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'

Fitness Jiu Jitsu