Saturday, December 27, 2008

UFC 92 Results

Jackson is on Fire and Back on the Rampage

Jackson Axes Silva

You have to give it to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. He knew he was the underdog, yet he cam into a fight he's been wanting to avenge for years and made the most of it in as little time as possible. Wanderlei "Axe Murderer" Silva looked like a lion about to feast on a wounded zebra. But Jackson was no wounded zebra. He is a vastly improved fighter who has overcome much mental and emotional turmoil to pull himself together and walk through fire, hazards be damned.

When the fight started, Jackson immediately raced toward the center of the octagon, similar to Sugar Ray Leonard making sure he was the first to the center of the ring in his huge upset of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Looks like Jackson was over his two knockout losses to Silva.

Jackson began following Silva and threw a Mail Mary right hook that was almost similar to his knockout of Liddell, though it missed. He never allowed himself to get in the dreaded Muay Thai clinch and scrambled out of the way when he momentarily dropped Silva. Even though Jackson lost his previous fights with Silva he was the better "boxer" of the two. In the second fight, he was winning the stand up before he was caught with a right hand and then ko'd from vicious knees.

But revenge has a way of giving payback in full.

As Silva was following Jackson, he traded and lost. Silva was countered with a picture perfect left hook and his limp body dropped to the octagon like a sack of potatoes. Two more "take that" right hands cemented a conclusive win. This was a huge win for Jackson and a devastating one for Silva who has been losing too many wars ever since being starched by Mirko CroCop Filipovich.

Brock Lesnar Gets his Wish; Mir Nears Title Shot

Frank Mir talked a good ground game but fought a great stand up game. From the opening bell, Mir controlled the pace of the action and took the gumption out of legendary MMA heavyweight, Antonio Nogueira with a stream of right and lefts that Mir could not miss.

Nogueira has been in too many wars and eventually someone would have his number. And once Mir saw he could control the fight on his feet ala Tim Sylvia, he used his head, paced himself and avoided any type of ground game. He dropped Nogueira twice in the first round with blistering rights and ended a frail looking Nogueira in the second with a flurry of punches.

Fighters like Nogueira could last in MMA forever as long as the fight eventually goes to the ground. Nogueira's well finally ran dry. You can only do that some many times and the pale was left empty this time. Nogueira can no longer survive the bombs of Bob Sapp, Fedor Emelianenko (2x loss), CroCop, Josh Barnett, Heath Herring, Tim Sylvia, etc. But luckily for Nogueira, his legacy has been safely secured.

Evans Continues Tear Through the UFC

Evans Cuts Down the Forrest

Rashad Evans continued his meteoric rise toward the top of the MMA P4P rankings with a crushing flurry of punches to win the UFC LHW championship. Evans started out with fluid movement against Forrest Griffin. Griffin countered it with the same leg kicks that slowed Jackson down in their last fight. Rashad held his own in the first but probably lost it due to the number of kicks he received.

In the 2nd round, Griffin continued his kicking ways and got bold with a nice right hand he landed on Evans. Evans slapped his body and taunted Griffin almost as to tell him, "You're strikes will not stop me!" Still, it was Griffin;s most dominant round.

Evans came out with a purpose and rushed Griffin with punches that dropped him.Sensing victory was within his reach, Evans rained down hammer punches from all angles ala Evans teammate Keith Jardine. But Griffin was not as hurt as initially seemed and survived the momentary storm. Emphasis on the word momentary.

After realizing that Griffin had no answer to his strikes, Evans turned on the fury and landed a right forearm to the chin of Griffin and never relented. He threw punches from under and behind Griffin who was out of the fight.

"His punches gave my body movement," joked a now-clear-headed Griffin.

Next up for Evans is the Thiago Silva/Lyoto Machida fight. Can't hardly wait for the UFC card.

All in all, a great card that more than lived up to the hype. There were no decisions in any of the main events. What a way to usher in 2009.

Friday, December 26, 2008

UFC 92 - Analysis and Predictions

Quite possibly, the greatest MMA card ever.

When UFC 73 - Stacked was first advertised, it seemed like the greatest MMA card ever, on both sides of the ocean. But with UFC 92, the matchmakers at UFC may have outdone themselves, especially in hindsight.

Looking back, UFC 73 was a great card that turned out fairly good results. And none of those matches, individually, could have been held as a PPV main event. UFC 92 boasts 3 matches that could conceivably be held months apart, but thankfully, they aren't.

For some reason the "weakest" fight on the card is the co-main event pitting former champ Frank Mir vs. Antonio Noguiera, also this season's TUF coaches. This is a bout for the grappling fans as both Nogueira and Mir are experts on the mat. Look for the older Nogueira to out fox the younger Mir who's looking for a second match, and possible repeat win, against current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.

The other co-main event, may have been the third fight between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. This is the match all MMA fans have been salivating and waiting to see. The first two meetings between the two featured real bad blood and took place in Japan in PRIDE FC, and in the ring. Silva own two KO wins over Jackson, the second a devastating win that left Jackson's body hanging lifeless on the second rope strand, blood gushing from his nostrils.

Since then, Jackson has been on a rampage and lost his last fight in a close decision. Silva, on the other hand, has been on a mixed review. He lost an exciting stand up war to UFC posterboy Chuck Liddell. Then he came back to starch Liddell conqueror Keith Jardine in less than a round in brutal fashion. Maybe Silva has Jackson's number the same way Jackson has Liddell's or maybe Jackson has overcome an emotionally tumultuous 2008 and has learned how to defend against Silva's Muay Thai clinch. Rich Franklin never did against Anderson Silva and it's hard to forget how Silva performs in rematches. Ask MMA legend, Kasushi Sakuraba. This is a can't miss fight for anyone who enjoys combat sports. A main event in any era.

UFC 92 Weigh in

But here is why the UFC continually gains more fans and boxing tends to lag. The UFC could easily have held the Silva-Jackson 3 card as the main even and no one, not even this writer, would have uttered a letter of protest. But the UFC has maintained on the right path of building stars and not merely relying on the same names.

In the main event, red-hot Rashad Evans takes on equally fiery Forrest Griffin. Evans, fresh off a one-punch, highlight reel KO of Liddell, faces a surging force in Griffin who own wins over PRIDE phenom, Mauricio Rua and the man whom he won the UFC light-heavyweight, Jackson. The winner of this fight will be the king of the light HW division until either Lyoto Machida or Thiago Silva have a say in that matter. Perhaps Evans' wrestling background, coupled with slick lateral movement, will be enough to unseat the current champion who has continually progressed in all his matches, critics be damned.

Here are the questions that should be answered at UFC 92.

Can Mir overcome Nogueira's vast experience? How long can Nogueira compete at the elite level before the punishment finally takes its toll?

How will Jackson overcome the mental aspect of facing a man who has knocked him out twice and has absolutely no fear of him? Will the cage make any difference for Silva who had much success in the ring against Jackson? How much effect will Jackson's legal troubles and new trainer have?

Who's ground game will prevail, Evans or Griffin's? Is Evans really a better striker than Griffin? Whose the harder hitter in this match?

All questions that will be answered tonight. The heads at UFC deserve credit where it's due, and it is here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Best Heavyweight Round Ever?

Which do you pick? 1, 2, or other?

1) Larry Holmes vs Ken Norton

Two top-notch heavyweight giving it their all in the 15th round! Sylvester Stallone, Roberto Duran and Chevy Chase are ringside and on their feet.

2) Riddick Bowe vs Evander Holyfield I

This was a career defining fight for both men. Both men surviving each other's bombs only to do it again after the legendary 10th round. The crowd nearly drowned out HBO's announcement team.

Fearless Lennox Lewis: Best British Heavyweight or Best Brit Ever?

British-born Lewis may be the best Brit or Canadian Heavyweight ever

The recent announcement of Lennox Lewis induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY--with induction ceremonies detail HERE was a mere formality to boxing fans. That Lewis has resisted temptation to return to the squared circle is the real milestone.

Lewis, a native of London, England, who learned how to box in Ontario, Canada, has always had strong roots in boxing. He was an amateur standout who sparred with a young Brooklyn phenom, Mike Tyson, and won Olympic gold when he TKO'd future undisputed heavyweight champion, Riddick Bowe. Lewis missed his chance at Olympic gold the first time when he was beaten by Tyson KO victim Tyrell Biggs, but as Lewis showed, he was dangerous the second time around.

After turning pro, Lewis returned to his British roots and the publicity it could bring him. But it was not until 1992, and his demonstrative KO of tough Tyson opponent, Donovan "Razor" Ruddock that people really began to take notice.

Lewis was there to challenge former KO victim Bowe after the latter won a career-defining fight against Evander Holyfield.

Why didn't Bowe defend his honor and clear the slate?

He challenged Bowe, but had to settle for the WBC strap which Bowe threw in the trash bin, then lost the rematch to Holyfield. Lewis would have to wait for more than a decade before his dream fights came to fruition.

In the meantime, between his dates with post-destiny, he lost the strap by 1-punch KO to former Tyson sparring partner, Oliver McCall. He would regain the title by stopping an emotion train wreck in McCall nearly 3 years later. In between that rebuilding stage he also fought Tommy Morrison, a few months before Morrison stated he had the HIV virus. How's that for fearless?

But if there was one fight that Lewis will always have, it was his 1996 war with Ray Mercer. It was a back and forth war in which Lewis showed his mettle and never backed down. He won a razor-thin decision and though disputed, it was not a robbery. This may have been the fight that proved to Lewis he could face his conqueror and beat him, which he did with a little help from McCall's in-ring nervous breakdown.

Lewis' reign seemed assured after beating Andrew Golota, Zeljko Mavrovic, and a past his best Holyfield in his 2nd fight in 1999 after being robbed a victory the 1st time by a dubious draw.

The road to Canastota seemed rosy with the only thorn being that flash KO loss to McCall in 1994. And with that, the stage was set for an upset ala Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman in 1974, in Zaire.

Lewis seemed a bit overconfident against Hasim Rahman, who had already suffered two KO losses. And while Rahman kept his eye on the prize, Lewis was filming a movie after having conquered all the top heavyweights of the day decisively. When he finally arrived to South Africa, Rahman had stolen the thunder from Lewis and delivered a laser-guided right hand to the point of Lewis chin, where it reads, simply, KO. Lewis would jump right back in the saddle and deliver a 1-punch revenge KO to Rahman, a Hall of Fame KO, followed by the biggest-selling fight of the time, a kayo win against faded legend, Tyson.

Lewis ended his career with a TKO win against current heavyweight title holder, Vitali "The Better" Klitschko.

In the end, Lewis' resume is truly an outstanding one, even if some of his fights were not so. Lewis never showed fear of facing any opponent. He actually always went after the top fighters in the division year after year. He even left England to make the fights happen long before the Hatton's and Calzaghe's of the U.K.

Unfortunately for Lewis, he did not have the fan base of the aforementioned fighters. he came at a time when the division was red-hot but never could get the dream matches. he beat a country's hero in Frank Bruno and was not like too much at home, where ever that was. He was ducked by Bowe and Tyson when it would have counted most. And he was on the comeback trail when Hoyfield was finishing his best work.

And lastly there was his style and personality. He wore an air of arrogance and confidence in his manner of speech and his swagger into the ring, though he always seemed very fan friendly. He had a cold stare for his opponent and a devastating right hand to go with it. If he knew he could put you away he would; if not, he'd be content to jab and grab his way to victory and not risk injury.

But the bottom line is that Lewis never ducked anyone, beat the top fighters (both in the alphabet ratings and The Ring's ratings), avenged both his defeats, never disrespect to a fellow fighter after the fight, and finally made clear which country he represented. He was mainstream without going all the way. Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe cannot say the same for their success in both the states and abroad ala Lewis. All in all, Lewis' legacy is secured and his plaque is well earned. Hang it high and proud, as fans from all sides will agree.

This video probably best illustrates Lewis the person and the fighter

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Note to Calzaghe: Boxing is Not Dying!

Calzaghe looks even more foolish with recent comments than in his narrow points win over Hopkins

So far, and probably a done deal, the biggest PPV buy of 2008 was not UFC 91, where hulking behemoth Brock Lesnar turned the MMA world upside down with a 2nd round KO, title-winning victory over Randy Couture, but rather from a "dying sport" between two fighters who each weigh half what Lesnar's thigh weighs.

Joe Calzaghe, the shoo-in Hall of Famer who convincingly beat fellow future HOF'er Roy Jones Jr., was recently quoted by PA Sport via Fightnews as saying that "boxing is a dying sport."

This after Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao recently garnered 1.25 Million PPV buys as per Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, Inc., which was 25,000 fewer than expected but better than any other event in this recession and weak undercard.

Sour grapes by Calzaghe? Maybe.

While it is not Calzaghe's fault that he came at a time when the best fighters this side of the Atlantic were already in their twilight, Calzaghe should not admonish the sport which has brought him wealth and fame simply because of bad timing. Charley Burley could only have been so lucky.

The sad part is that it will be a while until Pacquiao, who seems to be boxing's current cash cow, finds a suitable dance partner. Yes, there's Ricky Hatton, but then the names that will generate a mainstream boxing buzz fizzles. Especially in the USA where big PPV's are saddled with small undercards.

However, as long as HBO, Showtime, ESPN2, and Telemundo begin building their own stars aka showcasing no-name fighters with exciting styles and some "nurtured" personalities, boxing will always limp to the finish line rather than sprinting across the opposition. But nevertheless, boxing will carry on, even if their faded stars cannot.

Pac-Man may never sell as many albums as fights, but right now he may be boxing's biggest cash cow

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Upset! Pacquiao Continues Mexican Killing Spree

Pac-Man crushed the Golden Boy like no other fighter before

Shortly after crushing Mexican greats Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Juan Manuel Marquez (barely), Manny Pacquiao was called "The Mexican Killer." It appeared that title would come to a violent end against boxing's cash cow, Oscar De La Hoya. So much for this writer using Riddick Bowe's assessment against Evander Holyfield.

De La Hoya started the fight dancing with Pacquiao instead of fighting like the bigger fighter. He did not pump the jab. He did not maul the smaller fighter. Instead, he used his face and body as his defense. His offense was thwarted by Pac-Man's speed, power and tenacity.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, fought with brilliant side to side movement. He always kept coming forward and never got too cocky. He made De La Hoya seem old and slow. He won the first round by darting in and out, dipping to his sides and always backing out with his hands high.

In the second round, Pacquiao implemented his dominance by outlanding De La Hoya 5 to 1. And when Pacquiao landed,he landed with confidence, placing welts over Oscar's left eye. It would continue with De La Hoya offering much less resistance compared to when he's in a business meeting, where Pacquiao made it crystal clear this is where De La Hoya should have been for the past 3 years.

The inglorious end came for De La Hoya at the end of the 8th round when both his trainer, Nacho Beristain, and referee, Tony Weeks, were contemplating on stopping the fight. After Beristain made the decision to stop the fight, Oscar, who never contested the stoppage, simply got off his stool and congratulated an elated Pacquiao. Gone was the teeth-gritting De La Hoya who dared victory to escape his grasp. He went out with a whimper, but to his credit, made no excuses.

Next up for Pacquiao is Ricky Hatton, unless Floyd Mayweather decides to add to his millions. And some where out there, Juan Manuel Marquez simply shakes his head in anguish.

"Funny Money Only" Picks of the Week

Chris Cozzone

Could De La Hoya be eyeing his future Asian business partner?

Oscar De La Hoya KO 9 Manny Pacquiao
Unless Manny's defense is as good as his offense and Oscar is too drained, look for De La Hoya's power and natural strength to make the difference as the fight wears on. But you have to admire Manny's tenacity. Maybe Pac-Man catches lightning in a bottle.

Juan Manuel Lopez KO 5 Sergo Medina
JuanMa a future star in the making.

Too bad the rest of the undercard is dismal. This is why boxing is hurting overall. Only a few big names, and none of the younger, national talent being showcased.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao: Good Big Man Beats Good Little Man?

Photo: Chris Farina
Can Pac-Man taint the Golden Boy?

Riddick Bowe explains the theory from practice at the 1:56 mark.

Unfortunately for Pacquiao, he does not have the defensive finesse Pernell Whitaker had when he fought De La Hoya.

However, Pac-Man possesses a potent punch. And if he's able to carry his power to the 147-lb limit ...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Evander Holyfield: A Top-Tier Heavyweight

Personification of a Warrior

If faith can provide a resistance to science then Evander Holyfield could serve as the inspiration to a field of proven statistics. The Internet has proved a great source of valuable information, as well as rumors and false information. Now that one of the latest chapters in the life of Holyfield, in which the former three-time heavyweight champion (a feat only Muhammad Ali has achieved) was rumored to fight 7’ 330 lbs. title holder Nikolay Valuev, has reached a conclusion and is now signed, sealed and waiting to be delivered, Holyfield’s place in history should be re-examined in this age of bigger heavyweights with smaller desires.

When Internet rumors first hit the Net, message boards were filled with predictions of an in-ring tragedy ala Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago in Rocky 4. Fans and regular Joe’s who knew of the 46-year old Holyfield expressed legitimate concern for the former champ. This was a concern that would have been on the other shoe a decade ago. Because while the 7-footer provides an imposing figure and a glossy 49-1-1 record, Valuev, along with the entire heavyweight division, is sorely neglecting the entertainment and “heart” value that made Holyfield millions of dollars and fans.

When analyzing a fighter’s credentials for greatness the number-one factor which overshadows all else is the competition. How abundant was the competition and how did the athlete in question fare? If the answer is great to both, then that said athlete enters the pantheon of the sport’s best. Enter Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield. Once his credentials are scrutinized, the heavyweight rankings may need to be reshuffled.

Without a doubt, THE BEST Holyfield Highlight Video!

Many boxing writers, young and old, forever debate the top three: Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, and either Rocky Marciano (crude as he may have fought, he’s still the only undefeated fighter in boxing history) or Jack Dempsey. For quick argument’s sake, let’s briefly look at why Ali is commonly, and correctly, viewed as the consensus No. 1 heavyweight of all time. He fought all the best fighter’s of both his era's and won more than he lost ... convincingly. How was that for a quick assessment?

Now with that formality out of the way, let’s examine just where Holyfield fits into the all-time rankings. Louis, America’s Champion, was never allowed to duck anyone. However, due to the fact that he fought in an era of dismal competition, his dominance is the only thing that saves him. Louis faced tough competition early on which was surprising due to the fact that he had one of the shakiest chins in boxing history. He was knocked out in the amateurs. His first defeat in the pros was by knockout at the fists of Max Schmeling. And he also was knocked down in championship fights by James Braddock, Tony Galento and Jersey Jose Walcott.

Let’s look at Holyfield’s chin. He started his career at cruiserweight, roughly the same weight Louis and Dempsey weighed and Marciano almost weighed. Holyfield withstood the bombs of Dwight Qwai over 15 brutal rounds and was the winner standing in his first championship title reign. Ali was only stopped once, though Henry Cooper would have much to say here. And Dempsey was KO’d in 1-round early in his career by Fireman Jim Flynn. The pick here for the chin department goes to Marciano, no contest. He preferred going toe to toe no matter who the opponent, no matter how long and always found a way to win. Who can forget the way Holyfield went after the bigger and stronger Riddick Bowe and how Bowe's punches sounded like drums beating before a war?

Only Muhammad Ali 2.0 could rival Marciano.
Now that we have a clear winner in one of the most important departments, let’s look at their championship caliber accomplishments.

More of this amazing Real Deal HL

Heavyweight Championship Victory

Ali, then Cassius Marcellus Clay, won his first world championship fight from Sonny Liston, feared heavyweight who had won the title via dominating first-round KO over Floyd Patterson.

Louis won the championship over favorite overachiever, James J. Braddock—who won his championship via 15-round decision over Max Bear—by KO8 but only after getting off the canvas.

Dempsey won the championship over Jess Willard via TKO 3—who won his championship via KO 26 over the great Jack Johnson—the allegations of his gloves being loaded notwithstanding.

And speaking of the great Johnson, he won his championship over Tommy Burns via 14 TKO, but had many losses and close decisions over Joe Jeanette and Sam Langford (perhaps the best P4P fighter ever, but that’s another discussion).

Holyfield won his first world championship at heavyweight over an out of shape James “Buster” Douglas—the same man who scored the biggest upset is sport’s history over Mike Tyson—via KO 3.
Advantage: Ali
Semi-advantage: Holyfield
Does anyone make Douglas, yes, even an out of shape Douglas an underdog against either of the conquered former champs?

Heavyweight Championship “Rematch”

Here is where only Ali and Holyfield are included as they are the only heavyweights, other than Floyd Paterson—the first—to have won the linear championship back. Hell, John Ruiz and a few other mediocre heavyweights can make the claim they won the WBC, ABC, 123 belt a few times. Let’s examine who won theirs and how.

Ali reclaimed his prize almost 7 years after being stripped of the title against the Tyson of the ‘70s, George Foreman via KO 8.

Holyfield reclaimed his prize one year later against the man who bested him by decision over 12-rounds, Riddick Bowe, though this was not the motivated version of 1992. Who can ever forget Holyfield bringing the fight to his bigger foe Bowe, who outweighed him by at least 30 lbs. that night?
Advantage: Ali
Caliber of Opposition:

This is where titlists are separated from champions. Ali, for lack of space, wins this section via magnanimous decision. This is where Floyd Mayweather’s KO of Ricky Hatton will always leave a question mark that was answered by Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito. So let’s compare the rest.

Louis: He had his “Bum of the Month Club” but to his credit, he dispatched them in the fashion a young Tyson dispatched his own opponents. The stellar names here are: Max Schmeling, Tommy Farr, Jersey Joe Walcott and Jimmy Bivins.
Marciano: He had the shortest span of all fighters listed but he put in good work against his opposition, most notably, Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles, and Walcott
Dempsey: Too bad he never defended against No. 1 contender Harry Wills because the rest of his resume is decent. Only Gene Tunney and Jack Sharkey are worthy of his championship reign resume.
Holyfield: Just look at the names he beat in their primes and a few past. Lennox Lewis (2nd time--even though it was ruled a loss--a debatable one), Bowe (rematch), Tyson, Ray Mercer (and decked him too), Larry Holmes and George Foreman.
Advantage: Holyfield

Now, having measured the consensus top heavys championship victories, caliber of opposition, and chins there is only one heavyweight below Muhammad Ali who has a clear advantages. Yup, you guessed it: Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield. Hopefully, the allegations of steroid and HGH (Human Growth Hormone) are just that. Should it be true, he should be demoted based purely on the fact that those drugs have proven that it can help a person recover quicker from injuries. But even still, none of those drugs are proven to help train a chin (see Fernando Vargas) or motivate a heart (see the rest of today’s dismal HeavyWeight division aka Wladimir and company) like Holyfield’s. It's Holyfield's indominateable will and the relentless pursuit at success that place him in the pantheon of heavyweights.

Sorry neo-heavyweights. Adding Holyfield's aged name to your mantle does not increase your ranking.

Though Holyfield can never go back home, his legacy is secured

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Couture - Lesnar: Hughes - Gracie Revisited

The new face of MMA, UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar

Last night, Brock Lesnar stopped Randy Couture with punches for a 2nd-round TKO victory. Up to that point, the fight had been a closely contested affair with Brock having a slight advantage with a takedown in the first. How far can Lesnar can take this victory is dubious.

This fight was somewhat reminiscent of Matt Hughes' dominating win over MMA Legend, the man who started it all, Royce Gracie. The difference is Couture put up more resistance before being caught by a punch to left side of his head. The similarity is that Couture never put in much work in order to gas the big guy.

In Couture, Brock was facing a fighter who had been knocked out twice by former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Chuck Liddell. However, Lesnar was also facing a Couture who had went back to his natural weight and defeated up and coming strongman, jiu-jitsu trained Gabriel Gonzaga--who also had a dominating win on the same night.

UFC's Dana White must be basking in lesnar's victory. He has his own Elite XC's version of Kimbo Slice, only this one is bigger, Mid Western, and has a better chin and wrestling skills.

So, who can unseat this big monster?

Fedor Emelianenko is the obvious choice though he must get by the always dangerous Andre Arlovski, who has a good chance of beating both if it stays on the feet.

Antonio Noguiera? He has seen too many wars and he may not be able to pull off the same upset he was able to pull versus Bob Sapp 6 years ago.

Frank Mir? Perhaps the second most likely candidate after Fedor.

Gabriel Gonzaga? Lesnar's style is bad for "Napao" who seems to lose spirit if he's the one getting grounded and pounded.

Then there's Junior dos Santos,who was last seen ko'ing Fabricio Werdum.

But let's give credit where credit is due. Lesnar trains as hard as he showboats and he fights to win. He has learned to pace himself and he showed it against Couture. Let's see if the face of MMA can last the challenges that await hi.

And let's see if more Pro Wrestling stars make an exodus from staged combat to ultimate fighting.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Funny Money Only" Picks of the Week

photo by Chris Cozzone

Main Event – UFC Heavyweight Championship

Randy Couture Sub3 Brock Lesnar
(Look for Couture's experience and timing to offset the young Brockner's aggression)

Joe Stevenson L3 Kenny Florian
(Look for Ken-Flo's defense to be the decisive factor in a close battle)

Josh Hendricks KOby2 Gabriel Gonzaga 256
(Look for Gonzaga to use his experience and strength to win this in a must win fight)

Jermain Taylor W12 Jeff Lacy
(super middleweight)

(Taylor has more all-around skill and a lengthier resume than Lacy. Taylor by lopsided decision)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brock Lesnar vs Captain America: Spectacle or Sport?

Can the juggernaut known as Brock defeat 2-Time UFC Heavyweight Champion Couture?

From MMA to spectacle may be the first thought for those not too familiar with the UFC's history. It was only a few years ago that the UFC made a concentrated effort to turn the spectacle that was pitting discipline versus discipline into a neo-fighting sport that showcased the best athletes with cross-discipline in a variety of disciplines.

Enter former WWE Heavyweight champion turned 2-1 MMA fighter, and yes, now a heavyweight contender. Now, in the days of no holds barred MMA, this was the type of match-up that would probably feature a man wrestling an alligator on the undercard. But give Brock credit: He's former NCAA wrestling champion who apparently didn't know his own strength in the world of professional wrestling and hurt a few "opponents" while performing choreographed moves.

Luckily for the UFC, he will be facing a man who is symbolic of the progress MMA has endured in the past 10 years. Enter Randy "The Natural" Couture, or as UFC commentator Joe Rogan refers to him Captain America (Couture was a former sergeant in the U.S. Army), MMA's version of boxing's Bernard Hopkins, or George Foreman (or even the great Archie Moore). A 40+ year-old (actually, 45) facing fighters much younger and bigger foes than him.

Fighting and beating behemoths in the cage is no new task for the ever aging Couture

But the difference is that Lesnar will be a facing a Couture who has been off for more than a tear and lost a legal battle that took away the fight he wanted most against pure winner Fedor Emelianenko. How deflated Couture is following a defeat to the UFC remains to be seen. His exile was a forced one due to legal obligations, a plague which has affected many a boxer and fans for years.

Lesnar, on the other hand,is amped about the opportunity and plans to learn from his mistake against Frank Mir, and continue the momentum he made with a dominating win over the always game Heath Herring. Lesnar's acceleration to the top of the UFC mountain is purely financial. A financial gain for the UFC brass. How else could you explain a title shot for a fighter with a 2-1 MMA record, and 1-1 in the UFC, with his lone win against a top 15 heavyweight, at best. You'd think Don King was the promoter.

Nevertheless, it remains an intriguing match up between an aging, inactive champion against a young beast who looks to devour his competition. Brock isn't just a mass of muscle akin to a comic book hero or villain. He is very agile and quick on his feet as evident on the video below. Whether or not his muscles will receive the amount of oxygen needed remains to be seen, if needed at all.

Couture has already shown his fabric in the cage. He has won by submission and punches and has lost the same way. Lesnar has only been submitted once in a fight he was winning. Neither fighter look like a KO puncher but Couture seems to have the better hands if the fight were to remain on the feet, which Lesnar will make sure it does not. When Lesnar dropped Herring with a punch in the opening seconds of the first round, he immediately ran across the octagon and dived in to tackle his opponent.

But will taking Couture to the ground be in Lesnar's best interest? Many, including Lesnar believe so. Of course, so did Gabriel Gonzaga, a big, strong jiu-jitsu expert who succumbed to Randy's wrestling skills and improved striking skills.

The guess here is that Lesnar will bolt out of his corner and immediately impose his 250+ lb. weight advaantage on the not so diminutive Couture, possibly even taking him down. If Lesnar chooses to fight on his feet, Couture will set the tempo and take it to the ground when he want to. Once on the round, look for Lesnar to drop elbows, forearms, punches, and the kitchen sink at Couture. Look for Couture to smother most of the strikes and look to submit Lesnar. Also, look for Couture to reverse the position, gain the dominant mount, and rain down punches the like of Lesnar has not had to endure.

Unless Brock's "brockness," as coined by another writer, gets the better of the battle-worn Couture, look for the current champion to remain just that by a 3-round submission win. But surely, Father Time must catch up to Couture as it already has with Roy Jones Jr. It is doubtful it will come in the form of Lesnar.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Calzaghe Cuts & Conquers Jones

Only Rocky Marciano has assumed this pose more than Calzaghe

Some fighters will always have bad timing. No, their reflexes and timing of their punches may be on the target. But the said date of meeting true greatness may always be as elusive as their defense in their primes. This is something that the best of the best cannot help. Maybe Joe Calzaghe should have been phoning Mike McCallum a few years back when it seemed he would be the new millennium version of the former champion.

Like McCallum, who came along right after the Fabulous Four of the '80s--Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns--Calzaghe came after Roy Jones Jr., James Toney and Nigel Benn had left the middle/supermiddle weight divisions. But just like McCallum did agaisnt Donald Curry, there was one name from past greatness left for Calzaghe to nibble after; Chris Eubank. Like Curry, Eubank was already coming two losses to Steve Collins when they met. Calzaghe immediately dropped the reliable Eubank and earned a hard-fought 12-round decision. McCallum commenced to knockout Curry. Both McCallum (loss to RJJ was academic at the age of 39) and Calzaghe (who beat a 39-year old Jones) went on to have hall-of-fame careers.
McCallum and Calzaghe have much in common

But last night, Calzaghe got another chance to fight another fighter whose dominant days were well past behind him, though Jones was still seen as a live threat. This was no longer the dazzling Jones who, inappropriately had been compared to the incomparable Sugar Ray Robinson, and also named Fighter of the Decade by the Boxing Writer's Association. Instead, this was a Jones who was coming off a three-fight win streak against decent opposition only after coming off three consecutive, convincing losses. Nevertheless, Jones still possessed speed and power and a wealth of world-class experience. Father Time would have to wait. And wait it did, but Jones still didn't respond.

For reasons known only to Jones, he did not go for the ko after dropping and hurting Calzaghe in the first round. Ever since Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson knocked Jones into the unconscious Jones, he has never has the zest to go for the close, even after dropping Felix Trinidad in his last fight. Not to say Jones, always a safety-first fighter, has been comatosing light-heavyweights. You'd have to go back to his 1997 rematch with Montel Griffin to truly see a one-punch ko to the jaw (sorry, Glenn Kelly does not qualify). After that round, Jones confidence and punch output left New York and went further than Pensacola.

From the second round on Calzaghe walked to Jones with his hands down and his confidence way up. He took a chance and it paid off. He began throwing his usual punches in bunches and by the end of the third round had proven to all that it would take a vintage Jones performance to make this close.

Unfortunately, being knocked out takes a toll on the psyche more than time takes a toll on physical reflexes. Jones, whose speed and power were still there, allowed Calzaghe to wade in arms down, and even taunt him,without throwing any meaningful punches. Maybe Jones should have looked at the .Robbie Peden-Nate Campbell fight to know how to deal with that situation.

Jones, whose been used to fighting fighters 10 punches slower than him, finally faced a fighter who would always throw punches and would not be discouraged. Jones fought back intelligently in the 5th round, pot-shotting Calzaghe with straight rights, but Calzaghe won the 7th with straight left hands and also opened up a cut on Jones' already swollen left eyelid.

By the 11th round Calzaghe had assured victory after sweeping all the rounds with his higher punchrate. Jones would need to go for the knockout to win. But Jones, who oddly was the one coming forward after his cut, was never used to having to do this and did not. Give Jones credit for coming forward, but give Calzaghe more credit for never resting on his substantial lead. Maybe in his prime Jones outclasses Calzaghe. Or maybe this would have been the same result more than 5 years ago. This is what happens when dominant fighters allow economics to pick their opponents. If Floyd Mayweather does come out of retirement, he may want to remember this instance.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Funny Money Only" Picks of the Week

Photo: Ed Mulholland

Roy Jones W12 Joe Calzaghe
(It's harder to envision a Jones KO victory than one for Calzaghe)

Arthur Abraham KO6 Raul Marquez
(Now is NOT the time for Abraham to get complacent as Marquez is a proven warrior)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Predicting the Calzaghe-Jones Winner

And the winner is ...

With Roy Jones, Jr. at retirement's door and Joe Calzaghe ringing its doorbell, tomorrow's fight will mean more for one than the other; Jones' legacy will suffer more if he loses.

For the Welshman, a victory will make his plaque at Canastota, NY, shine brighter. A loss for Jones will add a few more kinks of rust. Calzaghe has yet to taste defeat, while Jones has tasted sleep, twice in a row.

But Jones has looked dominant in his last bout against worn trial horse and future, fellow hall of fame, Felix Trinidad. But this was not the same electric Trinidad who sported an undefeated record* (*Oscar De La Hoya was robbed--see the fight) and aside from that 1999 superbout mishap, has decimated all fighters he faced prior to being kayoed by Bernard Hopkins.

Calzaghe also looked mortally average against the age-defying Hopkins last time out. He was knocked out in the first round, and consequently rocked every time he was hit flush. Unfortunately for Hopkins, his work ratio was unlike that which he displayed against middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, and Calzaghe escaped with a narrow win.

Tomorrow, however, Calzaghe will finally face a fighter he's been wanting for the past five years. Jones will also get his wish .... and he will not have to cross the Atlantic to achieve his goal.

On the latest installment of the wildly popular 24/7 HBO Series, Calzaghe acknowledged that he would need to put more oomph on his punches and not just throw punches in bunches. How he will do that when it has helped him amass a 45-0 record remains to be seen. Jones, on the other hand, already knows he must prevent those rapid-fire punches from Calzaghe and deliver his own, even if his speed is a tad slow.

But when it's all said and done, a slower Jones is still a good speed for a competent Calzaghe. And a 175-lb. Calzaghe does not seem to have the punching power to duplicate what Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson so infamously did to Jones chin and psyche. The guess here is that even a tad over the hill Jones will be slightly better than a great and also weathered Calzaghe. Call it Jones by a close, well-earned decision.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dream "The Passion" HL by Machinemen

A great video of DREAM, an MMA event in the spirit of PRIDE FC, held at the Saitama Arena.
Full credit to Machinemen

High Quality Download: (138MB)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Funny Money Only" Picks of the Week

Anderson Silva KO2 Patrick Cote
(Cote will have to catch lightning in a bottle or consult Ryo Chonan)

Thiago Alves Submission 3 Josh Koscheck
(Jiu JItsu with power beats pure wrestler)

Fabricio Werdum W3 Junior dos Santos
(Werdum needs to perform at his best to win)

Sean Sherk W3 Tyson Griffin
(Sherk should grind out a tough win in Fight of the Night)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hopkins Joins Elite Company

Photo: Ed Mulholland

Oscar De La Hoya showed everyone how to beat Trinidad (and did so) but was not successful in the ring. Then Jermain Taylor showed how to do it against current Middleweight champion, Kelly Pavlik, in the rematch but came up short. Bernard Hopkins came in and showed De La Hoya and Taylor finality.

Bernard Hopkins is a boxing architecht. That or he's a leech of near-success. His experience and training has allowed him to design the perfect strategy in order to get the job done against hard punchers who seem on the cusp of all-time greatness. Hopkins' total domination of Pavlik in a non-title bout must have made boxing purists reminisce of ancient greats Archie Moore, George Foreman and Randy Couture, fighters in their fighting twilight years (actually mid-40s) still giving young lions a run for their money and a loss on their records.

After the fight, Hopkins can be seen and heard advising Pavlik that if he were to add the sizzle of a black fighter to his already impressive arsenal, he'll be unstoppable. Did Hopkins just finish watching Rocky 3?

Of course, writers hate to be proven wrong, especially since all their predictions are in print (see mine below). They will now begin to write reasons why Pavlik lost the fight, perhaps omitting the "sizzle." Never mind the fact that Pavlik has trouble with movers, they will focus on his lack of hand speed, 10-lb weight differential and Hopkins' experience. None of them, and this writer means none of them, will simply state the obvious: Pavlik is not a technical boxer. He never has been. Pavlik is a competent fighter who uses his natural power to dominate his opponents. Nary a writer will state this because it will belittle their writing experience. In the Taylor rematch, there were some, ahem, who felt that Pavlik had been outboxed, if not by a wide margin. However, when you're young and undefeated and you hurt your opponent and come on strong very late in the fight, the judges can be tricked, err, swayed. Just ask De La Hoya in his fight against Trinidad.

Hopkins, who entered the ring wearing a black executioner's mask, started the fight as he usually does and commanded respect. Perhaps the glaring shock was the difference in hand speed. Where everyone with a rational mind thought Pavlik would have a slight edge here, Hopkins completely won in that category. he consistently beat Pavlik to the punch and even momentarily hurt the champ in the 2nd round. And worse yet, Hopkins maintained his speed and combination punching at the end of the fight, where many thought Pavlik would also have the edge.

To Pavlik's credit, he never stopped coming forward and doing his best. But it was like when you took a test you weren't prepared to pass. It didn't matter how much sleep and confidence you had, once you read the questions and say, "I was never taught this section," that's the moment you realize you will need to get lucky in order to pass this test. Unfortunately for Pavlik (and many students), that luck never came and the inevitable is painfully accepted.

At the fights end, Pavlik was his usual humble self. He admitted Hopkins' movement threw off his rhythm and did not make any excuses. Even if he had lost the belt, Pavlik is a true champion. Hopkins, on the other hand, was his usual defiant self. He even told HBO commentator, Larry Merchant, "I need to have people against me. It's not that I want it but it motivates me."

Let's see if this motivates writers, young and old, to pay more attention to the grit of fighting and not just the glitz.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Funny Money Only" Picks of the Week

Photo: Chris Farina

Pick at your own peril

Hopkins SD 12 Pavlik
Bisping W3 Leben
Vera KO2 Jardine

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can Hopkins Execute the Right Plan Against Pavlik?

Hopkins will make one last effort to win another meaningful fight while Pavlik looks to continue adding names to a burgeoning ledger. Photo:

It's an age-old boxing tradition of the old warrior who refuses to go quietly and the young warrior who refuses to be ignored.

This will be the first time in a long time that Bernard Hopkins this will face a young, hard puncher who cannot be discouraged. For Hopkins to win this fight he will have to fight a perfect fight for every second that it lasts. For Kelly Pavlik, he just needs to do what he has been doing since his career started, apply constant pressure while allowing his conditioning and natural punching power to break his opponents will and body. Whether or not Pavlik can do this against the painfully defensive minded Hopkins is the question mark that will be answered this Saturday night in Atlantic City.

For Hopkins, who still trains with a passion that has carried him to a magnificent 20-year career, this fight has the capacity to catapult him from the greats of the sport to the all-time greats. These are the type of fighters that are remembered and reminisced long after they are gone. But it all depends on the type of fight Hopkins fights.

The last time Hopkins faced a fighter remotely close to Pavlik's style was nine years ago in his first match against a young and hungry Antwun Echols. It was a fight Hopkins won though grit, attrition and a whole lot of experience.

Both of Hopkins fights with Echols were grueling affairs

Pavlik, like Echols, is a young fighter who's riding a crest of highlight reel kayos and is all but too happy to hit the arms, chest, shoulders, and the kisser. He's a fighter who is as comfortable grinding out a victory ala Jermain Taylor in their first fight as he is chopping down a rugged veteran like Bronco McKart. The difference between Echols and Pavlik is that the latter has yet to taste defeat. And therein lies the intrigue to this match.

Hopkins is a boxing veteran like an army general. He lives for what he does and takes it very seriously. He likes the money but craves respect, no matter how many times it's earned.

Pavlik also has a pride of being the white kid from a small, Midwestern town and becoming more than a champion: A symbol of hope to the residents of his community, many of whom will make the trek East to support their local hero.

For all his accomplishments this is something Hopkins has never been able to achieve. Considering all the money he's already earned, this may be the driving force that has enabled Hopkins to further dismiss retirement and more time with his daughter. It is a vision he has even if he no longer has Bouie Fisher in his corner. The venerable trainer may have either advise Hopkins to skip this bout or help devise the perfect strategy.

The Hopkins that showed up against still undefeated Joe Calzaghe will not be near enough for the Pavlik. Pavlik is a relentless force who has been crushing his foes with ease that Hopkins would be wise to be a defensive genius with an executioner's mentality. Pavlik carries his power until the fight ends and he is looking to stop the never before stopped Hopkins, a bold yet dangerous move. Hopkins will bet on Pavlik bringing the fight to him. He will bet on smothering Pavlik's offense. But Hopkins better bet on making Pavlik pay or it could be the night the executioner was executed by a non-stop puncher who has the city of Youngstown on his wide shoulders.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bad, Bad Chad Dawson: Boxing's Next Superstar?

(for more:

Though not the main character for Jim Croce's Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, Dawson is becoming a force in boxing today. He's young, undefeated and has a style which attracts both purists and fight fans alike.

He also has a quiet confidence about him that seems to be coming out of its shell and becoming a more boisterous swagger. While usually reserved, Dawson was quoted as saying that he's "boxing's pound for pound best" at the post-fight press conference where he won a well-earned decision over Antonio Tarver.

Dawson, who appears to be a competent boxer with good speed and respectable power, also has an air of vulnerability that make him a must see fighter.

Against Tarver, he seemed to unlock the riddle that is to decision a talented veteran over 12 rounds. Dawson appeared to be in control whenever he wanted to, releasing flurries that weren't meant to hurt his opponent as much as they were meant to build a comfortable lead, which he did; in spurts.

This is where the fabric of Dawson will be examined and will be criticized. After the midway point, he took every other round off and allowed Tarver to make a runaway fight a too close for comfort affair. Whether it was fear of his stamina betraying him against a wily veteran or whether it was his lack of superior conditioning being depleted from the flurries is a riddle in which only Dawson has the answer.

He has shown a shaky chin in his bigger fights. But he has also shown an impressive resolve. He gritted his teeth and fought back furiously after coming off the canvas against Tomasz Adamek. He also passed another gut check and remained on his feet and threw punches after the ageless Glen Johnson, with whom a rematch Dawson may not be able to escape, hurt him badly late in the fight.

Dawson may or may not be boxing's next luminescent crowned warrior. Only time and consistency against top-flight opponents will bring a finality to that riddle. But Dawson will always have a crowd because he can move, punch in flurries (and with effective power when he sits down on his punches), and can have his bell rung when faced with dangerous opponents. He may want to consult his long-lost twin, rapper Cam'ron, when it comes to the "swagger bragger" department.

(Dawson may want to hire his long-lost twin brother, Cam'ron, to help hype his next event)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Satisfaction Factor: To Pound or to Ground

(Lennox Lewis regains the heavyweight championship in emphatic fashion vs Hasim Rahman. For more:

(Frank Mir submits Brock Lesnar with a kneebar. For more:

With the recent annihilation of Kimbo Slice at the fists of Seth Petruzelli this past weekend, many fans could be heard either cheering in elation for the finality of yet another hyped-up banger or lamenting the fact that this would have been different in a boxing ring. And it is in this aspect of both combat sports that their will always be a silver lining.

While quick stoppages in either sport are nothing new (see Mike Tyson vs. any '80s opponent or BJ Penn vs Caol Uno), there will always room for what-ifs when fights are stopped by punches. Some fans are claiming Kimbo's loss was stopped too early (hardly). Others feel the result would have been different under boxing rules (duh!). And then there are the promoter's favorite fans: Those who want to see a rematch and feel a lucky punch was landed.

There is a glaring difference in the world of MMA when it comes to certain stoppages. No one, and this writer means no one, has commented that a fighter got in a "lucky" submission. The closest exclamation to his this kind of ending came when Ryo Chonan submitted Anderson Silva,the current pound-for-pound king, (with respects to George St. Pierre, you can't train a chin) in a fight in which he was being dominated and attempted and completed an improbable, highlight-reel submission.

It is the submission aspect of MMA that will forever be the deciding factor between MMA and boxing fans. There is no denying it takes much more all-around skill to compete in MMA. A good boxer will always have a puncher's chance. A good kickboxer will always have that plus a kicker's chance. And a jiu-jitsu/wrestler will always have the other's, plus the ability to take you down and either submit an opponent with a hold or pummel him into verbal/physical submission. Of course the latter takes much more technique than the former.

While a puncher will always have the option to close his eyes and go for broke, a jiu/jitsu/wrestler will never have that luxury. And it takes a skilled kickboxer to try that with a kick. And in a sport that oozes machismo (thank you, Razor Ramone) two men battling toe-to-toe will always be more aesthetically pleasing to the average fight fan.

The UFC, which is essentially neo-MMA, understood and respected this popular opinion and revamped its rules. Gone were the days where a legend like Royce Gracie could lay on the mat and take his time to implement his technique. Now, ground fighters had to do more than take an opponent off his feet. Now they had to add injury to take down and quickly, or the fight would be brought back to the standing position. While this obviously favors strikers, it also emphasizes the fact that fans would rather see a tactical battle than a plodding, albeit, technical ground game. This may also be because of the field of vision, but this writer would like to think that it's because of the higher possibility of a knockout.

Think of it as a batter and a pitcher, an analogy which has been made before. A batter is celebrated more and has a better chance of knocking one out the park, than a pitcher has a chance of throwing a curve ball or slider. The latter takes much more technique. And though they both need each other in the game of baseball, when was the last time the All-Star Game held a Strike Out Contest?

(As long as boxing produces fighters like Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, there will always be those niche fans. For more:

For Boxing, there will always be fans. From the bareknuckle days of John L. Sullivan to the flamboyant speed of Muhammad Ali to the aura of invincibility of Mike Tyson, boxing always had it fans. Even when K-1 kickboxing picked up a bit of steam, you had strong boxing PPV numbers. And even with the resurgence and dominance of the UFC, boxing will always have its fans who prefer plain ol' regular coffee. And then, you will always those fans who want the options of Starbucks.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seth Petruzelli KO's Kimbo

Unheralded, unknown, and unannounced Petruzelli came into the cage as a substitute at the last minute and pulled off a huge popular upset against Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.

The fight was over in less than a minute as Petruzelli threw a straight kick to Kimbo's abdomen and waded in and was caught by a short right hand on the jaw.

He never recovered. As he fall face forward and landed on his hands, Petruzelli wasted no time and hit Kimbo with about 7 unanswered right hands before the referee stopped the bout. The former UFC TUF fighter, who went into the fight sporting an ambiguous 9-5 record is now going to be the new darling of MMA.

He crushed all street fighter's dream (including Ken Shamrock's) by stopping a fighter who had won a popularity match against no hopers on YouTube. All credit to Kimbo for being a good sport, though it will be hard to get back to the intimidating juggernaut he was expected to become, and now falls to a 3-1 record.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quinton Jackson to face Bitter Rival Again

(for more:

Every now and then, some fighters are matched up and a sure pick seems easy. But then you start to analyze both fighters and what they have accomplished and at once, as easy pick is now clouded by your own judgment; and this is before the promotion and hype talk has even begun.

So is the case with a trilogy of two of the most dominant MMA fighters in recent memory. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will face Wanderlei Silva for a third time at UFC 92 on December 27, in Las Vegas, in the cage.

This would normally be an easy pick but so is every other upset in combat sports today. Silva already owns two devastating knockout wins over Jackson. Once as part of a tournament in 2003 and the other as a one-on-one match which was an even harder KO loss for Jackson. That knockout can be seen here.

Since that crushing KO loss, it took Jackson 2 years to fully get back on the confident winning track and against strong opposition. Silva, on the other hand, lost two devastating, back-to-back KO losses to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Dan Henderson, the latter whom was beaten by Jackson. Prior to a scintillating, first-round KO win against striker Keith Jardine, Silva lost a tough contest to Chuck "The Iceman" Lidell, a fighter Jackson has stopped twice.

So, who's it going to be? Muhammad Ali KO'd a prime George Foreman, the fiercely punching heavyweight who KO'd Ali conquerors "Smokin" Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. Maybe Jackson has learned to defend against the Thai clinch, which was his Waterloo against Silva. Or maybe Silva will always have his number, especially in the mental department after handing him two KO losses.

Place your bets with FUNNY MONEY ONLY because this is a tough one to call.

And remember Quinton:

(for more:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Top 5 MMA Heavyweights

In two months, Randy Couture will defend his title against former WWE champion Brock Lesnar. A betting favorite, a win will make fans salivate for a match against consensus MMA favorite, Fedor Emelianenko.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia points out the obvious.

1) Fedor Emelianenko
Only Randy Couture can make a case for disputing this ranking, but with each passing day, "The Russian Bear," who looks more like a dock worker, keeps making talks of No. 2 a moot point.

2) Randy Couture
Only Fedor stands between MMA Heavyweight supremacy. But luckily for Couture, he has not been the reason for this match not happening; it's a $1 Billion pound gorilla named the UFC.

3) Antonio Nogueira
Once again Fedor makes an unscheduled appearance. If it wasn't for the former PRIDE champion, Nog would get the nod.

4) Andre Arlovski
His tenacity, along with the fact he has won his last 4 fights decisively, help him make it to the top 10.

5) Frank Mir
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion has come a long way since breaking Tim Sylvia's arm and recovering from a serious motorcycle injury. He has since submitted the powerful Lesnar and his future looks bright as ever as long as he avoids strikers like Brandon Vera and gets by jiu jitsu expert Nogueira, his co star on the 8th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

David Blaine Meets Kimbo Slice

See famed street magician take two punches to his abdomen from MMA fighter Kimbo Slice.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

De La Hoya Mixing Business and Pleasure?

(Affliction moving forward from its most recent promotion. Photo from

With his last hurrah coming in less than 3 months, Oscar De La Hoya seems to be taking Manny Pacquaio as serious as a lightweight sparring session. Tom Atencio, Affliction Vice President, recently announced a merger that solidifies this blog's title: Affliction, the MMA and apparel name, will join forces with Golden Boy Promotions. In the past, De La Hoya trained with former undefeated UFC upstart Diego Sanchez. But in this new business venture who will really benefit?

On a recent Inside MMA video, hosts Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice were unanimous in their assumption that boxing will probably benefit more due to the emergence of MMA. While it is true that boxing has been in need of stars for the past decade, Affliction will most likely come out the big winner here.

Let's look at how Affliction was doing before it decided to join alliances with GBP. First, the apparel juggernaut was banned from free advertising on UFC. Next, it received even more free publicity by some fighter's suing the UFC for the right to be paid to advertise (ads on blogs ... hmm). Then the brand expanded by having top boxing luminaries wearing their shirts. Soon after they scooped the best heavyweight and matched him with one of the last UFC former heavyweight champions, Tim Sylvia.

Now is when things get a bit interesting. The UFC, unlike a myriad of other MMA organizations/promotions, openly display their PPV sales figures. Affliction's Banned PPV event did pretty well, at least according to Tom Atencio. He defended the PPV sales numbers rather than letting the sales figures speak for themselves, only saying, "I’m not going to release the (official) number, but it’s already well beyond what people have been saying. Well beyond.”

I would love to see either GBP or the UFC get away with that comment.

And this was with the "help" of fight fan Donald Trump and competition from UFC that same night.

And with October's cancellation of another fight card that did not include Fedor Emelianenko, rumors of yet another MMA organization gone bust ran rampant on the Internet. But give Atencio credit, with his brand's shine dimming he made an announcement that put an extra spark into his next promotion. The question here is will HBO, which already rejected a TV deal with the UFC, openly broadcast MMA fights along with boxing cards?

In the end, maybe both MMA and boxing will benefit from this merger. Affliction will always have it apparel and boxing will always be in need of an outlet for its future and already existing talent. There has been talk that both promoters will stage a mixed MMA and boxing fights separately, but on the same show. But there remains one lingering question: Who decides which discipline is the main event?

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao resumes training.

Friday, September 5, 2008

UFC 88 "Breakthrough" Predictions

courtesy of

UFC 88: BREAKTHROUGH! - which is headlined by the light heavyweight battle between Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans - will air LIVE on PAY-PER-VIEW Saturday from Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia beginning at 10pm ET / 7pm PT. The official weights of the fighters are listed below:

Chuck Liddell 204 vs. Rashad Evans 205
Rich Franklin 204.5 vs. Matt Hamill 205
Dan Henderson 185 vs. Rousimar Palhares 184.5
Martin Kampmann 184.5 vs. Nate Marquardt 185
Thiago Tavares 155 vs. Kurt Pellegrino 156
Tim Boetsch 205.25 vs. Mike Patt 205.25
Dong Hyun Kim 170 vs. Matt Brown 170
Jason Lambert 185 vs. Jason MacDonald 185
Roan Carneiro 170 vs. Ryo Chonan 170

*The Karo Parisyan vs. Yoshiyuki Yashida fight is scratched due to an injury to Parisyan.

Rashad Evans by CLOSE DECISION
Rich Franklin by DECISION
Dan Henderson by DECISION
Nate Marquardt by 2nd-RD SUBMISSION

The rest are for you to decide!

Boxing 10-Count Bell: Joey Giardello


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can the Golden Boy Gobble Up Pac Man?

It almost seems like it's the mid-late 1990s. Oscar De La Hoya will perform his final in ring appearance (remember, this is boxing) on Dec. 6th against Lightweight champion--no typo--Manny Pacquiao. Luckily for Pacquiao, the "Mexican killer" this is a non-title fight.

For Oscar, this will not be the first time he fights a smaller opponent. He practically made a successful career out of it during his years as a lightweight/jr. welterweight. He won his first belt at jr. lightweight belt against the smaller Jimmy Bredahl. Then, he won his lightweight against former jr. lightweight champion John-John Molina and defended it against, you guessed it, jr. lightweight champion Genaro Hernandez and former jr.lightweight Jesse James Leija--all very capable fighters who went against a larger man. It was after these wins that Oscar stepped his game up, and weight, and fought talented men of equal or bigger size and had mostly good results (except for middleweight).

The difference here is that this fight is a non-title fight against a man who is an active and explosive powerpuncher. The other flip side to the coin is that Oscar will also be moving down in weight. Why Oscar chose to do this to himself as his final swan song is anyone's guess. That or he knew fans would not pay for such a huge weight difference.

The guess here is that if Oscar isn't weight drained for his final fight, he will still be the bigger, more experienced fighter come fight time. In Pac-Man, he will face an opponent who will not be weight drained and will come in at his heaviest. Pac-Man is also a non-stop power hitter. Oscar should still have enough strength to fend off Pac-Man and win a close decision possibly setting up a mega rematch; possibly.

Young Lions Enter Lion's Den

As 2008 ends, two blasts from MMA's glorious past will be on full display once again. Randy "The Natural" Couture will meet one of the newest and biggest heavyweights in the octagon. But sadly, that man is not Fedor. After months of battling in court for the right to fight the consensus No. 1 Heavyweight in MMA, Couture must have lost the battle of the contract. He will now face former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar instead of a much talked about bout with Fedor. The polititricks of boxing meets mma.

Couture, who has beaten good big men before, will face one of the biggest; himself. He will be coming off a layoff of more than a year. His last fight was a win against dangerous heavyweight, Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga. Since then, Couture has remained busy filming a movie The Scorpion King 2 and going back and forth to court. Lesnar, on the contrary, has been beefing up his MMA experience by beating tough and worn, Heath Herring only one month ago. The massive Lesnar, whose neck is the size of an average thigh, will have a clear size advantage over the smaller, older Couture--who, at his age, has probably benefited from the long layoff.

The same cannot be said of the true UFC veteran, Ken Shamrock. Once a formidable opponent fro anyone in the cage, Shamrock is now coming into his fight with dangerous striker, Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, with 5 consecutive defeats. The mismatching of boxing meets mma.

Kimbo, who narrowly escaped defeat against James Thompson in his last fight, has been given a gimme fight which should set up a more lucrative match (somewhere .Brett Rogers is fuming). Shamrock has not won a fight in 5 years. Also, his last 5 losses have been by ko. Who sanctioned this fight again?

Lesnar should give Couture all he could handle until Couture's experience smother's out Lesnar's strength. Shamrock should play the submission game because if he stands with Kimbo, he will be retired for good

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Officer and a General

Retirement is supposed to be for the elderly who have paid their dues. In the world of boxing, Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins has paid his dues. No, he has never been beaten ala Arturo Gatti or knocked senseless ala Bob Satterfield. He has, however, executed brutal victories from Philly to Vegas. He often looks the winner even when pronounced the loser.

For the current middleweight king, Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik, all his victories have been emphatic; even if he has taken some nasty bumps along the way.

At a prep rally in Youngstown, Ohio, a horde of 600 fans of the hometown hero, Pavlik, showed their support. Hopkins did not repeat the "whiteboy will never beat" phrase that endeared him to many US and UK fans when he met his last conqueror, Joe Calzaghe. In fact, he was rather complimentary of his future adversary.

“A good general always respects his enemies,” said Hopkins.

But the young commander-in-charge was eager to remind everyone why he's the best middleweight around.

“For me to go in there and not only beat him, but do it convincingly with maybe even a late round stoppage, it’s probably the biggest accomplishment you can get in your career,” Pavlik said, matter of fact.

But Hopkins' trainer, Nazim Richardson said that while Pavlik is a champion, Hopkins is a legend.

While it's hard envisioning the ageless Hopkins mauling the younger Pavlik, stranger things have happened. Let's just hope the winner of this fight allows for only one king and fight Arthur Abraham, possibly the most dangerous middleweight after Winky Wright.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Clottey Derails Judah's Title Hopes

Clottey picks the wrong eye

A once-promising, superstar in the making, Zab Judah had what was perhaps his last chance at seizing his supposed destiny. For now,his journey there is still ongoing, though the potholes may have getting too bog for any further travels.

Against Joshua Clottey, Judah was facing an opponent every bit as dangerous as the current king of the welterweights: Antonio Margarito. Clottey had last lost a close decision to margarito in a fight where he broke his left hand. Clotteyis a sturdy fighter who never stops coming and has a chin which has yet to fail him.

Clottey, whose toughness can nver be questioned, does not deal well with boxers. This was evident in his close fight with Judah. Judah, as he is prone to do, started off with well-timed, rapid punches and with purposeful lateral movement. Clottey, fought as always: straight ahead.

The first few rounds were mostly won by Judah's jab and fast combinations. The middle rounds, which is almost where the fight ended, belonged to Clottey when Judah showed why he will never be compared to the greats of yesteryear and began to tire a bit. Judah also showed that time is quickly leaving his side. Before, Judah could zab in and out of danger and not be much the worse for wear. But lately, Judah's face has been a crimson mask as he has leaked from every section of his eyes, nose and mouth.

After a nasty cut to Judah's right eyelid in the 10th, officially ruled a headbutt though replays were ambiguous at best, the fight went to the scorecards. The judges favored the stronger Clottey who pressed the action all night long. Judah, for his part, landed more punches though neither fighter seemed hurt throughout the affair.

Tonight, Clottey won and Margarito lost. Margarito, who could have had a chance at a big payday against the more popular Judah, now has two opponents nobody wants to face and cannot open the money-flood gates: Paul Williams and Clottey. Two rough fighters who know margarito all too well.

For Judah, this may be the end even if he doesn't know it. Judah is still good enough to beat second-tier welterweights but when it comes to the top-tier, he either has already lost to the best or would undoubtedly lose to the best. Maybe he'll be satisfied with a gatekeeper role, because unless he gets a fight against a top name and beats him, this is the end for annother one of Brooklyn's coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mexican Tornado Crushes Cotto

Last night, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto continued the long-standing tradition on Puerto Rican vs. Mexican fighter inside the squared circle. And they did not disappoint.

The first round started as expected with Cotto using lateral movement and Margarito chasing him down. Cotto won the round by landing the crisper punches. But in the second round, Margarito showed everyone why his nickname is the Tornado. He waded in on Cotto and threw straights, hook, and uppercuts to Cotto's head and midsection. But Cotto also reminded everyone why he is one of the best fighter's in boxing by fighting back in some of the most furious exchanges.

In the third, Margarito continued his purposeful charge but strayed a but low on two occasions, causing a warning from referee Kenny Bayless. The tempo for the fourth and fifth was a bit slower than its predecessors with Cotto landing more accurate shots and Margarito, while landing some, clearly missed many when headhunting.

Halfway through the fight, Margarito began landing some telling body blows. At 5' 11" his punches landed all over Cotto's arms and body. It was one of the better rounds for Margarito, even if the highlights "highlighted" otherwise. But in the middle of the seventh round, Margarito explode punches on a visibly tired Cotto and forced the Puerto Rican to hold on. Cotto fired back gamely but his punches did not have the same affect as Margarito's.

The eight featured Margarito acting as a woodsman with a strong axe chopping a tree
that refused to wilt. The ninth was more of the same as with the taller Margarito stalking down the sturdy Cotto, and it was Cotto mostly strafing Margarito with his punches. Cotto was handily winning the 10th round when he abruptly adopted the dope-a-rope strategy and crouched down like a catcher and ate some vicious uppercuts and straight rights from Margarito.

The championship rounds would prove to be the end for a tiring Cotto. In the eleventh,Margarito's superior conditioning and non-stop punching forced Cotto, who was exhausted and utterly beaten, to take a knee a two times, with the second time causing referee Bayless to wave off a fight that had already been decided and credit to Cotto's corner who went onto the ring apron to save the bloody fighter from serious injury.

"I was never hurt but I felt his punches" said the steel-chinned Margarito.

Where does Margarito go now? Well, there's a rematch, but not against Cotto. Paul "The Punisher" Williams, the last man to beat Margarito, is still out there and waiting. But Margarito is no dummy as he called out the cash cow--not Mayweather--but the gold standard, Oscar De La Hoya.

For Cotto, a long rest and a new game plan is in order. All those tough fights are starting to catch up with him. A soft comeback fight would be in his best interest.

Fitness Jiu Jitsu