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:
EOTR BOXING HEADLINES
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-
Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy finally released "official" numbers for Star Power, citing 1,250,000 buys and almost $78.5 million in gross revenue which, if true, would make it the second highest-grossing non-heavyweight fight behind only the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight that generated over $135 million.
Chris Mannix of SI says he's still sticking to his own confidentially-sourced number of 1,150,000 buys. Whatever the case, it's another great number for Floyd and confirms that him and Manny stand alone when it comes to drawing viewers.
Here's footage of Toney training for his upcoming clash on November 4 against cruiserweight contender Denis Lebedev in Russia. A couple things of note:
- Toney looks skinnier than he has since, say, the Jirov fight - the reports of him training are actually true!
- Toney looks shot to shit. His feints and movement are still there, but the reflexes seem dull as hell. Hopefully, he won't get brutally KO'ed against Lebedev like Roy did.
This is the best opening episode of a 24/7 series since...I dunno...maybe Mayweather-Mosley. I like how they're focusing on the people in the periphery since we know the principals so well--the segment on Linares's savage loss to DeMarco, with the scene of Manny comforting a battered Jorge in the locker room afterward, was extremely effective.
Jorge Linares: Early in the fight, with not even a round over, Emmanuel Steward said, "I don't usually say this, but Linares is one of the greatest fighters I've ever seen." Lampley and Kellerman were quick to concur, at various times comparing Linares to Nonito Donaire (favorably), Amir Khan (favorably), young Oscar, and even Sugar Ray Robinson. However, by the eleventh, after Linares' face had become a grotesque mask of blood, everyone was forced to acknowledge Linares' fatal flaw: he gets hurt too easily, in every which way. The flaw seems so exploitable that I can't really see Linares ever attaining those heights we were imagining during those great first few rounds. Grade: F
Antonio DeMarco: I think ShoBox has to start considering DeMarco as one of their true success stories. He's done everything necessary to prove that he is a serious fighter, the two most memorable being his valiant performance in a loss against the late Edwin Valero, and now his demolition job of Valero's stablemate Jorge Linares. DeMarco is now a world champion by title (WBC), and certainly there are far worse titlists out there. Grade: A
Paulie Malignaggi: After being staggered in the first round against Orlando Lora, Malignaggi came back to dominate the remainder of the fight, using movement, a strong jab, and quick combinations to stymie the tough Mexican. I think everybody agrees it's time for Malignaggi to take a step up now to a twelve-round fight against a legitimate contender, perhaps recent Golden Boy signee, Devon Alexander, who has also moved up from junior welter recently. And you know what? Based on how good Paulie looked, I might even favor him in that contest. Grade: B+
Kendall Holt: Oh, Kendall--how you constantly tease us! Holt looked good in the first two rounds against hot prospect Danny Garcia, but once he got hit at the end of the second frame, he reverted back to the same old Rated R, not throwing enough, conveying the impression he was getting hurt with every shot Garcia landed, and just in general looking a tad shopworn after the sheen of the earlier rounds had worn off. It's hard for me to see him returning to titlist level, no matter how depleted the junior welter ranks will be getting in the next few months as Bradley and Khan move up. Grade: C-
Danny Garcia: Garcia for his part looked fresh, strong, and surprisingly powerful. Technically, he's sound, although he doesn't do any particular thing that really stands out. I like how Golden Boy are starting to throw their prospects into tough challenges (i.e., Ortiz against Berto) instead of coddling them; Garcia looks like he's got the goods. You know what would be a great Golden Boy-Top Rank fight for the future? Garcia versus Brandon Rios at 140. Grade: A-
Chad Dawson: We didn't see him get to fight much, although one could make the case that he was slightly more aggressive than usual. Whatever his in-ring performance was, though, I think the bigger change has been his psychological maturation since returning to old trainer "Iceman" Scully. He may finally get to realize some of that potential with which boxing fans have been so enamored. But still, it's hard to give Dawson credit for body-slamming his way to a shambolic victory. Grade: C+
Bernard Hopkins: For two rounds, B-Hop looked ancient, but he is notorious for starting slow (cf. his two fights against Pascal, his two fights against Jermain Taylor, etc., etc.). It already had all the makings of a terrible fight, reminding me a lot more of Hopkins-Jones 2 than Hopkins-Pascal 2. However, Hopkins has turned fights around so often that it's difficult to say that he wouldn't have done the same in this one. I for one don't want to see Hopkins retire just yet; he definitely deserves another chance to either defend or win back the light heavyweight championship (depending on the appeal decision of the CSAC). Grade: C
I like Chad in this fight. I'm basing this opinion on the seemingly rejuvenated psyche Dawson has been portraying for the press. He says it's all because he's back with "Iceman" Scully in his corner, that he finally feels "comfortable" again after his odyssey through a litany of "name" trainers, including Floyd Mayweather Sr., Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, and, most famously, Emmanuel Steward for just one fight, his most recent lackluster performance against Adrian Diaconu. And you know what? Color me gullible, but I'm buying it--he genuinely seems to have reached a new stage of psychological maturity. He seems ready for this situation. He's stated in interviews that he understands that work-rate will be the key factor in the fight. I'm going with Dawson by decision in a fight in which his fresher athleticism will prove out as the critical factor.
From Wednesday's fight week presser for Hopkins-Dawson, this might be B-Hop's finest speech yet (starts @ the 46-minute mark):
Jorge Linares vs. Antonio DeMarco (12 rounds, vacant WBC Lightweight Title)
Just a couple years ago, Linares (31-1, 20 KOs) was a two-weight champion who was being lauded on HBO as the next great pound-for-pound entrant. Then he was brutally dispatched in the first round by Juan Carlos Salgado and was off the radar for a long time. DeMarco (25-2-1, 18 KOs) is a teak-tough Mexican brawler that was showcased extensively on ShoBox on his way up, then served as the last KO victim of Edwin Valero. This is a good test of where both men are at in their careers. We favor Linares to get his career back on track; he's just more gifted than DeMarco, although his chin now will forever be suspect.
Danny Garcia vs. Kendall Holt (12 rounds, junior welterweight)
This may not turn out to be the most entertaining fight on the undercard, but it is undoubtedly the most interesting. Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs) is a supremely-hyped Golden Boy prospect who is undefeated, talented, and charismatic (think Victor Ortiz three or four years ago). Former junior welterweight titlist Holt (27-4, 15 KOs) has put his career back on track after losing badly to Kaizer Mabuza a year ago, most notably chilling Julio Diaz several months back with a left hook that could go down as the KO of the Year. Holt, you'll remember, came within a hair's breadth of putting Timothy Bradley to sleep in their unification bout. Can Garcia handle Holt's power? Which Holt will show up? Does Garcia have the goods? We'll all find out on Saturday.
Paulie Malignaggi vs. Orlando Lora (10 rounds, welterweight)
No offense to Paulie (29-4, 6 KOs), because we like him and we like to see him fight, but his fights, although not boring in the traditional sense of the term, aren't the most exciting because they usually entail him breaking one of his fragile hands (or both) and fighting more defensively as a result. Also, his recent opponents since he was destroyed by Khan haven't exactly been inspiring: Jose Miguel Cotto on the Morales-Maidana undercard, and now Orlando Lora (28-1-1, 19 KOs). We'd like to see him against recent Golden Boy signee Devon Alexander.
Sergio Martinez: In terms of luring a big name like Miguel Cotto or Floyd Mayweather into a fight, Martinez perhaps put on the best kind of performance for his future, looking sloppy and potentially vulnerable against Darren Barker while still having enough to finish off the disciplined Englishman late. Grade: B-
Darren Barker: The European champion definitely deserves kudos for his sharper punching and the fact that he was able to outbox the unorthodox Martinez for several of the rounds, but in the end, his lack of workrate ruined any chance he had to win. Often, he would crowd Martinez without throwing, more and more relying on a high guard to protect himself against combinations as the fight progressed. The last knockout punch, in fact, went through his guard, which by that time had been weakened by repeated blows. Grade: B+
Andy Lee: Lee set himself up for a possible shot at Martinez--he seems to be one of the few people willing to call out the Argentinean--by avenging his only professional loss to Brian Vera, in a fight Lee took almost purely for personal reasons. Vera tried his best to pressure Lee and make him uncomfortable, but the Irishman stayed disciplined this time, executing Emmanuel Steward's advice to perfection. His ability to stick to a gameplan and box technically for the most part suggests that Lee has vastly improved since his one loss to Vera back in 2008. Grade: A
Brian Vera: Vera's standing didn't take a hit at all with the loss. He just couldn't get past Lee's reach to wreak his usual havoc, but Vera will remain a formidable "truth test" for anyone that gets in the ring with him, as recent victim Sergio Mora discovered. Grade: B
Toshiaki Nishioka proved he is the best 122 lb'er in the world by beating the legendary Rafael Marquez over twelve rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Nishioka was just too fresh for the old Mexican warrior, who was moving down in weight to try to recapture a title he'd previously held. The impressive win sets up Nishioka for a potential superfight with Nonito Donaire in the second-half of 2012. Grade: A
Rafael Marquez: Marquez for his part showed he still has a bit of gas left in the tank, although not enough to beat someone as talented and in-prime as Nishioka. He could still make some noise against lesser opponents, though, and would be a tough out for any up-and-comer or contender. Grade: B
Juan Manuel Lopez: Juanma got some of his swagger back this weekend, pole-axing Mike Oliver in two rounds. A good, solid performance from the exciting Puerto Rican that may help to get his career back on track, although he still isn't where he was at before the shocking setback against Orlando Salido. Grade: A-
Busted (a.k.a. When Boxers Go Bad) presents its first case: former longtime middleweight titlist and Super Six tournament participant Arthur Abraham was cited for speeding on the Berlin highway, apparently setting the standard against which all future German speeders will be measured, an astounding 230KM/hour in a 80KM/hour zone. That's almost three times the limit--a serious flouting of the law. Abraham was in the Ferrari we saw him driving on Fight Camp 360, and German authorities are saying his license may be revoked for three months and a fine up to 1360 euros administered due to the serious nature of the offense. For his part, Arthur says he was speeding because he was late for an awards ceremony at which he was an honoree.
And does he have any sort of shot this Saturday against the consensus pound-for-pound number three, middleweight champion Sergio Martinez? Psychologically, he sounds up for the challenge:
The fight from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City will be preceded by a rematch between Andy Lee and Brian Vera that has been a very long time coming. We like Lee to win a decision against the tough but limited Vera this time around.
First off, my apologies for the lengthy downtime. I wrote some bad code, and on top of that I unfortunately installed a series of updates that all went wrong. In short, I had an ugly mess to sort out. I am so happy to say Eye On The Ring is back up! We won't be down for a long time like that again.
Right before the site went offline, we added an official Boxing Talk Forum, so check that out. It's a perfect place to discuss the Mayweather Ortiz outcome, I'm curious what you all have to say about that one. The forum thread on fights we are missing here on the site is still going too, let us know what you'd like to see. And we also added a calculated Controversy Rating to the fights, based on user cards that is still somewhat new. That calculation will get more interesting as more fan cards are entered.
The Super Six Final takes place in two month's time--October 29th in Atlantic City--and the two fighters are on the press tour to London, New York, and Oakland this week. Here's a collection of clips from the tour:
|A long with January, August is traditionally the slowest month of the year for boxing, the "off-season," so to speak, of a sport with no seasons. However, with today's news that Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero has pulled out of his August 27th fight against Marcos Maidana due to a possibly torn rotator cuff, thus forcing Golden Boy to cancel the entire show (which was to be the biggest TV boxing event of the month), what fans have been left with is an even more empty August than usual, given that out of the three major fights of the month, two have been cancelled and the third resulted in a controversy shitstorm that did nothing but hurt the sport. Let's quickly recap:|
- First, Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik pulled out of his tune-up bout against Darryl Cunningham citing unhappiness at the size of his purse for his following fight, forcing cancellation of a Youngstown, Ohio card which was to be telecast on Shobox (yes, August is so slow a month that a tune-up fight on Shobox is one of the major fights). Pavlik was getting the entire $50,000 budget from Showtime as his purse for what was presumably a glorified sparring session, and Top Rank was paying out of pocket to foot the bill for the rest of the card. I think there's a very good chance we haven't heard the last of bad news from the Pavlik camp, now that it sounds like the promoter, the manager, the trainer, and the fighter are all on different pages.
- Second, last week's final of the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament was so egregiously officiated by Russell Mora (we all know the details, so I'll skip the recap) that the fight generated the kind of media buzz a clean fight at 118 lb. never would have, no matter how exciting--in other words, it was all bad. It was so bad that we got immediate action from both a sanctioning body (the IBF ordered a mandatory rematch to take place in the next 120 days) and a fight commission (Keith Kizer of NSAC said that Mora would not be reprimanded, and would instead be moved down to ref lesser fights while he undergoes re-training), which, as boxing fans know, are organizations that are usually as quiet as the Sphinx when we want them to react.
- And today, another Ghost pulls out, cancelling a televised HBO card that was set to be the marquee boxing event of August 2011, not the least of which was because it included Seth Mitchell, a guy I'm curious to see now that we've been told ad nauseum that he is the next great American heavyweight. I understand Golden Boy pulling the plug on the show, given that it was set to take place in San Jose, close to Gilroy where Guerrero is from. It's just unfortunate news in a month that could've used a dose of something good instead (like what was presumably going to be an excellent, competitive bout).
Ah well, I feel better now that I've complained. Here's to a great September.
We've had two sport-killing outcomes in boxing the last two months: first, the horrendous decision handed down in the Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara fight that got all three judges immediately suspended; and now, last night's bantamweight title fight between holder Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares being completely and utterly ruined by shambolic, blatantly biased officiating from Russell Mora. Given the spotlight that Showtime gave to ripping Mora after the fight--Jim Grey's interview with Mora stands out in particular--I think it's safe to say that it will be a very long time before we see him in the ring as the third man in a major fight again. I haven't heard much about Marlon B. Wright since the first Bute-Andrade long count, and that was three years ago now.
But even if Mora gets suspended, the injustice he perpetrated remains. The only way to set this straight is with an immediate rematch, which Mares sounded completely up for afterwards, although his handlers were a little less enthusiastic. Richard Schaefer mentioned a possible fight with Nonito Donaire instead, which seems extremely unlikely given that Donaire would probably blast Mares out in a couple rounds and then vacate the belt immediately to move up to super bantam. Why not milk Mares for a couple defenses instead once the 900 lb. gorilla in the division has left?
Coverage of the Hopkins-Dawson LA kick-off presser. I really like the rep from Ripley's, Andrea Silverman.
The undercard for Star Power has been finalized. Here's how we rate each of the fights in terms of competitiveness and potential for fireworks:
Erik Morales vs. Lucas Matthysse (the Las Vegas co-feature event)
The presence of Matthysse makes this fight a more legitimate and interesting contest than would be the case had the original opponent, Barrios, made it through customs. As it is, Matthysse is a far more deserving challenger for the vacant WBC 140 lb. belt he and Morales will be contesting, a "world championship" that has now been stripped from Timothy Bradley not once, but twice (the first time was after another unification fight, against Kendall Holt). A lot of people like this fight, but any fight with a tough opponent like Matthysse that Morales takes at this stage of his career makes me a little queasy. Morales took a lot of punishment from Maidana, and Matthysse is almost as strong, and a better defensive boxer (both Alexander and Judah had problems hitting him consistently). Ironically, since Matthysse's workrate is noticeably lower than Maidana's, Morales may actually have a better shot of winning the fight, consequently becoming the first Mexican-born fighter to win titles in four different weight classes (122, 126, 130, and 140).
Jessie Vargas vs. Josesito Lopez (the Las Vegas broadcast opener)
Junior welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas is 16-0 with 9 knockouts, but his resume so far is pretty thin. He was fed the shot Vivian Harris in April (and, it should be noted, he took fewer rounds than Victor Ortiz did to finish off that version of Harris). Josesito Lopez I know even less about, but in his biggest win, he knocked out Mike Dallas Jr., who was also undefeated at the time. I think this very easily could be the best fight on the PPV card.
Saul Alvarez v. Alfonso Gomez (the Los Angeles main event)
The fight in which Alvarez won the WBC title at 154 lbs. was a joke (against the hapless Matthew Hatton, who, although game, had exactly no chance in a hundred to win). Alvarez's first defense, against another Englishman, Ryan Rhodes, was only just less so. Now, for Alvarez's second defense, his team has selected former Contender participant, Alfonso Gomez. Gomez has looked pretty good since he was destroyed by an in-prime pre-Margarito Miguel Cotto a few years back. He surprised the hell out of me by winning a technical decision against the tough Jesus Soto-Karass, then trampled all over the shell of Jose Luis Castillo, before blowing out Calvin Green in May. I expect him to give Alvarez, who I haven't completely bought into, all he can handle. If Canelo can beat Gomez as definitively as Cotto did, then he'll have answered some pretty important questions.
The last two Face Offs have been entertaining, and this one is only just less so. The best quote? Mayweather: "I'm fixin' to get in the ring and destroy this kid."
Alfonso Gomez, like Roy Jones, is one of the few boxers who prepares a song for each fight, usually performed at the press conference. Here's video of him baiting El Canelo at the LA presser promoting their September 17 fight at Staples Center that will be shown as a split-site card on HBO PPV. The Alvarez-Gomez fight is the main co-feature of Star Power: Mayweather vs. Ortiz. For his part, El Canelo was nonplussed to the degree that when he got on the mic, he claimed that he was "not a clown," but a man who would do his talking in the ring, with his fists.
Appearances on American talk shows are rare for fighters these days, so Amir Khan's spot yesterday on George Lopez definitely deserves some attention.
And here's a link to a great article on Grantland about the body shot that ended the fight: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6801388/the-art-body-shot
Amir Khan proved he deserves his place among the very best fighters in the world with his one-sided dismantling of Zab Judah on Saturday. He dominated from the opening bell to the final contentious blow that settled the contest in the fifth. Here's what both men had to say afterwards:
Both Khan and Judah sound confident ahead of their fight on Saturday:
And one of the more good-natured weigh-in confrontations you will see:
We're about two months away from Floyd's return to the ring against Victor Ortiz. Here's a teaser from HBO for their Face Off:
Update: All three judges have been suspended by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.
The less said about last night's shambolic outcome in the HBO main event, the better (everyone knows a robbery when we see it). Instead, let's focus on the great three-round war on Showtime between Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon--here's Antillon's thoughts on the bout post-fight:
Unsurprisingly, he says he feels him and Rios will never get along.
The jawing continues. Rios, who worked with a conditioning coach for the first time, looks the best we've ever seen him. He also had to strip completely down to make weight, for what that's worth. We can't wait for this fight!
This potentially great fight doesn't seem like its getting its fair share of the hype this week, with most of the attention drawn by the sure-to-be-bloodbath between Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon on Showtime. But HBO's main event may be more meaningful. Here's some video hype from the final press conference.
In the first segment, a serious Paul Williams promises to drag Lara through the mud.
Here, a supremely confident Lara dismisses Paul Williams, calling him "just another fighter."
This one's shaping up to be an extremely interesting fight. We like the underdog.
In their final press conference, both Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon seem to have their game faces on in preparation for their WBA Lightweight Title fight on Saturday at the Home Depot Center (broadcast live on Showtime). Who do you like in this bloodbath? Rios is a notoriously slow starter, so Antillon may take charge early, but only the boxing gods know who'll crack under the pressure first. Also, the undercard will be broadcast live on TopRank.com, so you Golden Domers can catch another terrible Mike Lee fight.
At least Wladimir and David finally shook hands.