Tag Archives: Winky Wright

The Fight That Never Was–Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Paul The Punisher Williams

Paul The Punisher Williams used to be known as the fighter who took over the mantle of the most ducked fighter in boxing from Antonio Margarito. Listed as 6-1 with a 79 ” reach on Boxrec for promotional purposes so as not to scare off potential opponents, he was noticeably taller and rangier than stablemate heavyweight Chris Arreola who was listed as 6-3. Fight teams all knew his data was heavily fudged and stayed away from the towering colossus in droves. Even the fearsome Kelly Pavlik looked none too anxious for a battle after twice signing to fight him before pulling out with a series of regrettable health problems.

Saul Alvarez has the opposite problem of Williams. The hottest undefeated darling of Mexico needs his team to beat back the hordes of fighters trying to get at him, so it seemed an incredible convergence of good fortune and opportunity for Williams when he was chosen by Team Canelo for a splashy September 15th defense of the Alvarez WBC belt.

The Punisher

Williams had been struggling according to critics, but of course his critics had him struggling all through his stellar career. Even Beethoven had to endure such ham handed reviews such as “It bodes ill for Beethoven if he continues down his current path.”

Sadly, this potential fight of the year turned into a tragedy when Williams was paralyzed from the waist down after a motorcycle accident, squashing the big payday and the chance for Williams to upset the boxing applecart again.

Lineal light heavy champ Julio Gonzales recently passed from a motorcycle accident as did former champ Diego Corrales a few years back. Going back, fellow Georgian and HOFer Young Stribling was near the same age as Williams is now when he passed in a motorcycle accident, so Williams should thank his lucky stars for surviving with mental faculties intact.

Might even be time for Alvarez to make a test run with his 190 MPH Maserati and decide how much longer fate needs to be tempted.

Ladies and Gents, if you are married with a young family, sell your bike or at least mothball it until they can fend for themselves.

Willie Pep was similarly injured in a 1947 plane crash and told he would never box again, yet five months later he resumed the last 3rd of his stellar HOF career. Paul Williams is not likely to ever be voted into the HOF, but he did have his signature moment when he stood in the pocket all night to carve up Winky Wright like a Thanksgiving Day turkey. There were other great showings like his first round knockout of Carlos Quintana, outworking and outslugging Antonio Margarito in a firefight, and a spectacular give and take fight with current middleweight champ Sergio Martinez that had HBO salivating for the rematch in a classic series.

Alas, far too few American fighters or critics ever took to imposing giants as Jess Willard, Primo Carnera and Nikolay Valuev knew, much less a gangling southpaw giant who was a nightmare to fight, so Williams was left scrambling to find the best of the few opponents willing to test themselves against his formidable reach and work rate. He finishes with a stellar 41-2, 27 KO record.

I wish Paul Williams and his family all the best in his recovery and adjustment to his new life. He has been a great fighter and ambassador for boxing who has been greatly underrated.

Golden Boy Promotions has a well stocked stable of talented junior middleweights available for substitution, but then replacement James Kirkland fell out after citing ongoing shoulder problems. The 3rd choice, Victor Ortiz, had his jaw broken by the unheralded Josesito Lopez in what was supposed to be a mopup fight for Ortiz after his choreographed dive to the canvas in the Floyd Mayweather incident.

So after 3 fruitless rounds of scrambling for an opponent, Golden Boy finally did the right thing and yielded to the inevitability of fate by tapping the surging new boxing hero, Josesito Lopez.

Canelo vs Josesito
Canelo vs Josesito

Naturally boxing critics were instantly set howling in derision since the soon to be 29 years Lopez has never fought at junior middle, but then again he never fought at welterweight before pounding Ortiz into the hospital to ponder next year’s comeback with a rebuilt jaw. As you can see, Lopez looks to have some height and range over Alvarez, so he has plenty of time to pack on some additional pounds if needed.

Canelo is closing in on Floyd Mayweather Jr‘s undefeated record, 43-0, 26 KO. He’ll just have turned age 22 at the Lopez bout and goes to 41-0-1, 29 KO if he wins, so he’s already surpassed Mayweather in knockouts. They have been through a series of co-promotions together and Alvarez holds Mayweather’s old belt, so perhaps next year they meet in the ring for the final say so.

It’s been a troubling year for Golden Boy Promotions. Their #1 star Floyd Mayweather Jr is doing a stint in the federal pen as two of their young stars, Victor Ortiz and Amir Khan suffered humiliating knockouts by unsung underdogs. Their oldest star, Bernard Hopkins is going nowhere faster every day at age 47.

The good news for this card is that Mexican featherweight honchos, Jhonny Gonzalez and Daniel Ponce de Leon, will collide in what promises to plenty of old school slugging. Gonzalez should be the slight favorite, but he’ll have to throw in some nifty boxing for good measure against the southpaw De Leon.

Undefeated American heavyweight Seth Mitchell looks to earn respectability against fellow American Johnathon Banks who has been fighting in Germany on the Team Klitschko cards. All out sluggers Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karrass lock up for contender status, so it’s a pretty good card for free viewing.

That’s September 15 at the MGM Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for those interested in the manly art of self defense otherwise known as prize fighting.

Ice John & Bad Chad Reunite for The Execution(er)

 Bad Chad Dawson has rolled the dice in midstream to replace his new trainer, Emanuel Steward with his old trainer, Ice John Scully, who first got Dawson up to speed early in his career.The splits seem to have been amicable, and perhaps so since there’s been nary a squeak out of Steward. Dawson is still open enough to reestablish training with Scully weeks before his challenge for his old WBC strap now held by Bernard Hopkins.

Ice John at Play

Ice John at Play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scully is a well respected former lightheavy contender with the experience to formulate a plan to dethrone Hopkins. The opportunity is surely his biggest moment as a trainer and it is certainly a critical juncture fight Dawson needs to win to stake his claims to the lions share of future big fights.

Welcome to Ice John’s very own website and register your thoughts on the fight here:

http://icemanjohnscully.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6279

Bernard Hopkins has been on a hot roll of late after a mysterious resurgence against Jean Pascal. Accusations flew that Hopkins was on Human Growth Hormone, HGH, which didn’t prevent him from being knocked down hard twice by the feather fisted Pascal.

Had Hopkins been fighting with as much vim and vigor as he showed against Pascal, his record would certainly be better, but Chad Dawson is a completely different fighter than Jean Pascal and who knows what version of Hopkins will show up at age 46? 

When He Was King

When He Was King

Hopkins’ last knockout was another decade ago when he still had hair, but he was suspicously fragile against Calzaghe and Jones and may be ripe for the big KO. Thing is that Dawson is something of a lazy boxer, preferring to sit back and let his natural talent do all the work and then take the decision, not a KO artist. It did seem like he had Pascal ready to go when the headbutt stopped their bout, so maybe there’s some hidden knockout potential in him waiting to be released.

Of the Ring ranked southpaws Hopkins faced recently, he was hard pressed against Winky Wright who was brought in as a guest trainer for Dawson for this fight.Then Hopkins looked for all intents to be quitting in the ring against the talented Joe Calzaghe as Hopkins attempted to stop the fight with the worst canvas acting job seen in a boxing ring since Sonny Liston hit the deck against Muhammad Ali.

Not sure what kind of silk stockings have been passed around at Golden Boy these days with Hopkins rolling around on the canvas and

Shane Mosley and Victor Ortiz wanting to hug and kiss Floyd Mayweather instead of fight him, but Dawson should be very suspicious of being suckered into this seedy web and concentrate on taking the fight out of the judges and the ref’s hands. He won’t be getting any favors in this fight, but what he will get is a serious case of looking bad if he can’t concentrate on boxing because that’s the secret to Hopkins’ longevity.

Hopkins doesn’t want a fair fight, he wants to frustrate by fouling and grappling in between running around the ring and then cop an academy award decision. He knows Dawson is a superior boxer at range, so Hopkins will likely be rushing him much like he did Pascal which made for an ugly fight. Hopkins is legendary for what he calls Philly style head butts that many modern fighters just can’t handle.

I don’t recall Dawson ever having to fight inside except the first Johnson fight which many thought he lost, but if he can’t, he’s got to have some good foot movement to maintain his best fighting distance. His footwork and balance have always been excellent, but this is a different fight than he’s used to.

The undercard is compelling with Antonio DeMarco going against former champ Jorge Linares for Gary Bradley’s old WBC strap. New hotshot Danny Garcia goes against ex champ Kendall Holt in an IBF eliminator and Pauli Malignaggi is staying busy as he awaits his next title shot.

Not a bad night to be at the fights if Hopkins shows up to fight and can pull out his old Kelly Pavlik gameplan. We’ll see soon enough who wants it and who’s smart enough to take it.

The Timeless Travesties of Bernard Hopkins

Seldom have I seen modern legends shoot themselves in the foot more than the “alleged” Executioner, Bernard Hopkins. Only the incomparable Mike Tyson and then Floyd Mayweather Jr have done worse.

Yes, I am questioning the veracity of a soon to be 46 years old “Grandpa” as he is now promoting himself after stealing all that shimmers in Montreal and all that glimmers within Jean Pascal last night, ruining a fine comeback. After a very shaky start, Hopkins created yet another stink to his career by whining about the judging that denied him the history of being the oldest fighter to gain a major title that was Jean Pascal’s, the Ring, WBC and “vacant” WBC “Diamond” belt.

The Cards

The Cards

The only thing he has been “executing” in the ring are the rules of boxing and truth and integrity out of the ring. You have to go back some 6 years and 11 fights ago to find a stoppage on his record, an abysmal 9% knockout ratio. The irony of being knocked down twice in the opening stanzas by Pascal’s own identical 9% abysmal knockout ratio over his last 11 fights is a great irony passing over the dim noggins of the usual suspects whining over this fight.

Let’s not forget that Hopkins kicked off his whining early after the first knockdown caused by a Pascal right hand just behind the ear, a legal shot that the ref thankfully recognized.  

Before going further, I’d like to commend the referee, Michael Griffin, a Canadian as I understand. Canadian refs like all hometown refs have a terrible reputation, but his was one of the better efforts I’ve seen this year.

Looking at the record when his decline first begin, Hopkins has a 7 of 9 fights whine ratio starting with the Jermain Taylor series, 78%, so he’s WAY more adept at whining in the ring than “executing” fighters, which doubtless is the real root of his whining. His record in these fights is 5-3-1, 0 KO, so it ain’t Freudian rocket science to figure this is an ongoing middle aged crisis so common in American males as their physical veracity inevitably starts heading downhill.

The end result is a fighter who openly brags about butting open a huge cut on Winky Wright and then mugging him Philly style, yet never once entertained a rematch with Wright who many thought beat Hopkins, nor with Tarver who has a chillingly formidable rematch record, and now Hopkins is whining for a rematch in a fight he didn’t lose?

Has he no sense of shame, or has the magnanimity of being a modern day “legend” completely overridden his sense of honor? According to him, he never lost a fight.

I entered the Hopkins era as most fight fans probably do, willing to judge him with an open mind as I came more familiar with him, so I don’t regard these observations as prejudicial given the legend of the man and the time I spent catching up to the earliest part of his career. Nor will I bother with the host of problems I have with him in older days, since it’s his move to the “lightheavy” division that has boosted his career that he is currently whining about.

My Boo-Boo

My Boo-Boo

Again, make no mistake, I credit him for putting up a nice scrap last night, but the man simply has a swiss cheese number of holes to his “A game” these days to blindly ignore like run of the mill judges who are only accountable to highly subjective standards that give them a free pass to contradict themselves. Carl Froch, Adrian Dicanu and Chad Dawson gave Pascal much closer, more problematic fights than Hopkins did, and Pascal also faded down the stretch in those fights.

I’ve previously addressed the judging issue here after one of the umpteenth “scoring controversies” for any interested:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/boxing-101-how-to-score-ugly-or-mora-vs-mosley-the-no-win-non-fight-of-the-year/

I’d give anything if boxing could straighten out it’s officiating to make it a more visually credible sport, but instead we have the obnoxious Compubox and clones punching out equally dubious “punch stats” that only grow the cesspool and add to the controversy that sees Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions impugning the integrity of Canadian boxing.

Speaking of impugning integrity, it’s well know that Manny Pacquiao has a pending slander lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather Jr and Golden Boy Promotions, so what has Golden Boy done about claiming to clean up the sport of boxing with Olympic Drug testing? Hopkins is coming off a torpid performance against a career journeyman, Enrique Ornelas, and then a travesty against Roy Jones Jr, and now he’s stronger than a warm garlic malt in a championship fight after starting with 2 clean knockdowns on shaky legs?

A cynic might further fan those flames by adding that Hopkins obviously has problems with “slick African-Haitian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers and would have just as much or more problems with “slick Whiteboy-Romanian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers.

See how easy that was? No wonder Grandpa Hopkins has moved from boxing to whining!

For the record, the 3 big fights I watched this Saturday, all my winners got shot to smithereens by the “judges.” I do score every fight that I watch according to the ABC rules to scoring fights, but I layer in a more objective science that allows me to identify most controversies by scoring close, indeterminate rounds as even, yeah, heresy! The more subjective guidelines used by the judges as I enumerated in my above link forces them to “pick” a winner in those “even” rounds.

How convenient!

Denis Lebedev clearly wasn’t credited for his vicious body shots that broke at least one of the super tough Marco Huck’s ribs, yet the stoic Russian preferred not to object  to the hometown decision, knowing that it’s rare to have a fight overturned and he might not want to anger any future judges with politically incorrect venting.

Pascal faded down the stretch as is his style, yet was not credited for his early dominance that greatly exceeded any of Hopkins few best rounds which should have put Pascal in a lead only overcome by knockout.

39 yr old Francisco Lorenzo made a fan of me for life by taking the Erik Morales fight on short notice and winning most every minute of every round and really taking it to another modern legend trying to reclaim past glory who only had one brief moment of success when he scored a flash knockdown. Morales is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions who need Morales available for the aging Juan Manuel Marquez if he cannot secure a fight against Manny Pacquiao.

It’s all about the Benjamin$ in boxing folks. That’s the history of prizefighting. Modern networks, promoters and ABCs control the Benjamin$, the way it was, is, and always shall be with spare exceptions.

Look for a much bigger promoted Pascal/Hopkins rematch in Vegas coming soon with the next Hopkins controversy being stewed up as we speak. He has been party to some of the worst stinkers of this era and means to add to his cesspool.

Paul Williams vs Sergio Martinez-The Rematch

The stratospherically tall Paul Williams is set to challenge the newly minted WBC middleweight champ in a long anticipated rematch against Sergio Martinez this Saturday, November 11th at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Play It Again, Sam

Play It Again, Sam

Martinez has managed to make himself into something of a sensation recently in spite of posting a disappointing 1-1-1 record over the past two years. The poor results show the limitations of using the record alone to judge a fighter and don’t reflect the excellent boxing skills and fighting spirit Sergio shows in the ring.

The loss was very close and disputed by many, and the draw was a travesty against honesty and competence in boxing when a whacked out Kermit Cintron should have been KTFO after taking the full count or at least DQed for arguing with the ref afterwards. The gang of officials who sanctioned and officiated the bout scrambled to find a single functioning brain cell between the lot of them to tell them what to do next before resuming the bout a farcical 5 minutes later, but that’s all water under the bridge for the new WBC champ coming off his signature win over the towering Kelly Pavlik.

The Argentinean seems to have attracted a significant American following the last couple of years because of his stellar fighting acumen, but perhaps more tellingly by his personal demeanor as an old school consummate gentleman with additional descriptors such as Hollywood handsome tagging along.

All that attention might raise the hackles of the perpetually underappreciated Paul Williams who has been struggling for meaningful fights, recognition, and the large purses that traditionally come with the type of success he’s had in his career thus far, 39-1, 27 KO. If riled, he must be hiding it well since he’s been virtually silent on the promotional end since the fight was announced while Martinez has garnered most of the press.

Williams got little credit for their first fight in spite putting up a great fight and coming away with the majority decision that some claim Martinez deserved. He followed that with another controversial win over Kermit Cintron who has become the King of Controversies. Cintron dove out of the ring during an exchange and hit floor, “apparently” unable to continue until he suddenly came to life to protest the fight’s stoppage much like the Martinez knockdown.

So, Williams is coming off a majority decision and then a technical decision against top ranked contenders and wondering what he has to do to get some recognition and a more comprehensive win.

Williams’ biggest problem besides being impossibly tall and talented is that he’s also a southpaw with a freakish reach making him a very awkward fight. Martinez is also a southpaw, and traditionally two lefties don’t make fan friendly fights though their first match had HBO raving for more. Williams did himself no favors with the public by demanding a 158 lb catchweight for this challenge which is just more catchweight silliness in boxing that lately seems to be catching on like a wave of the latest flu pandemic.

Thankfully their promoters finally got the contracts hammered out, so now it’s up to the fighters to take care of business in a definitive way on the cards that fans can get behind. I get the feeling that this fight is a grudge match for the two training teams if not the fighters themselves since Martinez’s team were vehement in their protest after losing the first fight. Martinez himself just flashed his trademark sunny smile and shrugged his shoulders knowing that he’d already been done in worse for the Cintron fight and that little could be done to change the outcome.

I personally thought Williams edged it, but boxing does itself no favors with perpetually poor refereeing and judging, such that close fights or unsporting behaviors can become contentiously controversial on no other basis save individual perceptions that the rules of boxing are not being followed for a sporting contest.

That’s what rematches and rubber matches were meant for, to straighten out the record, something boxing, ie, promoters and ABCs could better promote, but typically they are more interested in following up tough fights with easy walkovers to build up fragile fighter psyches rather than dicker over infinitesimal purse percentage splits in another tough fight.

The Trinkets

The Trinkets

So, here we are with two top lifetime welter/junior middles fighting at a 158lb catchweight with the WBC and the Ring middleweight titles on the line in what should be a pretty good scrap. Martinez also won the WBO belt when he dethroned Pavlik but was almost simultaneously stripped of that belt and his WBC junior middle belt afterwards, so Martinez is becoming painfully aware of the self serving capriciousness of the various ABC orgs, refs, and judges.

Ripped For Action
Ripped For Action

Reports initially indicated a possible weight problem with Martinez scaling near 180lbs, but in California, he is looking sharp and trimming down as he moves his conditioning up. Here’s a training pic some 2 weeks before the fight that shows a ripped Sergio at whatever his current weight is, so I suspect with the length of his camp, it should be no problem cutting weight.

Team Williams is apparently working on secret weapons and buried itself somewhere deep in Georgia not to be bothered by the press as I’ve heard scarcely a peep out of them. Williams has been much like Kelly Pavlik and Vitali Klitschko in sticking to his longtime trainer, in this case one George Peterson, whereas Martinez seems to have outside training input at the Robert Garcia Gym in Oxnard at the start of camp.

I personally feel both Pavlik and Williams could stand some additional training input from quality outside sources, but it’s their call and loyalty is an admirable trait.

In their last fight Martinez was able to utilize ring movement to direct the stalking Williams around the ring before using his quickness to leap in with damaging shots and combinations before moving out again. It worked OK overall as a counter to Williams’ reach, but it looked to me like Martinez tired down the stretch from fighting such a large, awkward opponent with such an energy sapping fight plan.

The other option would be to stand more at ring center and take the fight directly to Williams.

That would fit perfectly into Williams’ fighting style which has been to take the fight to whomever he’s fighting, softening them up with a blizzard of punches, often delivered in combination from different angles with both hands. Williams has a lot of experience fighting high profile lefties now, a record 4-1, 2KO against Sharmba Mitchell, Carlos Quintana, Winky Wright, and Sergio Martinez, so he has to be confident that he can handle Martinez again.

Remember, Williams did much, much better in his rematch against Quintana, avenging his only loss with a monstrous KO that Williams would love to replicate for this fight to avoid another controversy not of his making.

Williams is an aspiring young man who wishes to please the fans and doesn’t always fight to his strengths which is using his spectacular reach and work rate to overwhelm fighters at a distance. He willingly allows himself to exchange in close which is where the most realistic chance of beating him comes, and though he usually gets the better of those exchanges, a quick fisted combination southpaw puncher like Martinez can pose a danger and make him look clumsier than he is, which is one of the reasons the public has not flocked to him. The other being that Williams is not a dynamic personality with dynamic ring persona. He’s more in the mold of Joe Louis, another small town Southern country boy going quietly about his work to beat every fighter he encounters which keeps his record shining without casting any limelight on himself.

Though Williams and Martinez exchanged opening knockdowns in their first encounter, neither fighter is a one punch artist, but rather a combination, accumulative, attrition type of puncher. It’s possible someone’s chin could crack eventually in spite of both proving to be very durable fighters if the pace gets ramped up to what I suspect it to be with both looking harder for the KO this go round.

I’m guessing the odds will be fairly even come fight night with Williams being a slight favorite, but I have a sneaking suspicion that training preparations will be key in this fight and I have no inside insight there. From the outside, it looks like Martinez has been making all the right moves, but he has a huge obstacle to overcome since Williams is a much quicker, a more dynamic and awkward fighter than the orthodox Kelly Pavlik, a tall powerhouse that Martinez was able to move inside on at will thanks to flowing eye cuts that kept Pavlik blinded for the latter rounds of their fight.

If the fight is near as exciting and as closely contested as the first, I imagine HBO would be willing to put on the rubber, so I’m expecting a good, maybe a great, very tight fight, but you might not want to risk betting the farm in this one unless you enjoy chewed off nails and split judges cards.

Good Lookin' Undercard Too!

Good Lookin’ Undercard Too!

The undercard is intriguing with an undefeated two division champ, Zsolt Erdei, 31-0, 17 KO, former title challenger Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, 34-2, 22KO, and undefeated middleweight contender Fernando Guerrero,19-0, 15KO, fighting, but unfortunately against TBA type of journeymen. Still, these guys may be relatively unknown, but it’s a good opportunity to showcase their skills for future title challenges.

Pick’em, Danno-Winner Takes All……..

 

Como se dice, "Adios, Amigo?"

Como se dice, “Adios, Amigo?”