug pulled out from under him so many times it became something of a slapstick comedy sketch, but presumably he was in training during those periods, so not all is lost. His big advantage is that Shafikov is basically untested at the weight and at this caliber of competition. Both are prime age mid to late 20s and should be up for it.

Undercards include the hugely touted Asian fighters, Japanese Olympic Gold Medalist Ryota Murata and Chinese Olympic Gold Medalist Zou Shiming among others.

There have been better boxing cards of course, but the main event has some interesting aspects to it and the supporting bouts are a must see for diehards interested in how the future of boxing is being shaped in far away exotic locales.

Tyson Fury Back & Madder Than Ever

And who wouldn’t be mad after panto rival David Haye‘s brave busted up pinky toe yanked the rug out of Fury’s £5 million purse not just once but twice last year? Twitter took a prolonged beating from Fury who graphically vented his rage, but now he’s featured with Dereck Chisora in a Frank Warren co-promotion against journeyman Joey Abell at The Copper Box Arena in London come Saturday, February 15.

The  deal is a 3 fight affair designed to promote the 3rd and final fight against Chisora in a supposed WBO eliminator. That would be a rematch of Fury’s previous tattoo job he did on Chisora a few years back, but to hear him modestly describe the promotion, mainly it’s about being back to fighting, earning some money, and aiming towards a title fight, probably against Wlad Klitschko.

Here he is early in his last fight last year against USS Steve Cunningham. No boxing match that streetside donnybrook, he got stretched by a shot going off like a thunderclap and was quite fortunate to survive such brute force to quickly turn the fight his way. Hard to know where his mercurial undefeated career will end up, but for sure we can hear him before we see his 6-9 presence, and for sure he loves the sound and the fury of the stage and fights as hard as anyone in boxing, so tune in to see how he sorts it all out.

Ma, look at me now!

Ma, look at me now!