Tag Archives: Breidis Prescott

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?

Discuss This Topic on the BTBC Message Board!

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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.

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.

The Cubans are Coming!

by Paul Magno

This Friday on the season opener of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, two outstanding prospects, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Odlanier Solis, will be highlighted. Both happen to be products of the Cuban Boxing machine and both are expected to make big waves in the sport. Here’s a list of the Top 10 active Cuban fighters who could make a splash in ’09.gamboa1

1) Yuriorkis Gamboa (Featherweight): 12-0 (10 KO)- El Ciclon de Guantánamo has been creating a buzz in the sport since defecting from the Cuban national team in 2006. Some have compared him to an angry Meldrick Taylor while some have referred to him as a mini-Mike Tyson. Whatever comparison you like, there’s been no doubting his talent, pedigree and desire as he has easily plowed through a solid list of veteran fringe contenders.

Outlook for 2009: This year will be pivotal for Olympic Gold Medalist Gamboa. If he gets by fringe contender, Roger “Speedy” Gonzalez, this Friday, he will take on tough Elio Rojas for an Interim title and, possibly, the supremely tough and tested Oscar Larios by the end of the year. 2009 is expected to be the year that places Gamboa among the elite of the sport.

2) Joel Casamayor (Lightweight): 36-4-1 (22 KO)- Roller Coaster doesn’t even begin to describe “El Cepillo’s” last 18 months or so. He followed a very disappointing and controversial win over Jose Armando Santa Cruz with a high-octane KO of Michael Katsidis, only to be brought back down to Earth again by being KO’d in 11 by Juan Manuel Marquez. When a 37 year-old boxer loses a big fight, the temptation is always to write him off, but fighting 10 1/2 dead-even rounds with a top 5 pound 4 pound fighter doesn’t tell the story of someone who wants to be finished just yet.

Outlook for 2009: With his Golden Boy connections and an absolutely stacked Lightweight division, expect Casamayor to get a fair shot to be back in the mix at 135.

3) Juan Carlos Gomez (Heavyweight): 44-1 (35 KO)- Excellent Cruiserweight who probably had the goods to be an all-time great at that weight. Since moving up to Heavyweight, he’s been solid against fringe fighters on the European circuit. He has the tools to be a top Heavy, but it remains to be seen whether he can make that big move from a top 20 guy to a top 3 force.

Outlook for 2009: After winning 2 title eliminators, Gomez looks to be finally getting his shot at the WBC title against Vitali Klitschko. By the middle of the year we should know just where Gomez’s high-water mark at Heavyweight is.

4) Odlanier Solis (Heavyweight): 12-0 (8 KO)- While the world is looking to the flashy David Haye or the bone-odlanier1crushing Chris Arreola to save the Heavyweight division, people may be overlooking the most logical choice of savior. “La Sombra,” an Olympic Gold-Winning teammate of Gamboa, is a charismatic, well-schooled technical fighter who is beginning to show signs of solid power. The one chink in his armor is that he carries around too much weight and needs to get better control of his training and eating habits.

Outlook for 2009: Solis will keep moving forward, beating club-level opposition and possibly step up his opponent level by the end of the year. A busier fighting schedule may make it easier to control his weight.

5) Yan Barthelemy (Bantamweight):  6-1 (0 KO)- This Olympic Gold Medalist and teammate of Gamboa and Solis has struggled to adapt to the pro game. While possessing all of the tools and discipline to thrive, he is lacking in power and agression and needs to make some major changes in technique if he wants to become a successful pro. He does hold 2 amateur wins over Gamboa and an Olympic Gold Medal, so his career is definitely salvageable.

Outlook for 2009: Continue to work on his power game and ditch his amateur instinct to fight off the back foot and throw pitty-pat arm punches.

6) Richard Abril (Lightweight): 10-1-1 (5 KO)- Solid all-around boxer who lost a close and controversial split decision to Breidis Prescott in ’08. Good, maybe even world-class, skills, but has to be more active. He’s fighting in the right division to become a seasoned pro, but he has to stay busy.

Outlook for 2009: Keep fighting on the Florida club circuit and hopefully a rematch with Prescott or a shot at Amir Khan by the end of ’09.

7) Yoan Pablo Hernandez (Cruiserweight): 17-1 (10 KO)- Good, ambitious Cruiserweight and former Cuban National Champ who tried to bite off a bit more than he could chew last year by facing former world champ, Wayne Braithwaite. The 24-year-old southpaw was TKO’d in 3, but he came back with 3 more wins before the end of the year.

Outlook for 2009: Nobody can accuse Hernandez of taking the easy road. He’s scheduled to fight fellow Cruiserweight prospect Aaron Williams later in January. A win could mean a title shot by the end of the year.

8.) Damian Frias (Jr. Wlterweight): 15-1 (7 KO)- Southpaw Jr. Welter who just upped his stock by winning the WBC FECARBOX Light Welterweight title.

Outlook for 2009: Will make the first defense of his title on January 16th and will be pushing for some more exposure in an already crowded 140 lb. class.

9) Elieser Castillo (Heavyweight): 30-6-2 (17 KO)- Reached the zenith of an inconsistent career with bcastillo1ack to back wins over Lawrence Clay Bey and Corey Sanders in 2003. Castillo, at this point, is talented enough to be considered a top-shelf  journeyman, but little more.

Outlook for 2009: Will follow the blueprint of the last few years: beat a club opponent and then hope for an upset against a better-regarded foe. He’s talented enough to surprise, so his opponents better not take him lightly.

10) Jose Antonio Izquierdo (Lightweight): 17-4-1 (14 KO)- Mexico-based former Cuban stand-out brought his 380-8 amateur record to the pros, but has yet to establish himself as anything other than a competent opponent. Seems to have settled into the role of opponent for younger fighters like Alex de Jesus and Anthony Peterson

Outlook for 2009: At 31 years of age and after having lost 4 in a row, Izquierdo better turn his ship around or he will become a professional stepping stone.

 

(For The BTBC’s TV schedule and other information about this Friday’s card, click here: http://www.btbc.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=tv&action=display&thread=393&page=1 )

2008: Year-End Awards

by Paul Magno

2008 was a solid year for the sport, sprinkled with a handful of surprising upsets and exciting battles. We saw some of the biggest names in the sport have their flames extinguished and we saw the lighting and passing of the torch to a number of younger names. 

In retrospect, 2008 will go down as a year of transition; A year in which we saw David Haye emerge as a factor in a stagnant Heavyweight division, Antonio Margarito battle his way to the top of a stacked Welterweight division; We saw young talents like Juan Manuel Lopez, Paul Williams and Chad Dawson become world-class players and an old war horse like Bernard Hopkins fight the odds to stay a Pound for Pound legend. Established stars like Manny Pacquiao, Joe Calzaghe and Juan Manuel Marquez moved up in weight and made a mark in their new divisions and Vitali Klitschko came back strong after a 4 year retirement to embarrass the reigning WBC World Champ. 2008 will be a year to remember if ony for the fact that it sets the table nicely for a very combustible 2009!

Without further ado, here are the Best of the Best in 2008:

Fighter of the Year:  Manny Pacquiao  ye1

Even before his shockingly dominant win over Oscar De la Hoya, Manny was a solid candidate for this award with a disputed win over Juan Manuel Marquez and a brutal beat down of Lightweight title holder, David Diaz. The win against Oscar made him a clear and obvious choice and with an impressive list of potential opponents in ’09, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back in this category again next year.

Runners Up:  Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams

 

 

 

 Fight of the Year:  Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez 3

ye2With 13 rounds and 2 fights between them, there was no loss in passion when these two warriors met for the tie-breaker in their series. The fight itself was classic, Rocky-style action with both fighters changing advantages over the course of the 12 round bout. Both warriors fought deserately to prove their superiority and, quite probably, left a bit of themselves in the ring that night. Whatever they made for that war, they should’ve been paid double.

Runners Up:  Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto,  Joel Casamayor vs. Michael Katsidis, Rogers Mtagwa vs. Tomas Villa

Event of the Year:  The Dream Matchye3

No other event captured as much attention as this showdown between the sport’s biggest draw in De la Hoya and the sport’s Pound for Pound best in Pacquiao. The mainstream press covered the bout and even the hardcore Boxing press reported on every detail leading up to the fight, often reporting with the fervor of gossip columnists instead of  sports journalists. The 1.25 million buys close to Christmas and in a struggling economy proved just how much this event captured the public’s imagination.

Runner Up: The Margarito/Cotto PPV

 

 

 Knockout of the Year: Edison Miranda KO 3 David Banks

ye4With potential opponent, Jean Pascal in the crowd, Miranda cracked Banks with an overhand right that left Banks dangling on the second rope, halfway in the ring and halfway out. The actual sound of the punch was like a rifle or a small grenade going off…and it effectively stalled talks with Pascal for a future fight.

Runners Up:  Paul Williams KO 1 Andy Kolle, Breidis Prescott KO 1 Amir Khan

 

Round of the Year: Kandall Holt vs. Ricardo Torres (Round 1)ye5

3 total knockdowns, a controversial headbutt and a brutal KO…all in a little over than a minute! ‘Nuff said.

Runners Up: Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez 3 (Rd. 12), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Matt Vanda 1 ( Rd. 10)

 

The Pernell Whitaker Virtuoso Award:  Bernard Hopkins

Pavlik Hopkins BoxingAn absolutely masterful performance by a fighter who was supposed to finally get retired by a younger, hungrier Kelly Pavlik. Hopkins proved his critics wrong and the 43 year old virtuoso went on to win almost every minute of every round, even offering helpful advice to Pavlik after the thrashing.  School was in session and B-Hop is still Boxing’s head professor.

Runners Up: Nate Campbell (vs Juan Diaz), Juan Manuel Marquez (vs. Joel Casamayor), Carlos Quintana (vs. Paul Williams 1)

 

 

The Oliver McCall Puzzling Non-Performance in a Prime Time Drama Award:  Samuel Peter BOXING/

“The Nigerian Nightmare” slept his way through 8 listless rounds before passivley quiting on his stool. This, after being mocked and belittled during the entire publicity push for his fight with Vitali Klitschko. Did I mention that Peter was the defending world champ in this one?

Runners Up:  Cory Spinks (vs. Verno Phillips), Cristian Mijares (vs. Vic Darchinyan, Nikolay Valuev (vs. Evander Holyfield)

 

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year:  Juan Manuel Lopez

ye8In 2008, Juanma beat a fellow prosect (Jonathan Oquendo), a reigning world champ (Daniel Ponce de Leon) and two tough fringe contenders in high-profile bouts (Cesar Figueroa, Sergio Medina)…and he did all this while fighting a total of 6 rounds. Lopez has blasted his way into the hearts of Puerto Rican fans and has made his presence known to all Boxing fans, everywhere.

Runners Up: Alfredo Angulo, Carl Froch

 

 

Upset of the Year: Manny Pacquiao RTD 8 Oscar De la Hoya ye91

Few gave the much smaller Pacquiao a chance against the naturally larger De la Hoya. Those who tuned in, saw a masterful performance by Manny against an Oscar who may or may not have been weight-drained. Whatever the case, the end result was shocking and the biggest upset of the year.

Runners Up: Vic Darchinyan KO 9 Cristian Mijares, Breidis Prescott KO 1 Amir Khan

 

Robbery of the Year: Nikolay Valuev MD Evander Holyfield

APTOPIX Switzerland Boxing Valuev HolyfieldThis could go both ways, a robbery on two fronts. The judges’ decision was horrible and they literally stole the fight from Holyfield and The fight itself was so dreadful and dreary that the PPV asking price of 25 bucks and the price of the arena seat could be considered theft in and of itself…

Runner Up: The Dream Match PPV, Boxing Fans Losing ESPN Wednesday Night Fights and Solo Boxeo

 

The George A. Romero Gore Award:  Jorge Barrios ye11

Barrios’ lips was literally shredded by Rocky Juarez in their bout. The end result looked like something from the Director’s Cut of Night of the Living Dead. Truly Gruesome.

Runner Up: Miguel Cotto’s Battered Face After the Margarito Fight.

 

Much Ado About Nothing: Andy Lee

ye121After much hype, Emanuel Steward’s kid was outfought by journeyman Brian Vera on national TV. Not good.

Runners Up: John Duddy, Yan Barthelemy, Rey Bautista

 

Moment of the Year: A Victorious Hopkins Staring Down the Press ye13

2008’s moment of the year came when Hopkins went over to the side of the ring after his win against Pavlik and stared down his critics and doubters. Poignant, defiant, angered…whatever you want to call it, it was B-Hop taking something back from his critics and summing up an entire career with one emotional glare.

Runners Up: Oscar De la Hoya Slumped in his Corner, Miguel Cotto Taking a Knee vs. Margarito

The Instant Karma Award: Oscar De la Hoya

De La Hoya Pacquiao BoxingIn what was a cynical attempt at closing out his career with an “easy” win against a respected and combustible, but smaller Pacquiao, Oscar was surprised and soon found himself over his head. He was battered and embarrassed by his hand-picked foe and forced to humbly retire.

Runners Up: Cristian Mijares Taking Vic Darchinyan as a Joke, The Calzaghe/Jones PPV Buy Rate.

 

 

 

 

 The Piss or Get Off The Pot Award:  The Heavyweight Division ye15

Quite literally, the once-proud Heavyweight Division now consists of a bunch of big guys just waiting around for their money fights to materialize. The contenders aren’t fighting each other and the champions are hand-picking their foes..or simply not fighting at all.

Runners Up: Ronald Hearns, Allan Green 

 

Trainer of  The Year: Freddie Roach

ye16For his work with Pacquiao as well as a handful of other solid fighters, Freddie deserves this honor. Kudos to a class guy who understands that its his job to enhance a fighter’s natural abilities and not implant his own ideas and aesthetic into their head.

Runner Up: Floyd Mayweather Sr.

 

The George W. Bush “What Were They Thinking” Award: Paulie Malignaggi and his Dreadlocks ye17

Ugly, stupid and In the Way…Otherwise, a brilliant hairstyle idea for Malignaggi’s UK debut in the build up to his fight with Ricky Hatton.

Runners Up: Kelly Pavlik deciding to Fight Bernard Hopkins, Steve Molitor Signing to Fight Celestino Caballero

 

King Trash Talk: Vic Darchinyan

ye18“I can’t get enough of Mexican fighters. They bounce real good off the canvas when I hit them…Defeating Arce won’t take much training. It won’t even be a fight for me –more like pest control. I’m going to swat that Spanish Fly. How do you take a guy like Arce seriously? He sucks on lollipops and wears a cowboy hat from a toy store. I can picture him running around his house on a broom pretending he’s riding a horse. He’s a regular Schlepalong Cassidy. Arce is going to be my human piñata. Our fight will be like a Chihuahua against a bull…a raging bull!”

Runner Up: Nate Campbell

The Dr. Evil Laughable Villain Award: Referee Marlon B. Wright

Not only was the Canadian Wright trying his best to handcuff Librado Andrade all night in his bout with Canada’s Andrade Bute Boxingown Lucian Bute, he tried to seal the deal with an inept attempt to save the out-on-his feet Bute’s behind by spending nearly 30 seconds chasing Andrade back to his corner following a knockdown. The pisser? It was unnecessary since Bute was already up and saved by the bell in the last and final round. Wright just looked like an idiot, too slow to even cheat properly.

Runner Up: The WBO for instantly rating Marco Antonio Barrera #1 contender when he signed with Don King.

 

 

Mismatch of the Year: Miguel Cotto vs. Alfonso Gomez

yex1This was a mismatch from the time it was signed and it culminated with a dominant performance from Cotto which saw him sigh, roll his eyes and practically yawn his way through 5 one-sided rounds. If he had been wearing a watch, he would’ve been checking the time while beating on the hapless Gomez. Proving that the fans aren’t stupid, this HBO show became the lowest rated Boxing event in the network’s history.

Runner Up: Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Cesar Fuguroa

 

The Judge Judy Inept Judge Award: Doug Tucker (120-108 Jose Navarro over Cristian Mijares)

In a bout that the other two judges (and the rest of the world) saw Mijares winning solidly, Tucker found a way to give ye23every round to Jose Navarro. Maybe he was facing the wrong direction?

Runner Up: All 3 Judges in the Holyfield/Valuev Fight

 

ye24The “Hey, That Guy Drives My Bus!” Award: Chad  Van Sickle (vs. Odlanier Solis)

Boxing’s own Ralph Kramden briefly saw the spotlight before being beaten to a pulp by Solis.

 

The Big Bully Award: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam  ye25

This former WBC Flyweight Champ decided to take the path of least resistance after losing his title and then drawing with the new champ in a rematch. This 70 fight veteran fought 0-2 Akbar Mohammadpour in his next fight. He then fought back to back bouts against Danny Sutton and Amir Jordan, two fighters making their ring debut against the former world champ. Needless to say, Wonjongkam is 3-0 in his comeback campaign.

Will Shine in ’09: Chad Dawson, Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares, Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland, Mike Alvarado, Victor Ortiz, Urbano Antillon, Abner Mares, Odlanier Solis, Cris Arreola

Stick a Fork in ’em, They’re Done: Roy Jones, Oscar De la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Chris Byrd, Evander Holyfield, Marco Antonio Barrera, Yori Boy Campas, Kevin Kelley, Stevie Jonhston

Future Champ, 2031: Julian “Lights Out” Escobedo: julian21

Ok, indulge me…This is my nephew, Julian, in his Halloween costume…But he does indeed throw a wicked left hook and he’s been known to do his share of biting in clinches.All he needs is to perfect his Uncle Paul’s Shoulder Roll and he’ll be defeating all comers…Watch out world… The New “Lights Out” is on his way!!!

 

 

 

 

 

To all the Friends and Fans of The Blue Corner (The BTBC): 2008 has been a blast and we can’t wait to see what happens in ’09…Take Care and have a Happy New Year!

For Video of some of our Award Winners, check out our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/BTBlueCorner

To Debate or Discuss anything written here, feel free to drop by Boxing’s Pound 4 Pound Best Boxing Forum, The BTBC: http://www.btbc.proboards.com/index.cgi

The Standing 8 Count

by Madcow

Welcome to me! I will be writing a weekly column here for the Blue Corner so double-check all your protective gear and brace yourself because I pull no punches:

One thing you should know is that Madcow loves boxers who can actually box and that’s what I got this Saturday in Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Joel Casamayor. All you brawlers who fight like you’re swinging frying pans and all you feather-fisted track stars, find a copy of this fight and study it because its not too often that you see professional fighters in a professional boxing match.

Congrats to JM Marquez, but if I may add a touch of reality- The Ring Magazine Title is NOT a real world championship. Golden Boy should get over themselves and realize that their belts are a nice touch for their magazine, but carry about as much validity as the fiction writing contest in Playboy Magazine.

Joan Guzman, do us all a favor and take all your nicknames and your salsa dance moves, pack them up in a nice little suitcase and go away. When you move up in weight, have a year to stay in shape and still show up almost 4 pounds overweight, you obviously don’t want to be a boxer. Go work on your dance moves and leave the fighting to the guys who really want it…and while you’re at it, please take “Mr. 83 punches landed in a 12 round fight,” Sergio Mora, with you.

A special thanks to Vernon Forrest for doing something to Mora that his Mom should’ve done a long time ago- hit him hard and often.

Following such a testosterone-loaded dispaly of manliness against Miguel Cotto, “The Tijuana Tornado,” Antonio Margarito has proven himself to be little more than a burst of hot air. With the Welterweight division clearly at his command, Margarito has opted to sit out the rest of 2008, fight a tune-up fight in early 2009 and then go for a rematch with Cotto in June. After a career filled with whining about being ducked and about getting weak paydays, he has decided to avoid high-risk rematches with Joshua Clottey and Paul Williams in what would’ve been the best paydays of his career by far- not to mention key fights for the 147 lb. division. Instead, he will fight a rematch with a guy he already beat decisively. Its got to make you think that “Cintron vs. Margarito 3” can’t be too far behind.

With his personal handcuffing of the best division in boxing, I’m pushing to change Margarito’s nickname from “The Tijuana Tornado” to something more fitting, like, “The Tijuana Burrito Fart.”

What exactly happened to the European Boxing scene? Amir Khan gets blown out in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott, a fighter barely good enough to be a last minute substitute on ESPN2; Carl Froch continues to call out Mikkel Kessler while Kessler is doing his best to enter the witness protection program; David Haye calls for the head of Wladimir Klitschko or any top 10 Heavyweight and will end up fighting Kevin “Fists of Cotton” Johnson; and from the looks of Ricky Hatton on Saturday’s PPV, he’s more likely to eat Paulie Malignaggi than knock him out. Are you sure this is the continent that gave birth to Nigel Benn?

Joe Calzaghe has begun to talk his usual trash as his fight with Roy Jones Jr. on November 8th gets closer. Now, let the Madcow confirm something- Calzaghe is looking to secure his place in history by beating a 39 year old guy who hasn’t beaten a ranked fighter since 2003? Almost as silly as looking for respect by fighting a 43 year old Middleweight who had gone 2 and 2 in his last 4 or staging a “Mega Fight” with a certain Viking Warrior who had literally no world-class names on his record.

Food for thought until next Sunday- Oscar De la Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao: Is anyone really buying this as legit or is this Madcow just waaaaayyy out of the loop?

See ya when I sees ya.

Lightweights Make Heavyweight Impact in September

by Paul Magno

Even with Manny Pacquiao out of the picture and chasing after the Oscar that lays the golden eggs, the Lightweight division will be just fine- especially if the upcoming fights in September are any indication.

Here’s a look at the four major Lightweight bouts in September and a guide of what to look for in each:

September 6th: Juan Diaz vs Michael Katsidis

There’s no world title on the line for this one, but the winner will be sure to get a shot- possibly by year’s end. Both Diaz and Katsidis are coming off of nasty losses at the hands of veterans, previously thought to have one foot out the proverbial Boxing door: “Baby Bull” Diaz was “out-bulled” by Nate Campbell in a brutal inside war while Katsidis came into his fight the favorite to beat Casamayor and was TKO’d by the same guy many were insisting was finished in the sport.

Whatever the case here, this fight will be a war- a live, human version of Rock ,em Sock ,em Robots.

What to look for:

Warrior or Worrier?

Both fighters were somewhat emasculated in their last fight. What’s going to happen when either of them gets hit hard or stunned in this fight? What happens if/when there’s a knockdown? The mental toughness of both fighters will be put into question in this fight.

Baby Got Back

Just look at their backs if you want to see in which direction the fight is going- Whoever’s back eventually finds itself against the ropes is losing the fight. The absolute key to this fight is in imposing their will on their opponent. Katsidis needs room to throw those big shots and Diaz needs to push forward to apply pressure. So, the fighter who eventually gets pushed to the ropes will be the one losing control of the fight.

 

September 6th: Amir Khan vs. Breidis Prescott

This is the least essential fight of the four fights mentioned here, but it could be the most interesting. Amir Khan is the biggest prospect in the division and this fight, in many ways, will be his biggest test to date. This will be the first fight where Khan will not be able to cruise to victory on physical ability alone. He will have to win this fight with skill and technique.

Prescott is a lot like most Colombian fighters- tough power-punchers with a boatload of technical flaws. However, Prescott will brawl and throw tons of leather and if Khan’s not ready for this fight and doesn’t come in focused, he will be looking up at the lights.

What to look for:

Lets Get Ready to Rumble:

Is Khan ready for a two-fisted brawler as young, as tall and as hungry as he is? We’ll find out.

 

September 13th: Nate Campbell vs. Joan Guzman

Guzman is moving up to try and take the WBA, WBO and IBF titles that Campbell ripped away from Juan Diaz in one of the shockers of the year. The weight issue should be minimal since Guzman allegedly tips the scales as high as 147 in his normal, day to day, life.

Campbell has always talked a good game, but has never been a consistant performer in the ring. Sometimes he looks fantastic, sometimes he just looks like a decent ESPN2 fighter. Guzman, on the other hand, has shown world-class talent, but has been inactive and unsure of exactly what his fighting style is.

What to look for:

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover:

With his long reach and quick hands, Nate Campbell looks like a boxer while Joan Guzman, a Mike Tyson look alike, with his bravado, looks like a brawler. Neither is true. Campbell loves to brawl while Guzman will take flight at a moment’s notice.

The key here will be being able to lure their opponent into fighting a different style. If you see Campbell chasing Guzman, Campbell will lose; If you see fierce exchanges, Guzman will lose.

Space: The Final Frontier:

Look for the distance between both fighters. If Campbell can keep Guzman relatively close, then he has a good chance of pulling off the victory. If he can’t keep Guzman within arm’s reach, it will be a long night for him.

September 13th: Joel Casamayor vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

For those wanting to write a textbook on good, technical boxing, this will be the fight to watch.

Marquez is moving up in weight to take on reigning Ring champ, Joel Casamayor.

Casamayor was thought to be washed-up after his awful performance against Santa Cruz in ’07, but he put those doubters to shame by outclassing and taking out the younger, more aggressive Michael Katsidis.

Marquez lost a disputed decision to Manny Pacquiao in his last fight, but was competitive throughout and had actually hurt the consensus Pound for Pound king a few times.

What to look for:

Matador or Bull?:

At this stage of his career, Casamayor feels much more comfortable being the matador in his fights- stepping aside in the face of aggression and countering smartly. However, Marquez is a controlled fighter in all areas of style and temperament. There is no wasted movement or over-indulgence in Marquez’s game, so if Casamayor is looking to counter a Marquez mistake or generally play matador, he will be in trouble.

To win this fight, Casamayor needs to be a bit of a bull and push the fight on the naturally smaller Marquez. Does he have the energy left in his game to do so? We’ll see.

The “Weighting” is the Hardest Part:

For a veteran fighter who is not abnormally gifted with power or speed, a move up in weight is a big deal. How will Marquez handle the weight against a guy in Casamayor who is a natural Lightweight? What will happen when/if Marquez gets hit flush and hard by Casamayor when a faded and smaller Marco Antonio Barrera seriously buzzed Marquez? Again, we’ll just have to wait and see.

*********

So, while the Welterweights and Catchweight fights get most of the press, The Lightweights will be doing the hard work of actually fighting one another.

The month of September will be burning with important Lightweight fights and no matter who wins those battles, its the fans who will be the winners.