Sunday, June 26, 2005

140 lb. Shakeup

Thanks to's round by round summary, I was able to keep tabs on the fight last night. Even though I'll be able to watch it next weekend, I'm not even sure I want to. From all accounts, Arturo Gatti took a hell of a beating, and was outclassed in every way possible by Floyd Mayweather.

In the last couple of weeks, the Jr. Welterweight division has seen its champ, Kostya Tszyu, dethroned by a young Ricky Hatton, followed by its number one contender, Arturo Gatti, beaten senseless by the talented Floyd Mayweather. That pretty much leaves Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Floyd Mayweather all vying for the top spot (at least as far as Ring Magazine rankings go). And we're not even talking about any of these guys jumping up to Welterweight to take on Mosely, Margarito, or Judah - which I think any of them could.

Yeah, for my money, the Jr. Welterweight division is turning out to be the most exciting division in boxing this year. Who needs heavyweights?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gatti/Mayweather - Random Pre-Fight Stuff

It's so rare when the mainstream media covers boxing, especially a fight that isn't in the heavyweight division, that when I see the coverage, I've got to point it out. Of course, most fans of boxing have been aware of Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward's friendship for years, but the article has a lot of nice things to say about the two guys.

As for Gatti/Mayweather tonight, there are a couple of good articles, one from the Pasadena Star News, and one from ESPN about the jawing - mostly trash talk from Mayweather - that's been going on between the two fighters.

Of course, has excellent coverage of the fight as well, though I am surprised that 12 of 14 Maxboxing staffers have picked Mayweather to win. I have to say that I'm inclined to go with Allan Scotto on this one - Floyd may be taking this fight way too lightly. His intense dislike for Gatti might just take him off his game, too. It seems these two guys truly do NOT like each other, but I'm thinking that kind of dislike is going to work more to Gatti's advantage than Mayweather's.

Over at The Sweet Science, of the 19 staffers weighing in with predictions, 14 chose Mayweather. JE Grant, I hope you are right my friend! While I steadfastly refuse to make any predictions... this is a blog, and it's mine, and hey, it's not like I'm an actual journalist getting paid for my opinions. So, GO GATTI GO!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Boxing In Ohio (Where?)

If I could afford to, the first thing I would do this Saturday night is PPV the Gatti/Mayweather fight. And even if I didn't have the fifty bucks (give or take a buck or two) to do that, but had slightly less money to spend on entertainment (which I don't) I'd attend Powers Championship Boxing at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Who where, you say? Columbus, which is in Ohio. Which is sort of where I live. But at twenty-five bucks a ticket, that's not exactly a cheapo night out either, so I'll probably just stay home.

I have a confession to make. As much as I absolutely LOVE the sport of boxing, I've never been to a real, live fight. No, I've just been watching it on TV for years. This is largely due to the fact that I live in Central Ohio. We don't get much in the way of boxing around here. There's Powers, and that's about it. I know, it seems almost criminal. It would be like trying to write about baseball without ever having been to a game. There's an entire dimension you miss by not knowing what it's like to actually be there. I suspect it's a similar thing with boxing.

Anyway, I tried to talk the guys at Powers into giving me access to their fighters. I wanted write about them while learning more about what it takes to be a boxer. Seemed to me that it'd be a good deal for them - they get free PR and carte blanche with whatever I write. Hell, it's not like the local rags around here are going to cover boxing. They're already forked up about Buckeye Football (yeah, I know it's only June - welcome to Columbus!) I mean, can anyone outside of Columbus even name a single Powers fighter? I don't even know where these guys train. But they just ignored me, never answered any of my emails. Way to build a fan base, guys. Oh, and go schedule your big fights the same night as Gatti/Mayweather - that's a great idea too.

Well, at least there's FNF tonight on ESPN, and that's free....

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Some Notes on Recent Fights

Well, I really enjoyed the Tarver/Johnson rematch this past weekend. It really showed just how smart a fighter Antonio Tarver is. He adjusted brilliantly after Johnson bested him in their first fight. Tarver's jab kept Johnson from getting inside, and even when Johnson managed to get by the jab, Tarver slipped away before Johnson could do any real damage. As Johnson remarked after the fight, Tarver was just "craftier." Indeed.

Both fighters really gutted it out in the end, seemingly dead on their feet but still throwing punches and trying to score points. The true test of each man, however, will be in the third fight, which both sides are already talking about. I can't wait.

Ike Quartey managed to eke by gatekeeper Verno Phillips in their Jr. Middleweight fight. The fight really should have been a draw; Ref. Randy Philips really screwed up by calling a clear knockdown of Quartey in round nine a slip. So what should have been a 10-7 round was scored instead a 10-8, giving Quartey that extra point he needed to win the fight. Phillips also inexplicably stopped throwing punches in the last fifteen-twenty seconds of the final round, gifting it to Quartey and further assuring him the close call win.

I'd never seen Quartey fight before tonight, and apparently he was really up there in the division until losses to Vargas and De La Hoya sent him into an extended retirement. They were both apparently close calls, and Quartey (who once held a Welterweight alphabelt) quit more in disgust than in defeat. Unfortunately for Quartey, this fight didn't exactly position him for a huge fight. De La Hoya has too many other money fights to consider, as does Vargas. And I'm afraid, even if either of those men took on Quartey, he'd head right back into retirement after getting his head handed to him. Same goes for Ouma, Wright, or Castillejo.

As for the upcoming Mayweather/Gatti fight this weekend, I am sticking to my guns and steadfastly refusing to make a prediction. I also can't do the PPV thing, so my analysis of the fight is going to be at least a week late.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Catching Up

Well, I've been an absentee blogger lately, and for the few people who actually read boxingfan regularly, I apologize. Sometimes life just gets in the way of our more passionate pursuits, especially when those pursuits happen to be the kind we don't get paid for.

That said, I did watch several very good fights in recent weeks, and have a few comments about them. First, I actually enjoyed the little I got to see of Scott Harrison. Since the fight ended by TKO in the fourth round, there wasn't too much time to really see him work. Still, Harrison has a lot of heart; he can take a punch, and he can hit hard. Michael Brodie was weakened by a flurry of body punches at the end of round three; he then crumpled like a sack of potatos 46 seconds into round four after yet another brutal shot to the gut from Harrison. Harrison looks to be ready for a serious fight in the USA, maybe Marquez or Barrera. We'll see.

The Casamayor/Raiymkulov fight was ok. I wasn't particularly impressed by either guy, really. Casamayor isn't anywhere near the fighter he was. He had Raiymkulov in trouble in the first round, but never really went in for the kill. "Kid Diamond" needs some serious polish to be a real contender, including an actual defensive strategy. I'm not overly disappointed that the fight was called a draw, even though I had Raiymkulov winning the fight, 114-113.

The Cotta/Abdullaev fight was much more entertaining. Miguel Cotto, besides being just damned pretty, is indeed the new up and coming Jr. Welterweight. With Kostya Tszyu gone, the fight for this division's champ is going to be fun to watch. I had Cotto way ahead on my card when the fight was stopped in the eighth; Abdullaev had a nasty hematoma on his forehead, and his right eye was completely swollen shut. Cotto's technique is impressive for a 24 year old kid. I'd love to see him fight Ricky Hatton, or the winner of Gatti/Mayweather.

Speaking of Gatti/Mayweather, I'm bummed I'm not going to be able to PPV that one, but at least I'll see the replay the following week. I'll probably have to do the same with Hopkins/Taylor. Again, I'm glad they're on HBO, and that HBO will replay fights the following week. Other PPV events don't do that. Like Tyson/McBride - but to be honest, even if I did have the money for that one, I would have skipped it. Which brings me to one more topic I'd like to address before signing off for the evening.

WHY did every major newspaper and television network (the ones that even bother to cover boxing, that is) send their sportswriters to the Tyson fight, and not to the Cotto fight? That, my friends, is what's wrong with the mainstream media's entire attitude towards boxing. Tyson is washed up, and has been for years. McBride is a nobody. In the grand scheme of things in the boxing world, that fight was meaningless. It wasn't about boxing, it was a damned three ring circus. All it did was cater to some people's perverse fascination with a mentally disturbed man who has a habit of periodically self-destructing on a national stage and in a big way. For their money, they got no dirty fighting, no blood, no body parts bitten off. Just a tired man who didn't feel like going back into the ring after six rounds.

The Cotto/Abdullaev fight was for the WBO Jr. Welterweight Championship belt. Say what you will about the WBO, the fact is, even without the belt at stake, for anyone who knows or cares about boxing, THAT fight was the fight that meant something to the sport of boxing.

After this weekend, Tyson will go home and try to think of some other way to pay off his creditors. Maybe he'll go into Pride fighting or WWF wrestling. McBride will go back to wherever it is they found him. Abdullaev will have to fight his way back up the Jr. Welterweight ranks again for another title shot. Miguel Cotto will remain a legit contender for the Ring Magazine Jr. Welterweight belt, along with half a dozen other incredibly talented fighters in an incredibly talent-packed division. And maybe, just maybe, the mainstream sports media will sniff out a clue and write about that, because that's what really matters. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Humorous Article At Maxboxing

Ok, when I read the title of Michael J. Woods' latest article on, I knew it was going to be a good one. I Bet a Blind, Drunk Monkey Could Pick Fight Winners Better than Me is priceless. Mike, I feel your pain; I stink too. As a matter of fact, I'm beginning to think I ought to stop picking winners of fights, because all I do is end up jinxing them. Golota, Tszyu, Castillo. In my own defense, I did pick Wright, and I am going to pick Taylor.... I mean, wait. I'm not picking him. Not picking anyone. Forget I wrote that....

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hatton Bests Tszyu

I know at this point Kostya Tszyu's loss to Ricky Hatton this past Saturday night is old news. For some reason, I couldn't bring myself to write about it until now, and frankly...I still don't really want to. The thing is, I'm a fan, not a journalist. I try to focus on being a fan of the sport, and not necessarily any individual fighters. But there are certain guys I cant help rooting for, and Kostya Tszyu is one of them.

I dismissed it as "just my imagination" when I thought something didn't look quite right with Kostya Tszyu as he walked into the ring Saturday night. Either I was wrong, or just wrong about thinking I was wrong, in which case... I was right.

I'm not about to take an ounce of credit away from Ricky Hatton. He is now the reigning IBF Junior Welterweight Champ. Even Tszyu himself admitted that even though he's a "proud proud man," Ricky Hatton was the better man that night, and he was. And as hard as it is to say this.... I'm not sure Ricky is ever NOT going to be the better man against this 35 year old Tszyu. I don't want to see a rematch. As a fan of Kostya's for many years, I honestly hope he bows out gracefully, and enjoys the rest of his life in good health, with his wife and children. He's been a fighter's fighter. Fierce, compelling, a 140 pound tornado in the ring for over ten years. He's proven everything he needs to prove.

While Arturo Gatti may have a few fights left in him, it's time for the young guns of the Junior Welterweight division to duke it out. I'll be looking forward to seeing what young Ricky Hatton can do against Cotto or Mayweather. Frankly, I think the kid is more of a natural Welterweight anyway; he ought to consider eventually moving up to that division and taking on the top guys there. I think in a few short years, he could give Judah or Margarito quite a run.

Some fight notes:

I had Ricky ahead on the scorecards going into round twelve, 105-104. I can even understand the judges and media ringside who had it 106-103 (Asaro, the French judge did, as well as John Dillon, a journalist from the UK.) It was a closer fight on the cards than it was inside the ring, if that makes any sense. Hatton was relentless, effectively getting inside, landing stinging uppercuts and left hooks, brawling, and dismantling any offense or defense Tszyu tried to put together.

Hatton's strategy and execution were brilliant. Had he chosen to fight Tszyu on the outside, this would have been a completely different fight, with quite possibly a different outcome. Other than a glimmer of the old Kostya Tszyu that showed up in round three, and again at the end of round six and into seven, he was just flat, and the punches he did manage to land never really hurt Ricky Hatton much at all.

It's hard not to like either of these men, and I wish Kostya Tszyu a happy life should he decide to take off the gloves for good. I'll also be looking forward to seeing Ricky Hatton come to America for more exposure and big name fights. He seems like a good kid, and a legitimate champ.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Quick Note on Tszyu vs. Hatton

If I were a betting person, my money would be on Kostya Tszyu to win this fight... but then again, I don't think my theoretical money has ever NOT been on Tszyu. Ricky Hatton is an exciting young fighter, but he's not going to beat this seasoned veteran, even in his own backyard. Now, I do think Hatton will give Tszyu a hell of a fight, and prove he's a junior welterweight to be reckoned with - especially after the old man retires. I'm picking Tszyu in a late round stoppage.

Bernard Doesn't Want Winky

Wow. I just read over at that Bernard Hopkins wants three more fights before he's done - and none of them will be against Winky Wright. Wow. Said Hopkins, "It's the only fight out there that makes sense... I think it makes more sense than me and Winky Wright."

Say what? Are you kidding me, Bernard? A fight against Winky Wright is the ONLY one that makes sense. Instead, you'd rather move up to Light Heavyweight to fight the winner of Johnson/Tarver, then finish off with Roy Jones? Ok, the Jones fight would be entertaining, but it makes no sense for Roy to do it. That man has nothing left to prove. He already beat you once, and he's retired now. His legacy is already somewhat mildly tarnished by being KO'd in his last two fights (against Johnson and Tarver). Why risk making it worse? I'm just not sure the payday would be incentive enough for him. And I'm not sure I'd shell out $50 to watch it on PPV, either.

It's also worth reminding you that this "Bernard Hopkins Farewell Tour" hinges on you beating Jermaine Taylor on July 16. You might just be getting a little ahead of yourself, and that can be dangerous for a boxer. If I were Winky Wright, I'd start calling you out right now.

[Check out the new poll - over on the right]