Thursday, December 27, 2007

Floyd at the Crossroads: A Pretty Rich Dilemma



As 2007 winds down to a monumental close for welterweight champion and pound for pound artist, Floyd Mayweather Jr., he should be sitting pretty following his 10th-round destruction of Ricky Hatton (which was also a financial success--thanks to Hatton). Mayweather also resides in boxing's deepest division and is not lacking quality opponents. What he is lacking though, is big name opponents. But 2008 can either cloud his vision or make it clearer.

Now that he has vanquished Oscar De La Hoya and Hatton, Mayweather seems to be at a crossroads while in his prime. Should he retire, as he already did and eluded to even further during HBO's 24/7 series while visiting his therapist concerning his always injured hands.

And then there's the third and most recent path in his yet untraveled path: a shot at immortality by competing in an MMA event. While pro boxers crossing over into the world of mixed martial arts is nothing new, never has a boxer of Mayweather's status and level competed in an MMA event. Back in the '60s, stuntman/actor Gene Lebell (who also allegedly choked out Steven Seagal on the set of Under Siege) choked out ranked light heavyweight Milo Savage in 4 rounds in one of the first, if not the first, televised MMA bouts on U.S. soil. Most recently, Shannon Briggs, former linear heavyweight champion, knocked out MMA veteran Tom Erickson, in one round at a K-1 event in 2004. Shortly thereafter, Briggs said he found himself at a crossroads and decided to go back to wht he knew best, boxing.

If Mayweather does indeed follow through with billionaire Mark Cuban's HDNET Fight plans, he will be the first top boxer and current champion to answer the call. Past champions Joe Louis declined Helio Gracie's challenge and decades later, Mike Tyson turned down Royce Gracies challenge. The Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki match would not compare due to the ridiculous rules and the fact that is was far more spectacle than combat.

The guess here is that the initial sum of Mark Cuban's parts are enough to more than entice Mayweather, but there is serious doubt Mayweather will take that plunge. Why risk his oft-injured hands in a sport where he would be using smaller gloves and would require many months of extensive, hard-core training where injury is ever present?

Besides, there are still a few more mountains for "Pretty Boy" to conquer before he exits boxing to tackle another sport. For starters, there's Puerto Rican star, WBA w.w. champion Miguel Cotto, fresh off his close win over "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Cotto is the best bet for Mayweather in terms of money and promotion. Together, they would sell out Madison Square Garden in June, just in time for the annual PR Day Parade.

Then on the lower, but just as dangerous end are two high risk, low rewards competitors: Antonio Margarito (whom Mayweather promised a shot--see it here) and WBO w.w. champion Paul "The Punisher" Williams (think Tommy Hearns minus the right hand power). And let's not forget the Margarito conquered, vicious right-hand puncher and future MMA candidate, IBF w.w. champion Kermit Cintron (don't let the first name fool you, he has a strong wrestling background). Of all four, I'd have to give Williams the style preference, and hey it could also be billed as this millennium's Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas "Hitman" Hearns.

Or maybe, just maybe, Mayweather wins an easy MMA fight, returns to the boxing ring after Margarito-Cotto and Williams-Cintron sort out their fights, and either fights the winners one-by-one or let's and additional round robin determine who deserves their own 24/7 spot.

Regardless of the final outcome, look for Mayweather to test himself as only a fighter can. As he stated on 24/7, he doesn't need the money. He's like all fighters before him. From the greatest of the greats who fought everyone, everywhere to the local tough pug who fought everyone in the same small venues year after year, while working full-time outside the ring to support his family. Once the fight venom penetrates your blood stream, there's nothing you can do but alleviate the urge by abusing your body in training, sparring and fighting. This is the constant purging fighters like Mayweather search for until they can no longer concoct the antidote to harness and regulate the perpetual fighting spirit.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not ready for prime time



With the UFC making its first return to the state where it was first commisioned, New Jersey, fans turned out in full force. This should serve notice to the UFC the next time they have a big fight and Vegas is booked.

The main event featured Michael Bisping, the proverbial heel, versus anonymous contender Rashad Evans. Evans who was on the cusp of MMA stardom, came narrowly close to fulfilling that expectation against the oft beaten and original UFC poster boy, Tito Ortiz. Bisping, on the other hand, won a very controversial decision which most, including yours truly, felt he deserved to lose against Matt Hamill.

At the weigh in, Evans did not even shake Bisping 's extended hand and Bisping, who was heavily booed during the weigh in, retaliated to that insult by head shoving Evans before UFC president Dana White intervened. So, how did these two respond when it really counted?

They struggled to validate their showcase on the big stage.

In the first round, Evans showed his superiority on the ground by taking Bisping down. Bisping, to his credit, improved his takedown defense over the next two rounds and basically held Evans' wrestling skills at bay. Ironically, other than a few knees to the body by Bisping, Evans did better in the stand up game--courtesy of a few right hands, though none came close to hurting Bisping.

The third was more of the same in one of the most difficult fights to score. In the end, the judges scored it for Evans by a split decision. Give Bisping credit for accepting his comeuppence with grace.

On the undercard, chief support to the main even, ko phenom Keith Houston faced off against undefeated Chute Boxe fighter Thiago Silva. Houston, whose own personal story eclipses his remarkable MMA career, brought the fight to the hulking Silva.

Just seconds in, Houston made the mistake of trying to muscle a jiu jitsu expert. Once Silva closed the distance, it was clear that Houston's raw power may not be enough.

After mounting Houston early in the first, Silva began to rain elbows and punches to Houston's face. When the referee first stepped in to stop the fight after a few punches landed, many in the crowd were fairly silent as it seemed like an early stoppage. But the replay clearly showed Houston going in and out of consciousness. The ending was as sudden as it was emphatic.

Also on the undercard, exciting contender Karo "Heat" Parysian squared off against PRIDE FC veteran Ryo "Pirhanna" Chonan. Chonan, whose biggest victory was a submission over current UFC middleweight champion, Anderson "Spider" Silva.

Karo controlled the action, though Chonan showed great conditioning and avoided being completely outclassed. Karo was the effective aggressor and won a well deserved unanimous decision.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of the Parysian and Evans bout was that they failed to deliver excitement. This was an unseen gamble as both fighter's are known more for their exalting performances than big-name victories. Let's hope next month's UFC has its intended affect. And let's also hope that next time, east coast fans are treated to a Grade A event with prime time names from PRIDE and lighter fighters, too.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cotto Grinds Decision Over Mosley


(for more: hotboxingnews.com)

Miguel Cotto faced the most experienced fighter of his career Saturday night in "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Shane provided all of Cotto's former opponent's strengths, plus one: experience.

Mosley's determination also made the fight another stellar Madison Square Garden classic. In Cotto's last fight he faced a true crossroads fight against the ever dangerous Zab "Super" Judah. Last night he faced the quintessential torch passing fight between the proven great against the next great fighter. So far, Cotto has passed with honors. His next fight should be the superstar fighter gateway fight, against the winner of Ricky Hatton - Floyd Mayweather.

Cotto, in his own right, has the persistence of a woodsman chopping a thick piece of wood. No matter how stubborn the wood is, no matter what the weather conditions are outside, and no matter how much the woodsman muscles ache, he will eventually cut through the wood and have his say. Cotto has continually proven to be a persistent force. Only an ant is more persistent. And Cotto has augmented to his mental game with adept footwork and well placed combinations.

It was those type of just fast enough combinations that allowed Cotto to always be a step or two ahead of Mosley. In the first round, both fighters came out with a solid game plan but Cotto was flashier with his; a bit more persistent. The fight was an even sway of powerful bombs thrown and landed by both men, with Cotto landing he more head snapping punches.

It was in rounds 9 and 10 that Cotto reminded everyone why is may just be the next great fighter in a long line of Puerto Rican greats. He suddenly started to backpedal against the type of fighter you never show a hint of doubt. Mosley, sensing that his pressure was finally starting to wear down the less experienced fighter, began to turn on the pressure and stalk his opponent with a purpose. What did Cotto do? He fought back the way he always does when in doubt.

Though Mosley won those rounds,the 11th round was all Cotto. After showing some doubt, he fought as if he was sure of what he was about to accomplish. Cotto
landed some of the best combinations of the fight and while Mosley was fighting back, it was now he who was hesitant to maul in against the younger bear. In the 12th and final round, both fighter coasted to the finish line,with Mosley the ineffective aggressor and Cotto the confident winner in retreat mode. A dull round that was preceded by a great fight.

For Cotto, the road to super stardom is through the winner of Mayweather-Hatton. For Mosley, the road will be filled with more gravel than Cotto's but it by no means leads to nowhere. Mosley proved once again that at age 36 he belongs among the elite. Cotto, 27, proved that he has the "it" factor. To quote HBO ringside commentator Max Kellerman, Cotto has just enough vulnerability that he makes you sit at the edge of your seat until the final bell, or count, has been heard.


(for more: www3.turkishpress.com)

David slays Mormeck

David "Hayemaker" Haye ascends to the top of the crusierweight with a definitive knockout of undisputed cruiserweight champion Jean Marc-Mormeck.

The 27 year-old Brit looked to be in trouble in the fourth round against the 35-year old French champion when he was felled by a powerful right hand. Ironically, it was that same exact punch by Haye that ended Mormeck's reign as ruler of the cruisers.

Haye, who displays just as much vulnerability as Cotto and some magic in his own power has many options. He can either defend against other qualified cruiserweights or move up to the heavyweights and go for it all.

Though Haye will be bit smaller than some of the gargantuan heavies, he has already proven that he has the power to average things out. Now his chin and stamina are altogether different matters.

If Haye were to square off against the reigning bad boy at HW, Wladimir Klitschko, Haye would be lucky to leave the ring with his accent intact.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Legends of the Ring and the Octagon

Regardless of the outcome of their next fight(s), these artistic combatants will be enshrined in the pantheon of great fighters, even long after their time in the ring, or octagon, has long expired.

First up: Joe Calzaghe



Normally, an undefeated record by a fighter who exclusively fights out of his local area is not really that great. But Calzaghe is different. he has never been one to protect himself. He only attacks and defends afterwards. His ten-year run has been perfect, even if his opponents have not been. Only Roy Jones Jr. is absent from his list. but then again, RJ has been missing from many top fighters' list for years.

Calzaghe, who fights with the grace of a cruising dolphin and the ferocity of a wild boar, proved that he is the best super middleweight with yet another dominant performance against another younger,undefeated fighter with a strong resume and equally stronger will. Mikkel Kessler's resolve to continue throwing punches and doing his best is what makes Calzaghe's ascension all the more astounding.

Next up for Calzaghe? All roads have one lane that zips toward established legend, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins. A win for Calzaghe and some may foolishly mention his name along Sugar Ray Robinson. A loss for Hopkins and well ... nothing. That's one of the perks legends will always have.

The only other question is where will the fight take place? U.S. or U.K.? Soda or tea? Either fighter may hide behind economics as a reason to remain homeward bound. But lest they be reminded that Muhammad Ali and Robinson didn't HAVE to travel to prove anything. That is why they are beyond legends. They are Icons.

Octagon Legend: Randy "The Natural" Couture



Randy's recent decision to bolt from the UFC for unfair treatment does absolutely nothing to his accomplishments inside the octagon (and the ring in other fights of his career). Couture has always been a stand up fighter who fights with the tenacity of a grizzly bear. he ducks no on and has never hid behind economics or weight to turn a fighter down.

He has beaten the best of two divisions and has galvanized the spirit of George Foreman and Archie Moore into the nucleus of MMA. He has taken losses and rebounded when most writers and fighters had counted him out. He is to MMA what all-time greats have been to boxing. Couture is the standard by which most MMA fighters will be measured against.

And as great as Fedor has been, this is something that is boldly missing from his resume. Let's see if he can correct that.

Next up: Anderson "Spider" Silva




Make no mistake about it. Silva is not on the legendary status of the aforementioned names ... yet. And therein lies the beauty. Silva, whose recent strings of stoppages against all styles of fighters have leapfrogged him over Fedor as the consensus P4P fighter in MMA, fittingly fights like a spider when taken to the ground. But when he attacks, he pounces on his opponents like a tiger does on any prey he chooses. His recent re-destruction of fringe contender and former middleweight champion Richard "Ace" Franklin, reminded everyone just how difficult this former PRIDE fighter will be to defeat.

Perhaps it will take a pure winner, and also a training partner, like Lyoto Machida to truly take Silva into the zenith of his career and lead him down the road only legends travel.

Future legends of the ring:


(for more go to www.hbo.com)

Next week two more fighters will lay their crafts on the ring canvas. Only a definitive masterpiece will be accepted. "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto will meet in the ring and the winner will decidedly head closer to Legends Road.

Mosley was traveling at light speed toward that most mythical of roads when a black hole by the name of Vernon Forrest completely ended his course for the time being. After Mosley beat Oscar De la Hoya,most would have thought that was it. But ask Ken Norton; just because you beat the man, the status does not necessarily go to you.

But Mosley's light is hard to trap. And he has been showing signs that his beacon may actually be a sign of a coming supernova. A win against Cotto would give Mosley one last shot at boxing immortality.

But Cotto is a force that cannot be,or more fittingly, won't be denied. His will ad temper to win has thus far guided him in the right path toward more glory than any plastic and metal belt could ever bring. He has defeated the fast boxer (see Malignaggi) and the hard puncher (see Ricardo Torres). Mosely has attributes that both possess and more; he has experience. This fight will bring one fighter closer to the Legends Road and knock the other entirely off course.


(sportinglife.com)

If the upcoming Ricky Hatton-Floyd Mayweather has one other thing to present other than possibly a great fight, is a chance to see who the next legendary welterweight will be.

For the past ten years, Mayweather has established his dominance in five different divisions against the best suitable competition. And he has done it with the arrogance and dominance of former kings. Only Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker could make such a boast. Hatton is the one with much to prove, but

Mayweather would be careful to make sure his crown is well placed. For surely Hatton will see if it is a perfect fit.

Mosley, Cotto, Hatton, Mayweather. Though Mayweather's legacy is mostly secure, one of the other warriors still has a chance to enter a domain few will ever tread.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Big Weekend, Big Letdown

Pacquiao missed making his mark against Barrera

Photo by Chris Cozzone

When this past weekend was over and done with, fans were left with a clear leader but without much direction.

On Saturday, Filipino dynamo Manny Pacquiao won a rather boring 12-round unanimous decision over future hall of famer Marco Antonio Barrera. Manny was the aggressor that night, but opted to play it a little safer than Barrera, who announced his retirement following the bout.

While the win was necessary for Pacquiao, he missed the chance to put an exclamation point on a popular, dominant reign. Had he been a bit more aggressive against the usually aggressive Barrera, he may have duplicated his ko of Barrera in 2003.

Fans can and should excuse Barrera. A fighter who always brought it with full vigor in his prime. Maybe he didn't want to suffer the same fate his countryman, and eternal rival, Erik Morales encountered (a third-round thrashing).

Barrera performed like a veteran stage actor trying to remember his lines before the final curtain set.

Let's see if Chris John or Juan Manuel Marquez can give Pacquiao a better performance.

Samuel Peter faced an unexpected uphill battle vs.Jameel McCline

Photo by Ed Mulholland

The Nigerian Nightmare, Peter, was given a rude awakening at the hands of McCline--a heavyweight who makes it onstage and either freezes altogether or does just enough to get a return call.

Surprisingly, the heavyweights provided far more action in the first few rounds of their fight than two bonafide action stars by the names of Barrera and Pacquiao did all night.

Peter who survived a total of three knockdowns within the first three rounds, showed a champion's grit by getting off the canvas and boxing his way to a close decision win. McCline showed the same promise and hopelessness that has earned him contender but never championship status.

A rematch between Peter and consensus champion Wladimir Klitschko should provide a more definitive answer. But first, heavyweight spoiler, Oleg Maskaev.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Who's Seeing the Ghost?


(Photo: Ed Mulholland)

Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik rebounded from a second-round drubbing to demolish former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor in the seventh round.

Taylor, who entered the fight with much to prove against following two lousy decision wins against smaller fighters, entered the ring with a focus that had not been seen since his challenge of Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins.

Taylor had his game face on as the round started and was jabbing and straight right handing with the longer armed Pavlik, even if he was losing the uphill climb. Then in the second, Taylor exploded a right hand on Pavlik's chin and after a few more, downed the taller fighter. Only Pavlik's superior conditioning and heart helped him get out of the round.

Maybe it was exhaustion from Taylor's assault. Maybe Pavlik's continued work rate following near-disaster aided Taylor's impotence. Or maybe Taylor just fell in love with his power and forgot to keep his hands up and keep circling to his right. Whatever the reason round three spelled the beginning of his downfall.

After close rounds between the third and sixth, Taylor kept moving to his left, with his left down and began to eat rights at an alarming rate. It doesn't matter who you are and what you're pedigree is, but when a puncher is tagging you with his best punch,you don;t eat and not expect it to wear you down.

Finally, in the fateful seventh round, Taylor was tagged with yet another flush right hand. This time he couldn't shake it off and Pavlik, who's as good a finisher as anyone in boxing today, followed with a barrage punctuated by a monster left hook that violently and quietly slumped Taylor in Pavlik's corner. The count was academic. Taylor was beaten down.

In the post-fight interview, Taylor said he would like rematch. Nobody ever accused Taylor of ducking anyone, but this is a match he may want to build again to fight. Maybe he will learn from his mistake, but the guess is that Pavlik will be too strong for him. Or maybe Taylor learns how to better finish off a man while he's focused.

The other pertinent question is, "Who is seeing "The Ghost" in the ring?"

A current look at the Ring middleweight rankings is like looking at a prison's lunch menu; appalling.

For now, only two real names stick out. Ronald "Winky" Wright and Arthur Abraham. Winky hides in his defense and Abraham straight brings it. Both would be good to see what they can bring out of Pavlik.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Dean Defrosts The Iceman; Griffin Shocks Shogun



Saturday's UFC 76 card featured a come backing former champion, two possible future champions, and some contenders in the mix. As per all UFC PPV's there was another huge upset and another inactive PRIDE fighter who was coming in on past accomplishments and had his check cashed.

Jardine Checks Liddell

Come backing former, long-reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell looked to return to his winning ways and set up an even longer awaited match up against Wanderlei "The Axe-Murderer" Silva against Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine. It was not to be. Jardine and Liddell engaged in a fight that never went to the ground, except for the time Lidell caught a hard right to the jaw in the second round. Jardine simply out worked Lidell by punching him and kicking Liddell all over his left side.At the end of the fight Liddell felt confident in his accomplishment, though was given a dose of reality when the sinner was announced. A visibly frustrated Silva could only shake his head in disgust.

This fight may never happen, though it should since both are on the comeback trail.

Griffin Derails Shogun's Arrival

The highly anticipated arrival of former PRIDE champion Mauricio "Shougun" Rua featured Forrest Griffin giving as good as he was taking. He was grounded and punched and kicked, and he did the same to Shogun. He was cut badly in the second by an elbow to the forehead but managed to even out the round with a take down of his own. Shogun impressively rolled over to avoid taking any punishment though that technique, along with Griffin's conditioning and tenacity eventually proved to be his downfall.

In the third round Rua dominated the first half of the round, then gave his back for the umpteenth time--not a good move against someone trained by MMA legend Randy "The Natural" Couture--and paid a long-awaited debt. After Forrest pounded an exhausted Shogun, he submitted with a choke on the top guard. This was the first time Shogun has ever been stopped (against Coleman, he suffered a freak accident). After a huge victory like this, Griffin deserves a title shot.

Th Rua brother are 0-2 this month.

Fitch outmanuevers Sanchez

Jon Fitch gave notice to all that he not only has arrived, but has all intentions on making himself a dominant force. A comebackig Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez started the fight with an all-out assault, only to be held in the check the entire night by This fight reminded of two brothers who are wrestling in the living room and although no one gets truly hurt, there was the older brother getting the edge in strength. In this fight, Fitch was the older brother.

Lyoto Continues Forward March

And last but not least, Lyoto Machida continued his winning ways against another former PRIDE fighter Kazuhiro Nakamura by a unanimous decision. It wasn't easy, but as the undefeated Lyoto has consistently proven, he's a pure winner. Lyoto ate some shots from Nakamura, but out struck and outworked him in the with punches and kicks in the long run. Lyoto, who was the first to derail the meteoric rise of former UFC middleweight champion Rich "Ace" Franklin, should be given a shot at the winner of the Franklin-Anderson "Spider" Silva rematch.


PS,

To all PRIDE FC fighters--especially Fedor Emelianenko--KEEP ACTIVE.

The reason most PRIDE FC fighters have not been nearly as successful as would be hoped is because they have not been as active since the last PRIDE event. You don't sit on the sidelines for months and then return against elite opposition, in a new fight environment, with new rules, and in the U.S. and expect to have an easy night. See Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Anderson "Spider" Silva, two current UFC champions.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Ultimate Fighter topples The Contender



It's not that the grapples of mma have forced an editorial admission of superiority over boxing's 8 ounces. It's the fact that one aspect of the "reality" TV show, The Ultimate Fighter, easily trounces the boxing "reality" show, ESPN2's The Contender: they save the drama for outside the hollowed fighting ground.

While both shows feature enough drama to forget that in the end these men will truly risk their health for personal gain, Spike TV's UFC-based show keeps it real when it counts: during the fight. One of the main reasons The Contender failed to consistently keep high ratings (besides the silly challenges) was that the fights were edited and filled with dramatic music. While the channel has changed, the formula has not. ESPN2, while adhereing to time restraints (can't miss all the poker and bass fishing), needs to leave the one part of the show that is real alone; the fights.

I appreciate how Spike TV markets TUF and the UFC as a whole. Only PRIDE FC had a better production value. TUF features no cut in the action, no silly music, and no sily family reaction. The fight is why anyone would loyally watch the show. Post Script A friendly reminder, this Saturday, the Shogun is coming. Hopefully he and Forrest will put on a good show as always.

A Highlight of Shogun:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4606186564477991927

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Top Ten Fighters Today ... Period


(Photo via www.canadastarboxing.com)

Top 5: Boxing

5. Israel Vasquez
Just when you've counted him out for the umpteenth time, he scores another revenge kayo ... for the umpteenth time.

4. Joe Calzaghe
An unbeaten career so far. The fighter from Wales will get a tougher challenge than Jeff Lacy could ever pose when he faces multi-dimensional Mikkell Kessler. So far, Calzaghe has passed this test 43 times. Will Kessler be 44?

3. Manny Pacquiao
He started his career being knocked out here and there. Now he knocks out quality opponents everywhere. A rematch against future hall of famer Marco Antonio Barrera will tell us more about the Filipinos future chances of having a plaque in Canastota, NY.

2. "The Executioner" Bernard Hopkins
Boxing's version of Randy Couture without EVER losing by KO. A strictly technical and spontaneously exciting fighter who has Father Time on HIS watch. Seriously, if his fights were not as close we'd be talking him up at the Sugar level.

1. "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather
Hate him,love him, whatever, he is bar none the best fighter on BOTH lists due to his superiority amongst all comers and all divisions. You'd have to go back to "Sweet Pea" Pernell Whitaker to find such dominance in boxing with top names, even if it's not as aesthetically pleasing as most fighters on either list.

Top 5 MMA (might as well call it UFC)

5. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
It has been a while, but it will be worth it. Rua, who will hopefully be joined by all the other PRIDE fighters--Japanese and others--will take on the always exciting and limited bring 'um fighter, Forrest Griffin. With more successful activity, he'll replace Fedor.

4. Anderson"The Spider" Silva
He needs to make the 205 lb. limit for his next fight, providing he gets by dangerous Richard "Ace" Franklin. Rampage-Silva ... just imagine.

3. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
I can't even remember a fighter in either the ring or the octagon who has improved so much lately. So much for the cage being a reason PRIDE fighters will have a hard time adjusting.

2. Randy "The Natural" Couture
If it weren't for two consecutive right hand KO losses to the "Iceman" Chuck Liddell he'd be number one. When was the last time Fedor beat a heavyweight?

1. Fedor Emelianenko
This is strictly out of respect for past accomlishments that are within mind sight and for the fact that he has yet to lose. Other than that, Janet Jackson said it best with her son, "What Have You Done For Me Lately?"
A blown-up middleweight, no matter how skilled Matt Lindland is, does not favor him in the ranking timeline.



And now for the best of the best match: Floyd Mayweather vs. Fedor Emelianenko

If this were a boxing match, I'd give Floyd the advantage even though he's at a 80+ pound disadvantage.

Under MMA rules, Floyd would be lucky to land a punch.

Now, a prime Mike Tyson vs. a prime Fedor under any rules ...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Boxing Season is Over (at least in the Minor Leagues)



(photo via from http://www.ringsidereport.com)

Spanish Boxing to the Rescue

With the death of boxing always looming in the minds of mainstream fan and media alike, it's those with the backing are doing all they can to support this ever-terminal sport. Yes, the folks over at ESPN2 are working harder than ever to keep boxing at the blip mark level. This past Friday, FNF wrapped up on the season finale of and will usher in the dubious The Contender show.

Question: Since when did boxing get the seasonal treatment?

This isn't a sport where there are organized teams and players who have home designations and matching outfits. This is one on one competition in its purest form. And for the boxers who fight for $10,000 (before taxes, managers, sanctioning fees, taxes, etc.) and rely on outlets like ESPN2, Versus, and the long dead USA'a Tuesday Night Fights, the squeeze is on tighter than it's ever been.

But if you give the Spanish-language based Telemundo (on free TV) and Telefutura (basic TV in some and basic cable), you will get your money's worth and entertainment, even if you can see it but can't understand it.

If you take a trip over to www.fightnews.com you'll see the following fights on the schedule:

TV FIGHTS
Telefutura -- 9/14
8PM ET/PT
Fernando Trejo
vs. Juan Cruz
(lightweight)
Telemundo -- 9/14
11:30PM ET/PT
Jose Reyes vs.
Silverio Ortiz
(lightweight)

And while I will admit that these stations tend to ostracize non-Spanish speaking fighters and heavier weights, you know who to thank for the omitted USA-English exposure.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

UFC 75: A Champion, A Contender, and A Crook



At UFC 75, two men provided their own results and one was assisted with a robbery.

UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson won a tough decision over PRIDE two division champion (l.h. and middleweight) Dan "Hollywood" Henderson. The fight was not as explosive as anticipated but it was because both men fought at a level and style that have made them successful professionals.

Henderson won the first round but afterward, he had a hard time with the devouring strength of Jackson's body, elbows, and fists. The last three round featured Jackson's strength being a bit more dominant than Henderson's wrestling techniques. There was a little booing throughout the bout but that's because the two supporting bouts were mainly on their feet.



Maybe I missed something but did SPIKE TV intentionally delete Cheick Kongo's entrance? Well it didn't matter because Kongo played the role of spoiler by painfully kicking and kneeing a gun shy Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovich and controlling him on the ground.

Filipovich started off with a purpose and leading with kicks and punches. But once Kongo pressed him against the cage, Filipovich lost his purpose and solely tried his newly acquired ground skills without much success. The chiseled 6'4" Kongo bore into Filipovich with knees and kicks to the body that seemed to deflate Cro Cop's resolve.
This may have been Kongo's coming out party, though he would still be a huge underdog against UFC heavyweight champion, Randy "The Natural" Couture.



Finally, Michael Bisping received the right recipe by two of the judges to have the perfect home cooking over Matt Hamill. Hamill came out like gangbusters in the first round and completely dominated Bisping and dropped him with a punch as well as hurting him numerous times and took him down at will.

The second and third rounds featured more of the same, though Bisping's stand up was much better and in the third he landed just as many shots as he received. Bisping also avoided being taken and kept down, though he was taken down on a few occasions. This wasn't as bad as many robberies I have seen in boxing but it seemed as if the crowd definitely had a say in the matter. Look for Hamill to return even stronger and for Bisping, who, if he doesn't sharpen his swords, to take this gift and squander it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

UFC 75: UFC vs. PRIDE FC?



This Saturday, fans will be treated to a night of pay cable (not premium) MMA extravaganza on SPIKE TV @ 9 p.m. from London, England.

Headlining the UFC 75 card will be newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. PRIDE two-division champion Dan "Hollywood" Henderson. They (UFC' marketing team) are calling it "UFC vs PRIDE." Huh?

Prior to Jackson's first round annihilation of fan favorite Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, he was first a King of the Cage, then exclusively a PRIDE FC fighter. Henderson, the PRIDE middleweight and light heavyweight champion, has fought for both the UFC and PRIDE. The cage should not be a factor in this match.

The brolic design of Jackson should collide well with the Henderson's wolverine style of fighting. Henderson is the better all around MMA fighter than Jackson though Jackson has made it a point to beat better wrestlers than him (a razor thin decision over highly skilled Murilo Bustamante and a slam dunk KO over jiu jitsu expert Ricardo Arona).

This fight will come down to the better chin and stamina. And until now, Henderson has provided both. Let's hope the undisputed champion meets the undisputed challenger, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua--provided he gets by Forrest Griffin.

And another fight--especially fighter--that should be noted on the undercard of UFC 75, is Matt Hamill, who will face off with old TV reality nemesis, Michael Bisping. Hamill, is a 31-year-old, hearing impaired American amateur wrestler and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, according to Wikipedia. Not that he will ever get any preferential treatment in the ring or octagon, Hamill's story is a refreshing one for the world of combat sports. Can't help rooting for the underdog fighting away from home.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Randy Couture Defies Father Time ... Again


(For more: www.sherdog.com)


Last night in Las Vegas, 43-year-old wonder kid, Randy "The Natural" Couture defended his belt against the best (and bigger) challenger available, Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga.

Gonzaga, coming off a career-best win against Mirko "CroCop" Filipovich and tried to repeat the hat trick against Couture with not too much success. Early in the fight, Couture demonstrated his greater experience immediately pinning Gonzage,who would not be taken down easily,to the cage. After a takedown in which Couture's head crashed against Gonzaga's nose the fight was, for all intent and purposes, over.

With Gonzaga's nose bleeding profusely and Couture's relentless attack and superb conditioning, it was only a matter of time until either the referee/corner/doctor/Gonzaga would stop the fight. Luckily for all, after a brief moment of betrayal that featured Gonzaga verbally telling the referee he could not see due to the blood, he continued only to have the referee rescue him after Couture took him down and punched his mangled nose with impunity.

What's next for Couture? Whatever he wants, Father Time be damned.

PS. Feels good to get one right for a change. I picked Couture because Gonzaga's first, and only defeat until last night, was against Fabrice Werdum. Werdum, hardly a puncher, stopped an exhausted Gonzaga by pummeling him.

And let this be said: Couture still has a few more human years to catch up to the latest top aged dog-- "Big" George Foreman.


(Photo via www.voicesfromhome.com)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Shogun of South America



While the UFC's debut of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will not resonate the same media attention as Barry Bonds's recent record-breaking 756th home run, it will make a huge ripple in the MMA universe.

Representing Chute Box, Rua became the 2005 PRIDE Grand Prix champion in one of the most dominant, magnificent displays in sports history. He faced one of the better strikers with a considerable height advantage ("The Demolition Man" Alistair Overeem), one of the best submission fighters in the world (Ricardo Arona) and dominated both then knocked them out--on the same night no less. He bested the best of both worlds with his fists. Imagine Michael Jordan's game against the Portland Trailblazers when he couldn't miss the three-pointers and any game against the Knicks.



The Brazilian native make his debut in the fall against an opponent to be announced. But Rua has already bested the current UFC middleweight champion, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson by a first round TKO after Jackson suffered injury to his ribs and tapped after Rua pummeled him.

And with Wanderlei Silva's recent signing to the UFC, we may finally see a Silva-Lidell match. I predict Rua facing off against either Dan "Hollywood" Henderson or a rematch with a rejuvenated Jackson. And I predict Rua to still be standing tall after the dust has settled.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sweet, Bloody, Violent Revenge



Photos by Chris Cozzone
- FightWireImages.com---via www.fightnews.com

Quite possibly, the fight of the year--which also features the round of the year--ended the way all ebb and flows fights end: in a stoppage.

Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez did something rare to a great original: They superceded it with an even more spectacular sequel. The action was fast and furious from the opening bell with both men trading power shots toward each other's faces with Marquez going to the body with greater efficiency.

The first two rounds featured both fighters punching with bone crunching intentions though neither fighter looked the worse for wear. That all changed in the hellacious third round.

Round three, a round of the year, consisted with action from the first two rounds--hard, straight jabs, digging hooks to the body, jolting uppercuts, and heavy hooks to the chin/jaw/face--on an even more frenetic level. Both fighters were stunned, Marquez more so by a left hook, and both fighters were cut, Vasquez more so with a cut over each eye.

The action died down very slightly--at least compared to this fight--until the sixth round. That's when a left hook, the same potent punch in the first fight, by Vasquez dropped Marquez hard onto the mat. Not wanting for history to repeat itself in the same regard as the the first fight, Vasquez would not release his stunned opponent and threw punches until referee Guadalupe Garcia (of Oliver McCall-Lennox Lewis fame) stopped the fight when a jab sent an already hurt Marquez stumbling backwards.

Vasquez, bloody and bruised, let out a vociferous, triumphant roar while leaping in the air in a state of nirvana. Marquez, though a gacious warriro, refused to accept the loss citing it a quick stoppage. In the end both men said they wanted a third fight.

What dreams will come from that one?

Next up: The Shogun of South America

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Middle Man, Front and Center!


(Photo by Ed Mulholland via www.fightnews.com)

The drums have already started beating for what may be one of the best matches in combat sports today. Undisputed middleweight champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor will defend his titles against consensus #1 contender Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik. This is a must fight for both fighters, the sport of boxing, and the fans.

Taylor first came into boxing prominence after a trio of very close, could-go-either-way-type championship bouts versus Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins and Ronald "Winky" Wright. Since those fights, what should have been a coronation of his middleweight conquest, has now become a snide question mark due to his last two performances against undersized foes: Kassim "The Dream" Ouma and Cory Spinks, Jr.

Pavlik, on the other fist, has been on a tear against a contender his own weight with an equally as ferocious a puncher. And he did it in a much more exciting fashion that Taylor's last five fights have been. This feat alone does not mean a victory on Septermber 29, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, and will be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing, thankfully no PPV.

As far as stats go Pavlik is the taller of the two at 6'2 1/2" while Taylor stands at 6'1". A native of Youngstown, OH, Pavlik is also younger by three years at 25 years of age. Each undefeated fighter has fought at middleweight or close to it their entire professional careers.

Taylor, the franchise of Little Rock, AR, has the better pedigree as far as boxing experience goes. From winning a bronze medal at the 2000 U.S. Olympics to dethroning a certified boxing legend in Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, Taylor's boxing resume far exceeds all Pavlik has done ... so far.

As far as styles go, Pavlik appears to have the advantage. When he wants to, he can use his great height and reach to outbox and punish foes with heavy hands. Taylor,on the other hand, has been fairly predictable, though still unbeatable, with his jab, jab, straight right hand style. His footwork is reminiscent of a duck sliding across at your local carnival's shooting gallery. Pavlik showed great adjustment--and a great chin--in choosing to brawl on the inside with the supposed harder hitter, Edison "Pantera" Miranda, and come away with a jaw dropping ko.

Reading the above paragraph should spell a tactical, hard fought victory for Pavlik. But, and you know there always is one in boxing, it must be noted that Taylor fought one of the craftiest infighters in B-Hop and one of the better defensive boxers in Winky and was competitive against both. The main difference is that Pavlik hits harder than both of them and keeps his aggressive stamina late into fights.

My fearless prediction (based on my last predictions, play strictly with funny money): Pavlik wins a fairly comfortable decision after being tested by Jermain.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Waiting for the Rain



The drought has not been as long as the absence of articles. But accept this as paying my syntax.

For now, the world of MMA and boxing has been fairly tranquil if not outright quiet. Sure there was the Bernard Hopkins-Winky Wright affair (Lunesta, anyone?) which was as dull as many predicted. But in a world where Michael Vick's alleged fighting pit bulls dominate headlines, only the hardest of hardcore fight fans even knew there was any boxing going on.

But the wait shall soon be over. As July exits, August brings the promise of a torrential down pour of kicks and punches. As in the beginning of every month, Showtime Championship boxing continues its tradition of a solid fight card every 1st Saturday of the month (better than none). August's first weekend features an intriguing can't miss rematch with Israel Vasquez vs. Rafael Marquez. Their first fight was a true barn burner featuring back and forth action, a knockdown and a badly broken nose which caused the fight to be stopped. Wonder what this fight will reproduce?

Also, the UFC will return on August 25th via PPV (oh well) with UFC 74: Respect, as Randy "The Natural" Couture takes on Gabriel Gonzaga for the UFC Heavyweight title and a come backing George St-Pierre will take on undefeated hotshot Josh Koscheck live from Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. My early picks are Couture by close decision and Pierre to return to his winning ways, if he regains his hunger, by a hard-fought decision.

And for a monsoon, wait a few more months.

(As reported on www.fightnews.com)
Ricky Hatton is set to face recently retired, welterweight champion "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather, Jr. on December 8 in Las Vegas (according to a report by the Las Vegas Review Journal).

Via ESPN--shocking huh?--Antonio Tarver is set to face WBC light heavyweight champion "Bad" Chad Dawson on September 29.

And Miguel Cotto is set to face "Sugar" Shane Mosley on November 10 via PPV.

Let it pour.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A "Stacked" 147-lb. Menu


(Photo by Joe Miranda via www.fightnews.com)

Last week the UFC sparked an already hot summer and held down the PPV and boxing world in check with a marvelous card that featured some short bouts with big names.

This week, HBO has finally moved away from expensive PPV's with cheap under cards to a world-class boxing card covering both coasts (two fights from Atlantic City, NJ and the main event from Carson, California).

First up on the menu was once-beaten, power puncher Kermit Cintron vs. once beaten, power puncher Walter Mathysse (see a pattern here?). It would have been to Mathysse's benefit to have faced off against a confidence builder-type fight. He arrived in the ring after a near-long year layoff, his last fight having been a 10-round TKO loss to tough, undefeated Paul "The Punisher" Williams. Mathysse appeared nervous and took deep breaths while awaiting Cintron's arrival. If he could get past the first few rounds, he may have stood a chance to get the rust off.

He did not.

After a back and forth flurry, Mathysse was dropped by a long, right hand by Cintron. Early in the second, Cintron, who could not miss with his right hand, picked up where he left off with a vicious left-right combination that dropped Mathysse hard on the canvas for a brutal second-round kayo.

Afterward, Cintron called out "Sugar" Shane Mosley. It would have been nice to see Cintron call out the winner of the Williams-Antonio Margarito bout to truly erase his TKO defeat at the hands of Margarito, before calling out an established fighter like Mosley. But so is the boxing business.

After that tasteful appetizer was boxing's version (basketball's Dominique Wilkins was the first) of "The Human Highlight Reel" Arturo Gatti vs.Alfonso Gomez. Gomez, the former Contender star, landed the harder punches early in the fight and continued the pattern even in the middle rounds, which were vintage Gatti featuring back and forth leather-to-face contact. The fiery action lasted until the seventh-round when, after being hurt by a barrage of punches, a long, hard, right hand connected on Gatti's chin and dropped him for good, and hopefully, for his safety, for his career.

And finally, for the main course, was the highly anticipated Paul "The Punisher" Williams vs. Antonio Margarito. The main event, which any fan of combat sports had been salivating for months, was fairly one sided. Williams, normally a straight forward fighter, boxed from long range whipping out long, left-rights in rapid-fire fashion for the first five rounds. The sixth offered what many thought the entire fight would look like as both men stood and traded shots to the head and body. The seventh featured Margarito effectively pressuring Williams and landing some telling blows.

The final five rounds featured Margarito closing the distance and Williams' punches having less snap. The scintillating action seemed to veer towards Maragrito's harder punches, though WIlliams's left uppercut provided some extra drama. Most of these rounds were candidates for rounds of the year.

In all, a great night of boxing where the main course did not fully satisfy the hunger with as conclusive a filling as the first two courses. Cintron proved that if he could the his right hand enough he can beat most welterweights. Gomez, as did Gatti, proved that they make for exciting fights. Williams proved he's no Tommy Hearns but as competent a boxer as they come. And Margarito proved that as long as he doesn't give up the first few rounds, all welterweights remain on notice.

Thanks to a great card such as this, fans could be excused for not buying two needless PPV's featuring one non-contender and one former pound-for-pound king.

John Duddy continued his dubious contender status beating Alessio Furlan by a 10-round TKO.

And in the "main" PPV, former P4P king, Roy Jones Jr. squared off against undefeated upstart Anthony Hamshaw and won a comfortable, unanimous decision.

Maybe next time, Jones, Duddy, and other boxers of the like will take a page out of the HBO card and have their fights aired on the same night from different venues (Roy did this when Bernard Hopkins defended his title). Exposure is a fighter's best friend, not the quick, profit generated PPV cards.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weekend Delight - UFC 73 and Boxing recap



UFC 73: Stacked

The UFC card more than lived up to the hype. First off, a huge upset was almost pulled off late in the first round when Heath Herring (twice beaten by Antonio Noguiera) landed a huge left, leg kick and for all intent and purpose, Noguiera was out.

Maybe it was Noguiera's legendary ground skills, or maybe he was in Herring's head because of his two victories but for whatever reason, be it ill-conceived or not, he allowed Noguiera back to his feet and attempted the same left, leg kick on a very dazed Noguiera's noggin without success. After catching lightning in a bottle Herring's moment passed. After a second and third round of Nogueira's effective aggressiveness with a few failed submissions attempt, the fight was over and Herring had completed an 0-for-3 run against the Brazilian.

Next up was a fight that couldn't help but be a head-on collision as Sean Sherk successfully defended his UFC lightweight belt by unanimous decision over Hermes Franca. But make no mistake about it: this was not an easy victory for Sherk. Were it not for his conditioning and a neck like Mike Tyson's, he may have been submitted or stopped on numerous occasions.

Sherk's will and skill allowed him to escape several guillotine choke attempts and his shock absorber of a neck helped him recover from some devastating knees. Franca will be back and Sherk may yet prove to be a dominant champion.

The Tito Ortiz-Rashad Evans fight did provide a first, at least for the two combatants; a draw. It was a back and forth affair with Ortiz securing the takedowns and hammering Rashad. However, in the process of one of these takedowns, Ortiz made an error he, as a UFC veteran, shoouldn't have: he grabbed the fence and was penalized the winning point.

Evans turned it up a notch in the third and final round and won it big. It was howver,toolittle too late for both men. An immediate rematch was announced at the post-fight press conference, according to sherdog.com.

And in the main event, Brazilian striking sensation Anderson Silva continued his UFC reign of destruction as he stopped Nathan Marquardt late in the first round with a series of rapid fire punches to the head.

Marquardt never seemed to be in the fight though he brought his A game and took the fight to Silva, who appeared to know he was too strong a striker for the veteran. After a take down by Nate "The Great" Silva never lost his cool and always took it back to the stand up game. After a big straight left hand by Silva, Marquardt seemed discombobulated. After a take down by Marquardt and a beautiful reverse sweep by Silva, the middleweight champion rained punches on a defeated Marquardt before referee "Big" John McCarthy stopped what had become at that point a mismatch.

Look for Silva to defend against Rich "Ace" Franklin in the ex-champion's hometown of Ohio. Franklin better bring more than his A game.

Boxing

Over on HBO, things went as planned for the long, past, heir-apparent Wladimir Klitchsko, who scored a sixth-round drubbing of human punching bag, Lamon Brewster. Klitschko did what he was expected to do in their first fight; win in dominating fashion, if not devastating. Brewster ate jab after jab, round after round, followed by occasional right hands. Though Brewster never went down, he was clearly on his way to dementia ville. Kudos to trainer Buddy McGirt for assisting Brewster and Klitschko in making the TKO official.

The future for Klitschko is where it was at prior to his shocking kayo loss to Corrie Sanders. With older brother Vitali, set to fight once fringe contender, Jameel McCline (little brother Wladimir stopped him already), look for both brothers to possibly achieve a boxing first; two brothers simultaneously holding a piece of the heavyweight championship. Now isn't that great for the sport of boxing?

On Showtime, however, the script for both opponent's role were not as obliging. Vic Darchiniyan, who many believe to be one of the better punchers in the sport at any weight, got a taste of his own medicine, suffering a wicked, one-punch kayo, courtesy of a left hook by Nonito Donnaire.

In the main event, Travis Simms, not to be confused with twin brother and still undefeated Tarvis, lost his first pro bout and in the process also lost the WBA super welterweight (not the WBC, IBF, or ABC belts) to still undefeated Canadian Joachim Alcine.

Both fighters were deducted points for clinching and Simms lost an extra point after a punch sent him to the canvas for a flash/off-balance knockdown. In reality, they both should've been deducted further points for lack of action.

Next time:
Keeping up with the fighting Jones'

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Weekend Delight: UFC 73:Stacked PPV, boxing on HBO & Showtime


UFC 73: Stacked

Deviating away from their last Pay Per View which was held overseas, a dismal one at that, the latest UFC fight card figures to give more bang for their buck. This card features one of its original starts in Tito Ortiz taking on undefeated, young upstart Rashad Evans in Sacramento, Calif.

I'm tempted to make Rashad a quick pick based on his punching power, but I can't help remembering how he was dominated by Sean Salmon before delivering a devastating shin kick to the head of Salmon in one of the best ko's ever seen (up there with Crocop-Gonzaga)in an octagon. However, Ortiz, who showed much improvement after tapping out against Frank Shamrock, has been losing with such determination that I wonder if he can remember how to win. I will pick the winning horse and go with Evans by decision, though a ko seems to be Ortiz's preference.

There's also Nate Marquardt Vs. the ever explosive Anderson Silva. Marquardt is a veteran with great ground skills though Silva is no slouch on the ground himself. And to get within his range is to get within his arsenal of leg kicks, heel kicks, knees, and some potent hands. I'll have to pick Silva by 2nd round stoppage.

The fight of the night may reside in this match up: Hermes Franca Vs. Sean Sherk.

Sherk is like a smaller, pigment-challenged version of the Hulk, while France is a version of, well, Franca. And that's a good thing. Franca has great Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills and throws hay makers from South America. Sherk brings it and has the strength to keep it there. This is a hard call, but I will go with the more versatile of the two; France by a close decision.

In addition, Pride FC legend "Minotauro" Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (not to be mistaken for his recently KO'd twin brother Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira) will make his Octagon debut against rugged "The Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring. All in all a fight card worth watching.

Boxing: HBO & Showtime

Though no where near as stacked with main attractions as the UFC the two fight cards offered this Saturday does have some significance to the sport of boxing.

First off the heavyweights on HBO: Wladimir Klitschko vs Lamon Brewster looks to be an intriguing rematch. In their first fight, Klitschko delivered a brutal beating for the first four rounds and dropped Brewster. Miraculously, or as trained, Brewster came back the very next round and shellacked a completely dehydrated Klitschko twice to the canvas and was subsequently stopped. I'm going to make an educated guess here and say that Klitschko has learned better conditioning under Emanuel Steward and will win by a mid-rounds knockout. This is a must-win fight for him. IF he wins look for some much needed unification bouts.

On Showtime, it's the jr. middleweights: Travis Simms (not to be mistaken with his equally undefeated brother Tarvis Simms--I'm serious) vs. Joachim Alcine. Alcine does not have the pedigree Simms has and therefore should lose by a comfortable decision. If Simms can win impressively, look for him to possibly go to the red-hot middleweight division for big-money fights.

Also on the card look for hard-hitting Vic "The Raging Bull" Darchinyan to extend his kayo streak against unknown Nonito Donaire. Time for "The Raging Bull" to step up his level of opposition.

For More:

http://73.ufc.com/

http://www.hbo.com/boxing/events/2007/0707_klitschko_brewster/news/announcement.html

http://www.sho.com/site/sports/flash.do#/site/sports/event.do?event=454261&source=shocom_carousel

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Evander Holyfield: Real Deal or Real Problem?


(Photo property of Dave Olsen. For more: www.daveolsenartwork.com)

This past weekend, former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield inched closer toward possibly another world title shot--which titlist, remains to be seen--with a 12-round unanimous decision over non-contender and recently re-retired Lou Savarese.

Though I'll be the first to tell you that a 42-year-old heavyweight contender is nothing new (see Archie Moore, Foreman, and Larry Holmes, just to name a few) just what benefits they reap for the sport of boxing is another matter altogether.

Not to beat a dead horse, but of all the anti-boxing remarks Joe Rogan made during the ESPN interview, he did make at least one good and unfortunately, accurate point: Boxing relies on relics to keep itself in business.

There are some great fights around the corner and many would-be-tv-fighters ... if they were only given the exposure.

Back to MMA for a moment. Other than the great fights provided by the combatants, the fact of the matter is that the UFC is into building stars, not merely dusting them off every few years. Look, it was great for the UFC and the human spirit to see 43-year-old former UFC heavyweight champion Randy "The Natural" Couture pull off a huge upset and unseat unsteady UFC champion Tim "The Maniac" Sylvia.

While this result sent shock waves throughout MMA, it did not stagnate the UFC because the UFC does not rely on the heavyweight division or singular champions to to keep the train running.

Just like MMA has copied the successful molds which shape boxing (from nearly the same announcing styles, to coming together with athletic commissions to seek reform), boxing needs to take a page from the UFC and stop pillaging old names while consistently overlooking qualified up and comers.

I will start here:

Kelly Pavlik (terrific middleweight with a punch and a chin)

Edison Miranda (though he recently lost to Pavlik, he will be seen again)

Paul "The Punisher" Williams (this generations Tommy Hearns?)

Antonio Margarito (a fight with Williams next Saturday may provide some post-4th of July fireworks)

Manny Pacquiao (if it weren't for boxing, he may have been another great Asian action movie star)

Chad Dawson (speed, punch and shaky chin make him a must watch)

Those were but a few fighters I have mentioned. What are yours?

Next time:
Keeping up with MMA and boxing. Best sports combo around

Monday, July 2, 2007

Boxing Meets MMA, And It Is Good



(Part 2)
Enough already! There exists enough money for ALL types of professional one-on-one combat. It's not like there's a season ans the combatants participate a few times, or even once a week!! (More on this in the future)

And what was Joe Rogan babblin' about when he incorrectly said "Their are many aspects of boxing that are ineffective and will not work in a real fight."

Huh?

Did he or did he not watch the Jens "Little Evil" Pulver vs. John Lewis fight? That fight ended in about 20 seconds when Pulver unloaded a classic, boxing one-two, right jab, straight left down the pipe and it was Lewis who resembled an early drunk on the octagon mat. And weren't Vitor Belfort, Andre Arlovski, and Chuck Liddell lauded more for their hands than their ground skills?

Rogan also went to state that boxing is a dying sport. Again, huh?

Now had he said the boxing "Heavyweight" was a dud, all the more power to his quote. But I guess he's not fully aware of the record number DeLHoya-Mayweather and Cotto-Judah made in a month span. But I digress.

I know that Rogan gets a check from the UFC and is an accomplished martial artists. And from past interviews as well as the one to the side of this post (the Youtube one) he's a huge boxing fan.I jsut can't stand the way mainstream media treats boxing, even though it generates more money than all these sports in one night-minus the Nike , etc.promotions.

Next time:
The Pillaging of a Legend
Is Evander Holyfield delusional or our generation's George Foreman?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Boxing vs. MMA? Why??















Admittedly I am a chronological boxing fan. My fascination with The Sweet Science first started in the checkout section of the supermarket when I was 14 and had a sudden urge to find out more about a fairly familiar face on a boxing magazine. That scraggly face, topped with a baseball cap and joined by rapper Hammer, belonged to none other the Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield, following his 1993 rematch decision win over Riddick "Big Daddy" Bowe.

While most mainstream fans may not know about those two warriors or may have simply forgotten them, it is an indelible part of my introduction and fascination with boxing.

Equally as impressive two years later was my introduction to the UFC via KO Magazine, The Ring Magazine's sister publication. This was ironic because it was the latter magazine for which Holyfield graced the cover. I will confess that at the time I did not watch the UFC. I simply read Jeff Ryan's searing commentary in which he titled his commentary "Ultimately Ridiculous" (or something to that effect) and ripped the combatants as fairly heartless and that they would probably be blitzed inside a minute in a parking lot against boxing's elite.

It made for a fun read and when I finally did get around to renting the tapes--late 1996--I must admit that I would certainly not pay or waste my time watching someone in a gi cradle another man into submission.

Fast forward four years later and advancement in user participation on the Internet and I was suddenly intrigued by MMA. It started with a highlight clip someone made regarding the aforementioned gi-wearer Royce Gracie and Japanese superstar Kazushi Sauraba. The HL mixed the late, great Notorious BIG's music with clips of the 90-minute fight. That's right 90 MINUTES!

The HL mixed the late, great Notorious BIG's music with clips of the 90-minute fight. That's right 90 MINUTES!

I suddenly found myself searching the Internet for all the MMA information I could find. Everything finally cam down to an awe-inspiring documentary entitled "The Smashing Machine" shown on HBO in 2002. It summed up the whole inception of the UFC and Japan's premiere MMA event Pride FC.

Now, in 2007, MMA has eclipsed Pride FC (actually bought the rival organization out)and on par to do boxing numbers, in terms of pay-per-view.

Let's face it: We (meaning fans of one-on-one combat sports) have all been fans of MMA before it was even given that title. I dare you to tell me that you weren't a fan of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jet Li, or the latest action star Tony Jaa. We've all wanted their fistic prowess and their confident swaggers. Come on, I dare you to say no. Didn't think so.

While I am happy for all the recent success of MMA and boxing latest PPV, "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather and Oscar "The Golden Boy" DeLaHoya, I must admit that the media proverbial stake in the heart for boxing is useless and premeditated. Here are some recent sickening examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jJgg3XHLhs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB5XxIzrRAk



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