Michael Rosenthal

Weekend Review: Holyfield lucky he was cut

Diego Magdaleno (left) overwhelmed Marcos Jimenez on Saturday in Las Vegas. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

MOST FORTUNATE

Evander Holyfield: The cut above Holyfield’s left eye that ended his fight against Sherman Williams on Saturday at a resort in West Virginia probably was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. The plodding 48-year-old former titleholder had taken some hard punches from his 38-year-old opponent and had trouble landing his own, a possible sign that he was in for a beating. Of course, we’ll never know. The fight was stopped after three rounds and declared a no-contest because Holyfield said he couldn’t see out of his left eye, which means he’ll be back in the ring when the cut heals. The cut was unfortunate for at least one reason: It might mean he’ll have to cancel or postpone a scheduled meeting with Brian Nielsen on March 5.

MOST FRUSTRATED

Sherman Williams: The pudgy Bahamian seemed to be on the verge of an important victory, one that might’ve helped him get some big fights, only to end up with a no-contest and little to show for it. Williams got the better of Holyfield as long as the fight lasted, landing some telling blows to both the head and body. And he seemed to be picking up steam. No one can predict what might’ve happened had the fight continued but Holyfield’s inability to avoid hard punches didn’t bode well for him. Williams did demonstrate that he could fight Holyfield on roughly equal terms, which couldn’t hurt him in the long run. Still, it’s easy to understand his frustration.

WORST THOUGHT

Did Holyfield quit? I want to believe the legend when he says he couldn’t fight because of blood streaming into his eye. That could help explain why he ate several hard right hands. And I must acknowledge that I watched the fight on television, which means I didn’t have a vantage point. Still, that didn’t look like the type of cut that would end a fight. I didn’t see profuse bleeding, an observation that was confirmed by someone I know who was on the scene. I couldn’t understand what he said in the ring afterward. Something about Williams coming in with his head and then he asked, “Do I wait … Do I get hurt?” That comment also might indicate that he simply didn’t want to go on. Again, I wasn’t there. I couldn’t see it clearly. Still, I wonder.

MOST-PAINFUL TO WATCH

Holyfield pay-per-view card: The abbreviated main event was bad enough. We also had to watch 39-year-old former heavyweight contender Monte Barrett fight to a draw against Charles Davis, a one-time super middleweight who had a sub-.500 record and lost his previous four fights. And we sat through a fight between heavyweight Kevin Johnson and 7-foot punching bag Julius Long, which Johnson won by decision. The only good fight was an eight-round middleweight bout between Willie Fortune and Donatas Bondoravas, won by Fortune even though he took a terrible beating in Round 4 but somehow survived. They charged $29.95 for that. It wouldn’t have been worth it if you removed the first 9 in that price.

MOST-ENJOYABLE TO WATCH

Top Rank Live! on Saturday: Sometimes we don’t have to watch full-fledged stars to enjoy a card. That was the case on Saturday, when Top Rank served up three of its exciting young fighters from Las Vegas. Junior lightweight Diego Magdaleno has turned into a little monster, one we’re going to enjoy watching for a long time. He simply overpowered a capable fighter in Marcos Jimenez. Look for many more KOs from Magdaleno. Robert Marroquin is about as polished as a boxer with 18 fights can be. He is poised, his punches are accurate and his has power, as Eduardo Arcos found out in the fourth round. And Magdaleno’s little brother, former amateur star Jesse Magdaleno, has only two fights but I like what I see. A well-schooled, quick-handed little fighter with pop in his punches.

MOST PAINFUL

Lucas Matthysse’s body shots: The Argentine hit DeMarcus Corley with one left hook to the body after another that you could feel by watching on television Friday night. Everytime Corley took a knee, you could tell he was in immense pain. Prospective opponents probably will be a little more reluctant to face Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) after that performance. The victory was significant for him, though. He bounced back from his controversial decision loss against Zab Judah with a sensational performance before an appreciative home crowd in Buenos Aires. He corrected his mistake of starting slowly and finished the job in emphatic fashion. A title shot undoubtedly it right around the corner.

MOST DETERMINED

DeMarcus Corley: “Chop Chop” went down an astonishing nine times against Matthysse but certainly has nothing to be ashamed of. Most fighters wouldn’t have been able to take that many excruciating body shots yet continue to fight. I was sure that he would give up after the third or fourth time he took a knee but he kept trying even though his mission seemed hopeless. Kudos to him. Corley, 36, probably doesn’t have too many more fights left in him but he did demonstrate in a decision loss to Marcos Maidana last year that he can still fight. That and the courage he displayed on Friday adds up to at least a few more fights. He has earned them. For the record: Corley’s manager was critical of the officiating and other issues surrounding the fight. C’mon, you’re guy got his ass kicked.

BEST NEWS

Klitschko-Adamek: Kathy Duva, Tomasz Adamek’s promoter, told RingTV.com on Friday that she believed all details had been worked out for a fight against world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. The matchup isn’t an intriguing as David Haye vs. a Klitschko but it’s the next best thing. I believe that Adamek will prove to be too small for Klitschko, like so many of the giant Ukrainian’s opponents, but I won’t count him out. The Pole has both the experience and resilience – as well as supreme confidence – to give Klitschko some trouble. No matter the result, fans can assume that they’ll be treated to an entertaining fight. Adamek knows no other way. I can’t wait for this one.

MOST DESERVING

Sergio Martinez: The Argentine had a rough time in 2009, settling for a draw with Kermit Cintron even though most observers were certain he had won and then losing a controversial decision to Paul Williams. Still, we saw qualities in those fights that led many of us to believe that he could become a star if things fell his way. They did in 2010. Martinez, a superb athlete with a fighter’s heart, outpointed Kelly Pavlik to win the world middleweight championship and then knock Williams unconscious with an unforgettable left hook in the second round. As a result, the Boxing Writers Asscociation of America named Martinez Fighter of the Year. He was richly deserving of the award. Even Manny Pacquiao fans would have to agree with that if they’re honest with themselves.

WORST MATCHUP

Cotto-Mayorga: Ricardo Mayorga? C’mon. The one-time welterweight titleholder has fought once in almost 2½ years, stopping journeyman Michael Walker in December. And he’s 4-4 in his last eight fights, in which he was knocked out three times. The guy is done. He can talk a good game but hasn’t been truly relevant in boxing terms for at least five years. Is anyone on the planet outside Mayorga and his immediate family excited about this fight? And, if Cotto wins, a rematch with Antonio Margarito probably will be next. At least that one has a decent story line, although I’m not clearing my schedule for that fight either. I used to be excited about the prospect of watching Cotto fight. Not anymore.

BEST QUOTE

Ricardo Mayorga (at a news conference to promote his fight against Cotto): “I will prove to everyone on March 12 that I am the man, and you are the woman. That belt you are holding, polish it up for me, because I will be taking it on March 12. Your hands are like a woman's. Look at my hands – they are man's hands. … You came to Nicaragua and talked smack and told everyone I was a nobody. On March 12, all the Puerto Ricans are going to be wearing black for your wake. You will pay for what you said. This is the first time I will fight someone that is as small as a kid. I think my pants are taller than you. I see fear in your eyes. We have never crossed paths, but I have to tell you I have never liked you as a fighter.” Yes, Mayorga can talk.

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