EOTR BOXING HEADLINES

Two Massive KOs Over the Weekend

I've been a bit down about all the recent cancellations (Rios-Gamboa, Peterson-Khan 2, Ortiz-Berto 2 -- the last 2 due to positive PED tests), but these two massive knockouts over the weekend deserve recognition:

Mikkel Kessler TKO 4 Allan Green - Instant wave-off

Karim Mayfield TKO 5 Raymond Serrano - The fight-ending blow occurs at the end of the fourth round, at the 2:49 mark in the video

Zab Is Back! (Yet Again)

For those who missed Zab's win over Vernon Paris on Saturday (which ran concurrently with HBO's Morales-Garcia fight), here's the footage of the 9th round TKO:

Zab looked great ruining Paris's 26-0 record coming into the fight. Afterwards, Zab said he would consider fighting Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan again, or Danny Garcia. He also mentioned he had a friendly bet with Kendall Holt over who would defeat their most recent opponent quicker -- Kendall won with his 2nd round TKO over Tim Coleman a couple weeks ago.

Could You Fight in a Skirt?

Men have been boxing in Olympic Games since as early as 688 BC according to Wikipedia. Centuries later—this summer—women's boxing will appear for the first time as an Olympic event in London.

The International Boxing Association has announced that the uniform will potentially be, wait for it, skirts. The AIBA says: "...skirts help differentiate" the women from the men. Fans can't tell the difference? The long hair and sports bras up top aren't enough?

Before deciding it's all too silly to pay attention to, take a moment and imagine fighters urged to wear something that marked them by race instead.

Weekend Roundup: A Frightening KO and A Disgraceful Post-Fight Press Conference Brawl

In case you missed it, here are two must-see videos from this past weekend in the boxing world, both in and out of the ring.

First, here is Adonis Stevenson stiffening Jesus Gonzales in what is sure to be on the shortlist for KO of the Year. The vicious left lands at the 1:24 mark in the video:

Second, there's the disgraceful brawl that occurred during the post-fight press conference for Klitschko-Chisora. David Haye, who was there to try and bait Vitali into a fight, ended up drawing Chisora off the podium at which point things went completely and utterly out of control:

Some have suggested this was a publicity stunt that got out of hand, although the altercation strikes me as being deadly serious. The call for Haye versus Chisora just got a lot stronger.

Del Boy Clowns Vitali at Weigh-In

At today's weigh-in for tomorrow's heavyweight clash between Vitali Klitschko and Dereck Chisora, "Del Boy" surprised everyone by slapping his opponent square in the cheek with an open right palm during the staredown after the weigh in. For what it's worth, we suspect that with his slap, Chisora may have put himself in an even greater world of hurt tomorrow night in Germany.


See the fan cards: Vitali Klitschko vs Dereck Chisora

Fight On: Lamont Peterson vs. Amir Khan, May 19, Mandalay Bay

With the exception of the Big Fight not happening, 2012 is shaping up to be an excellent year. In the past two weeks, we've had Mayweather-Cotto, Pacquiao-Bradley, and the rescheduled Ortiz-Berto rematch all announced, and now, May 19, Lamont Peterson will be defending his two 140 lb. belts in a rematch against Amir Khan. The first fight was a barnburner that could've gone either way, and I can't see how the rematch will be any different (other than the absence of a potentially biased referee and a mystery man in a hat).

Fight On: Mayweather vs. Cotto, May 5, MGM Grand

It was announced today that Floyd Mayweather has chosen Miguel Cotto as his next opponent for his May 5 date at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The fight apparently will take place at the full super welterweight limit of 154 lbs., and Cotto's WBA belt will be up for grabs.
Update: Golden Boy Promotions has confirmed Canelo Alvarez will appear in the co-feature, opponent TBA.

Fight Off: Ortiz vs. Berto II

The highly anticipated rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto has been postponed indefinitely due to Berto suffering a ruptured left bicep while sparring. This is the second time Berto has injured this bicep, and he was rumored to be having surgery today to fix it. Ortiz has already thrown his hat in the ring for Floyd Mayweather's May 5 MGM Grand date. But does anyone want to see those two get it on again after that first debacle?

Fight On: B-Hop vs. Bad Chad Redux, April 28 in AC

Bernard announced via his Twitter account today that the mandated rematch against Bad Chad Dawson would take place April 28 in Atlantic City. He also stated that the fight would be on regular HBO, and not HBO PPV like the first debacle, which is rumored to have sold only in the neighborhood of 40,000 buys (very likely making it the least successful HBO PPV telecast ever).

Antonio DeMarco vs. Michael Katsidis is being rumored as the co-feature.

Busted: Kelly Pavlik, DUI

Troubled former undisputed middleweight champion--it seems amazing that it was only last year that he lost his title to Sergio Martinez in a great, underrated fight--was arrested on charges of drunk driving in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, last night.

According to an article on WFMJ.com, Pavlik drove a "green ATV" into a lamppost and a telephone pole before making his way home. Pavlik was belligerent when confronted at his house by the police, was arrested, and made bail at 2:00 a.m.

In his mugshot below, Kelly looks inebriated, out of shape, and about twenty years older than he actually is (only 29).

My End of Year Awards

Here's the ballot I submitted for the end-of-year Bad Left Hook awards:

Top Fighter:
1. Lamont Peterson
2. Brandon Rios
3. Andre Ward

Fight of the Year:
1. Jorge Linares vs. Antonio DeMarco - A total bloodbath
2. Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson
3. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III

Trainer of the Year:
1. Barry Hunter
2. Virgil Hunter
3. Ann Wolfe

Miscellaneous:
Upset of the Year: Nobuhiro Ishida TKO 1 James Kirkland
The Foreman-Lyle Slugfest of the Year: Alfredo Angulo vs. James Kirkland
The Eubank-Benn British Battle of the Year: John Murray vs. Kevin Mitchell
KO of the Year: Gary Russell Jr. vs. Heriberto Ruiz - See above video

Weekend Roundup: New York and Anaheim

Miguel Cotto: Miguel proved he is one of the very best fighters of his generation, exceeded in legacy only by Manny and Floyd: he's only lost legitimately to Manny, and he's beaten good versions of Shane, Zab, Clottey, Quintana, Paulie, etc., and now Margarito. The win against his nemesis seemed to lift a heavy burden off Cotto's family and team, and I wouldn't be surprised if he takes a break to restoke all the competitive energies he had committed to this one fight. When he returns, it is likely to be against someone from Top Rank like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or perhaps Manny again, but it may be a cold day in hell before we see him versus Sergio Martinez or any of the other legit contenders at junior middleweight. His new trainer, Pedro Diaz, strikes me as being exceptionally sharp and I wouldn't put it past Cotto to beat guys like Kirkland and Angulo. But in my mind, he's done enough even if he fights cans from now on to have clearly established himself as a great Puerto Rican legend on par with the more hyped Felix Trinidad. Grade: A

Antonio Margarito: This is pure speculation, but I'm convinced Capetillo started loading Margarito's gloves after the close win against Clottey and the loss to Paul Williams, when Margo hit Paul for twelve rounds and couldn't dent him. Subsequently, he blasted out Golden Johnson early, then flattened Kermit again and made Cotto quit, a record of dominance against world-class competition that no one really expected after the Williams loss. To me, the fight on Saturday pretty much looked like the first one, except everything was progressing at a much slower rate without the plaster--Margarito would've had to take thirty rounds to KO Miguel at the rate he was going, so for his team to suggest the stoppage was premature is irrelevant. Margarito remains a big, viable name for people like Angulo and Kirkland, although I fear the Golden Boy-Top Rank squabbles may prevent those matchups from happening. Grade: B-

Brandon Rios: Rios looked like a concentration camp victim on the scales on Friday--ashen faced, sunken cheeked, and hollowed out rib cavity--and even after thirty hours of rehydration, he still had an unhealthy sheen about him entering the ring. Murray took it to him early to try to seize his supposed advantage, but Rios proved that even at what looked to be about 50% power, he had way too much for the Englishman, eventually brutalizing him the way he'd destroyed Anthony Peterson, Miguel Acosta, and Urbano Antillon, with vicious body shots and short, hurtful uppercuts in close. Arum said afterward that he would be trying to set up a fight at 140 with Rios against Mike Alvarado, and that would be another hellacious war. Grade: A-

John Murray: Murray joins the long, storied lineage of proud English fighters who came to America and got their ass handed to them. Like many of his predecessors, Murray was game as all get out, willing to stand and trade with one of the most punishing inside fighters in the business. Unfortunately, we all knew what the outcome was going to be long before Earl Brown stepped in between the two in the eleventh, with Murray taking a savage beating against the ropes. He's now suffered two brutal ass-kickings in a row, and will return to domestic level in the UK with nothing to be ashamed of. Grade: B+

Delvin Rodriguez: After another strong outing on Saturday, comprehensively outclassing Wolak by keeping him at distance and working him over with accurate, sharp blows, I think it's about time Delvin got with a major promoter that can get him into the kinds of fights he deserves (and the political clout backing him so he stops getting jobbed with the decisions). I can't see him really competing with the big dogs at 147, but he seems like a fun guy you can throw on an undercard of a PPV against some up-and-comer, knowing you are going to be guaranteed tremendous effort and heart while his lack of true power and boxing skill won't seriously jeopardize someone more talented. In other words, he would be a useful guy to have in your stable. Grade: A-

Pawel Wolak: Wolak has gotten as far as he's going to get. He's never going to be good enough to win a title, even in this day and age of a zillion titles, but he can continue to collect good paychecks fighting regional bouts in the NY/NJ area given the local and vocal Polish fanbase he has built up and shares with Tomasz Adamek. He's just not quick or powerful enough to cause any of the top-level guys any real concern, and the more he fights at that level, the more he's going to get battered; his brows already are getting that scar-tissue, paper-thin look that effectively ended Israel Vasquez's career. Grade: C

Mike Jones: I'm not that excited about Mike Jones as a welterweight. He seems too big for the division and his punches have the tendency to land long due to his size, leading to the awkward, uninspiring types of fights we've seen with him against Jesus Soto Karass and Lujan on Saturday. He's kind of like a less exciting Paul Williams fighting guys he towers over at welterweight. I think if he filled out to 154, he'd potentially carry more power and will at least look more coordinated (relatively speaking) against the slower, bigger fighters in that weight class, people like Angulo and Kirkland that he can outbox quite readily, I'd imagine. The idea that he could be a reasonable opponent for Manny is a joke. Grade: B

Sebastian Lujan: Lujan is tough as nails and fights in a style that I can only describe as conveying a tremendous amount of disrespect. He keeps his arms low, sticks his head in, and almost dares his opponent to hit him (think Calzaghe versus Roy Jones), whilst at the same time throwing arm punches that seem like they should only annoy his opponents but end up accumulating damage, and stopping a good share of them--ask Mark Melligan, Lujan's last KO victim. He remains a good step-up test for prospects, because he will take you out if you're not properly prepared. Grade: B-

Anselmo Moreno: I think we'd all heard about El Chemito for quite a while, the long-time bantamweight titlist from Panama who'd never fought on a major American card until Saturday. He certainly made his debut in front of his Golden Boy bosses memorable, dominating essentially every round in Anaheim against a formidable foe, Vic Darchinyan, who'd come in as the favorite. Moreno showed great skill from his southpaw stance (despite being right-handed), frustrating the charging Darchinyan and lacing him with technical, precise shots while managing to evade almost all the artillery thrown in return. Call me crazy, but the fluidity of his footwork and body movement reminded me a little of Sweet Pea. I'd favor him above any bantamweight save Donaire, and that would be a hell of a fight I think. Grade: A

Vic Darchinyan: At 36 and having now lost to Moreno, Mares, Agbeko and Donaire, Vic has proven that he can be competitive with the top bantams in the world, but cannot defeat them, whether he tries to slug it out or fight more technically. Darchinyan looks great against fighters he can physically dominate (Mijares and Arce) but his relatively small size and age suggest that his future in the division is limited; perhaps a move to MMA wouldn't be the worst thing in the world after all. I bet he can seriously crack without the impediment of eight-ounce gloves. The time might also be ripe for a Darchinyan-Arce rematch. Based on how Arce looked at 122 against Vazquez, that might now be a 50-50 fight. Grade: C

Abner Mares: Call me a hater, but Mares always seems to appeal to ringside judges more than he does to me. All three judges had him winning ten rounds to two against Agbeko on Saturday, which is a margin both I and Agbeko's team found baffling. That isn't to say he didn't win the fight: Mares was younger, fresher, and, perhaps most importantly to the judges, his footwork was so much better than Agbeko, who frequently looks like he's lunging and off-balance. I don't really see Mares having any chance against Donaire, and as I said above, I'd favor Moreno over him too. He's a good and deserving titlist, but I think his style flatters to deceive. Grade: B+

Joseph Agbeko: Agbeko is a hard-luck former champion who brings it every fight. I'm hoping he doesn't get too discouraged by the losses to Mares, which I am mostly attributing to how stiff he looks in the ring compared to the more aesthetically pleasing Mares. The big question is can Don King get him fights now that he is beltless and not part of a tournament. He's too good to become a gatekeeper-type, and he won't be able to beat Moreno or Donaire either, so I'm not sure where he's going to fit in now. Grade: B-

I Pick Cotto-Margarito II

First of all, I think everyone understands that unlike most fights, this one is an actual, real fight -- two men who despise one another and who have said that they are going out essentially to end the other's career.

Second, I think we also can agree that Cotto seems different psychologically for this fight. He is in seek-and-destroy mode psychologically. The question now is whether his body has enough left after the battering he's taken. I say he does.

Third, I think everyone can also see that Antonio Margarito's performance on the speed bag was far from inspiring. At least wearing sunglasses, he can't see a thing, as far as I can tell.

Finally, because of all of the above, I have placed a nice wager on Cotto and the under. He's going all out for the eye; he's said so himself. I'm thinking Smoger might have a quick trigger in this one given all the attention that's been focused on the jurisdiction for the fight.

My pick: Cotto TKO 8

What We're Paying Attention To

Busted: A house owned by Ivan Calderon was raided by police, who discovered $4 million worth of cocaine stashed inside. For his part, Ivan says he just owns the house, and that he doesn't live there and has no idea what its inhabitants are up to.

Busted: Joel Casamayor, who turned in a terrible performance, against Timothy Bradley on Saturday, failed his post-fight drug test for marijuana. That surely explains why he was fighting as if he were high.

Moved: The big rematch between Cotto and Margarito, scheduled for Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden, will have to be moved due to Margarito being denied a license by the NYSAC for medical reasons. The commission apparently did not believe that Margarito's right eye, which suffered severe damage during the Pacquiao fight, is fully healed.

Weekend Roundup: Pacquiao-Marquez III

MANNY PACQUIAO – First of all, let me point out I thought Manny won the fight, seven rounds to five. I won’t make an argument here for the decision, because I know I’m not going to persuade anyone who thinks otherwise. But Manny did what he had to do for the “W,” realizing he could not outbox Marquez nor hurt him consistently enough to finish him, and relying instead on outworking his older rival and playing the role of the aggressor. Having said that, I feel Manny clearly overtrained for this fight. In previous camps, we all heard about how he was mailing it in until the last two weeks at the Wildcard, and then he would turn it on and by fight night would be a lean, hungry thoroughbred just chomping at the bit to run. In comparison, the lead-up to this fight indicated that Manny was peaking way too early, with Alex Ariza saying on the second episode of 24/7 that “he wished the fight were tomorrow,” a full eighteen days before fight night. That comment raised a serious red flag in my mind, and it was borne out last night when Manny looked drained entering the ring, unhealthily sweating, and during the fight, when he was constantly beaten to the punch by a man over whom he had all the physical advantages. But Manny won, so he passes this most difficult of tests. I don’t think anyone can say with a serious face—Skip Bayless, are you listening?—that Floyd is scared of fighting Manny. That concept has always been ridiculous to me, and now looks even moreso. Grade: B-

JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ – Marquez elevated his legacy with his performance, proving that he should be considered not just a Hall of Fame-level fighter, but perhaps deserves mention among the All-Time Greats, at least the Mexican ones. If you don’t think he belongs with Chavez, Morales, and Barrera, than you never will. But in my mind, he’s proven that he’s a very special, very serious fighter that embodies the height of professionalism both in and out of the ring. No one adapts better mid-fight than Marquez, not Floyd Mayweather, not Sugar Ray Leonard. In addition to the Pacquiao fights, consider his wins against Casamayor, Barrera, Juan Diaz, Katsidis—Marquez had trouble early in every one of those fights, and he was able to make adjustments such that he had the upper hand by the end. But do I want to see a fourth fight against Pacquiao? No. Grade: A

MILE HIGH MIKE ALVARADO – The last few major PPV undercards have all produced at least one hellacious war (Vazquez-Arce on Pacquiao-Mosley, Morales-Cano on Mayweather-Ortiz, and Linares-DeMarco on Hopkins-Dawson) and last night was no exception, with Alvarado and Prescott engaging in an engrossing slugfest that was all Prescott early on, and all Alvarado late. I think many boxing fans considered Alvarado a product of Top Rank hype given his uninspiring competition and sordid background entering the contest, but he proved all his doubters wrong, showing tremendous courage in the face of a physically superior opponent who was punching ferociously in the first half of the fight, weathering the storm and eventually turning the tables when Prescott’s stamina failed him, taking the Colombian to “uppercut city,” as Max Kellerman put it. That’s a place Prescott won’t ever want to revisit, as he ended the fight out on his feet, in the arms of Jay Nady. Alvarado deserves a title shot, and Bradley-Alvarado seems like the obvious fight to make. Or maybe Rios-Alvarado. Grade: A+

BREIDIS PRESCOTT – For the same reasons Angulo failed last week, Prescott failed last night. He gassed himself trying to KO Alvarado, even when it was apparent that Alvarado wasn’t going to go that easily. Then he engaged in a phonebooth war despite having most of his success jabbing and throwing rights from range. Finally, when he was hurt, he clearly had no idea how to grab and slow down the fight. It’s back to the drawing board for Prescott, who has now lost to Miguel Vasquez, Alvarado, Kevin Mitchell, and Paul McCloskey. The KO win against Amir Khan recedes even further into the past. Grade: D

TIM BRADLEY – He got an easy assignment and he did what he was supposed to do. The assignment was crappy and proved nothing, but you can’t blame the student for the quality of the test. Bradley looked fresh and powerful next to Casamayor, but Casamyor looked only a little better than James Toney did against Denis Lebedev, an old man who had no business being in a professional prize ring at the top level anymore. Grade: B+

JOEL CASAMAYOR – I admit I have been a fan of El Cepillo for a long time now, since his wars with Diego Corrales, Acelino Freitas and Jose Luis Castillo way back when. I made a bundle on his “upset” of Michael Katsidis a few years ago, which was probably his last legitimate victory. He looked decent losing his lineal lightweight crown to Marquez. Since then, his performances have ranged from desultory to just plain awful. Last night was no exception. It was like the worst moments of B-Hop-Jones II all rolled into one performance. He grabbed whenever there was a chance he was going to be hit, used his head as often as his once great straight left, and hit low with obvious malicious intent. Hang ‘em up, Cepillo—you were once a proud champion and that is how I will remember you. Grade: F

Casmayor and Bradley Trade Friendly Taunts

The co-feature of Saturday's card is a showcase fight for Tim Bradley against a faded Joel Casamayor, who is fighting at least two weight classes beyond his best weight. Casamayor hasn't looked decent since he was competitive in losing the lineal lightweight championship against Juan Manuel Marquez over three years ago, but in the fight week press conference on Thursday, he did show more fire than he is likely to show in the ring on Saturday. Check out their friendly (?) confrontation:

Weekend Roundup

James Kirkland: Kirkland emerged from Saturday's medieval slugfest as The Man at junior middleweight, title or no title. Canelo's handlers, for example, must know there is no way in hell their kid is ready for this kind of task. Erislandy Lara has already called out Kirkland, and that might be an interesting fight, but then again, Lara was robbed of a decision because of lack of workrate--the same thing against Kirkland would result in him getting blasted out in one. Grade: A+

Alfredo Angulo: The savage beatdown he administered to outclassed sap Harry Joe Yorgey revisited itself upon Angulo Saturday night. The exorbitant punishment he shipped was reminiscent of Margarito against Pacquiao, or maybe Shannon Briggs against Vitali, except that it was compressed into half the rounds. Angulo's conditioning must be questioned, as he punched himself out two minutes into a bout scheduled for thirty-six, and never seemed like he was close to catching a second wind.Grade: D

Peter Quillin: In his HBO debut, Quillin showed he is a serious player at middleweight, fighting in a patient, deliberate style that won him rounds even while he was looking for the finishing combination. From the third round on, Quillin probed and probed and finally delivered the four flush connects in the sixth that triggered the stoppage. I'd like to see the two McEwan conquerors--Quillin and Andy Lee--square off for a shot against Sergio. Grade: B+

Craig McEwan: McEwan is a decent fighter, but he was completely outclassed by Quillin and brutally KO'ed by Lee the time before, so he's had his chances and not been able to come through with the kind of victory that could have sustained a career. Instead, McEwan, who has already left the Wildcard gym to go back to Scotland to train, will most likely return to the UK to vie for domestic honors, where his experience at the world class level can only prove to his advantage. Grade: F

Lucian Bute: The fight against Johnson did nothing for Bute, as he went the conservative route against his former sparring partner, choosing to outpoint him every round rather than step out of his comfort zone to try for the remarkable. Bute has now fallen from #1 on most super middleweight rankings a couple years ago down to #3 despite not having lost--his competition has been so uninspiring, however, that until we see him against Ward or Froch or Kessler, it's hard to say how good he really is.Grade: B-

Glen Johnson: This may have been Johnson's last title shot--he's gotten two in his last two fights and lost both, without really threatening either Froch or Bute, so The Road Warrior, at forty-two, slides back down to the "contender-tester" level. If he does decide to call it a career, it wouldn't be the worse time. Grade: C-

Chris Arreola: The new "skinny" Arreola looked great bombing Raphael Butler out in three fun rounds. Of course, Butler has also been KO'ed by Tye Fields, so the victory itself isn't surprising, but Arreola is starting to look comfortable with the smaller body, and his movement and coordination and footspeed appear to have improved dramatically. It's time for him to fight Wladimir, I think. Grade: A-

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