Michael Rosenthal

Weekend Review: Sonny Boy is the man


Sonny Boy Jaro: Filipino boxing fans have a new hero. Jaro, 29, was always a pretty good fighter, having earned contender status but falling short in two previous attempts to win major belts. No one saw this coming, though. He was a long shot to beat RING flyweight titleholder Pongsaklek Wonjongkam on Saturday in the champion’s home country even if you considered the aging Thai vulnerable.  Jaro (34-10-5, 24 knockouts) has good power but limited skills and a questionable chin. He has been stopped seven times. Thus, the news out of Chonburi was stunning: Jaro by sixth-round knockout. Jaro put Wonjongkam down three times, the final time for the full 10 count to take the veteran’s RING and WBC belts and establish himself as an important fighter overnight. It’s hard to imagine Jaro’s reign lasting too long. It was also hard to imagine him beating Wonjongkam.



Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: One common criticism of Wonjongkam (83-4-2, 44 KOs) is that he has fought a series of marginal opponents in recent years. On Friday, one beat him up pretty badly. It might be premature to say the old man is finished at 34, an advanced age for a little man with 89 fights over 17-plus years. Some wondered whether his championship days were behind him when he lost and then drew with Daisuke Naito in 2007 and 2008 but he outpointed Koki Kameda in 2010 to win the RING belt and regain his flyweight supremacy. The lesson? Don’t count Wonjongkam out. No matter what happens, he has nothing to be ashamed of. He has had one of the greatest flyweight runs in history, making 21 successful title defenses in his two reigns. He has been rated as a flyweight by THE RING for 570 weeks, or 11 years. Those are Hall of Fame credentials.



Klitschko’s KO of Mormeck: Everyone knows that the heavyweight division is as thin as it has ever been. Still, Wladimir Klitschko could’ve found a better opponent than Jean-Marc Mormeck for his fight this past Saturday in Germany. The former cruiserweight titleholder had won his first three heavyweight fights but was 39, hadn’t fought in 15 months and was dwarfed by the Ukrainian giant. The fact he lasted three-plus rounds is a minor miracle. Of course, no one has been giving Klitschko problems. He hasn’t faced a challenge since he thrice got up from the canvas to outpoint Sam Peter in 2005. The RING champion now has 16 successful title defenses, nine short of Joe Louis’ record. And he recorded his 50th knockout, which is a milestone. We can criticize Klitschko’s choices of opponents. At the same time, we must admire his complete domination over the sport’s premier division.



Jean-Marc Mormeck: We shouldn’t be too hard on Mormeck, who obviously was ill prepared to cope with an opponent of Klitschko’s size and ability. More than one heavyweight with bad intentions has fallen apart under imposing pressure from the big Ukrainian. But three punches? That’s how many Mormeck landed in the entire fight, according to computer statistics. Embarrassing. The Frenchman was able to do one thing he needed to do: get inside. He just didn’t do anything once he got there. One reason was that Klitschko tied him up and leaned on his shoulders in an apparent attempt to sap his strength, which wasn’t his fault. Still, Mormeck threw only 19 punches. A fighter must let his hands go to have any hope of winning any fight. Mormeck gave himself no chance.



Joan Guzman’s talent: No one questions the talent of the Dominican junior welterweight, who has never tasted defeat. He demonstrated his ability again by stopping Jesus Pabon in eight rounds on national television Friday. However, the presumption is that he will never reach his potential because he isn’t fully dedicated to the sport. Guzman (32-0-1, 19 KOs) is known more for failing to make weight than winning fights. It took him three attempts to make the 140-pound limit for the fight Friday, further evidence that he hasn’t learned his lesson. It probably isn’t too late for Guzman, who appears to be a fairly well preserved 35. Time is running out, though. He must devote himself 100 percent to the sport if he hopes to do anything special.



Floyd Mayeather Jr., from The Assocaited Press: “It’s amazing to be at 35 and still be at the top of the sport and get nine-figure deals. It’s truly amazing. It’s a puzzle. Leonard [Ellerbe, Mayweather’s top adviser] is a piece of the puzzle. [Adviser] Al Haymon is a piece of the puzzle. I’m just the centerpiece.” Mayweather fights Miguel Cotto on May 5.

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