Tag Archives: bernard hopkins

Boxing’s Prospects Fail to Make It to the Promised Land

by Paul Magno

Something’s been happening to boxing’s young prospects.

Actually, something’s not happening to them: They’re not winning.

The latest example was in this past Saturday’s Latin Fury 10 PPV, which saw highly-regarded Lightweight prospect, acosta-antillonUrbano Antillon, taste the canvas, and defeat, for the first time against the unknown Venezuelan stylist, Miguel Acosta.

On a personal note for Antillon, he failed in his attempt to win the vacant Interim WBA Lightweight title and failed to live up to the hype that had him regarded by Larry Merchant of HBO as a “can’t miss” future superstar.

However, in the big picture, Antillon’s inability to cope with simple lateral movement spoke of a greater problem behind the scenes of the sport. It spoke of a future generation of star athletes who are simply not being taught the skills to go along with their athletic promise.

The list of failed prospects in recent weeks is almost comical:

*Well-regarded amateur stand-out, Juan Carlos Velasquez, is defeated by Mexican journeyman, Jose Beranza, on Friday Night Fights. Velasquez actually seemed to be shocked and surprised that Beranza would fight back.

*Colombian banger, and destroyer of fellow prospect, Amir Khan, Breidis Prescott is outpointed by Miguel Vazquez, basically, because he had no idea how to deal with Vazquez’s head movement.

*Golden Boy’s Victor Ortiz is battered and psychologically torn down by Marcos Maidana, the first fighter with the nerve to actually keep fighting when confronted with the force of a “future superstar.”

*Alfredo Angulo is bested by Kermit Cintron because of his utter inability to deal with lateral movement, even when that lateral movement comes from a non-speedster like Cintron.

*Deandre Latimore is out-slugged by, of all people, a flat-footed and immobile Cory Spinks. deandre_latimore

One by one, the prospects are falling from contention and they’re not being replaced by veteran stars like in the case of Bernard Hopkins’ one-sided schooling of Kelly Pavlik.

Many of these young talents are being beaten by the products of hardcore boxing gyms in Latin America. They’re being beaten by fighters who, 10 or 20 years ago, would’ve been little more than a snack for talented athletes on their way to titles.

So, what’s the problem? What’s happening to our young lions?

Part of the problem rests in the fact that “old school” boxing trainers are mostly a thing of the past in the United States. For every Freddie Roach, there are a couple dozen trainers who would be better-suited working an aerobics class.

Serious boxing gyms are disappearing and the quality trainers are literally dying off.

There simply aren’t enough of the blood-and-guts Teddy Atlas-types who will take the time to teach their kids solid fundamentals and the value of being mentally prepared as a professional.

Instead, they are fed into an amateur system which now values arm-punches and “back-foot” fighting over a professional defense and a workable inside game.

In the modern amateur game, points are valued more than power and a light jab is a bigger asset than solid body punching.

It’s no wonder young fighters seem to be lacking a certain degree of mental toughness these days.

The second reason for this apparent failure of the young prospects has to do with our culture.

We are in a culture of instant gratification where anything worth having better be had right now.

It takes a lifetime to become a fundamentally solid professional boxer. It’s something that takes blood, sweat and tears. Hour after hour is spent going over one basic move, until it’s perfected.

Unfortunately, in a prize-fighting world of flailing, crude UFC brawls and “extreme” instant gratification, many young people simply don’t have the patience or dedication to sweat for hours at a time on something as mundane as learning how to walk the ring.

The scary part is that, at some point, those boxers who have taken the time to learn their craft, will retire, leaving behind this crop of talented, but not fundamentally sound pretenders.

Then, what will boxing look like?

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Kelly Pavlik: Anatomy of a Fallen Star

by Paul Magno

Buried among the Pacquiao-Cotto-Mayweather headlines is the sad story of Kelly Pavlik and his decision to check pavlik shadowinto an alcohol rehabilitation center yesterday.

This piece of news is a fittingly sad ending to Pavlik’s wild 2-year ride from unknown Ohio toughman to unlikely world champion superstar to inactive and demoralized divisional “also ran.”

The Youngstown, Ohio native achieved his fame the old fashioned way: By fighting hard, fighting often and slowly working his way into the public eye.

Pavlik fought on every undercard imaginable- From Mexican fight cards on Telemundo to ESPN undercards to local televised boxing shows where there were probably more people at the live event than watching on TV. Wherever there was a show, Kelly Pavlik was willing to fight.

So, by the time he fought his way up to his first title eliminator bout against Edison Miranda on HBO, most hardcore fight fans had seen Pavlik at least a couple of times and were aware that this was a gutsy, blue collar fighter who came to hit hard and knock his opponents out.

“The Ghost” took the fight to the back alley brawler, Miranda, and eventually beat the tough Colombian down in an exciting encounter which stood out glowingly next to that card’s lackluster main event of Jermain Taylor vs. Cory Spinks.

Pavlik’s next fight was the high point of his career as he battled back from a hard knock down in the second round and went on to grab the WBO and WBC Middleweight Titles from Taylor via seventh round TKO.

Next came the career mismanagement that would cost Pavlik his undefeated record, his status as an upcoming superstar and, quite possibly, his very peace of mind.

Bob Arum and Top Rank, Pavlik’s promotional company, immediately took their developing star and put him on PPV in a non-title rematch against Jermain Taylor at Super Middleweight. The event sold moderately well, but it was not the move of someone looking after the long-term career success of their new star. Other than another notch on his record and a nice payday, Pavlik got very little from this bout that played out in front of a fraction of the audience that would’ve been available to him on HBO.

Next, came a mandatory defense against WBO #1 challenger, the hapless, Gary Lockett. Kelly disposed of the Brit in three lopsided rounds that did little to endear him to HBO fans who were looking to see their new hero in yet another war.

Then came one of the worst decisions ever made by a management team regarding a young, rising star. They decided to accept the challenge of the 43-year old legend, Bernard Hopkins.

“The Executioner” Hopkins was famous for taking fighters and literally turning them to mush by negating every weapon in their arsenal. Even in defeat, the veteran always managed to nullify his opponents’ best weapons and make them look horrible. Nobody since a prime Roy Jones Jr. in 1993 has looked good against Hopkins. Not only was the relatively one-dimensional Pavlik signed to fight the old pro, but he would do so at a catchweight of 170 lbs., two weight classes and ten pounds above his normal fighting weight.

By now everyone knows what happened: Hopkins twisted the kid up and schooled him over 12 one-sided rounds. And to add insult to injury, the PPVshow was a total bust and didn’t even reach 200,000 buys.

So, with a bruised ego and a refusal from HBO to air his next bout (another mandatory defense of the 160 lb. crown against Marco Antonio Rubio), Pavlik once again went to PPVin another poorly-received event that saw him share the bill with another rebounding star, Miguel Cotto.

Since then, his bout against The Contender’s Season One winner, Sergio Mora, originally proposed for the 27th of June, was postponed due to a staph infection, but very well could’ve been postponed due to Pavlik’s growing personal problems or the poor early reception of Sergio Mora as an opponent.

In about a period of two years, Pavlik has run the full gamut of boxing highs and lows.

Before the ill-conceived Hopkins bout, one could point to Pavlik’s career as an example of how careers used to be built; of how a career should be built. Pavlik’s rise to stardom was based on Free TV exposure against a wide range of opponents and packaged around a hard-working, likeable kid from a blue collar town that should not be producing stars.

Somewhere along the way, greed got mixed into the equation and Top Rank/Team Pavlik opted for the quick buck rather than the slow, but steady rise to superstardomthat would’ve resulted from increased exposure on “free” HBO.

Lost in the mix was a kid in his mid-20’s dealing with sudden stardom and immediate demoralization- all over the course of twenty four short months.

“The Ghost” is a fighter in every sense of the word, so there’s no doubt that he will be back.

But before Kelly Pavlik can regain his boxing mojo, he’ll have to fight the fight of his life, against the toughest opponent imagineable…himself.

5 Fights to Bring Boxing Back to the Mainstream

by Paul Magno

The cure for almost everything negative in Boxing is exposure. With more people watching and with the “legit” press keeping a keen eye on the goings on, some of the shadier aspects of the sport would simply cease to exist. As it is now, treated as a fringe sport and relegated to the sports section, behind high school baseball, the scoundrels call the shots and can pretty much do anything their dark hearts desire.

The ideal road for Boxing to get back into the mainstream is for it to return to free, network TV, but with the way the sport’s currently structured, that would be an impossibility. The premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime have exclusive deals with the bigger fighters and the promoters have adapted the “pay per view mindset” of wanting to pocket quick cash from the sport’s most loyal fans.

So, the best road to mainstream respectability for Boxing would be to fight its way back into the same level as other major sports like baseball, football and basketball. Smart, quality match-ups and aggressive promotion are the keys to getting Boxing some face time on Sportscenter and back on your local TV news’ sports report.

Here are 5 bouts that would help get the sport back into the nation’s collective unconscimay-paq1ous:

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao: This is a no-brainer. With Oscar De la Hoya out of the picture, Mayweather and Pacquiao represent the two biggest draws in the sport. Aside from the obvious pound-for-pound angle of the sport’s two best getting it on, the lead-in publicity would be insane. Mayweather plays his role as a new era Hip-Hop bad guy to perfection while Pacquiao has the “quiet warrior” act down pat. The contrast in personalities and the inherent skill level involved in this contest would be undeniably appealing to everyone in the sporting press.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Vitali Klitschko: Imagine the pathos of a “Brother vs. Brother” Heavyweight Title Unification bout? Even the most avid anti-Boxing producer on Sportscenter would have to give this bout its proper klit bros.attention. This would be the type of event that would draw the attention of both fans and non-fans alike and, while most of the publicity around this bout would surely be negative, it would absolutely bring the sport of Boxing back into the realm of current events. This fight has zero possibility of happening since both brothers have flatly stated that they would never fight one another, but it would definitely provide a boost for the lagging Heavyweight division as well as for the sport itself.

Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones Jr. II: A lot has changed since these two first-ballot Hall of Famers first fought jones vs. hopback in 1993. While a blazing Jones solidly defeated a tentative Hopkins 16 years ago, the shoe is most definitely on the other foot now as a 40-year old Jones has been relegated to the spot of a fringe fighter while the 44-year old B-Hop is still classified as a Top 10 Pound-for-Pound fighter. Jones is currently close to signing a fight with Jeff Lacy and Hopkins has most recently been rumored in negotiations with Cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek and Super Middleweight titlist, Carl Froch. However, the only truly big fight remaining for either fighter is a rematch of their 1993 encounter. Neither Jones nor Hopkins will find any opponent more marketable than one another. Given their ages and the relative weak shape of the Light Heavyweight division, this is the only fight that makes sense for either…and probably the only chance either has at PPV success. A smart promoter, though, would forego the immediate pay-out of PPV and opt to try and put this battle of the legends on free TV. The fight itself isn’t likely to make waves or win over new fans, but the publicity and realtive importance of this match-up would push it into the public eye.

Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito II: After Margarito’s one year suspension is up, the hype could begin, cotto vs. margarito1even with the foul taste of Margarito’s plaster-coated handwrap controversy still fresh in the mouths of fans. In Boxing, popularity and notoriety are two offspring of the same twisted and distorted creature. But this one would have it all…Of course, the heated Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry would be in effect, but more importantly, the universal concept of redemption would be in play. Cotto would be seeking redemption from his previous loss to Margarito; A loss that he feels was unjustified since Margarito may have been using illegally-loaded handwraps to beat him down. Margarito would be looking for his own redemption by proving to the world that he is indeed a world class Welterweight without having to resort to underhanded tactics. Imagine the intrigue and drama of a camera tightly focused on Margarito’s hands as they’re wrapped carefully for the world to see. The first bout sold over 500,000…this one would easily double that and it would earn a ton of mainstream press in the process.

Kelly Pavlik vs. Arthur Abraham: This one would be big, not for the bout itself, but for the fact that it could Kelly-Pavlik-Arthur-Abrahamrestore Kelly Pavlik to his previous position of money machine on the verge of mainstream popularity. Pavlik was knocked down several pegs when he was absolutely schooled and dominated by Bernard Hopkins last year, but there’s nothing better to restore the shine to a young, blue-collar, power-punching Middleweight champion than a thrilling win over a cocky European champion who calls himself  “King.” A win over “King” Arthur Abraham puts Pavlik back into  the Americana stereotype of humble underdog athletes fighting their ways to the top.

Could also Bring on Mainstream Attention:

Oscar De la Hoya vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.: Oscar is supposedly retired, but so was Mayweather. This one would be an easy sell for so many reasons.

Ricky Hatton vs. Amir Khan: Should Khan get by Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA Jr. Welterweight title, we’d have the perfect UK encounter of a beloved ex-champ (Hatton) against the next big thing (Khan).

Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Israel Vazquez: Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, Old Warrior vs. Young Warrior…If Vazquez isn’t totally burnt out after the Marquez Trilogy, this will be the type of war that will be revered for generations to come.

David Haye Comes to America: If Haye gets by both Klitschko brothers to become a 3-belt Heavyweight champ, his arrival in America would be huge. The United States has been thirsty for a trash-talking, flashy big man for the longest time. Haye could definitely be what American fight fans need.

A Quarter Century of Greatness: Boxing’s 25 Best Over The Last 25 Years (Part 3)

by Paul Magno

For  Part 1 of this feature, #25-#18, click here: https://thebluecorner.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/a-quarter-century-of-greatness-boxings-25-best-over-the-last-25-years-part-1/

For Part 2 of this feature, #17-#11, click here: https://thebluecorner.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/a-quarter-century-of-greatness-boxing%e2%80%99s-25-best-over-the-last-25-years-part-2/

 holyfield

10) Evander Holyfield: 42-10-2 (27 KO), 1984-2008

Key Wins: Dwight Muhammad Qawi (2), Carlos DeLeon, Buster Douglas, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe (1-2), Michael Moorer (1-1), Ray Mercer, Mike Tyson (2), John Ruiz (1-1-1), Hasim Rahman

Key Losses: Riddick Bowe (2), Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis, John Ruiz, Chris Byrd, James Toney, Larry Donald, Sultan Ibragimov, Nikolay Valuev

“The Real Deal’s” first mark on professional prize fighting was as the greatest Cruiserweight of all-time. As a Heavyweight, Holyfield used heart, soul and old-school toughness to beat more than his fair share of Boxing’s best big men. Even well past his prime, Holyfield never cheated the public with a sluggish performance or a half-hearted effort; Evander was a real warrior, through and through.toney3

9) James Toney: 71-6-3 (43 KO), 1989-Present

Key Wins: Michael Nunn, Reggie Johnson, Mike McCallum (2-0-1), Iran Barkley, Tim Littles, Charles Williams, Vassiliy Jirov, Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman (D)

Key Losses: Roy Jones Jr., Montell Griffin (2), Drake Thadzi, Samuel Peter (2)

Freddie Roach, Toney’s ex-trainer, recently said that an in-shape Toney had the potential to be the best fighter ever. Few who saw Toney at his best would rule out Roach’s assesment as pure fantasy. “Lights Out” outclassed fighters from 160 all the way up to 190, giving his opponents lessons in classic, old-school combat. With quick hands and a supremely tight defense, Toney’s only apparent weakness was at the dinner table where he probably ate away a few prime years of his otherwise stellar career.

8.) Manny Pacquiao: 48-3-2 (36 KO), 1995-Presentpacquiao-diaz

Key Wins: Jorge Julio, Marco Antonio Barrera (2), Juan Manuel Marqez (1-0-1), Erik Morales (2-1), Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya

Key Losses: Medgoen Singsurat, Erik Morales

Boxing’s true “Mexicutioner,” Pacquiao has beaten a virtual Mt. Rushmore of Mexican greats in Barrera, Morales, Marquez and Larios. Over the course of his career “The Pac-man” has transformed himself from a wild rush of southpaw fury into a sharp and focused, division-jumping, pro. His most recent domination of De la Hoya proved all critics and, most experts, wrong. Boxing’s current Pound for Pound king has established himself as the force to reckon with in every division from 130 to 147.

7) Lennox Lewis: 41-2-1 (32 KO), 1989-2003 lewis1

Key Wins: Donovan Ruddock, Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Ray Mercer, Oliver McCall (1-1), Andrew Golota, Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield (1-0-1), Frans Botha, David Tua, Hasim Rahman (1-1), Mike Tyson, Vitali Klitschko

Key Losses: Oliver McCall, Hasim Rahman

Maybe the most controversial placement on this list because Lewis seems to bring up vastly different assesments of his abilities and accomplishments. What can’t be disputed about Lennox, though, was the fact that he fought everyone in the division who was willing to fight him and mosltly won convincingly. His only two losses were avenged brutally. When Boxing has time to reflect, Lewis will be remembered as the best Heavyweight since prime Larry Holmes and, maybe, the best since Ali.

6) Floyd Mayweather Jr.: 39-0 (25 KO), 1996-Present mayweather2a

Key Wins: Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez, Jose Luis Castillo (2), DeMarcus Corley, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton

Key Losses: None

One of the most gifted and best-schooled fighters of this era, “Pretty Boy/Money” Mayweather lit up the 130-135 lb division, beating the best of those divisions and displaying skills and abilities on an “all-time” level. Above 140 lbs, received criticisms for not fighting the very best, but still found a way to become 140, 147 and 154 lb. champ and true, lineal champ at Welterweight. In all fairness to Mayweather, actual timelines and business issues stood in the way of the one fight he could actually be accused of skipping- against Miguel Cotto.

5) Julio Cesar Chavez: 107-6-2 (86 KO), 1980-2005 chavez

Key Wins: Roger Mayweather (2), Rocky Lockridge, Juan La Porte, Edwin Rosario, Bazooka Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Meldrick Taylor, Hector Camacho, Frankie Randall (2-1), Joey Gamache, Ivan Robinson

Key Losses: Frankie Randall, Oscar De la Hoya (2), Willy Wise, Kostya Tszyu, Grover Wiley

In his prime, there was nobody who better represented the classic Mexican style and the classic Mexican fight ethic than “El Gran Campeon Mexicano.” With brutal body work, a calculated temper and a cast-iron chin, Chavez bullied his way to dominance from the Super Featherweight division all the way up to Welterweight. Chavez’s toughest enemy was his own weakness for partying and the last couple of years of his career saw him be a shadow of his true self. Prime Chavez is of the “all-time” class and Top 5 of the last 25 years.

4) Oscar De la Hoya: 39-6 (30 KO), 1992-2008 oscar

Key Wins: Jorge Paez, John John Molina, Rafael Ruelas, Genaro Hernandez, Jesse Jame Leija, Julio Cesar Chavez (2), Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Pernell Whitaker, Wilfredo Rivera, Ike Quartey, Oba Carr, Javier Castillejo, Fernando Vargas, Felix Sturm, Ricardo Mayorga)

Key Losses: Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley (2), Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao

The tired, old cliche about “The Golden Boy” is that he “never won the big ones.” Well, it could also be said that only one fighter, Shane Mosley, ever really beat De la Hoya in the roughly 7 years of his his prime, from 135 to 147 lbs. Oscar not only became the face of boxing for more than a decade, but he did so with class and dignity. His resume has more big names than the Warsaw phone book- he fought the best of his generation. Were some of those names older or naturally smaller than De la Hoya? Yes, but his fame drew the best fighters to the table and, much more often than not, Oscar fought them.

3) Bernard Hopkins: 49-5-1 (32 KO), 1988-Present bernard_hopkins1

Key Wins: John David Jackson, Glen Johnson, Simon Brown, Antwun Echols (2), Keith Holmes, Felix Trinidad, Carl Daniels, William Joppy, Oscar De la Hoya, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik

Key Losses: Roy Jones Jr., Jermain Taylor (2), Joe Calzaghe

The symbol of technical excellence and old-school toughness, Hopkins has been boxing at the highest levels for more than 15 years. “The Executioner’s” numbers can’t be argued with- He was the sport’s last unified, 4-belt champ, 20 successful defenses as a Middleweight, and at 41 years of age he embarked on a second career run that saw him become the true, lineal champ at Light Heavyweight. For the vast majority of his career, B-Hop labored under the burden of being an outsider, shunned by promoters and sanctioning bodies for his outspoken tirades against Boxing’s injustices. B-Hop has had the final laugh and is evidence to the fact that superb conditioning and hard-earned ring intelligence are a boxer’s two greatest weapons.

2) Roy Jones Jr.: 53-5 (39 KO), 1989-Present jones1

Key Wins: Bernard Hopkins, Thulani Malinga, James Toney, Mike McCallum, Montell Griffin, Virgil Hill, Reggie Johnson, Eric Harding, Clinton Woods, John Ruiz, Antonio Tarver (1-2)

Key Losses: Montell Griffin, Antonio Tarver (2), Glen Johnson, Joe Calzaghe

Jones was one of the most physically gifted fighter of all-time and, definitely, the most gifted of this era. Jones easily dominated world class fighters with an almost super human hand speed and uncanny reflexes. Literally untouchable for the better part of a decade, “RJ” ruled the world from 160 to 175 lbs and collected belts like matchbook covers, acquiring straps that most never even knew existed. The last flash in his career was his move up to heavyweight to capture the WBA title from John Ruiz. As his physical gifts diminished with age, Jones became vulnerable and beatable, but nobody can ever take away from the total excellence Jones displayed in his, 16-punch combination, pre-fight basketball-playing, prime.

1) Pernell Whitaker: 40-4-1 (17 KO), 1984-2001 whitaker

Key Wins: Roger Mayweather, Greg Haugen, Jose Luis Ramirez (1-1), Freddie Pendleton, Azumah Nelson, Jorge Paez, Rafael Pineda, Buddy McGirt (2), Julio Cesar Chavez (D), Julio Cesar Vazquez, Jake Rodriguez, Wilfredo Rivera

Key Losses: Jose Luis Ramirez, Oscar De la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Carlos Bojorquez

“Sweet Pea” was quite frankly, the best boxer of these last 25 years. With the best defense since Willy Pep and the inherent ring smarts of a Sugar Ray Robinson, Whitaker set about a pace of utter dominance from Lightweight to Welterweight, with the two blights on his record (a loss to Ramirez and a draw to Chavez) being complete robberies. Most amazing was the fact that not only did Pernell beat the best of his class, but for a long period of time, he rarely even lost a round! Pernell Whitaker was the perfect combination of gifted athlete and learned student of the game…and he was Boxing’s Best Over The Last 25 Years.

 

Honorable Mention (in no particular order): Michael Nunn, Ricky Hatton, Terry Norris, Johnny Tapia, Humberto Gonzalez, Michael Carbajal, Nigel Benn, Iran Barkley, Virgil Hill, Chris Eubank, Naseem Hamed, Meldrick Taylor, Kostya Tszyu

To Debate This List, Join The BTBC: Boxing’s Pound 4 Pound Best Fan Forum: www.boxingtimes.com

The Standing 8 Count (3/15/09)

by Madcow

Ok…Finally! The Madcow is Back!

Why in the world does the BTBC express have to be held up if Magno goes on vacation? I mean, what kind of rinky-dink operation is this? Why can’t there be a Vice President to handle things when the big bossman is away? I’d offer to madcow11take the post myself but power goes to my head and next thing you know, this blog would be dedicated to sex tourism and hangover cures.

But, here’s this week’s column with a couple of notes thrown in from when we were away:

What can I say about my main man, Juan Manuel Marquez? Simply one of the finest technical boxers in the sport and a true credit to his profession. The way he waited out Juan Diaz‘s amateurish Baby Bull Rushes and then began to pick him apart? True perfection.

And make no mistake about it, Marquez is the #1 Pound for Pound fighter in the world. Madcow does not give you permission to put anybody else above him. Manny Pacquiao may have the flashier wins over a Bobble-head looking, Oscar De la Hoya and David “The 3rd best Diaz at 135# Diaz, but Marquez, in his last two, has KO’d the lineal Lightweight champ, Joel Casamayor and a top 3 Lightweight, Juan Diaz- making both fighters suffer the first KO loss of their careers. And we all know who really won when Manny and Juan Manuel fought, right…Marquez won on every scorecard but the 3 at ringside…Case Closed. Juan Manuel Marquez is the #1 Pound for Pound fighter in the world.

Chris John got screwed against Rocky Juarez and I don’t feel bad at all. Consider it payback for John’s countrymen screwing Juan Manuel Marquez awhile back.

James Kirkland may be a brute who makes Chris Arreola look like Pernell Whitaker, but you can’t deny the fact that this kid is fun to watch. He can take a punch, give it back to you and will never stop coming forward. It must be harder to fight him than it would be to deliver a singing telegram to his trainer, Ann Wolfe.

And speaking of Ms. Wolfe- Ann, if your reading this, you’re looking awful tense, baby. Maybe you’d like a therapeutic back rub. You know, the kind with the happy ending? Don’t fight it. This Madcow can be real gentle…We’ll send Pops to the Piggly Wiggly and while young Kirkland is playing with his Legos, we can excuse ourselves to the boudoir, put on some vintage Barry White and be who God intended us to be. Just think about, ok? You can get ahold of me through the Boxingtimes website…

Next week we’re going to be treated to a rare ESPN2, Saturday afternoon fight for the WBC Heavyweight championship of the world with Vitali Klitschko vs. Juan Carlos Gomez. Ok, just to encourage future shows on free TV, I’ll pretend that I’m giddy about this and that this fight won’t be about as intriguing as getting an oil change on a Saturday afternoon.

A fight that will be intriguing is the rumored bout between Tomasz Ademek and Bernard Hopkins. Hopkins is the master and I know that one day he’ll really look his age, but it won’t be against the slow-footed Adamek. B-Hop is going to smoke the Pole.

Speaking of Smoking the Pole…Ann, baby, I wasn’t kidding. Give me a holler.

With Amir Khan‘s win over a fleshy, bloody and aged Marco Antonio Barrera Khan retuns to where he was before he got knocked goofy by Breidis Prescott. He goes right back to being a brittle-chinned hype job. Amir, ol’ chap, save your money.

Speaking of crisp-chinned UK hype jobs, David Haye’s bout with Wladimir Klitschko has been on again-off again more than Michael Jackson’s nose. Haye should take this as a sign and go back to fighting Cruiserweights, who only occasionally turn his legs to jelly.

Ok, That’s enough for now. Magno, I will be in your neck of the woods around the first week of May. Just warning you. Start chilling the Coronas and warming up the chicas.

Come back next week for more ramblings, insults and slanders.

The Standing 8 Count (1/25/09)

by Madcow

Just when you thought it was safe to read the BTBC Blog, Madcow is back with the latest in bovine depravity and Boxing accumen.

20,820 boxing fans packed into Staples Arena, the most ever for that venue, to see an absolute boxing clinic as madcow113Shane Mosley schooled Antonio Margarito before putting him away via TKO in the 9th. It was a one-sided beating, similar to the one Bernard Hopkins gave to Kelly Pavlik a few months ago. The common component for both fights? Nazim Richardson and his ability to totally handicap aggressive power punchers.

Towards the end of the fight I began to feel for Margarito, who was clueless as to how to defend himself or alter his game. It was kind of like watching the class bully get beat up- It’s exciting at first, but then you notice that the bully has been stripped of all machismo, gumption, swagger- everything that made him special. Margarito, like that school yard bully, was reduced to being  just a lump of matter on the canvas.

Apparently, before the fight, Nazim called attention to the fact that Margarito’s hand wraps looked to be altered in some way. Initial reports indicated that some sort of plaster-like stuff was found in the wraps. If this is the case, and Margarito is found to be guilty of loading his wraps up, I think a lifetime suspension is in order. This is a very serious charge.

On to other news- it’s being reported that Mosley and Floyd Mayweather will be entering into negotiations for a possible bout later in the year. That’s good news for the sport. Like it or not, Mayweather is one of the few boxers who still can manage to get mainstream attention from the media.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Ricky Hatton is apparently a done deal. After a couple of weeks of back and forth bickering, it’s been reported that they finally agreed to a 52-48 split for Pacquiao. I understand Manny’s feelings after beating Oscar De la Hoya and being named Fighter of the Year, but where the hell does Hatton come off with the primadonna act? In his last fight he fought Paulie Malignaggi in a low-rated HBO show and, before that, he was slopping it up on Versus against Juan “The Hispanic Causing Pity” Lazcano. He should just be happy to be fighting on PPV again after the way he got bludgeoned last time by Mayweather.

Carl Froch/Jermain Taylor is probably dead in the water after HBO nixed the idea of airing Froch on their network. With no due respect to HBO, where do they get off acting like this will be a horrible match-up when they greedily gobbled up  Chad Dawson/Antonio Tarver Part 2?

I guess the proposed Roy Jones Jr. vs. Omar Sheika PPV bout wasn’t just a whiskey-induced hallucination. They’re actually going to go through with this! I will be informing the Merriam-Webster people to leave some space in their dictionaries for a new definition of the word, “Pathetic.”

There’s nothing pathetic about the James Kirkland vs. Joel Julio fight on HBO, March 7th, especially now that Victor Ortiz vs. Mike Arnaoutis was added to the undercard.

I give HBO a lot of well-deserved crap, but I have to give them a Madcow Jack and Water salute. They’ve given us two great fights on free HBO, the card on March 7th, and before that, the Feb. 14th show (which features Alfredo Angulo vs. Ricardo Mayorga, Nate Campbell vs. Ali Funeka and Sergio Martinez vs. Kermit Cintron) and, of course, Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Juan Diaz/ Chris John vs. Rocky Juarez on Feb 28th. Great Work, HBO! Just add a decent undercard to Dawson/Tarver 2 and you’ll be perfect in my book.

Sign of the Apocalypse I : A rumored Julio Cesar Chavez  Jr. vs. Hector Camacho Jr. PPV is apparently becoming more than just a rumor. Serious talks to make it happen are taking place. My recommendation is to stock up on canned foods, bottled water and batteries.

I’ll talk you you guys next Sunday. Until then, remember: Always pay up front and Never let ’em see how much you have in your wallet.

British Boxing – A (brief!) year in review and predictions for 2009

by Simon Garner

All in all it has been a pretty good year for British boxing but we’ve had some big low points. Amir Khan had a few uk-flag2solid performances followed by a 54 second blow-out against Breidis Prescott in which we were forced to watch the Olympic silver medalist shudder and come crashing down like a drunken mother-in-law dancing at her child’s wedding. Although his star is somewhat diminished following this performance, he redeemed himself with one-sided defeat of Oisin Fagan in December.

Joe Calzaghe was floored twice by two first ballot hall-of-famers with a combined age of over 80 but still managed to calzaghehopcome home with two decision wins. One heavily contested the other…less so… His fight against Roy Jones Jr. was a joke at the very least. The Italian Dragon was well aware that the four-weight world champion was shot to kingdom come after his performances against Tarver, Johnson and more recently against the flabby former welterweight Felix “Tito” Trinidad. Although he won convincingly, he embarrassed himself by not only taking this fight, but by the way he conducted himself in it as well.

Ricky Hatton won a closer-than-it-should-have-been contest against Juan Lazcano in front of 57,000 fans in his home city of Manchester, and quickly dispensed with the services of long-time trainer Billy Graham. He soon hired Floyd Mayweather Sr. and a rejuvenated Hitman emerged with a convincing TKO victory over top light-welterweight Paulie Malignaggi and in this writers opinion has put forward a strong argument as being a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter again.

The big name in British boxing in 2008 was one David “Hayemaker” Haye. He came into the year as undisputed cruiserweight champ following his convincing victory over former champ Jean-Marc Mormeck and took Enzo Macarinelli’s WBO title from him in a two-round demolition which made the Swansea native look like a slow, plodding journeyman without a plan. I’ll leave you to ponder that thought for a second…….

….Anyway, Mr. Haye went on to bigger and better things in 2008. He moved up to the heavyweight division and haye3immediately began calling out all the big guns. He provided a breath of fresh air to a division that had previously been as compelling to watch as the film “Pearl Harbor.” God I hate Ben Affleck!!

By running around like a child who’s eaten too many smarties (see http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=jnOANul82Tw&feature=PlayList&p=2B3506B6E3D18805&playnext=1&index=67) and launching some personal attacks on the Klitschko’s, he’s brought himself so much attention a title shot against one of the brothers is inevitable, even if he has to wait just that little bit longer to get his chance. As regular contributor to the BTBC, smoothstyle1 says: Honk! Honk! All aboard the David Haye bandwagon! Don’t worry smooth, I’m already there.

The end of year brought a long awaited world title win for Carl Froch who scored a 12-round unanimous decision over Jean Pascal. The Cobra had been subjected to so many disappointments in recent years with injuries to himself and to his opponents at the last moment, preventing him from reaching that next level. However, 2008 was the Nottingham boy’s year (hardly a boy at 30 I know, but I digress).

British Amateur Boxing had its best year of recent times with the highlight being James DeGale’s Olympic gold medal in the middleweight division. Most of the Olympic hopefuls have now turned pro and Frankie Gavin, Billie-Joe Saunders and DeGale are rumoured to be making their professional debuts on the Matt Skelton-Mark Rogan undercard on 28th February. The next generation looks very promising for British boxing.

As well as the Beijing boys, the British isles have a number of young fighters rising quickly through the ranks such as Nathan Cleverly (21, Super-Middleweight, Commonwealth Champion, 13-0), Paul Appleby (21, featherweight, British champion 13-0) and Kell Brook (22, welterweight, British champion, 18-0) who looks the best of the bunch.

Predictions for 2009

 

Boxing and British boxing especially, is in a very healthy situation at the moment and I completely refute Joe Calzaghe’s claims that boxing is a dying art (see http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/mma/boxing/12/10/calzaghe-dying.ap/index.html). British fighters had a great end to 2008 and as proven above, the talent pool is wide. So here we go, my predictions for 2009:

· David Haye will bring some life back to a division which has been on a life-support-machine since the retirement of Lennox Lewis. I’m not saying he’ll beat either of the Klitschkos but we’re gonna have some fun watching it.

· Joe Calzaghe’s gone. I have seen no clear indications that he’s going to return and there are no “big” names for him to fight. I appreciate we’d all like to see him against IBF/IBO Champion Chad Dawson, but Joe’s not going to get out of bed for anything less than a hall-of-fame fighter as was proven in 2008. Apart from Hopkins who Joe has refused to fight again (and thank god, the first fight was dire), there are none around. Therefore, he won’t fight again.

· Ricky Hatton is approaching the last couple of years of his career and so, will be looking for big money fights. There is no bigger name than Manny Pacquiao and a mega-fight on May 2nd is apparently almost done and dusted. Where he goes after that is anyone’s guess, I just hope it isn’t a rematch against Pretty Boy Floyd, as he’ll be out of there quicker than the Mancunian crowd can shout “who are ya” at the 5-weight world champ.

· Carl Froch will fight a mandatory defence and chase Jermain Taylor for that big money fight. Will it come? I hope so. He deserves it.

· Amir Khan will carry on learning and maturing under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, but given the khan1current strength of the lightweight division, a world title shot is probably out the question in 2009. A match-up with former WBO super-featherweight champion Alex Arthur would be straightforward to set up as both are promoted by Frank Warren. A fight with a faded star such as Julio Diaz or Michael Katsidis is probably the best we can hope for , and a chance to avenge his first professional defeat against Breidis Prescott, would be too good too turn down.

· The other young hopefuls spoken of in this article will continue to prosper but world title shots are probably a few years away. The Olympic boys should fight 6-8 times in 2009 according to Frank Warren so by the end of the year, we should have a good idea of where they’re headed.

2009 IS Boxing.