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...