THINGS JUST GOT INTERESTING
Doug E. Fresh,
I hope all is well my man. The boxing world was kind of bland for a bit but things just got a bit more flavorful with the announcement of a few big fights and the FNF card taking place this week. Let’s start with the main one:
1. Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero – How do you see this fight going? I remember we seemed to pretty much agree on how Mayweather vs. Cotto would play out and it turned out we were spot on. Once again, I think Floyd is in for his toughest fight since Jose Luis Castillo. The main reason is because at 36 he’s no spring chicken and his legs ain’t what they used to be. He’ll be that much slower and with his reflex-dependent style that much can prove to be a lot. Just ask Roy Jones. A matter of fact can this be Jones-Tarver 2 all over again? We have an intelligent, hungry, and very physical southpaw before us against a flashy, big-mouthed, pound for pound superstar who refuses to take risks. I’m not quite ready to pick against Floyd yet (he’s still Floyd) but I do think those 11-1 odds in Floyd’s favor are a bit much.
2. Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondaeux – Okay, this time I am pulling the trigger and calling the upset. Donaire’s never been in the ring with anyone as intelligent as Rigo and it’s going to frustrate the hell out of him. It will be boring in spots as they both circle and stare at each other, daring the other man to make the first move but when Donaire tries to load up on his punches in imitation of his boyhood idol Roy Jones, (why does that name keep coming up? lol) he’s going to be countered with something he’s never been hit with before. Remember the old boxing adage: the boxer beats the puncher. What’s your take on this fight? (BTW- have you heard about the documentary on Rigondaeux that’s supposed to come out? I’m stoked about it. So stoked that I donated over $100 towards it. Check it out here: http://splitdecisionfilm.com/ )
3. Lamont Peterson vs. Kendall Holt on FNF & Ishe Smith vs. Cornelius “K9” Bundrage on Showtime. I’m going with Peterson to outwork Holt and K9 to outsnooze Smith. I know he was caught with PEDs in his system but I can’t help but like Peterson. He’s a class act who always carries himself well in and out of the ring. But most of all, win or lose, he comes to FIGHT! The already stacked 140-lb division is much better off with him in the mix.
How do you think Floyd’s move to Showtime will affect the landscape of boxing? I know competition is good for the consumers but will this further enable the Cold War and prevent some of the best fights from being made?
1. Duran vs. Pryor
2. Charlie Burley vs. Bernard Hopkins
3. 4 man tournament between Tyson, Dempsey, Frazier, and Marciano: who wins?
4. Thor vs. Superman
Keep up the great work Doug E. Fresh (admit it: you love it when people call you that) – J. Nava, San Francisco, Ca
I’ve been called that every since Doug E. doing “The Show” with Slick Rick, and it goes without saying that I love it.
I agree that this past week’s announcement of Mayweather’s Showtime deal, the May 4 fight with Guerrero and Donaire-Rigondeaux have thawed out the U.S. boxing scene, which had been frozen coming out of the holiday season thanks to a series of fight postponements and cancelations due to training injuries.
Here’s my thoughts on the matchups you brought up:
Mayweather-Guerrero: I see another hard 12-round fight for Floyd, but this one will be more grueling than the Cotto fight. Guerrero doesn’t have Cotto’s technique, physical strength or power but he makes up for it in tenacity and activity. I think The Ghost has a better beard than Cotto and he’s much fresher than the Puerto Rican star. However, unlike the last southpaw Mayweather faced (Victor Ortiz), Guerrero is a mature, experienced veteran who is used to hard championship distance fights. He’s also got a good jab – the key to disrupting Mayweather’s style. Of course, Floyd deserves to be the odds favorite. He’s paid the cost to be the boss, but I agree that 11-1 is a little much. If I was a betting man I’d gladly put a few C-notes on Guerrero. Having said that, I like Mayweather by UD in a competitive fight (two scores of 116-112 and, of course, the obligatory out-of-line BS card of 118-110 or 119-109 for the “Money” guy.)
Donaire-Rigondeaux: I strongly favor Donaire in this one. I think it’s a very close matchup on paper but I believe the Filipino Flash’s greater pro experience and adaptable style will expose some key limitations in the Cuban amateur legend’s game – mainly his difficulty with lateral movement. Honestly, I think Donaire will make it look like Rigondeaux is wearing cement shoes. But he’s not going to run. He’s just going to punch on the fly and eventually he’ll clip Rigondeaux, who doesn’t possess a world-class chin. I think Donaire can take a shot, even a direct left counter from the Cuban lefty. It’s true the boxer usually beats the puncher, but this is not a boxer-puncher matchup; it’s a boxer-boxer matchup – specifically a counterpuncher-counterpuncher matchup. Don’t expect a thriller, but it should be intense because both boxers are fast and can punch and both are very smart. I just think Donaire can do more than Rigo. I like Donaire by mid-to-late rounds KO.
Peterson-Holt: I’m not expecting a Fight of the Year candidate tonight but I’m looking forward to the IBF title match because the first quarter of the bout should be interesting. Holt’s counter-punching power is most potent in the early rounds, when Peterson often gets caught and dropped by better talented athletes (Bradley, Ortiz and Khan). The hometown hero has been inactive since the Khan fight, so he’ll need some time to “fight” himself back into top form. I think his jab keeps Holt at bay and his big heart will see him through any rocky moments in the early going, enabling him to take over the fight in the middle rounds and outwork the former beltholder down the stretch. I think Peterson will win a close UD. And I also find it hard not to like him. I’m more than willing to get over the testosterone mishap, especially if he undergoes comprehensive testing from VADA in his future fights, which I hope are against the likes of Matthysse, Khan and the Garcia-Judah winner.
Bundrage-Smith: Again, I’m not expecting World War III (despite their hardcore staredown from yesterday’s final press conference), but hopefully this Showtime offering has its moments of entertainment. “K9” will be motivated fighting in his hometown and his awkward style and big right can cause problems for any 154-pound fighter but I think Smith is a good defensive boxer with a world-class chin. I also think he’s the more complete fighter. I’m going with “Sugar Shay” by close, maybe split decision.
How does Floyd’s move to Showtime affect the landscape of boxing? Well, let me first state that it ain’t gonna change the world; not even the boxing world. It’s impact will only be felt here in the States, but I think it will be a positive one for American fight fans because it finally evens the playing field between Showtime and HBO.
Mayweather’s move will give Showtime their first true crossover boxing star since Mike Tyson. It will bring more of a casual fan audience to the cable network, and hopefully, with the help of CBS, it will bring new fans to the sport.
For HBO, I think Mayweather’s absence will help them earn more respect with the U.S. hardcore fans who keep the sport alive in America because now the network can focus on building the next generation of boxing stars. They’ve got four excellent candidates: Adrien Broner, Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios and Andre Ward. Gennady Golovkin also has a lot of potential. HBO can do a lot with this talent if they put on the right fights.
Mythical Match-ups! Yeah!
1. Duran vs. Pryor – I love me some Hawk, but I envision Hands of Stone winning by decision or scoring a late TKO in an all-time great fight.
2. Charlie Burley vs. Bernard Hopkins – This is a wet-dream fight for boxing purists, but most of us would call it a “stinker.” I like B-Hop by controversial decision.
3. 4 man tournament between Tyson, Dempsey, Frazier, and Marciano – Who wins? SMOKIN’ JOE FRAY-ZHUH!!!!!!!!!!
4. Thor vs. Superman – The Man of Steel would make the Norse god of thunder his golden-haired bitch, but would then have to deal with the wrath of Odin.
MICHIGAN’S FAB FIVE
That’s an easy Top Five:
1) Thomas Hearns (Detroit) 2) James Toney (Grand Rapids) 3) Floyd Mayweather (Grand Rapids) 4) Stanely Ketchel (Grand Rapids) 5) Chris Byrd (Flint).
Must be something in the water in Grand Rapids.
MAYWEATHER-GUERRERO; WLAD KLITSCHKO
Hope you are doing well.
Given the surprising competitiveness of Cotto in Mayweather’s last fight how do you see Guerrero fairing? I’m thinking he has pretty good chance of doing some damage to Floyd. He’s 1inch taller than Cotto, has a 3-inch longer reach and is a lot fresher and in some ways nastier than Miguel. I don’t think Robert’s going to allow Floyd to dictate the distance and pot-shot him – I think he’s going to get right up in Floyd’s grill and make this ugly. How would Floyd deal with possibly being cut or roughed up?
I don’t see Guerrero winning but I think he can take Floyd places he would not want to go.
I see Wlad Klitschko’s fighting in April but I must admit I can’t see what’s left for him out there. Tyson Fury & David Price are my obvious choices but they’re not quite ready yet and should probably fight each other first. Pulev looks interesting but I don’t think he’ll present too much of a challenge. Povetkin would get ripped a new one… Is there anything more that Wlad can do to enhance his legacy in the absence of any obvious career defining fights?
Keep up the great work! – Stephen, Cape Town, South Africa
I agree Fury and Price aren’t ready yet but I think they’ll fight each other in a huge UK showdown within the next 18 months and Klitschko vs. the winner would break revenue, ratings and attendance records. So I’d like to see the 36-year-old heavyweight champ stick around for that.
In the meantime, I think the winner of next month’s Chris Arreola-Bermane Stiverne fight, Malik Scott (if the undefeated American beats Vyacheslav Glazkov tomorrow night and wins a few more), and athletic puncher Deontay Wilder (if Golden Boy can keep his KO streak going through 2013) will make for interesting fights (all of which Wladdy would be a monster favorite to win).
Win, lose or draw, I think Guerrero takes some years out of Mayweather, who turns 36 on Sunday.
THE PREDICATBALE, UNPREDICATABLE IN BOXING
The fights last week were fairly predictable, and a few were the kind of total mismatches that I hate to see, the worse by far being the Rodriguez-Tahdooahnippah bout. That bout should never have been approved, as even a casual boxing fan would notice immediately that “Comanche Boy” did not belong in that ring. Regarding the biggest fight of the weekend, HBO and Haymon need to step Broner’s comp up, because the young man is clearly very talented, too much so for his recent competition – nuff said.
The weekend surprise for me was a fight that I have not seen yet, Edner Cherry apparently wiping out Vicente Escobedo. Vicente never seemed to live up to original expectations, and at this point he seems to be caught between weights, not strong enough for 135, but appearing to drain himself for 130. And his losses are getting worse, progressing from split decision defeats, to UDs, to KOs. I never believed he was ever going to beat Broner, with or without weight-gate, but with this loss to Cherry, Vicente is clearly headed in the wrong direction.
I really hope that the Canelo-Trout and Donaire-Rigondeaux fights are officially announced, and actually happen. These are two of the fights that I look forward to the most.
I’m not as thrilled about Mayweather-Guerrero, but I’ll watch it, although I won’t be contributing to Floyd’s new multimillion dollar deal, which is sure to hike PPV prices.
And speaking of Floyd’s new deal, if heads rolled at HBO for losing Pacquiao for only one fight (although no one at the time knew it would be for only one fight), should we expect a serious ‘cleansing’ now that HBO has lost Mayweather for what looks to be the rest of his career? I had also heard that another Haymon star, Broner was on the verge of signing a multi-fight deal with HBO. But GBP and Haymon are doing more-n-more business with Showtime, particularly since Espinoza arrived there. There was a fear from some that GBP and Stephen Espinoza (former attorney for GBP) were going to form a monopoly over at Showtime. All I can say is, duh, really? Things were already heading in that direction before, and this new deal will certainly accelerate this process.
Well, I guess we now know why Mickey Bey looked so sharp after his recent inactivity. Second highest T/E ration in Nevada history, man! How did he think he was going to get away with that?
By the way, check out this recent article in the NY Times.
Peace. – Steve
Fascinating article, but I agree with former DC prez & publisher Paul Levitz (the longtime writer of one of my favorite team titles, The Legion of Super-Heroes), the damage has been done. That Wertham jerk-off unfairly vilified an entire industry and stifled a lot potential creativity for decades.
I wonder how Bey is going to explain his ridiculously high testosterone levels to the Nevada State Athletic Commission?
His testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was 30-to-1. Nevada allows nothing over a 6-to-1 ratio (and anti-doping agencies, such as WADA and VADA, cap it at 4-to-1; 1-to-1 is considered normal). MMA star Alistair Overeem, who makes the Hulk look scrawny, failed a Nevada piss test with a 14-to-1 ratio.
Bey to the NSAC: “I ate a race horse the night before my last fight. The butcher promised me the horse was clean.”
What do you think the big cheeses at Time Warner are gonna do to Ken Hershman? Blow him up in his car? LOL. Hey, for all we know the Cotto fight was Mayweather’s last prime performance. We could be looking at diminishing returns, fight by fight, from here on out; sort of like the situation that Showtime had with Tyson after Iron Mike got out of jail in the mid-90s.
If Mayweather’s cloak of invincibility is yanked by a loss or two over the next 12-18 months, do you think he can captivate a mainstream audience the way the fading Tyson did with his crazy-man antics in the late 90s and early 2000s? It will be interesting to see.
It’s also going to be interesting to see what Hershman does to counter-act the move. Maybe they’ll write big-enough checks to make certain fan-friendly showdowns, such as Martinez-Golovkin or Rios-Broner, a reality; or maybe we’ll see some tournaments or more international talent. Who knows? But they gotta do something to keep us watching and I think they will.
As for Showtime and their new GBP/Haymon alliance, they had a darn good 2012 but they’re going to have a much better 2013.
Donaire-Rigondeaux was made official this past week. I think Alvarez-Trout will be made, too. Hardcore heads should rejoice.
I hate to say this, because Escobedo is one of my favorite boxing people who was one of the brightest-looking prospects I’ve ever seen (I still remember him taking Brandon Rios to school during a sparring session at Azteca Boxing Club when both were 10-0), but I think the 2004 U.S. Olympian is well on his way to becoming a gatekeeper if he continues boxing. I’m sure many fans consider him to be one now.
It’s going to be very hard for him to rebound from back-to-back knockout losses.
Regarding last week’s FNF, all I can say is I want to see more Rodriguez on TV (vs. world-class opposition, of course) and less Oklahoma club fighters with nicknames that could be used by reserve members of the Village People.
Email Dougie at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer