ZAVECK-BERTO, FIVE HEAVYWEIGHT OUTCOMES
Originally, I felt a sense of justice when Andre Berto lost to Victor Ortiz because he was seemingly protected by the powers that be with quite a few fail-proof matchups, not to mention I felt he lost to Luis Collazo. Now, I'm glad he lost to Ortiz for a totally different reason – because it has brought something out in him that not only did we not know he had in him, but I think something he didn't know he had in himself.
The icing on the cake was the arrival of Jan Zaveck into the American fight fans’ consciousness on an HBO telecast. Things are getting better and better for boxing fans. After tonight, the welterweight division is heating up with the addition of 2 warriors I want to see matched with the other top welters as soon as possible. You know, I feel bad for Berto in the sense that he wanted top fights all along. It's just those "managing" him felt otherwise. It must've been very difficult being in his shoes. Anyway, it's always a gift when both fighters in the same match come out winners no matter how it ended.
Now, how about some outcomes on these 5 appetizing "height of their powers" heavyweight matchups during the ‘90s:
Andrew Golota vs. Michael Moorer
Michael Moorer vs. Lennox Lewis
Buster Douglas vs. Lennox Lewis
Evander Holyfield vs. Andrew Golota
Tommy Morrison vs. Michael Moorer
Thanks!– Ronnie The Conqueror, St. Louis, MO
Astute and well stated, as always, Ronnie. (I guess that comes with being a conqueror.)
Those look like fun big-man matchups. The 1990s is an underrated decade for the heavyweight division.
I’ll take Moorer over Golota by close decision, late stoppage or DQ (take your pick — bottom line is that Double M was/is slightly less of a head case than the Foul Pole).
Double L blasts Double M out cold by the middle rounds.
Douglas at his best gives Lewis fits, but the British-Canadian had a bigger fighting heart than the momma’s boy who put it all together (in her memory) against Mike Tyson. I like Lewis by late TKO.
The current version of Holyfield takes Golota’s heart. The prime Real Deal beats the s__t out of Golota until the bigger, stronger, more talented heavyweight quits on his stool.
The Duke would have knocked Moorer into next week. The prime Morrison wasn’t as technically sound as Moorer, but he was so fast and powerful with that killer-hook of his that I can envision him landing it over Moorer’s southpaw jab and ending the fight with a single blow.
Don’t feel bad for Berto. His management may have kept him away from top welterweights against his wishes (which I’m not convinced of), but in doing so they made sure that he made a good amount of money before he lost or took an ass whipping.
I agree that both fighters in HBO’s B.A. D. main event came out “winners.” Zaveck was a total nobody as far as U.S. fans were concerned, now the hardcore heads are saying that he further “exposed” Berto and probably would have stopped the American favorite late in the bout. And who knows? Maybe he would have. I thought he was going to come on strong in the late rounds and do enough to make the predictable points nod to Berto a controversial one.
In that respect, I guess we got lucky. Having the barnburner end prematurely due to cuts and swelling was a lot better for the sport than a disputed decision.
I’d love to see Zaveck in with Berto again, or one or two of the 147-pound division’s undefeated standouts — Vyacheslav Senchenko (the WBA belt holder) Kell Brook or Mike Jones. If he can’t catch a break at welterweight, my good friend Sam Garcia offered this junior middleweight gem via text message immediately following Saturday’s fight: Zaveck vs. Pawel Wolak.
Regarding Berto, I know a lot of boxing writers and hardcore fans can’t stand him because he’s had so many high-paying HBO appearances against “gimme” opponents, but I personally won’t mind seeing him on the network again provided his opponent is at least as solid as Zaveck and he vows to bring the heat as hard as he did on Saturday.
What's up Dougie,
Berto made a nice statement on Saturday. He put himself right back into the welterweight mix, but I think Zaveck's soft skin tissue was a factor.
Anyway, on to bigger things, and by that I mean heavyweights. I'm looking forward to Vitali Klitschko-Tomasz Adamek fight on the 10th. I'm looking forward to seeing if Adamek can solve the Klitschko puzzle. Unlike others who have tried, Adamek will come into the fight in shape and willing to fight. Also, he has a decent chin, heart, speed, and boxing skills. I think that if he can bob and weave his way inside and land some nice, quick combos, he has a chance. Of course, that's easier said than done against the K-Bros. What do you think Dougie? — Miguel, LBC
I think Mt. Vitali is one big, badass hill for Adamek to climb, but as you correctly stated the Polish veteran will be as prepared as he possible can be and he’ll give it 100 percent on fight night, which is something Klitschko hasn’t had to deal with in a long time.
I’m a big fan of Adamek’s. Unlike most American fans and fight scribes I believe he deserves pound-for-pound consideration for being a legitimate top five contender in three weight classes (light heavyweight, cruiserweight, where he was THE RING’s champ, and now heavyweight), but I gotta go with Klitschko. No other elite fighter in the sport is as effective as Big Bro is at “fighting tall” and from a distance. I think he’ll wear Adamek down to a late TKO. However, I won’t be shocked if Adamek manages to go the distance and win some rounds along the way.
Berto did indeed put himself back in the 147-pound picture. And if he isn’t able to land a lucrative showdown with Pacquiao, Mayweather or Ortiz, I’m curious to see how he does with his top two IBF contenders – hard-punching vet Randall Bailey and Mike Jones.
RESPECT FOR BERTO, ZAVECK
That was a solid fight Berto and Zaveck put on. Both men deserve respect for the way they moved forward and threw bombs. I had Zaveck ahead on my scorecards at the time of the TKO. In my opinion Jan was landing the cleaner shots as well as blocking the majority of Berto’s shots with his forearms, although based on that pulverized right eye I have to consent that Berto landed his fair share. I’d love to see a rematch, but seeing as Berto is probably the front runner for the winner of Ortiz/Mayweather and in no need of a tune up match, it would make no sense for Berto to risk a potential loss when a giant pay day is within reach. What do you think lies in the future for both of these fierce competitors.
(P.S. I hope the American fans and boxing fans in general remember the performance Jan put on, opposed to just the official outcome. I always enjoy the articles and keep up the good work.) — Petro
I think U.S. fans were impressed enough by Zaveck’s aggression, technique and toughness to want to see him again. We just hope for his sake (and ours, because we like watching him fight so much) that he adds a good cutman to his team. He’s going to need one against the cream of the 147-pound crop.
I think Zaveck’s management will lobby very hard (to the IBF and Team Berto) for a rematch. Perhaps not an immediate one but a return bout as soon as possible. Zaveck wants to make his name in the U.S., and I’m sure HBO would love to have him back against Berto at some point.
I think Berto will lobby hard for an Ortiz rematch, regardless of what happens with Victor on Sept. 16. Going after PacMan or Mayweather makes the most sense, but given the same “Al Haymon factor” that has made him one of HBO’s favorite sons, those mega-fights might out of his reach. Haymon, who manages both Mayweather and Berto, has never shown much interest in having his fighters face each other no matter how much money is on the table. And it’s a well-known fact that Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, hates Haymon as much as hardcore fans hate the low-profile concert promoter’s fighters.
So my guess is that Berto’s best bet for a big fight is either the Ortiz rematch or a 147-pound showdown with Tim Bradley (which I’d be interested in seeing based on what I’ve heard about their one amateur meeting).
By the way, I had Berto leading at the time of the stoppage. I scored the first three rounds for him and had rounds four and five for Zaveck.
-Less than a minute in and we have our first pointless Kellerman/Jones debate, when Roy takes minor exception to Kellerman labeling Russel as a "boxer". The two of them remind me of the good ol' days of Big George Foreman & Larry Merchant. Though their jousting is a lot more polite, Jones being less indignant than George and Max being less indignant than Merchant.
-Boy, Max Kellerman is a sucker for fast southpaws, isn't he? It's round three and he's already harboring a pretty substantial man crush for Gary Russell. Zab Judah must be crushed….
-When Papa, Kellerman & Ledarman aren't tripping over themselves lavishing praise on Russell, they are working overtime stroking Jones's ego by reminding him how great he USED to be.
-The Jones lovefest comes to a crashing halt after Max deftly suggests Jones cherry picked opponents during the latter stage of his career. Thankfully Jones decides against debating the merits Richard Hall, Derrick Harmon and Julio Ceasar Green…..
-Speaking of Russell he has eye catching hand speed-but I wasn't overly impressed. He's going to have to be as good as the hype surrounding him suggests with the sharks currently swimming at and around 126 lbs….
-What? Berto's kid brother isn't offering his expert advice in between rounds???…
-Berto wins!!!! Though I can't help but feel he's somehow plateaued. Against the right opponent he'll look brilliant, but I don't ever see him competing on even terms with the Maywether's and Pacquiao's of the world-and that's not necessarily a bad thing. For as much as he's killed by hardcore fans for his association Al Haymon, he's a willing combatant and makes for exciting fights-which is all we fans can ask for. — Tom G.
I agree. I never thought that highly of Berto, but I don’t have a problem with him fighting on HBO (or any other network) as long as he brings the ruckus the way he did vs. Collazo, Ortiz and Zaveck (note: all very solid opposition) and doesn’t stink it out as he did vs. Juan Urango. I agree that Berto has likely hit his ceiling in terms of his technique and versatility. His ship is run on talent, which is fine. He’s fun to watch when he can impose his speed, strength and power on a lesser opponent, and he’s fun to watch when the other guy takes advantage of his numerous defensive holes.
I’m glad somebody told Berto’s brother to shut up. It was probably Andre.
Russell is more than just hand speed. He’s got solid technique, timing and hand-eye coordination. He’s also got some guts. However, Russell does get a little repetitive with his offense, much like Kellerman’s last speedy southpaw love child, Devon Alexander. Because of the talent of the 126-pound division, I think we’ll find out sooner rather than later if this flaw costs him in a high-profile fight.
The Jones love fest during these B.A.D. broadcasts does get a little tiresome. I chuckled when Kellerman brought up the cherry picking during his light heavyweight reign. This is the same guy who stated on ESPN2 that he would “tell his grand children” about Jones knocking out Glen Kelly after hiding his hands behind his back, and then made a case for considering RJJ the G.O.A.T after he handled John Ruiz. Oh, and for the record, Jones didn’t fight Julio Cesar Green. You’re thinking of Julio Gonzalez, who did go on to dethrone long-reigning WBO/lineal champ Dariusz Michalczewski for whatever that’s worth.
Despite the Jones nut-hugging, I enjoy the combination of RJ, Papa, Kellerman and Lederman. In fact, I’d like to hear more from Lederman.
I miss those borderline-nasty verbal exchanges between Big George and Merchant.
THOUGHTS ON HBO FIGHTS
Hi Doug, how are you doing? I will keep things short. Here are my thoughts from Saturday's fights…
1. Gary Russell Jr. … He is good just like all HBO broadcast guys said. To me, he kind of reminds me Chad Dawson when he was still fighting on ShoBox. He was fast, had good defense and enough power but he didn't try to finish his opponents. I see the same type of attitude from Russell. Yes, he's calculated but on the other hand, he doesn't seem to have "killer instinct" to finish up his opponents. He is still young so I thought that it will not hurt showing a little more emotion and fire to make the fight exciting. He's like a total opposite of Mikey Garcia. Garcia doesn't have flashy fast hands or rapid combos like Russell but he doesn't hesitate and finishes his opponents when the opportunities arrive.
2. Jan Zaveck…. I like him. He seems to be a good guy and showed some heart. He hit Berto with the overhand right so many times. Too bad he just didn't have enough power and skills to take advantage of it. I think he should relocate to the States and train here. He's got good attitude and enough experience but it seems like he doesn't have enough technique to make himself a better fighter. He should be hooked up with some good coaches here and I wanna see how much he can improve.
3. Berto… Yes, he won. Yes he became a beltholder again. However I didn't see much of technical improvement from him. As I mentioned above, he got caught frequently with the overhand right and sneaky uppercut inside. He still fights "top heavy" and his legs often out of balance and tend to get squared up. What really bothered me the most was that his inability to fight inside. Geez, how many fights does he have? He's a short guy but he can only punch well with long to mid-range and when the other guy gets inside, all he can do is "hold". (I'm still waiting to see which ref will be the first one to take a point from him for holding.) No one in his camp shows him to how to fight inside? He's lucky Margarito is not a threat anymore at 147 (or any other division).
Sorry ended up a bit long post. Keep up the good work!! — Naoki, Reno NV
Thanks for emailing in with your thoughts, Naoki. I’ll try not to “end up a bit long” (LOL) with my responses to your comments, which I will list in order:
1. A key difference between Russell and Dawson is their stature. Dawson is tall and rangy for his weight class (especially when he campaigned as a middleweight and super middleweight). Russell, who is barely 5-foot-5 with only a 63-inch wingspan, is short and stocky even by featherweight standards. It will be interesting to see how this effects his progress as he continues to step up the level of his opposition. He might have the talent to overcome his lack of size, but if he isn‘t as good as advertised, a dude like Garcia will expose him. Hopefully, we find out soon. I think there can be a really good round robin between young featherweights standouts – Russell, Garcia, Ronny Rios and Roberto Marroquin.
2. I don’t think Zaveck needs to relocate to the U.S. to be a factor in the 147-pound division. His technique looked good to me. I think his trainer Dirk Dzemski has done well with Zaveck. All Zaveck needed Saturday night was a damn good cutman and a ringside physician who would let him fight on (although, I must admit, the cut over his right eye looked severe enough to halt the fight, in my opinion).
3. The inside game is not something every fighter can master, regardless of their talent level. It took James Toney at least 10 years to perfect his superb inside game. Most fighters aren’t willing to put that much work into becoming a complete fighter, especially if they can get by without mastering the art of phone-booth warfare. The Klitschko brothers can’t fight on the inside, and they’re doin’ alright. There are more than a few fighters enshrined in the hall of fame, including Muhammad Ali, who never mastered in-fighting. And Ali, like Berto, did a lot of holding when he faced an inside beast, such as his arch nemesis Joe Frazier. I’m not saying Berto shouldn’t try to improve on the inside (he absolutely should), I’m just saying that the few active fighters who really can fight on the inside are veterans with more than 10-15 years under their belts.
Email Doug Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org