EOTR BOXING HEADLINES

Grading the Undercard: Star Power

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).

Grade: B+

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.

Grade: A

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.

Grade: B

Alfonso Gomez Flexes On The Mic (Again)

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.

The Williams-Lara Scorecards

Round
Bennett
Whitaker
Givens
Lederman (HBO)
1
Lara
Lara
Lara
Lara
2
Lara
Lara
Williams
Lara
3
Williams
Williams
Even
Lara
3/12
Lara by 1
Lara by 1
Even
Lara by 3
4
Lara
Williams
Williams
Williams
5
Williams
Williams
Williams
Williams
6
Williams
Williams
Williams
Lara
6/12
Even
Williams by 2
Williams by 3
Lara by 2
7
Lara
Lara
Lara
Lara
8
Williams
Lara
Williams
Lara
9
Lara
Lara
Lara
Lara
9/12
Lara by 1
Lara by 1
Williams by 2
Lara by 5
10
Williams
Williams
Williams
Lara
11
Williams
Williams
Lara
Lara
12
Lara
Even
Even
Williams
12/12
Even
Williams by 1
Williams by 2
Lara by 6

Update: All three judges have been suspended by the New Jersey State Athletic Commission.

Antillon Chats After His Loss To Rios

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 Forgotten Fight: Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara

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.

Rios & Antillon Strangely Subdued Prior To Their Brawl

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.

The Real Floyd Mayweather Shows Up In New York Today

We'll see how he is tomorrow night in Los Angeles, but the Floyd Mayweather that showed up for the first of two Mayweather-Ortiz (a.k.a. "Star Power") pressers today in Manhattan was disquietingly sedate and mature. Take a look for yourself:

The Skinny for those of you who can't be bothered:

  • Floyd says he wants to fight ten more times
  • He says he "absolutely wants" the Pacquiao fight, and the only thing preventing it right now is HBO not demanding both fighters take the test
  • He says he will no longer "move" when he fights, and will instead box in the center of the ring like he did against Shane
  • He thanks the fans and the media repeatedly for keeping him "relevant" over a period of fifteen years

A Tale of Two Press Conferences

1. Amir Khan vs. Zab Judah (July 23, Mandalay Bay, WBA/IBF 140 Unification): Two guys who can't help but like each other. Also, it's good to see Sweet Pea back on a big fight dais, he looks in pretty good shape but is as incomprehensible as always. I like Khan, but I'm rooting for the old guys in this one.

2. Brandon Rios vs. Urbano Antillon (July 9, Home Depot Center, WBA 135 Title): Two guys who absolutely hate each other. Rios proves he's a huge dick once again, making fun of Antillon's voice (much like he made fun of Roach's prior to the Pacquiao-Margarito fight) and clearly calling Antillon a gay slur at the end. I'm still hoping someone destroys Rios, but I don't think Antillon is going to be the guy.

It's On: Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz

It's all over the Internet--Floyd is coming back on September 17 to face Victor Ortiz. The fight will be at the MGM Grand and Golden Boy is reporting that full USADA testing will be used.

This is a great fight, and much better than Manny's last three opponents (Clottey, Margarito and Mosley).

UPDATE: The fight will be called Star Power.

Oscar Apologizes to Top Rank from Rehab

Directly transcribed from Oscar's Twitter. I'm guessing one of the first steps in the recovery program at the facility Oscar is at--for alleged cocaine and alcohol abuse--is apologizing to anyone that your addiction has negatively affected.

Dear Bob Arum:
First, I would like to humbly apologize for any pain I have caused to you and your family. I also want to apologize to Manny Pacquiao for any wrongdoing on my part. You are a great champion. I have realized that by accepting my mistakes everyone around me will hopefully forgive me. With great humility, I ask that we work together for the good of the sport we dearly love. It is not fair to the fans and to the fighters. So today, let's move forward and put on the best fights possible and show the world what we are capable of doing.

Thank you, Bob.

Your friend,
Oscar

Making and Unmaking Fights

Recent news:

  • The Showtime Bantamweight Tournament Final featuring Joseph Agebko vs. Abner Mares is back on, for August 13.
  • Paul Williams' opponent for their July 9 fight has been selected, and it's Erislandy Lara, who should be a very, very tough out for Williams. I really like Lara in this matchup.
  • Juan Manuel Marquez is still taking a tune-up in July, but it will be on July 16 and the opponent won't be David Diaz. Is anyone else wondering why Marquez is risking his guaranteed minimum of $5,000,000 to take a tune-up, when he hasn't needed one since at least the last time he faced Manny?

HBO Changes Mind, Won't Buy Williams-Ishida

Dan Rafael is reporting that HBO has changed their mind on the Paul Williams-Nobuhiro Ishida match-up scheduled for July 9. Williams' return was originally supposed to be the main event on HBO World Championship Boxing, then was downgraded to HBO Boxing After Dark, and now the fight with Ishida has been cancelled altogether, after criticism that it was not deserving of being a main event. I'm guessing HBO will want Williams to fight one of the other two proposed names, Sergiy Dzinziruk or Deandre Latimore.

S.O.G. Wants Bute After Froch/Johnson

Check out Andre Ward at the press conference following his defeat of Arthur Abraham. Is he going to be the next big American star? He sounds better on the mic every time we hear him. Two interesting things about his future:

  • When asked where he wanted the Super Six Finals, he immediately plead Dan Goossen for the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Being at the Pacquiao fight the week before may have made a strong impression.
  • He wants the WBC belt that Froch holds because of its history. Then he wants Bute afterwards, so there will be one undisputed champion in the division.

Next Up For The Punisher: Nobuhiro Ishida

Dan Rafael of ESPN has tweeted that Paul Williams' next fight will be against James Kirkland conqueror Nobuhiro Ishida, as the main event on HBO for July 9. Putting aside the question of whether this fight is HBO main event-worthy or not, it's nice to see Ishida parlay his few minutes of fame into a big spot on TV. Maybe he can make some hay against Williams--Ishida seems just as long and angular--and the question remains whether Williams has taken too much of a beating in his fights against Sergio Martinez.

Weights for Saturday: Andre Ward 168, Arthur Abraham 167, Chris Arreola 234!

Check out the size difference between Andre Ward and Arthur Abraham during their staredown --another reason why Ward is such a huge favorite in their fight for Ward's WBA Super Middleweight title. The big news at the weigh-in, though, was Chris Arreola coming in at 234--his lightest weight in almost four years. EOTR Picks: Ward by decision, Arreola by KO

Rated R Is Back!

One of EOTR's favorite fighters, Kendall Holt, just put himself back on the boxing map (and in the running for KO of the Year), flattening Julio Diaz with a vicious left hook in the third round. You know what would be a great matchup? Kendall Holt vs. Zab Judah at the Prudential Center in Newark.

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