Tag Archives: Victor Ortiz

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!

Madcow’s Standing 8 Count (6/29/09)

by Madcow

Aside from actually being written, this week’s column will be a little different.

Last week, as you all know, Michael Jackson died. I have had a special relationship throughout my life with madcow11Jackson. No, I never got to visit Neverland ranch as a child and I was never able to share a can of Jesus Juice with the “one-gloved-one.”

My connection with Jackson isn’t even about music. Actually, I’m luke warm to his talents.

No. My link with Jackson goes directly through Lori C, Madcow’s first love and a very fine looking High School Junior with bubble gum lip gloss and a teddy bear backpack.

I had taken “Ms. C” to the Junior Prom and, to spare all the details, that was the night your favorite bovine became a man.

On the way home, I turned on the radio in my clunker in absolute glee and the first song on the radio was “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. Not my type of music, but on that particular night, it was the greatest song I had ever heard.

So, this column is dedicated to Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean,” and beautiful Lori C, who was more woman at 17 than all 3 of my wives put together. But enough with this sappy crap.

In a “Thriller,” Marcos Maidana overcame knockdowns and all obstacles to force Victor Ortiz into submission. Now, after an embarrassing quit job and a non-fighter-like post-fight interview, Ortiz has to seriously take a look at the “Man in the Mirror” and decide if he really wants to continue fighting or if he just wants to “Beat It.

Smooth Criminal,” Oscar De la Hoya desperately tried to spin Ortiz’s quit job into something quite the opposite, but nobody is buying it. Overall, it hasn’t been a good time to be a Golden Boy prospect. Abner Mares split, Ortiz was just crushed and “King of Pop,” James Kirkland is eating bologna and mayonaise sandwiches behind bars.

Remember the Time” when PPV dates were reserved for only the elite fights, the best of the best? The Latin Fury show this Saturday was just, plain “Bad.” I would like to run into the chump who paid 35 bucks to see this suck-fest so I can sell him some bumper car tickets at Neverland Ranch. Wake me up when Juanma Lopez starts fighting someone with a pulse.

Arthur Abraham defended his title against some guy named Oral on Showtime Saturday. I’m sorry, but the only thing I’m watching with the name “Oral” on it is a PPV movie from The Spice Channel.

Everything else this Summer has been a big let-down. Cancelled or postponed fights, combined with weak matchups. Boxing is in a serious “Jam” and needs to fix things fast or, maybe next year, there won’t be anyone buying these shows for broadcast.

Well, seeing that its been a slow news Summer and that I’ve exhausted my Michael Jackson references, I think I’ll end this special edition of Madcow’s Standing 8 Count.

Besides, I’ve just called the escort service and told them to send their best; Doesn’t matter if they’re “Black or White,” I just “Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’.” Now, “Leave Me Alone.”

RIP Michael

Bob Arum’s Mexican Standoff

by Paul Magno

Mexican Standoff:

 n: a situation in which no one can emerge as a clear winner. A no-win/no-lose situation

 

What must the atmosphere have been like in the dressing room after the main event of Latin Fury 8 as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. celebrated his harder-than-expected victory over 106th ranked Luciano Cuello? sotomontielWhat could’ve been going through the minds of established veteran world champions, Fernando Montiel and Humberto Soto as they watched the media gush over Chavez Jr.? And what about when they heard all the big plans Bob Arum has in store for his young fighter? Could anyone expect these two accomplished warriors to be at all happy about playing second fiddle to a 23-year old who has yet to beat anyone ranked in the top 100? Would anyone blame them for frustration born from having to fight “stay busy” fights against marginal foes for marginal paychecks while Arum goes on and on about Chavez Jr.’s next PPV main event? Especially vexing for the pair of Top Rank champs is the fact that lesser Latino fighters are making bigger paydays with just about every other promotional company.

Recently, Bob Arum of Top Rank has shown an utter inability to land his Mexican and Mexican-American fighters the exposure and paydays they need. Instead, unless their name is Chavez or Margarito, they are in a perpetual holding pattern of rumored fights that never materialize and big opportunities that always seem to go to other fighters. Is this inability to push their Mexican fighters a product of Arum’s fading influence in the Hispanic market or is it indicative of Arum’s diminishing desire to promote anyone who isn’t already an established draw?

Fernando Montiel has to be among the most frustrated. He’s on many Top 10 Pound 4 Pound lists and on any informed Top 20 list. This superb technician and former Super Flyweight champ recently got tossed a bone and he was given a title shot at the vacant WBO Bantamweight title against unknown Diego Silva on the Chavez/Cuello undercard, but money fights with Cristian Mijares, Vic Darchinyan and Nonito Donaire never materialized despite rumors that they were close to being made. Now, Montiel is Bantamweight champ and a fight with Eric Morel is rumored. If this fight also falls through, Montiel may very well resign himself to the fact that no mega-fights are on the horizon and the money a pro like him deserves to make won’t be on the table until he’s well past his physical prime.

Another fighter lost in the shuffle is Humberto Soto, the talented 2-time and currently reigning WBC world champ whose career has been in limbo since early 2008. While he’s been fighting club fighters for small bills and intermittently entangled in a pair of farces for an interim title against the inferior Francisco Lorenzo, Golden Boy Super Featherweights like Rocky Juarez and Jorge Barrios have enjoyed multiple legit title shots on primetime HBO shows despite multiple big-fight losses. Soto’s next scheduled to fight Benoit Gaudet, another “keep busy” distraction on the Pacquiao/Hatton undercard.

And this inability to make the big fights for its smallest fighters, doesn’t stop with Montiel and Soto…

alvarado1At one point, Top Rank’s Mike Alvarado was more highly regarded than fellow Jr. Welterweight, Victor Ortiz. Now, despite nearly identical records and similar achievements, Golden Boy’s Ortiz is HBO’s darling and he’ll be fighting for his first world title against WBA champ, Andreas Kotelnik while Alvarado’s next bout will be against Joaquin Gallardo, deep on the Pacquiao/Hatton card. Alvarado has to be second-guessing his choice of promoter.urbanothumb

A similar question mark has to appear above the head of Urbano Antillon, Top Rank’s tough, young Super Featherweight, as he continues to fight on obscure Spanish-language channels while fellow 26-year old 130 pounder, Golden Boy’s Robert Guerrero, has enjoyed two high-profile bouts on prominent cards following a year of inactivity.  

Even among the smallest of the small, unrest has to be brewing at Top Rank. Edgar Sosa and Ulises Solis, holders of the WBC and IBF Jr. Flyweight titles, respectively, look to make the only money fight in the division- against fellow Top Rank fighter, and WBO Flyweight champ, Ivan Calderon. Nobody other than Sosa and Solis seem in any hurry to make this fight. Instead, all 3 champs get tossed small fights to keep them busy and, essentially, keep them out of bankruptcy.

The Lightweight Lightning PPV last week served as further proof of Golden Boy’s dedication to the Latino market and their desire to keep their Latino fighters sharp and well-paid, with the most exposure possible. While the show wasn’t huge and the paychecks weren’t immense, all 6 of their fighters were engaged in lively, significant bouts in front of a crowd that was there to see them. Compare that to the Latinos in the Top Rank stable who, when not just sitting around, are fighting insignificant bouts in front of people who paid to see other fighters.

Bob Arum is currently engaged in a no-win Mexican Standoff with his fighters and the fans who want to see them. No matter what happens, though, he’s simply going to have to do something with his talent. It’s not enough to have a collection of talented fighters if there’s no effort to use them properly. If Arum has no desire to do the hard work of finding them quality fights, he should do the honorable thing and let them out of their contracts. To keep them strung along, like they currently are, is an insult to their abilities and a disservice to us fans who want to see them in worthwhile battles.

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.