Chuck Giampa has been hired by Showtime to fill the Harold Lederman role of unofficial ringside judge. In his debut last night, Giampa was asked to explain, in his own words, what his job was:
Boxing is without peer among sports when it comes to generating strange controversy and drama. Case in point, this video:
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).
Here's the ballot I submitted for the end-of-year Bad Left Hook awards:
1. Lamont Peterson
2. Brandon Rios
3. Andre Ward
Trainer of the Year:
1. Barry Hunter
2. Virgil Hunter
3. Ann Wolfe
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
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-
The video speaks for itself:
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
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.
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