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:
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.