Monthly Archives: May 2014

Miguel Cotto Challenges Sergio Martinez

The physically challenged 39 year old Argentine southpaw Sergio Martinez and the 33 year old well traveled Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto have agreed to a fan favorite fight at a “catchweight” of 159 pounds, Saturday, June 7th. Venue: Madison Square Garden if you had to ask, New York, New York if a reminder is needed for one of the hottest ” You got to be there” boxing events in recent MSG history.

Out of training street weight view

Out of training street weight view

There is no slur intended with the physically challenged descriptor of the very game Martinez, currently sporting a stellar 51-2-2, 28 KO mark. He just so happens to be in a continuous state of recovery after Julio Cesar Chavez Jr tore into him for one of boxing’s great all time 12th round moments that Martinez managed to survive only by his overstretched heart strings. After far too many patches, stitches, staples, and surgeries later, he will shock test himself against Cotto in an irresistible fight that not even virulent modern boxing politics could deny.

Cotto himself has left no stone unturned in his quest to become the first Puerto Rican fighter to win titles in four weight divisions, the highly coveted WBC middleweight belt adorned with the abundant scalp of Martinez being the ultimate prize. As such whether by hook or crook, he managed to secure the services of renown trainer Freddie Roach well in advance for the fine tuning needed to exploit the vulnerabilities of the aging Argentine fighter. Cotto brings his own stellar record against the best in boxing, 38-4, 31 KO, yet brings his own frailties to the fight. He not only gives up height, reach, strength, speed, and mobility, but his face tends to bust up very early in fights and Martinez is just the kind of slashing southpaw sharpshooter keep him leaking red and lumping blue and purple.

I personally don’t see how Cotto can beat a healthy Martinez, but he may well be able to beat the injured Martinez who barely scraped by his last outing against Martin Murray and was lucky beyond belief to survive Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, so there it is with no ifs, ands, and butts come fight night. Something or someone has to give, but what will give first and by whom?

 

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The Star Crossed Rematch of Carl Froch vs George Groves

After much ado and hue and cry ’til they blanched blue, Carl Froch and George Groves were brought spitting and sputtering to a press conference by their promoter, Barry Hearn, that officially announced their May 31st rematch at the reknown Wembley Stadium in London . The rival super-middleweights had choice words for one another ahead of the fight that astoundingly sold out the allotted 60,000 tickets within one hour of them going on sale.

Minting Money

Minting Money

To rehash the previous encounter, Groves showed up to fight and surprised Froch with an early knockdown that he quickly recovered from. From then on Froch slowly built up the pressure on Groves before carving him up for the knockout only to have the hapless referee Howard John Foster stop the fight prematurely to a monumental British controversy, a permanent state of being for boxing no matter the geographic location it would appear.

Groves should thank his lucky stars for the controversy that in turn generated what will be the biggest British rematch by the purse and gate numbers in many long moons that has made him front page news. The essence of the first bout still remains a bitter pill for Groves who has accomplished much less in the ring compared to the battle tested Froch. Groves must improve greatly to win, not a given, yet all Froch has to do is be himself again, plenty good enough for their first go round and he might well exceed that performance this time around.

Win, lose, or draw, one thing is certain. Be lots of big money lost on the fighters to be gained by the bookies, and lots of big money won to be paid out by the bookies. Such is the short life span of an all time prize fight, the essence of boxing and the essence of these two bitter rivals in their biggest British moment ever.

Mo’ & Mo’ Macao: Nonito Donaire vs Simpiwe Vetyeka

Top Rank continues it’s international development of  world class boxing at the  Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, Saturday, May 31st when Filipino-American icon Nonito Donaire tackles as dangerously hard punching fighter as exists in boxing today in South African Simpiwe Vetyeka. The newly aquired WBA Super World featherweight title will be the bauble Vetyeka defends.

Down goes John...the end

Down goes John…the end

The little known Vetyeka is emblematic of the tough, pressure fighting South African style that recently saw him beat up future Hall of Famer Chris John in a firefight. John had sought to defend his WBA title while simultaneously matching the storied undefeated Rocky Marciano 49 victories without a loss that stands as a permanent marker of excellence in the boxing world. T’was never meant to be as it turned, but John fought the great fight to go out on his shield and will be regarded highly in his retirement as a Thai legend.

As is becoming par in this part of the world, Bob Arum has assembled an international cast of support with a couple of Latino Americans tossed in the mix for spice along with an undefeated Jamaican WBA featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters going against Armenian former champ Vic Darchinyan, an undefeated Russian featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich who makes a return to The Venetian against a undefeated Belgian, a Japanese fighter, a touted prospect Brazilian 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao, and so on.

Featherweights are the key descriptor here, perfect for the Chinese market as I’d guess an unofficial round robin tourney of rivalries is being set up between the four of them. Unofficial in that Top Rank doesn’t want to limit these guys to a tourney format when bigger fights may become apparent after this date at other venues. I suspect the growing success in this venue will certainly see at least some returning fighters at the next Macao promotion.

A tad off the mark

A tad off the mark

Donaire should be the nominal favorite, but he’s been struggling ever since he divorced former Balco trainer Victor Conte and then was distracted by his expectant wife and arduous self training duties. Anti social media monkeys hate him as “that 2nd Filipino,” but even as he struggled Donaire has made his power quite audible, knocking down Guillermo Rigandeaux twice in a close loss, and being the only fighter to ever knock out Vic Darchinyan, TWICE now with his last win.

I favor the overall excellence and experience of Donaire, but this Vetyeka character may be the ultimate wild card in boxing right now. He simply refused to stop attacking John, walking through every thing thrown at him to ultimately blast John to smithereens, so how is Donaire going to deal with him?

Be a great fight to watch and find out.

Done Deal~Juan Manuel Marquez vs Mike Alvarado

The deal got done for Juan Manuel Marquez to fight Mike Alvarado Saturday, May 17th at newly refurbished historic Forum in Inglewood, California. The winner is supposed to be the WBO mandatory challenger to the winner of Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao II, which…insert drum roll……happens to be………
Manny Pacquiao.
Mano a Mano

Mano a Mano

The only two fighters who have thus far beaten Alvarado, 34-2, 23 KO, were prime aged, compact, hard pressing knockout slugger types, completely opposite of the style of the more settled counterpunching Marquez, 55-7-1, 40 KO, who gives up significant height, reach, and age.

Where the 40 year old Marquez is the most dangerous fighter in the game today is when he’s when he’s been hurt badly, otherwise he’s always been vulnerable to being beat by good boxer types fighting just outside of his range. I might favor Alvarado to do just that, but he has yet to show the type of discipline needed at the Marquez level, Marquez being the best fighter he’s ever faced in his career. Where the 33 year old Alvarado receives his biggest boost is not having to starve himself into death warmed over on a hot plate to make 140 like he has looked in his last few fights. He’ll be bigger, stronger, and probably more durable than ever.

Regardless, I see Alvarado outboxing Marquez early as the slow starting viejo takes a few rounds to warm up his old bones, after which, you can roll the dice, flip a coin, or pray for your fighter. Marquez is not near shot, but he’s also not near prime anymore and this a bad stylistic and physical match for him. If he were desperate to fight Manny Pacquiao for a 5th time like his Uncle Bob wants him to do, I’d say he had the financial and spiritual motivation to find a way to beat Alvarado. Instead he’s been keen on the rematch against Timothy Bradley, a light hitting defensive fighter for less money that nonetheless will be a substantial boost to his career earnings that spiked after each of his four previous encounters against Manny Pacquiao.

Drug testing in California? Hah, call it pay back time for Marquez fans who have been vociferous in their hatred for all things Manny Pacquiao all these years. It is quite sad to see Marquez now being parodied in the antisocial media forums as a hulked out drug cheat after he hired the other major player in the BALCO scandal, Angel “Meme” Heredia to wean him off his self produced poisonous pissoir tonics.

Sure, someone needed to read Marquez the riot act over that idiotic phase of his training, but did he have to cross over to the dark side?

Boxing insiders have always praised his intelligence even as he ditched the $700K immediate rematch of his first fight with Manny Pacquiao to end up looking clueless against Chris John in Indonesia for a measly $20K worth of “peanuts.” Fast forward and yet again he has passed on the bigger purse against Pacquiao to go against the lesser fighter, Alvarado. No belt is on the line, this is purely for pride and the right to face Manny Pacquiao for big bucks if Marquez really wants it.

Or is this deja vu all over again?

In the end Juan Manuel Marquez has stubbornly waged his career his way, so that counts for something when he earns a unanimous decision to the Hall of Fame five years after his retirement.

Is Mike Alvarado the fighter to retire him? We’ll see soon enough “Quien es mas macho” as Lupe Contreras would say.

Historic First~Bermane Stiverne vs Chris Arreola For WBC Crown

“Racial” as well as boxing history is guaranteed to be made when Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola fight for the vacated WBC heavyweight title Saturday, May 10th at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, California. Stiverne is Haitian born and Arreola is Mexican American Los Angeles born, neither racial demographic having ever held a heavyweight title before, but, barring a draw or double disqualification, one most certainly will after the smoke clears in what should be a huge battle for the honor as it should be in every fight.

Most boxing fans could give two hoots or a hollor about racial demographics unless it’s one of their own fighting for glory. They’d rather get behind a good fight that this promises to be. The WBC wanted to reprise the historical event deep in Mexico, but that was an obvious no go, so instead Stiverne, 23-1-1, 20 KOs, will rematch Arreola, 36-3, 31 KO, yet again in California. First go round Stiverne put up the best fight of his career, knocking down Arreola, breaking his nose, and otherwise staying in command down the stretch to cop the unanimous decision.

Since then Stiverne has been inactive while waiting for the boxing politics to play out for this opportunity. Arreola looked uncharacteristically serious in a concussive comeback of his own when he knocked out Al Haymon’s touted heavyweight contender Seth Mitchell in the first round. Both fighters have reportedly been in training since their first fight over a year ago in anticipation of this opportunity.

First Go Round

First Go Round

The paunchy 35 year old Stiverne may not look the part, but he has surprising power when he lands his big punch, a game changer. He’s too slow and lethargic for the purist, yet also quite relaxed with decent boxing skills and durability that have served him well. The 33 year old Arreola may be the goofiest, ugliest, funniest looking fat kid in any room, but he’s got predatory footwork and aggression with plenty of his own power that defines his all action pressure style. In shape given the nature of the stakes with his experience and held in his hometown, I do favor him slightly to win this thing.

Main thing going is the old school contrast of styles and power that will crown the new WBC champ, so it’s a good thing for everyone but Wlad Klitschko, the holder of every other heavyweight bauble, belt, and title under the sun. He wasn’t invited to this party, but he may be down the road when he gets a little older and longer on the tooth.

Be a great fight on ESPN that should drown out the usual ball sports on the TV down at the bar, so no excuses to miss this puppy.

 

 

Emperor of Money Wears No Clothes as American Boxing Fears It’s Future

My, my, where to start over the latest Floyd Mayweather Jr travesty in boxing after his limp wristed showing against Argentine slugger Marcos Maidana?

The official results were officially another win for Mayweather, ominously by his 2nd straight Majority decision where yet again one judge “failed” to see his self proclaimed boxing genius. The self emasculated Mayweather Nation seemingly hasn’t the cajones left to protest this slur on their propped up popcorn hero as they did in the Canelo majority decision that ultimately resulted in a shakeup at the top of the Nevada State Athletic Association. In other words, out with the old faces and in with the new faces with the same old gaming agenda, majority draws being good business for bookies servicing the vast network of Mayweather fans who counted on Floyd racking up unanimous decisions as easily as he rolls out of bed.

Or so it used to be.

Instead, “He got old overnight, he’s got no stamina, he’s got no legs left,” and other stock in the trade descriptors flashed across the screen as Mayweather did indeed show a capacity to absorb a considerable pounding by Maidana who never gave Mayweather more than 30 seconds of rest time.

The poor boy slugger from Argentine who could only command a reported $1.5 million of the $35 million purse went after Mayweather like a two fisted pitbull to maul him repeatedly anywhere Mayweather was caught, even bulling him Luis Firpo style through the ropes and almost out of the ring late in the fight. The few moments Mayweather had were while Maidana was pacing himself as he anticipated the opening of another attack and Maidana in those moments looked like something of a defensive genius as he ducked and was otherwise often out of range of Mayweather’s efforts that had a desperate feel to them in the latter stages of the fight.

Mayweather knew he was gittin’ whooped by the 12-1 underdog and had no plan B to fall back on.

Naturally the judges propped up Mayweather yet again to move him along to what appears to be the end goal of “matching” Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record no matter that Mayweather can no longer bruise a grape with his china hands and can’t keep pressing sluggers off him not that he was ever able to keep JLCastillo or Miguel Cotto off of him.

Facts are the end American boxing as we know it today seems near if the recent rumblings of the imminent separation of Golden Boy Promotions big wheels Al Haymon and Richard Schaefer  from the corporate body play out. They seemingly are unofficially operating their own promotional company.

If boxing has a plan B for when Mayweather or Pacquiao are soon to retire their mega-lucrative ring appearances in Las Vegas, nobody can see it. There are zero star fighters left with that kind of drawing power, and as plain talkin’ Bob Arum recently noted, MGM Grand is struggling to make payments on it’s debts much less turn a profit not that the financial woes of Las Vegas are any secret since the $26 trillion dollar financial derivatives real estate fraud gutted the American, indeed the world economy back in 2008.

Might be boxing could take a page out of Top Rank’s book for the slow boat to China as the Chinese develop their boxing history and start to control the belts with their own ratings and hometown decisions of the big events.

Maybe, just maybe there’s a young American kid with discipline, dynamite in his fists, and granite in his jaw in America that could put boxing back on the front page in this country.

Just nobody knows who he is yet or even if he exists though the promoters will be trying to tell us their latest boy-genius is the messiah. Such is the current state of American boxing.