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.

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