THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
I’m looking forward to another strong ShoBox card. It might sound silly to say, but it’s consistently my favorite boxing telecast. Showtime does a great job of matching blue chip & 2nd tier prospects in compelling tests, unlike say Friday Night Fights or your standard HBO B.A.D telecast which all too often amount to public executions.
And finally some fun mythical match-ups:
I like Duran via 12th round tko in a spirited bout….J.C Superstar by a 14th round ko after he grinds Marquez down…Benitez would simply be too skilled and quick and would win an easy 15rd descion…..Ward is an impressive young champion, but Jones was as close to an unbeatable fighter @168lbs as I’ve ever seen and think his speed would overwhelm Ward en route to a lopsided decision…..He would have to walk thru several “Spinks-Jinxs” to do it, but eventually The Real Deal would break down and knock out Spinks and I think an in-shape Toney (an important distinction) would have squeaked by Hopkins in a highly tense and tactical bout…. your thoughts? — Tom G.
I’ll go with Duran over Tito by unanimous decision in a punishing bout for both combatants, Chavez by close – maybe majority – decision over JMM in a truly great fight, Benitez over Desert Storm by embarrassingly one-sided UD, Jones over S.O.G. by cold-blooded fifth-round KO, The Jinx over The Real Deal by controversial split or majority decision, while Lights Out and the Executioner battled to a spirited split draw in a 15-round version of Toney’s first fight with Mike McCallum.
I’ve been a ShoBox fan for a long time but last year, and this year, so far, I’ve looked more forward to ESPN2’s FNF cards. That will be the case tonight, even though I think the Luis Franco-Leonilo Miranda main event on ShoBox is a fascinating matchup. The name recognition, however, is with FNF show, and for what it’s worth, I think Mora-Vera will be a fun middleweight bout. Maybe it’s a West Coast bias, or just a bias for Mora (I’m one of the few boxing writers who actually likes Sergio; I even enjoy watching the Latin Snake fight), but I think the FNF main event is more significant than the main events of the other Friday boxing shows. If Mora beats Vera and wins another semi-significant bout, such as a third match with Contender rival Peter Manfredo, I think he can be a player in the relatively shallow 160-pound division.
The FNF co-feature should be interesting too. Charles Hatley was an excellent amateur and he appears to be a solid pro prospect but this Chris Chapman guy is an athletically gifted southpaw and cagey to boot.
Back to Mora, briefly. I understand your questions about his true identity. I would say that he’s all of the above, your classic hot-and-cold fighter. Mora needs to deliver tonight and then do so in his next few fights if he wants fans to take him and his stated goals seriously.
DONAIRE’S RING RANKINGS
Hey Dougie! I love the columns… it’s what I start my morning out with everyday of the week!
I just have to ask though… how in the hell is Nonito Donaire #5 on The Ring’s pound for pound list and #5 in his weight class. That’s messed up. And he has 3 guys in front of him that aren’t on the pound for pound? I’ve only been a hard core boxing fan for about a year so there is probably something I’m missing, but Montiel-Donaire should be for THE RING championship no doubt about it. — Klem
No it shouldn’t. Donaire isn’t accomplished enough at bantamweight to be rated much higher at 118 pounds than he is now. Vacant RING titles are only up for grabs when the Nos. 1 and 2 contenders go at it (and in some cases when the Nos. 1 and 3 get it on).
For the record, I don’t believe Donaire is fifth best boxer, pound for pound, on the planet. Given his considerable talent, he could be, and if he were to beat Montiel, he’ll prove to be in my opinion, but for the time being, I think he should be just outside of the P4P top 10.
That said, THE RING’s editorial board rates him No. 5 among the sport’s elite fighters but only No. 5 among bantamweights because his pound-for-pound ranking takes into consideration his accomplishments at 112 and 115 pounds.
I hope this hasn’t been confusing. Anyway, if your boy wins on Feb. 19 everything I’ve explained here will be moot.
I HOPE PAVLIK RETURNS
Now The Ghost is out of rehab and in a new division. NICE. Super middle’s got a bunch of bloodthirsty talented guys and no lineal champ. As good a spot for a comeback as any. Thinking of potential fights, how about Librado Andrade? Andrade won’t move around, and can take a punch. He can also dish it out, making him a good test for Pavlik’s chin. A win establishes The Ghost as an opponent for Lucian Bute or the Super 6 winner. A loss? Well, not all comebacks are successful.
So hey, what’s your opinion of “Light’s Out”? I like the acting enough to overlook the cliched plot line. Also, it’s boxing on prime time, even if it’s more about the story than the sweet science. The best episode so far was about the Armenian prospect. However, the rest of the episodes have been a bit far fetched. The MMA fight in particular tells that whoever writes the show doesn’t know a whole lot about boxing.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to a weekend of mostly prospects. The Lares, Puerto Rico fights have significance for me, that’s my grandma’s hometown. Showbox-er Lateef Kayode gets props for having a cool sounding last name. BTW, am I a bad person for wishing to see Brian Vera win via KO? Paying $60 to see that last Sergio Mora stinker really upset me. Sincerely. — Enrique Fernández Roberts, Washington, DC
I don’t think wanting to see any fighter get KTFO makes any fan a “bad person.” It just makes you a bloodthirsty ghoul, which most fans are. And most fans (and a good portion of press row) have a hard-on for Mr. Mora. I like Sergio but I can’t really defend him too much. He can be cocky and he doesn’t always back his mouth in the ring, so if fans want to see him get stretched because of that (or because he’s stunk out the joint more than once) I can understand their blood lust. And hey, I’m sure Vera is a cool guy. There’s nothing wrong with him getting a big victory tonight. I know he’ll have his hometown fans inside the Fort Worth Convention Center to root for that KO you want to see.
Cool-sounding last name aside, I’m still not that excited about Kayode. I don’t know if a victory over tonight’s opponent will make me a fan. If Kayode looks really impressive against Nick Iannuzzi perhaps his management will have him take on a young fringe contender such as Matt Godfrey or BJ Flores next. If he can beat someone at that level, and look good doing it, I’ll probably get excited about “Power.”
Regarding the Lares fights, Michael Perez makes for fun fights, so enjoy.
I have no opinion on “Lights Out” because I haven’t seen a single episode. I have the DVD box set of the series, so I will watch it soon, but so far I haven’t been able to make the time.
I think Pavlik-Andrade is the quintessential cross-roads/loser-leaves-town bout and a can’t-miss super middleweight barnburner.
The Ghost is a welcome addition to the 168-pound division but I think he needs more experience in his corner and he should get out of Youngstown for his serious training camps if he really hopes to mount a successful comeback. Something‘s gotta change for him to get over the hump. Maybe the only thing holding him back was alcohol dependence. We’ll see. But it could be that his environment contributes to his bad habits. Pavlik’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, has wanted the fighter to relocate to Las Vegas for as long as I can remember and he hasn’t given up on that goal as this piece I wrote in mid-January suggests.
The guess here is that if he stays in Y-town and keeps his current training situation he’ll make for a few exciting brawls at 168 but he won’t realize the potential he appeared to have back in 2007.