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.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Evander Holyfield: Real Deal or Real Problem?

(Photo property of Dave Olsen. For more:

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."


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:

Fitness Jiu Jitsu