Monday, November 22, 2010

Freddie Roach - 11.15.10

Freddie Roach was back at the Wild Card first thing Monday morning. No rest for the weary, it appears. I got his thoughts on Manny's stellar victory over Antonio Margarito.

Brandon Rios - 11.13.10

I'll admit it - I was pissed at Brandon Rios for his ridiculous impersonation of Freddie Roach on that video. I will not apologize for the anger and vitriol I felt towards him. I warned him about all of this before the interview, but promised he would get to explain his side of the story. He agreed to do it and I give him a lot of respect for that. I truly believe he is sorry and had no idea how bad it was until he watched that video.

Nonito Donaire - 11.13.10

Did you wonder why Nonito Donaire tried to go south paw for his last fight? Me too. I'm so happy I remembered to ask him about that when I got to interview him in Dallas...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pacman Prevails


November 13th, 2010 will go down in the boxing history books as the day we all got to witness David beat Goliath. And soundly. There were no actual slingshots involved this time however, though Manny Pacquiao's devastating combinations probably felt a lot like an arsenal of rocks being unleashed on the bewildered Antonio Margarito. Though Margarito was five inches taller than Pacquiao, with a six inch reach advantage as well as a 17 pound weight advantage come fight time, he gave validity to the old prose attributed to boxer, Robert Fitzsimmons, "The bigger they come, the harder they fall."

From the first bell, it was clear that Margarito's usual style of smothering his opponents with busy hands would fail. Miserably. Pacquiao was literally boxing circles around him, splitting his guard with a sharp jab every now and then. He would follow it up with lightning fast punch combinations, leaving Margarito left in his guard, not knowing where his opponent went.

Margarito's punches seemed to be laden with molasses in comparison to Pacquiao's blindingly fast hand-speed. But he did land a few. Most notably, in the sixth round, when a body shot combination wobbled the Pacman and had him on the bike for the rest of the round. He could easily have gone down and you could tell he wanted to, but for the grace of Lapu Lapu did he manage to stay on his feet and remain standing until the bell rang.

The rest of the fight was pretty much a Pacquiao boxing clinic. There were a few harried moments, where Pacquiao would lay on the ropes and take some shots from the Tijuana Tornado, (downgraded to a "gentle breeze" by this point,) but for the most part, Pac fans enjoyed a one-sided demolition of the taller, larger Margarito.

As the rounds went on, Margarito's eyes ballooned into veritable orbs surrounding each eye. The right eye seemed the worse for the wear, until the left eye decided to try and catch up. Laurence Cole, the referee of the evening (and son of Texas Licensing & Registration executive, Dickie Cole) paused the fight twice to check Margarito's vision, but did not ultimately stop the fight. Though Margarito's vision was most definitely impaired and he seemingly lost any likelihood of winning the fight by the 10th round, his trainer Robert Garcia did not stop the fight either.

Margarito showed a lot of heart, by staying in the ring and taking a beating - refusing to succumb to the physical ails and certain temptation of stopping the pain-train by admitting defeat. Nope. He stayed in there and took more karmic payback. Ironically, It was Pacquiao who ultimately showed mercy, carrying him through the last rounds instead of taking the KO. Margarito is not a man who will quit, but many of us are left wondering how Cole and Garcia could let him take such an unnecessary beating and risking his health like that.

When the final bell rang, the beautiful Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX erupted with Pacquiao fans cheering and screaming, the magnitude of this victory hitting the crowd all at once. The sound was deafening, somewhat of a sonic boom in the first instance after the bell. Even Margarito fans (at least in my section) congratulated the Pacquiao fans, saying it was a sound victory. One of the Pacman fans seated near me shook hands with the Margarito fan sitting behind him, the bane of his existence for the entire fight, and said "Your boy started out a Mexican, but now he looks Filipino!" and instead of a fight, like I had expected, laughter ensued.

Margarito went immediately to the hospital, where he was found to have a broken right orbital bone and a shattered cheek bone. He is reportedly doing well, and will go into surgery once the swelling goes down. Margarito was not the only one visiting the hospital that night, as it was reported that Manny Pacquiao's mother, Dionesia Pacquiao was taken to the hospital during the fight due to an anxiety attack. (My guess is that it was during the 6th round, because I almost succumbed to panic as well!) She was released later that evening.

As David vs Goliath is a reference from the Bible, Pacquiao vs Margarito was a battle of biblical proportions and will most certainly be remembered as a fight of the ages - perhaps the definitive line of when Manny Pacquiao crossed over from being a Great fighter to an All-Time Great fighter.

Congratulations MANNY!!!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Antonio Margarito is a piece of shit. FACT.

Antonio Margarito attempts murder on Shane Mosley's life by having plaster of paris in his hand wraps, and that's only one attempt that we know of, then DENIES knowing that his gloves are loaded and seems to slink off to suspended purgatory...until his fairy Bob-father decides he can make a buck and ensures a license in Texas and gives him a title match against the best pound for pound boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao. How the hell did this happen?

The first episode of HBO's documentary series, 24/7 shows a humbled Margarito, pleading his innocence and seemingly focusing on gaining the respect back of any fans he might have had during his heyday. This feel-good moment lasted for exactly a week until the second episode aired, showing a much different Margarito, calling Pacquiao a "bitch" and mocking the plaster of paris incident by having rookie trainer, Robert Garcia tape a cement block to his hand, while Margarito squeals in laughter, giggling that he won't look.



Just when you think things can't get worse, this video shows up:




It is an insult to the sport of Boxing that this piece of crap gets to continue making a living doing it. Much less a title fight against a good human being like Manny Pacquiao. This garbage Margarito doesn't deserve to be in the same state as Pacquiao, much less the same ring.

I hope Brandon Rios and Roberto Garcia, equally as disgusting in this video, get hit by lightning. Margarito will suffer enough at the hands of Pacquiao. (But I wouldn't be mad if there was an extra bolt of lightning reserved for him too.)

The Twat-pack later apologized for the video, stating that Rios, who was shown impersonating Roach after Margarito, did not know about Four-time trainer of the year winner, Freddie Roach's Parkinson's Disease. Instead, Garcia seemingly tries to plant a dig on Roach's professional boxing career by stating that Rios thought the condition was "because of the 13 losses" in Roach's career 40-13, with three losses by way of knockout.

According to Boxrec.com, Roberto Garcia has also suffered three knockout losses. Hmmmn.

I'll tell you who got a windfall of new fans from this whole mess; one Omri Lowther. Come November 14th, 2010, the crowd will be cheering for this unknown boxer to shut the mouth of twat-packer, Brandon Rios.

And rightfully so.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Road Warrior RULES.


Glen Johnson is a beast. A BEAST.

Newest contender in Showtime network's Super Six tournament, Johnson defeats Allan Green on the undercard of Juan Manuel Lopez's super-match against Rafael Marquez.

Green, who previously lost to Andre Ward in his first fight in the Super Six tournament, looked game in the first few rounds, given the difficult task of fending off Johnson's persistent barrage of punches. It seemed Johnson got the upper hand early on, landing a great jab to the body and overhand right combination on Green multiple times.

Though Green's corner tried to convince him that Johnson was tiring, it seemed Green was the one losing gas in the mid-rounds until he got knocked out by Johnson early in the 8th round by two blind-side rights to the side of the head. Or was he losing heart?

Glen Johnson, aka "Road Warrior" is a throwback fighter who seemingly never turns down a fight and has heart aplenty. He earned his nickname because he would even agree to fight his opponents on their home turf, thus always being on the road. When asked on ON THE GRiND BOXiNG's show recently whether he has ever turned anyone down, Johnson admitted that he has said 'no' once in his 18 year career when he and his proposed opponent couldn't agree on the money split.

Notorious for having the deck stacked against him and being on the short end of quite a few decisions, it was still surprising to some that Johnson, (age 41 and a light heavyweight,) agreed to drop down to Super Middleweight (a division he hasn't fought in for 10 years) to join the Super Six tournament - which has been in progress for the better part of a year already.

He didn't disappoint, as he never does, against a younger, hard-punching Allan Green, who has concluded his presence in the Super Six tournament and whose career in boxing is now in question. Will Green ever be able to compete against A-level fighters? Will he gain the heart that he needs to succeed in the sweet science? One can only imagine the weight of such reflection on the once-promising Allan Green.

Congratulations are due to a truly lionhearted champion, on getting the win and 3 points going into the semi-finals of the Super Six tournament. Best of luck!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Freddie Roach on Manny vs Margarito

Freddie Roach, on his first day back at the Wildcard Boxing Club from his 5 week trip to the Philippines, talks about Manny Pacquaio's training thus far and gives us some candid views on Antonio Margarito...

Working on it!

One of my final training sessions with Freddie before he left for the Philippines.

I am working on my left hook and now after watching this am working on a lot of things...

(and yes, Freddie is right - I telegraph my right. Again, working on it!!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

MMA vs Boxing

by Kevin Blatt | Tue. Aug. 31, 2010

Rabbit Punches – 20 Chokes While The Ref Is Checking My Pulse!

1 – First off, a big thanks goes out to none other than UFC President Dana White who provided the means to make this special version of your favorite countdown happen! I bet when he tweeted out those fantastic tickets (props to OtG family member Snappa BTW), he didn’t think one of the winners would end up covering the night on a Boxing website? I was like a wolf in TapOut clothing (no, I really wasn’t though)!!!

2 – One thing I have to say, boxing to me is the greatest sport in the word, but when it comes to putting on an “event,” UFC dwarfs anything I have seen on a boxing card. Gigantic TVs all around the sold-out TD Banknorth Garden showing the fight live, montages of the fighters on the screens in-between fights, highlights of great moments in the sport during intermissions…it makes a live crowd even livelier! Kudos to everyone involved!

3 – The best way to describe the feeling inside the arena Saturday? Let’s put it this way…if douchebaggery were a drug, I may have just caught a contact high!

4 – Seriously though, the sellout crowd at Boston’s first foray into the UFC was phenomenal. They cheered at every big shot, every landed kick, every time there was even chance of a tapout. It was a fantastic thing to be a part of…even if I am pasty white and don’t own a thing with the name Affliction on it.

5 – And speaking of the crowd going insane, big props to up-and-coming local prospect Joe Lauzon, who dazzled hometown fans by stopping veteran Gabbe Ruediger by way of an armbar within the first few minutes of their fight.

6 – I wonder if the “Sorry for the loss” cake that Ruediger gave J Lau at their weigh-in tasted sweeter than the vicious elbows and punches Ol’ Gabbe ended up eating once the bell rang!

7 – I don’t know which surprised me more, how insanely tall Shaq is or how insanely short Joe Rogan is.

8 – I have to say, those on-screen montages they show in-between bouts featuring highlights and interviews of the two fighters got me BEYOND hyped! Even if one of them was for the Lentz – Winner fight. Is this what coming down off of a high feels like though, because that Ginger almost put me to sleep…?

9 – Speaking of asleep, I’m not sure who was more out of it - Markus Davis from an anaconda choke courtesy of Nate Diaz, or referee Yves Lavigne who allowed the choke to go on for far too long. With Davis laying on the mat unconscious, the entire crowd was screaming for him to put a stop to the bout. Thank goodness Markus was able to leave the ring with his own strength.

10 – I have to say, I’m not a fan of Diaz. He reminds me of that kid everyone knew growing up who started fights everywhere he went and let his friends bail him out. Only with Diaz, he can fight…damn can he fight!

11 – Bruce Buffer sure does get excited…

12 – Justin Beiber sighting!!! Oh wait, that’s Tom Brady sitting next to the toughest man in the arena, Wes Welker! The Golden Boy really needs a haircut…I almost threw my water bottle! Go Pats!!!

13 – Another local product, Kenny Florian was booed halfway into his loss to the bullishly strong Gray Maynard, for the lack of…well, anything. It was like 3 “feel out rounds”, to all the boxing fans reading this. Maynard moves on to a title shot at the BJ Penn – Frankie Edgar victor later in the night.

14 – BTW, who names their kid Gray anymore? Oh well…

15 – As for the co-main event…Penn who rightfully was billed as the greatest Lightweight in the history of the UFC got beaten in every possible way by the Jonathan Tucker lookalike (Google it). Edgar beat him to the punch, to the kick, and to the slam round after round after round. A truly dominating performance in every sense of the word.


16 – You gotta love the chants of BJ - BJ - BJ from all the ladies in the crowd…I'll leave that one alone actually!

17 – James Toney, you know we at OtG love ya…but 237? Really James?

18 – 11 seconds into the first round Randy Couture dropped Toney with a single leg takedown (which is almost impossible to counter with a punch), and at that moment every boxing fan watching knew it was over. An arm triangle soon followed, and roughly 3 minutes later the boxing icon waved for the ref to put a halt to the action. First round tapout or first round KO was what everyone expected - as a boxing fan, I was disappointed but not surprised by the outcome.

19 – Props to Couture for not only coming up with a game plan to take away Toney’s greatest asset, but for the way he conducted himself post-fight. Couture showed respect to not only the sport of boxing but Toney as well (resulting in a standing ovation from thousands for the first-time mixed martial artist). The classy way he “respectfully declined” promoter Dan Goosen’s offer to stage a boxing contest between Couture and Toney further demonstrated the kind of character Couture has. Like the multi-time UFC Champion said, if he were to box Toney he would be stopped in the first round.

20 – To sum this night up, I want to point out the most important thing. James “Lights Out” Toney deserves all of the credit and admiration in the world for having the fortitude to enter a sport he has never even tried at the most elite level. With only 9 months of preparation, Toney attempted to take on a legend with decades of training under his belt. Toney is the first truly great fighter in either boxing or MMA to attempt the transition - and for that...

Respect Champ - truly the utmost Respect!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Friday Night Fraud


Anyone else want to call the police after Delvin Rodriguez got robbed on national television?

Rodriguez, (25-4-2) faced UK fighter, Ashley Theophane (26-4-1) for ESPN's Friday Night Fights on July 30th, 2010, taking place in Miami, (pronounced My-a-ma), Oklahoma.

Rodriguez looked great in the majority of the 10-round bout, using his jab well and timing his shots, while Theophane seemed more wild and undisciplined. Rodriguez was patient, counter-punching through Theophane's flurries and expertly kept his distance, while Theophane made several attempts to make it an inside fight.

Rodriguez faced difficulty in the seventh round, when he started slowing down and looking like he was running out of steam, though Theophane wasn't able to completely capitalize on it. The next two rounds saw Rodriguez increasing his work rate and dominating Theophane, though the 10th round saw a very depleted Rodriguez hanging in there and counter-punching Theophane rather than being the aggressor. The two traded hard for the last 30 seconds of the fight.

Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore seemed to think a Rodriguez win was a foregone conclusion, stating it to be "a formality" for Rodriguez to be announced the winner. The judges didn't seem to be watching the same fight, scoring it a Majority Decision in Theophane's favor. With understandable shock and disgust, Rodriguez left the ring immediately, only enduring Theophane's unsportsmanlike gloating briefly. Atlas and Tessitore were openly disgusted by the decision, with Atlas blaming these types of incidents as one of the reasons why fans are leaving the sport of Boxing.

Sadly, Rodriguez is no stranger to being robbed. In his first fight against Isaac Hlatshwayo, in Hlatshwayo's home country of South Africa, Rodriguez lost a close decision to the crowd favorite, which was later changed to a draw. Though the seeming bias in South Africa woul have left an indelible mark to most, Rodriguez agreed to travel to Poland just last year in an IBF title eliminator to fight Rafal Jackiewicz in his home country. Though Rodriguez had Jackiewicz going backwards most of the fight, out-punched him 1025 to 351 and knocked him "down", if not "out" in the 6th round, Jackiewicz got the decision in similar fashion.

This latest robbery in Miami, OK should raise a red flag for all boxing fans as well as for Delvin Rodriguez himself, whose career is ultimately on the line here. Something afoul is going on with the management of this fighter. Is it incompetence on his team? Or is Delvin Rodriguez the latest lamb being led to slaughter in the "business" of boxing?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On The Grind Boxing remembers Arturo Gatti


An amazing remembrance by one of On The Grind's best writers.


by Greg Paterson | Sun. July 11, 2010

Arturo "Thunder" Gatti was unpredictable. His fights were wars, his life was colorful and his career had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. Still, he brought his heart and soul into every boxing ring he graced.

Since the days of John L. Sullivan and his aggressive take no prisoners style, boxing fans have preferred the slugger to the pure boxer. Boxers are appreciated while fighters are loved. Names like Jack Dempsey, Carmen Basilio and Mathew Saad Muhammad all carried the unofficial title of "boxing’s most exciting fighter," in days passed. During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s though, this mantle belonged to Arturo "Thunder" Gatti.

Gatti bursted onto the world class level with an upset points victory over IBF Super Featherweight Champion, Tracey Harris Patterson in July 1995. The young Gatti who had made his name as a hard puncher proved he had some boxing ability as well. As he out-jabbed the aging champion and utilized his youthful movement, Gatti's defensive flaws became evident - but a powerful offense and immeasurable amounts of courage out-weighed his shortcomings. HBO's live broadcast of the fight helped pave the way for Gatti to become an international super-star and cult figure. At the tender age of 23 with a world championship belt, an exciting style and a superb left hook, the world was truly Gatti’s oyster.

Gatti showcased what he was all about in his next fight and first title defense, a back and forth war with Dominican Wilson Rodriguez. The challenger surprised everyone by starting fast and closing the left eye of the young champion. The second round saw the champion dropped and battered. Maintaining his composure, Gatti fought back hard and started to get back into the fight with his hard-combinations and body work. The body work at times strayed low - earning Gatti a point deduction before he dropped Rodriguez with a pulverizing left-hook to the body in the fifth round. After weathering the early storm, Gatti finished the see-saw battle in dramatic fashion with a destructive left-hook to the head of the tough Dominican.

The boxing world had reason to celebrate as the legend of Gatti was born. The tough blood and guts warrior had arrived, and the spotlight was his.

Many wars followed such as the rematch with Patterson, and the superb slug-fest with Gabriel Ruelas, Ring Magazine's 1995 Fight of the Year. It was becoming clear, Gatti was not the next boxing superstar - but the next warrior-god of boxing. He began to rely less and less on his boxing skills and more and more on his power, tenacity and aggression. The world fell in love with his wicked power and iconic image! It became obvious that Gatti was never going to be a great champion, but he could provide thrills, drama and ratings. The fans loved him, the media loved him, and there weren’t many people in boxing who didn't like the irrepressible young man.

It all came crashing down when limited and unexpected underdog Angel Manfredy out-boxed Gatti, and stopped him due to cuts in eight rounds. Gatti was dropped in the third and his limitations as a fighter were exposed, yet he remained an exciting fighter who despite defeat still possessed a massive fan-base.

This new-found role as exciting brawler rather than champion, was firmly established in two back-to-back wars with Ivan Robinson in 1998. Their first fight was awarded Fight of the Year honors. Both fighters gave it their all flinging flurries of punches at one another with rapidity. Both men were hurt and the momentum of the bout swung in each man's favor many times. In the end Robinson proved a bit too much for Gatti, earning a close decisions victory each time. It seemed that Gatti had fizzled out as a serious threat in boxing, but he was still a viable to boxing fans. The man had never been in a dull fight, and with the power he possessed and penchant for punishment - he could thrill a crowd like no other. A step-up to 140lbs. came and after he stacked up a few wins, then Gatti was made a sacrificial lamb for Oscar de la Hoya. Gatti though would continue to make his name as the blood spattered warrior he was.

***


Mickey Ward was no ordinary journeyman. Ward was a tough pressure-fighter who troubled some contenders of the time with his own brand of grittiness, determination and a wicked left hook to the body. He was the equal of Gatti in heart. The two of them waged three unforgettable wars. The first is generally regarded as the best, but all three were great fights. The fights reignited the faltering flame of his career, and solidified Gatti's reputation as an undisputed blood and guts warrior.

Gatti - Ward I saw Gatti get off to a good start. His new trainer Buddy McGirt tried to get him to stick to his boxing skills, and generally tighten up his defense and technique. This approach worked well until Ward started to sucker Gatti into a brawl. Gatti, never one to turn down a fight, duly obliged Ward and they began to swap hard punches. Ward, a really devastating body puncher, licked his lips and traded back with a certain fierceness that is born only in great fights. The two traded back-and-forth, and this excitement culminated in a ninth round none will forget.

Both men continued the trading as the battle lines had been drawn. Ward was the first to do real damage as a brutal left-hook to the body dropped Gatti. He picked himself up off the canvas though and fought back. The combatants traded but were exhausted and exerting every morsel of energy they had left. The two exchanged punches back-and-forth until the bell rang. The tenth was similar, but both men were understandably spent. Ward escaped the bout with a narrow split-decision victory, and Gatti came away with his warrior image enhanced yet again.

It is understood Mickey Ward was never the best pure boxer. He was tough, rough, game and ready, but when faced with lateral movement and a nice jab he tended to struggle. This was not a fact lost on Buddy McGirt in Gatti - Ward II, who implored Gatti to stick to his boxing this time around and to stay low in order to avoid the body attack of Ward.

Gatti heeded the advice of his bespectacled sage and boxed his way to a wide unanimous decision win. The outcome of the fight caused many people to believe Gatti may be a viable contender again. Against second-tier opposition his boxing skills were clearly evident. At the top level though, Gatti was Gatti – a tough, hard nosed, exciting brawler.

With the score even at one a piece, and two epic battles behind them - a third match was a natural.

After cracking the code to beat Ward last time out, Gatti stuck to the plan early in their third fight - keeping Ward off-balance with nice movement and a snappy jab. The event would get the better of him though, as often happened when Gatti exchanged blows with an in-ring rival. The fighters thirsted for war.

Gatti broke his hand hitting Ward on the hip bone in the mid-rounds, but continued to trade punches in savage battle. They went at it with every ounce of their being in the final hurrah of one of the sport's most storied trilogies. This time Gatti came out ahead capturing a decision win.

***


Building on his fame from the trilogy with Ward, Gatti was once again in the hotseat. The fans knew and loved their hero, and he never gave them a dull fight.

Further successes and failures greeted Gatti in the ring after the Ward fights, but his iconic status and legacy as a warrior were secured. Perhaps his talent did not warrant the following he attracted, but his heart, determination and toughness did. A year after his untimely passing and beyond, these very attributes assure Gatti his place in history,

When future generations of fight fans are handed down stories of the timeless battles and warriors of yesterday - and the names Battling Nelson, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano are echoed through history's hallowed walls, the name Arturo Gatti is sure to echo with the sound of THUNDER.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

4 SURE


Ivan Calderon vs. Jesus Iribe was the main event on fight night, Saturday, June 13, 2010, the night before the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City. A night where Puerto Rican pride, Miguel Cotto usually fights, but since he fought Yuri Foreman last weekend for the WBA Light Middleweight championship, the main event went to lesser known Calderon.

Calderon gave his usual clinic on footwork, dodging Iribe's bombs and popping him with counter-shots all night long. Iribe became increasingly frustrated throughout the fight, putting everything into his punches and only getting air. The fight was a little lackluster overall and was completely outshone by a 4-round undercard fight between Takashi Okada (1-0-1) of Japan and McWilliams Arroyo (3-0-0) of Puerto Rico.

Arroyo, an exciting prospect, fought well for Puerto Rico in the amateurs, earning a silver medal in the 2005 Pan American Championship games, a gold medal in the International Junior Olympics held in Michigan in his division and being named Puerto Rico's Youth Boxer of the Year in 2003.

Okada, relocated to California from Japan, has most recently been a sparring partner for Rodel Mayol, one of main event fighter Ivan Calderon's two-time opponents.

Arroyo was favored to win because of his hard-hitting, aggressive style, but it was apparent from the first bell that this was not going to be a walk in the park for either fighter. Okada took control immediately, snapping jabs and dictating the pace. Arroyo was forced to box and play defense for the majority of the first round. Okada dropped Arroyo in the second round and though he got to his feet quickly, Arroyo was visibly wobbly. The third and fourth rounds saw an incredible see-saw of shots going back and forth, with Okada looking to be in trouble at one point, but bouncing back to be the aggressor and ultimately winning the decision. Arroyo suffered his first loss, though without shame, making his record 3-1-0 while Okada's record improved to 2-0-1.

This was the most exciting 4-round fight most fans, (including this one,) have ever seen. It was a toe-to-toe battle of will and ability - just the kind of fight we all want to see. I for one, cannot wait to see these two fight again. If it is a 10-round fight next time, I can easily foresee it being a contender for fight of the year.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Como Cotto Regresa


As Cotto returns to former glory, his fans return to full pitch at Yankee Stadium.

It was a great site to behold; thousands of fans at legendary Yankee Stadium waiting to see the once bright up-and-comer, Miguel Cotto return to glory after suffering severe losses at the (loaded) hands of Antonio Margarito and the seemingly invincible Manny Pacquiao.

People had considered Cotto down for the count after those monumental losses and the injuries endured even during his winning fight against Joshua Clottey, but Cotto came to the ring with something to prove, and he knew he had to deliver. Perhaps it was the new trainer in Emanuel Steward or perhaps it was the shiny WBA Light Middleweight title belt on the line, but whatever it was, it worked. Cotto, fighting most recently at Welterweight, seemed a natural Light Middleweight, bossing Yuri Foreman around the ring for the duration of the fight. Foreman, a game yet arguably untested world title holder did little to stave off the aggressive and powerful Cotto. Emanuel Steward's training was evident right off the bat as Cotto's footwork and movement seemed vastly improved since his last fight against Pacquiao, (though Pacquiao can make anyone look like they're dancing in cement.)

It is clear that Cotto has come to fight as soon as the bell rings. Aggressively sticking his jab, Cotto turtles up only for a moment during the 1st round. The 2nd round sees more of Cotto's jab and also a more aggressive Foreman, working his jab as well. Cotto lands more punches, working Foreman's body with his left hook and takes the round. The 3rd round is more about the body and hooks from both fighters. Strangely enough, Foreman's mouthpiece falls out and referee Arthur Mercante Jr. demands Cotto's corner to clean it off while adamantly telling trainer, Emanuel Steward not to speak to the fighter.

The 4th round sees the best exchanges of the fight, with both fighters landing stiff jabs and powerful exchanges. Cotto's defense also seems to have improved under Steward's tutelage and it's a toss-up as to who wins the round. Foreman seems to weaken in the 5th and 6th rounds, though there are some good hooks landed by both fighters.

A slip in the 7th round has Foreman limping and Cotto rushing in to finish the job, but Foreman's heart wins out the round. Foreman falls and limps his way through the first half of the 8th round until a towel comes flying into the ring from his corner. Cotto's corner comes rushing in and starts celebrating their victory until referee Mercante announces that the fight isn't over and everybody needs to clear the ring. Apparently, Foreman's corner denies throwing the towel in, although it was clearly a corner towel, and so the fight goes back on. Mercante gets respect for taking control of the situation and clearing the ring so quickly, even though the fight should have been ended at that point.

Slightly confused, both fighters regain composure and continue fighting until it becomes blatantly obvious to referee Mercante that Foreman isn't in any shape to keep fighting, so the fight is stopped for real this time.

Miguel Cotto wins the WBA Light Middleweight Title and wins his fans the world over...again. Foreman gains new fans by showing incredible heart in the ring and can hold his head high. Where will each fighter go from here? Can't wait to find out.

Congratulations on an awesome victory Cotto!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mayday


No surprises here. Most boxing fans probably predicted the beginning, the middle and the end of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Shane Mosley quite accurately.

Sugar Shane gave it a go in the early rounds, while Mayweather patiently waited and timed his opponent. After a bit of a scare in the second round, Mayweather made a few adjustments and dominated the rest of the bout. By the seventh round, you could see the defeat on Mosley's face as he kept taking the beating that Mayweather delivered. Master counter-puncher, Mayweather always had a stern answer for Mosley's less and less frequent attacks and the big question was no longer "who would win," but whether Mosley would be able to finish the fight.

Mosley's punches seemed in slow motion compared to Mayweather's and though not a lot of angles were used, Mayweather effectively dismantled Mosley's offense completely. There was a LOT of hugging. To the point where referee, Kenny Bayless was practically omnipresent in this fight, where usually he takes a 'hands-off' approach.

Mayweather's athletic ability and strategy were both in full effect for this fight. His ring-generalship truly is that of legendary proportions. Like him or not, he's a smart and fast fighter, who rarely misses when he throws a punch and can change up his game plan without notice.

The silver lining for Mosley however, is that he finally got a big fight, which he has been begging for in every interview and post-fight interview (even if it wasn't his fight) for the past year. If there was a camera in his face, he was calling SOMEONE out. Also, he was able to keep his belt, since it wasn't on the line because Mayweather refused to pay the sanctioning fees, a particularly amusing (read: PIMP) move, in my opinion.

Should Sugar Shane hang up the gloves? At 38 years-old, he has had a great career, holds a title belt and certainly has nothing to be ashamed of. However, like any true fighter, his heart seems to want to go on, even if his body can't keep up anymore.

I'd love to hear your opinions on that one. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Amir Interview



I caught up with Amir Khan, who is starting his training at the Wildcard Boxing gym for his upcoming fight with Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden on May 15th.

Kenny Bayless Interview



I got to sit with my favorite Boxing ref, Kenny Bayless and ask him some questions. His answers give such insight - enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kelly Pavlik's prediction on Manny vs Floyd Jr.

I had the amazing opportunity to ask Kelly Pavlik one question, although I could have asked him a million...

Don't mess with Texas

Although the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey wasn't as exciting as it could have been, one thing that didn't disappoint was Cowboys stadium. The big screen, in true Texas style, is BIG. I mean, HUGE. It practically runs the length of the football field!


Ok, back to boxing...John Duddy did well against Michael Medina to secure his split decision victory, but things were looking like they could go either way during the 6th, 7th and 8th rounds. Boxing well and scoring more points through the first 5 rounds, it looked like Duddy would win handily until Medina came alive in the 6th and also delivered a stunning right hand at the end of the 7th, causing Duddy to take his time getting to his corner. The 9th round was all Duddy, but he gassed himself out and Medina took advantage of that in the 10th.

Some fans were surprised at the outcome of Alfonso Gomez vs Jose Luis Castillo, but I was not one of them. Although Castillo looked pretty game right out of the gate, it seemed Gomez was timing him well and landed a number of brutal shots that eventually led to Castillo quitting on the stool after the 5th round. Some reports say that this was a career-ender for Castillo, who has fought the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr and Diego Corrales in the prime of his career.

Perhaps the hardest fight for me to watch was that between Humberto Soto and David Diaz. I just didn't want to see either of them lose! David Diaz has the heart that I wish every boxer had and a spirit that is unparalleled, but Humberto Soto truly had the edge in power. Diaz was knocked down twice during the bout and true to form, bounced right back up and kept punching. Though it was a lopsided victory for Soto, Pacquiao fans in particular gave high praise and applause to Diaz, who was a warrior throughout the fight.

Joshua Clottey fought Manny Pacquiao for the main event that evening. I am only telling you this, because perhaps you didn't see his face during the 12 round match-up. I saw glimpses of it between rounds, but didn't see much of it during the fight due to his gloves being up virtually the entire fight. I understand that this was a huge payday for Clottey and he may have been looking just to survive the fight on his feet, not wanting to be knocked out for the first time in his career, but come on, it was also a title fight and a little pride in his craft would have been in order. Although he threw a few hard punches, it never seemed Clottey was ever in it to win it. Pacquiao, who looked like he was in a sparring match at the Wildcard gym in Hollywood, even got so frustrated in the 6th round that he used both hands to box Clottey's ears in. Though it was surely meant to wake Clottey up, it only managed to awaken the crowd, who affectionately called it the "Wapakman!" and imitated the move for the rest of the night.

The mini WBO Belt that Clottey's trainer, Lenny de Jesus wore as a sweatband on his head, couldn't motivate the celebrated fighter from Ghana to do more than shell up. Clottey looked to be in serious trouble at the end of the 8th round, with Pacquiao unleashing several deadly combinations, causing him to wobble back to his corner. A knockout in the 9th seemed imminent even to Clottey's wife, crying in the front row until, much to the fans' surprise, Clottey started moving forward and throwing punches. Below are rounds 1 and 9 of the fight (check out my sweet seats!) just for comparison. You see Clottey's face maybe twice in the first round and see it much more in the 9th:









In the audience were a plethora of boxers, footballers and actors including Kelly Pavlik, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders and Robert Duvall.

All in all, it was a really fun fight night, although you had to PAY to play, ladies and gentlemen. Bottles of Miller Lite beer were sold for $8.50 apiece and the food was exorbitantly overpriced as well. The parking situation was also a pricey nightmare at $70 per vehicle. I guess somebody's got to pay for that screen...