Wednesday, 24th July 2019

Old Guys Rule: 3 Fights to Watch

Posted on 06. Sep, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

Old Guys Rule: 3 Fights to Watch

Boxing experts usually cringe when they hear news of old-timers lacing up the gloves for one last payday. Boxing fans on the other hand can be more forgiving and do not often rush to such quick judgment. The following is a list of three upcoming fights to look out for involving some of boxing’s elder statesmen. While the fights might not end up as instant classics, there is enough aging star power present to make for some intriguing possibilities in the fight world…

Antonio Tarver (27-6, 19 KOs) VS. Nagy Aguilera (16-4, 11 KOs) – Oct. 15
After a 17 month layoff, the 41 year-old Antonio Tarver is moving up to the heavyweight division to fight the Dominican Republic’s Nagy Aguilera. Aguilera is not exactly a walkover opponent for Tarver. At 6’3” and 230 pounds, the 24 year-old Aguilera is most known for his first round KO of former heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev. Tarver, who is currently hovering around 210 pounds, plans to eat his way up to 217 by the time the fight rolls around. Even at 210 pounds, this is a drastic change from a career that saw him fight mostly in the 178 range. Tarver is counting on speed and elusiveness to make his way through the heavyweight division but will it be enough?

Vitali Klitschko (40-2, 38 KOs) VS. Shannon Briggs (51-5-1, 45 KOs) – Oct. 16
Current WBC heavyweight title holder Vitali Klitschko will square off against former heavyweight champion and perpetual underachiever Shannon Briggs in Hamburg, Germany. The 39 year-old Klitschko has been destroying everyone in sight since he won the title in 2008 including four consecutive successful title defenses. Boxing fans were hoping to see a fight with David Haye materialize but it has become clear that Haye is avoiding the Klitschko brothers as if they had the plague. With the lack of big name heavyweight contenders in the division at the moment, the hard hitting 38 year-old Shannon Briggs got the call from camp Klitschko. Briggs first gained notoriety in 1997 when he defeated George Foreman for a heavyweight title thanks to a very controversial decision. Briggs was promptly knocked out by Lennox Lewis in his very next fight. He won a piece of the heavyweight crown again in 2006 after a dramatic knockout of Sergei Liakhovich with only one second remaining in the fight. But once again, Briggs lost his title in his very next fight. When Klitschko and Briggs meet in October, there is potential for a great heavyweight fight to emerge as Briggs is still one of the hardest punchers in the division. The burden for a good fight however lies solely on Briggs’ shoulders. Undoubtedly, Vitali Klitschko will arrive in top shape and put his work in as fans have come to expect. The question is, which Shannon Briggs will show up?

Bernard Hopkins (51-5-1, 32 KOs) VS. Jean Pascal (26-1, 16 KOs) – Dec. 18
At age 45, Bernard Hopkins keeps chugging along and getting paid. Never one to back down, Hopkins has faced some serious opposition since hitting age 40 including Jermain Taylor, Antonio Tarver, Joe Calzaghe, Winky Wright, and Kelly Pavlik. So it should be no surprise that Hopkins is not taking it easy in what might very well be the last fight of his professional career. Twenty-seven year old Jean Pascal recently upset Chad Dawson for the light heavyweight title by dominating him for 11 rounds and earning a TKO. While Dawson had a rematch clause in the initial contract, Pascal is not required to give him the fight right away. He is permitted to take a bout in the interim which gives Hopkins a chance to prove his critics wrong one more time. Hopkins’ last bout against Roy Jones Jr. came under much scrutiny in the boxing world and in the aftermath many called for both fighters to retire. Hopkins won the fight by unanimous decision but it was far from his most shining moment. This makes him dangerous going in to the fight with Jean Pascal. Hopkins is a “back against the wall” kind of guy with a wealth of fighting experience. He is eager to rebound from his poor performance against Roy Jones Jr. and he just may shock the boxing world when he hooks up with Pascal in December.

History Repeats Itself for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Posted on 20. Jul, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

History Repeats Itself for Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny Pacquiao’s people recently gave Floyd Mayweather Jr. a deadline to agree to a mega fight. The deadline passed this past Saturday with nothing but the sound of crickets coming from the pretty boy’s camp. Fans of boxing are concluding that Mayweather is running scared, ducking the mighty Manny because he is afraid of losing for the first time in his professional career.

Boxing historians are viewing the situation in an entirely different light though. Perhaps Pretty Boy Floyd is being more strategic than most are giving him credit for. Perhaps in the back of Mayweather’s mind he knows the fight will happen eventually.

The question is not if Floyd Mayweather is ducking Manny Pacquiao, for few can doubt that he is going out of his way to avoid this mega fight with Pac-Man. The question is, why are fight fans surprised?

Fans of boxing have witnessed this behavior before, they just probably do not remember (or they were not born yet). Remember a little rivalry that involved Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler? Marvelous was on a path of destruction, knocking out opponents with regularity. Hagler and Leonard seemed destined to meet, much like Pacquiao and Mayweather. Then Sugar Ray started playing mind games and started ducking the Marvelous one. A few years passed and the idea of a mega fight slowly fizzled and died.

But Sugar Ray was simply biding his time.

Though still dominant, Marvelous Marvin Hagler was running out of steam. He continued to fight while Sugar Ray was in “retirement”. The instant that Sugar Ray thought Hagler was slipping was when he started talking about a comeback and a mega fight. The fight eventually happened in 1987 and Sugar Ray won a controversial decision. Most would agree that Marvin Hagler would have destroyed Sugar Ray Leonard had they fought three years earlier.

Floyd Mayweather seems to be taking a page out of Sugar Ray Leonard’s book. He is waiting for Manny Pacquiao to burn out and Pac-Man seems all too happy to oblige. Manny is keeping himself busy in the ring and with his fledgling political career. Pretty Boy Floyd is coming in and out of retirement to face washed up fighters way past their prime. Perhaps he is simply waiting for the moment when Manny falters so that serious negotiations for a mega fight between the two can finally begin.

Martinez Proud to be a Momma’s Boy

Posted on 21. Apr, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, General Sports

Martinez Proud to be a Momma’s Boy

In the wake of Edwin Valero’s recent murder-suicide, one professional athlete is not afraid to let the world know that he is just a momma’s boy. Newly crowned middleweight champion Sergio Martinez has stepped up to let the masses know that fighting belongs in the ring and not in the home.

Edwin Valero was described by many as being unstable, addicted to drugs, and often times depressed. Perhaps it was these extreme qualities that made him such a warrior in the ring. Riding a wave of emotions is sometimes a way of making it through a fight, even if those emotions are self-destructive. Valero’s demons helped him knockout 27 straight opponents. His demons also made him batter his wife and eventually stab her to death. She was only 24 years-old.

Valero had a well documented history of domestic abuse in his native country. Venezuelan authorities and Valero’s training camp had a well documented history of looking the other way. Rising middleweight boxing star Sergio Martinez says enough is enough.

“I love and respect women. Violence against women is simply unacceptable. The great number of cases, too often involving athletes, requires action. I have always confided in my mother and consider myself to be a momma’s boy. Women must be respected, not abused,” Martinez commented recently. He is making this his cause, using his new found fame as middleweight champion of the world to help deliver this important message.

Sergio Martinez has plans to start a foundation for women who have been victims of domestic abuse. His actions are a breath of fresh air in a brutal sport where athletes mostly lookout for themselves. Martinez’s actions are already creating a positive buzz in the boxing community. Respected promoter Lou DiBella said he would try to work with the Boxing Promoter’s Association to help further the cause.

Realistically speaking, domestic violence is probably a more common problem amongst professional fighters than the public thinks. Competing in professional sports requires a level of aggression that is not easily found in the common person. Sergio Martinez is to be applauded for his efforts to help women affected by this horrible problem. He is not looking the other way this time and the world of boxing would be wise to follow his lead.

James Toney Strikes Deal with UFC

Posted on 07. Mar, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, UFC

James Toney Strikes Deal with UFC

The WWE style courtship* between James Toney and Dana White has finally ended with the news that Toney signed a multi fight deal with the UFC. This deal was announced by ESPN on March 3.

Though James Toney is not the first boxer to cross over in to the world of mixed martial arts, he is definitely the most celebrated boxing champion that has tried. This event is much more significant to MMA and organizations like the UFC than when other big stars have tried in the past like Jose Canseco and Herschel Walker. Toney is proven, legitimate, and longstanding. He has been a champion in a contact sport similar to MMA and has defeated some worthy adversaries. Guys like Canseco and Walker are simply above average athletes who had a few really great seasons.

Dana White and the UFC are moving very slowly with Toney’s debut which is a wise move. Toney’s mere presence in the organization will generate buzz and should bring in a few new fans. There is no sense in losing this modest amount of fanfare by having Toney get knocked out in a hasty debut.

Boxing fans know how this story will end. James Toney’s work ethic declined in his final few years while his weight increased and increased. To those on the outer fringe of the sport (the fans), it appeared as if Toney was unwilling to put in the work that was needed for a fighter his age. What has changed since that time? Unless Toney has found some new motivating force in his life, he is only older at age 41.

While Toney is working with the former trainer of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, there is no doubt that Dana White is scouring the earth looking for a safe first opponent.

 *for a review of the antics leading up to this deal click here:

Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is Back On

Posted on 06. Feb, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, Highlight

Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is Back On

Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather will do battle in a few months after all, it just won’t be in the squared circle. In the aftermath of negotiations breaking down for a mega fight between the two, both fighters will appear in separate pay-per-views in what will undoubtedly turn out to be a barometer for who is the more popular boxer.

Pacquiao will take on the formidable Joshua Clottey from Ghana on March 13. The fight will take place at the new billion dollar stadium in Texas where Tony Romo and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys call home. Seating is being arranged for an estimated 40,000 boxing fans that will show up mostly in support of Pacquiao. Clottey recently lost a controversial decision to Miguel Cotto and is by no means a walkover opponent. But then again, neither were Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and the others that Pacquiao has pulverized in the last few years. Will this fight be competitive? Probably not. Will this fight be entertaining?  It will definitely have its moments.

Floyd Mayweather has a slightly bigger test in front of him. On May 1 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Mayweather will meet with welterweight title holder Sugar Shane Mosley. Mosley’s last fight took place over one year ago when he upset Antonio Margarito with a ninth round knock-out. Mosley is a much more difficult opponent than Joshua Clottey and most boxing fans would agree that Mayweather/Mosley will be the better pay-per-view to watch of the two. Sugar Shane is reaching the end of his career (though he certainly does not fight like it) and has the heart of a champion. He will definitely not be afraid to bring the fight to Mayweather and without question, Mayweather will be ready.

Though Floyd Mayweather has a bigger chance of losing his fight than Manny Pacquiao does, it is expected that both fighters will take care of business. The true fight will really take place when all the pay-per-view buys are tallied for each fighter. Pacquiao versus Mayweather is not taking place in the ring, but in the heart of every boxing fan across the country. Fans will open their wallets and decide who they want to spend their hard earned money on because they can no longer see both fighters for the price of one PPV. The hardcore and rich fans will most likely purchase both, but the fans who primarily like one guy or the other will probably just buy their particular fight.

There is potential danger in this popularity contest. Whoever generates more revenue from pay-per-view sales will want a bigger piece of the pie when Mayweather and Pacquiao try to set something up again down the road. Would either man agree to receive less than 50% of the purse based on who sold more pay-per-views in their last fight?

UFC Calling Toney?

Posted on 06. Jan, 2010 by FSM Staff in Boxing, UFC

UFC Calling Toney?

I was watching Mickey Rourke in the movie The Wrestler and I couldn’t help but think of all those former great boxers who refuse to stop fighting. The ones who still take punishment just to get paid while at the same time punishing the fans with their poor performances. The faces of Roy Jones Jr., James Toney, and Evander Holyfield popped in to my mind as I watched Randy the Ram wrestle until his heart exploded – first figuratively and then literally. I stared wondering where all those old-school boxers go after they take the gloves off for the last time. Will Roy Jones Jr. eventually open a car lot? Will Holyfield open a Deli? Will James Toney actually try to fight in the UFC?

When you have made a name for yourself doing something, you can always find a way to get paid, even long after the glory days are over. If James Toney was a journeyman boxer, UFC’s Dana White wouldn’t waste a fart on him. But since Toney is a legitimate former champion (in a few different classes) he knows that there is money to be made somehow. Making money ultimately trumps the circus-sideshow nature of Toney’s current relationship with the UFC.

Not that James Toney wouldn’t be a good candidate to crossover to the world of mixed martial arts. He can take a punch to the face and he has knockout punching ability. His portly stature makes him hard to grab and grapplers might have difficulty getting him to the ground because of his weight. If the UFC finds the right opponent I could see an interesting fight. James Toney might even win a round. Not to worry if he loses though. Vince McMahon and the WWF, I mean the WWE, would probably be willing to let Toney host Monday Night Raw or be a general manager on Smackdown.

All kidding aside, I would tune in to see James Toney step in to the octagon or even a steel cage. I just wouldn’t pay for it. If the fight is on cable television I will certainly watch, curious like a cat, to see what happens. But if Toney and friends want me to spend my hard earned money on a pay-pay-per view, they are in for a surprise of epic proportions (well maybe I would spend up to $24.99).

Berto is a Dirty Word

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

Berto is a Dirty Word

I have been trying really hard in the past few years to get on the Andre Berto bandwagon. I have had no success. I think the closest I ever came was during his 2007 fight with David Estrada. That was an extremely entertaining, drama filled bout that lasted 11 rounds. The kind of fight that you were not really expecting, and when it was over, one that you were glad you did not miss. That was the last time an Andre Berto fight ever got its hooks in me.

I think it was during Andre Berto’s 2008 match against Steve Forbes (of The Contender fame) that I started turning on him. I was not impressed that Berto failed to knock out a small guy like Forbes. I did not expect a legendary knockout but I thought Berto could use his speed to land a TKO late in the fight. To Forbes’ credit though, he hung in there for twelve rounds and took his beating like a man. Hanging in there does not necessarily make for a good fight however.

Despite being less than mildly entertaining, Berto’s fight with Forbes also left a bad taste in my mouth because the bout was full of holding, something that seems to be becoming an Andre Berto trademark. I felt like I was in an Edgar Allen Poe Story. All I could fixate on was Berto’s holding during the match. I became obsessed with it and my dislike for Berto’s style grew. Racing thoughts started whizzing around in my noggin. The more skilled boxer should go out there and take care of business. Why is he holding? This fight is terrible. Why isn’t the ref taking a point? Let your hands go! Stop holding. Not another decision. Berto’s dirty.

I must admit I am a bit bipolar when it comes to excessive holding. When a highly regarded young prospect relies on holding as part of his arsenal, I consider it dirty. When an aging fighter on his way out is using every weapon he can think of (including holding) to hang on one last time, I think it is perfectly acceptable.

Andre Berto’s tiny comeback against Luis Collazo in January 2009 should have impressed me but all I could think about was the holding. Berto’s recent domination of Juan Urango left me feeling the same way. I want to be a fan of Andre Berto but he holds just to darn much.
Perhaps commentator Max Kellerman said it best during the telecast of the Berto-Urango fight on HBO when he mentioned the referee was actually doing Berto a disservice by not penalizing him for holding. As long as Berto is allowed to hold, he does not have to fight. He can dance around the ring throwing a few power shots before moving in for the bear hug.

My critics no doubt will be quick to point out Andre Berto’s boxing record and some of the better opponents he has dominated. My response to them is what happens when Andre Berto tries to hold a guy like Paul Williams or Shane Mosley and how many people would care enough to watch it?

Winky Slides as Williams Shines

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

Winky Slides as Williams Shines

Ronald “Winky” Wright has accomplished so much in his lengthy career that there would have been absolutely no shame in having at least one tune-up fight before getting back in the ring after a 21 month layoff. But never one to back down from a fight in any circumstance, it was only fitting that his first opponent after such a long time away from the ring would be a freak of nature like Paul Williams.

When I first heard the news that this fight was going to happen, I immediately knew what the outcome would be: Paul Williams by unanimous decision. And that is exactly what the outcome was when these two great fighters came together on April 11th in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s not that I am some sort of boxing Nostradamus. It’s just that 27 year-old Paul Williams is an extremely busy fighter and 37 year-old Winky Wright hadn’t fought in nearly two years. Winky also likes to go the distance and hasn’t been knocked down in quite some time. Even if the fight was competitive for twelve rounds, I thought Williams would win by decision as Winky has a knack for getting robbed in close fights (Fernando Vargas comes to mind).

As I mentioned earlier, there would have been no shame in taking a safe fight after such a long period of inactivity. Instead Winky decided to fight the young, hungry Paul Williams, a 6’1 southpaw with a punch output that would make Joe Calzaghe proud. Even the great defense of Winky Wright was no match for the rising star Williams on April 11th in Las Vegas.

Paul Williams now faces a situation that is all too familiar to Winky Wright. Some boxing fans might even believe that he has inherited Winky’s curse. After thoroughly thrashing a fighter on the level of Winky Wright, the big name fighters are going to avoid Paul Williams like the plague, perhaps now more than ever.

If an intriguing opponent is not found soon, perhaps the Williams camp can settle for an intriguing storyline. A rematch with the disgraced Antonio Margarito would create enough intrigue, anger, and excitement to translate in to a high amount of PPV buys. Of course the fight would have to take place outside of the United States (just get Don King on the phone). I know I would pay $50 to see Paul Williams throw over 1,000 punches at Margarito. And given Margarito’s recent cheating ways, I’m sure many boxing fans would do the same.

The Joe Calzaghe Debate

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

The Joe Calzaghe Debate

Joe Calzaghe’s career leaves much to the imagination of the American boxing fan. But before I continue I must provide a warning to Calzaghe fans around the world: you will probably not like this article.

It has been about five months since Joe Calzaghe retired with an undefeated record of 46-0 (which included an impressive 10 year title reign). He left the boxing world spouting the same old rhetoric, something about achieving everything possible and going out on top. I guess what else would he say? That he didn’t want to risk getting that first L? I do remember him making a comment about fighters who don’t know when to put up the boxing gloves. That reminded me of a gentleman named Roy Jones Jr.

I am not disputing that Joe Calzaghe’s legacy is great. I am simply postulating that his legacy was built on safe fights and European fan frenzy. One must admit that Calzaghe’s camp had impeccable timing when it came to fighting certain opponents. He also rarely ever left his comfort zone to fight (I guess who can blame him with the gates he was bringing in). But even Calzaghe knew he had to fight in the United States to get his respect. My question is why didn’t he come in his prime?

Don’t get me wrong. I was ready to jump on the Joe Calzaghe bandwagon after seeing him demolish Jeff Lacy. But the fights against Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. made me put down the kool-aid. What I saw was Joe Calzaghe get knocked down by two old-timers. I know Calzaghe slapped his way back to victory in both of those fights, but I could only imagine how many times he would have been knocked down if he was fighting in the United States as an up-and-comer. This “what if” will always make me think of Calzaghe as being one notch below the truly greats.

The true test for Joe Calzaghe does not come in the form of Bernard Hopkins or Roy Jones Jr. or any other boxer who just wants to get paid (I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a Calzaghe-Mayorga fight at some point). The true test comes in the form of someone who is not a household name but that is capable of doing some damage. There is someone just like that who is calling Joe Calzaghe out right now. The road warrior Glenn Johnson would like the human slap machine to come out of retirement for one more fight. This is the same road warrior Glenn Johnson that made shorter work of a younger, fresher Roy Jones Jr. The same road warrior Glenn Johnson that says he can beat Joe Calzaghe. The same road warrior Glenn Johnson that I think has a pretty good argument.

Shame on Lou DiBella

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in Boxing

Shame on Lou DiBella

Lou DiBella is known to boxing fans as a promoter with a stable of fighters that currently includes names such as Andre Berto, Glenn Johnson, and Paul Malignaggi just to name a few. One name that is no longer affiliated with DiBella entertainment however is Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor. That is because DiBella recently resigned as Taylor’s promoter amid growing concerns about Taylor’s health, and more specifically, the severe concussions and brutal knockouts he has been subject to in four of his last five bouts.

Jermain Taylor’s most recent setback occurred in October 2009 during the first stage of the Super Six tournament in Berlin, Germany. Taylor was fighting a talented Arthur Abraham and was knocked out with six seconds remaining in the final round. He took a clean right to the chin and fell to the mat, banging his head on the canvas in the process. Taylor was diagnosed with a severe concussion and had to spend a few days in a German hospital. The brutal knockout was delivered in similar fashion as the ones Taylor experienced in late round losses to Kelly Pavlik and Carl Froch in previous fights. The difference is that this time there was a problem. This time, concussions and memory loss were involved.

The first stage of the Super Six tournament is set up in a round robin format. This means that a fighter can lose his first fight without being eliminated from the tournament. Jermain Taylor is guaranteed another fight and he intends on taking it this April. It is no surprise that Taylor’s inner circle, DiBella included, was urging him not to continue. Jermain Taylor is not listening and DiBella is done talking. Taylor’s insistence has prompted DiBella to wash his hands of the entire situation and resign as his promoter after nearly a decade of service.

Many in the boxing community are praising DiBella’s hard stance and his decision to step down as Taylor’s promoter. Few are talking about a confused Jermain Taylor who will be walking in to the lion’s den against a hungry an eager Andre Ward this coming April. Andre Ward is shining as Jermain Taylor is sliding and there is potential for some real danger here. Taylor could definitely use a guy like Lou DiBella in his corner watching his back (or at least trying to). DiBella had every right to leave Taylor to his own devices, but that does not make it right. Jermain Taylor will be at his most vulnerable when he trades blows with Andre Ward and it is looking like he will have a minimal amount of support.

In DiBella’s defense, he has experienced a boxing related death with one of his fighters in the past. One could easily see why he wants no part of a sequel. But one could also ask the question, shouldn’t that make his commitment to Jermain Taylor even stronger?