Azn Badger's Blog

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Khan vs. Peterson: Great Fight, Poor Officiating

Pictured: Lamont Peterson rips Amir Khan to the body.

Last Saturday night, Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson gave the boxing community a gift it will seldom forget.

Sadly, that gift, much like an Indiana Jones marathon, was possessed of a conclusion that well and truly shat all over the greatness that preceded it.

In this age of protected champions and risk-reward matchmaking, it’s rare to see 2 young fighters square off in their physical prime, particularly when one of them essentially holds all the cards at the negotiating table I.E. Khan.

Regardless of whether it was due to arrogance on the part of Golden Boy, or simply due to the dearth of headline worthy talent at Jr. Welterweight willing to step into ring with “King” Khan, at the end of the day Khan-Peterson turned out to be tremendous fight in spite of the controversy that would surround it’s questionable officiating.

In particular, the fight served to rekindle my appreciation for Peterson, as despite being impressed by his early bouts, by this point I’d just about written him off as a credible world champion caliber fighter.

Indeed, sometimes it feels good to be wrong.

The fight started out at a fast clip, with Khan circling and shooting out flashy combinations at distance while Peterson struggled to close the distance.

Despite both fighters being possessed of natural quickness of both feet and hands, it was clear from the start that Khan’s lengthy strides and wild punching was going give him a clear edge in a straight up boxing match.

Ducking awkwardly at times, and rarely going on the offensive in the first several minutes of the fight, Peterson looked to be stymied by Khan’s physical advantages, advantages that typically belong to Peterson himself in most of his fights.

Despite this however, Peterson did well to avoid or block most of Khan’s flurries, pressuring him all the while.

Fortunately, despite suffering a slip and a balance related knockdown in the first round, Peterson proceeded undaunted into the fight, adopting a brawling fight plan that has heretofore been unseen in career up until now.

Pictured: Amir Khan standing over the toppling, but still game Lamont Peterson.

Typically thought of as a boxer-puncher with an emphasis on “boxer,” Lamont Peterson entered into the 3rd and 4th rounds of his fight Khan a full-on rough and tumble brawler.

Employing his own formidable footwork and speed as a launchpad for his offense, Peterson chased Khan about the ring as few others have done before.

In the past, Khan’s one glaring weakness was always his questionable chin.

Floored by Breidis Prescott in embarrassing fashion, and hurt by several other fighters earlier in his career, Khan’s chin has always cast a shadow over his potential worth as a elite level fighter, however in recent years, after having moved up in weight to Jr. Welterweight and begun training under Freddie Roach, his chin has become less of an issue.

Last year however, against the brick-fisted plodder Marcos Maidana, Khan found himself wobbled and nearly out on his feet in the 10th as a result of late comeback rally from the Argentinean.

My account of the fight can be read HERE.

While Maidana succeeded in making Khan look bad in the last few rounds of their fight, he was able to do so mainly because of Khan’s fatigue, defensive failings, and inability to finish him in the 1st round in spite of putting him down with a crippling body shot.

I wouldn’t call it a lucky shot per se, however I’d argue Maidana’s success in that fight had as much to do with his immeasurable intestinal fortitude as it did Khan’s own failings and lack of focus.

That being said, when Lamont Peterson came out for the 3rd round, and showed Amir Khan what can happen when a guy with good head movement and footwork comes out to brawl, pushed Khan to the edge from that point forward.

Khan may have stumbled into a bad situation with Maidana, but last Saturday night, Lamont Peterson brought the trouble straight to his front door.

While pressure fighters, and guys with iron-chins are a dime a dozen, it’s truly a rare sight to see a guy with technical pedigree put their skills towards hounding and clubbing away at another, equally technical fighter.

For me, it was like watching a carefully choreographed, bloodsoaked ballet.

Khan would skip about in his uppity way, trying to create distance, and, as if tethered to him with an invisible fishing line; Peterson would step right along with him, pounding away at the body all the way.

Watching expert infighters work their magic is one of the greatest spectacles in all of boxing, however watching Peterson, an innate boxer, lay into Khan with such agility and elegance, was a impressive and almost artful display of the craft I’ve rarely seen.

Throughout rounds 3 and 4, Peterson managed to breach Khan’s comfort zone and rip him with thudding body blows.

For whatever reason however, likely due to fear of overextending himself in his relentless, but physically taxing body attack, Peterson slowed down in the 5th and 6th round, doing extraordinarily well to avoid punches through careful shoulder points and rolls, but essentially gave the rounds away due to inactivity.

Pictured: Amir Khan swats Lamont Peterson across the chest with a hook.

The rest of the fight proceeded at a entertaining and feverish pace, with the lead changing virtually every 2 rounds.

By the end of it all, in spite of Peterson’s eye-opening performance, I expected a draw, or a 1 point victory for Khan.

As has been the case in virtually every fight in the past several months though, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Amir Khan, despite sounding like a whiny and decidedly broken-ass record in his post fight interview, claimed he felt he was fighting 2 men in the ring last Saturday night.

While I hate the idea of hometown favoritism in boxing, (the fight was held in Washington D.C., Peterson’s hometown) in all honesty, I feel there’s some truth to Khan’s claim.

Most of the judges for the Khan-Peterson fight were seasoned vets, and their scoring, based on the referees’ rulings, seemed entirely legit for the most part.

The real problem with the fight, despite the crowd-pleasing and competitive nature of the actual contest, was in the officiating of it.

In short, referee Joe Cooper did not strike me as a world class in-ring official.

Pictured: Joe "Coop Man" Cooper.

From the moment the 2 fighters touched gloves, and Cooper yelled the equivalent of “Look at me, I’m on TV!” you could tell he wasn’t quite up to snuff.

While an odd observation to make, given that he’s just a ref, Cooper struck me as particularly ungraceful and uncoordinated in the ring.

Often in poor viewing position of the action, and worse yet, often physically obstructing the fighter’s paths to one another, Cooper himself was actually the direct cause of Lamont Peterson’s slip in the first round.

Pictured: Referee Joe Cooper sweeping the leg.

That’s right, Lamont Peterson actually fell to the canvas due to having gotten his legs tangled with those of a slow and clumsy-as-fuck ref named Joe Cooper.

Another observation I made during the fight, was the fact that Cooper spent nearly the entire fight, or at the least the second half of it, yelling almost exclusively at Amir Khan.

There wasn’t a whole lot of clinching in the fight, as is typical of “good” fights, but there was a lot of leaning, mostly due to Peterson’s rough and physical infighting; however instead of telling the fighters to “punch/work out,” I noticed Cooper would always yell:

“Fight out Khan!”

Peterson was the one initiating the tie-ups, so if anyone, he should’ve have been the one being yelled at.

It probably doesn’t mean anything, but personally I started to get irritated by the one-sided nature of the referee’s chastisements.

All of this however, is merely a prelude to the true wrongdoings of Joe Cooper’s inept/corrupt officiating.

Throughout the first half of the fight, Cooper occasionally scolded Khan for pushing.

By scolded, I mean he wagged his finger at him, and told him to knock it off.

At the very end of the 7th however, Cooper actually stopped Khan from returning to his corner, and deducted a point for pushing.

Pictured: Joe Cooper deducting a point for pushing.

He deducted a point, for pushing.

I know pushing is technically illegal in the official rules of boxing, but to this day I’ve never seen it enforced.

It’s like clinching.

Clinching is technically illegal, but I never saw Ricky Hatton or B-Hop get points deducted for it.

Hell, when you get right down to it, some guys made their whole careers out of strong arming and pushing their opponents.

How do you think Jake LaMotta fought his way into the hall of fame?

How do you think Joe Frazier gave Muhammad Ali hell every time they stepped into the ring together?

How do you think Wladimir Klitschko is still the premier heavyweight in the world?

Oh wait, because when he feels like it, he can do this to people:

Pushing, or otherwise forcibly manipulating one’s opponent to create an advantageous position in the ring, is an expected consequence of a sport in which 2 people people punch each other in the brain all night.

Boxing isn’t always a give and take affair ala Rock and Sock ‘Em Robots.

That’s part of what makes it among the most inherently dramatic, visceral and human of all sports.

If a guy was tearing my gut to shreds with body blows all night, obscure 150 year old regulations aside, I could definitely see myself trying to push him away to catch a breather.

That being said, despite his horrible conduct in the fight through the 7th round, Joe Cooper went on to top himself by deducting another point from Khan for pushing in the 12th and final round.

Joe Cooper: "I AM, THE LAW!"

He deducted 2 points.

For pushing.

Who the fuck does that!?

Joe FUCKING Cooper that’s who.

So, on top of announcing himself to the cameras like a bro-hemian douche-rocket, on top of spending the whole night yelling at the foreign guy, on top of deducting 2 points for fucking pushing; Joe Cooper also single-handedly reversed the outcome of the fight.

That’s right, 2 judges awarded Peterson the victory via scores of 113-112, meaning Joe Cooper’s point deductions made all the difference.

Truly, it does indeed suck to be wrong sometimes.

As awesome as the fight was, it truly saddens me to know that boxing is, and forever will be, corrupt as a Chicago political official.

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Timothy Bradley Has A Big Head.

Original photo. Not doctored in any way.

Timothy Bradley has a big head.

I’m not saying he’s arrogant, I mean the man literally has a big-ass head.

It’s bulbous, outlandishly disproportionate to the rest of his body, and bears a unique shape that could only be described as “Tweety Bird-esque.”

In fact, the man’s head is so gigantic, that in the sport of boxing I feel there needs to be a concession made in the rulebooks to treat his cranium as a 4th man in the ring.

When you fight Tim Bradley, you aren’t just fighting Bradley.

You’re fighting Tim Bradley and Tim Bradley’s Head.

"And the winner is... The Head!!!"

That being said, the man has a big head, but by golly; he sure knows how to use it.

Known for being a stout, bell-to-bell pitbull-like fighter, Tim Bradley typically relies on his magnificent stamina and workrate to walk his opponents down over 12 rounds.

Such was not the case in last night’s bout against fellow (formerly) undefeated 140 lbs. prospect, Devon Alexander, as The Head saw fit to end the night prematurely.

You see, Alexander was in the fight from start to finish, however he foolishly discounted the sheer power and dominating force that is Timothy Bradley’s Head.

For several rounds, the 2 exchanged punches at a fairly even pace, with no man gaining any sort of significant advantage.

Alexander’s hand speed proved to be an effective tool for keeping Bradley at bay, however the tide was about to change…  A dark presence was looming, and it was out for blood…

After casually sitting out most of the early action, allowing it’s lower extremities to bear the brunt of the workload, the hulking beast that is Tim Bradley’s Head saw fit to make it’s presence known at the end of the 3rd round, as it crashed into Devon  Alexander’s cranium with the force (and mass) of a wrecking ball, opening a nasty cut over his right eye.

 

Artist Rendering.

In between rounds, Alexander’s trainer called out to the referee and anyone who cared to listen:

“I told you about that fucking Head!”

You see, despite whatever (futile) preparations Devon Alexander made to contend with Tim Bradley’s Head, the sheer size and power of his monstrous skull grants him a tremendous advantage in the sport of boxing.

 

Pictured: A little known distant ancestor of Timothy Bradley.

While we’ve already made note of it’s savage power, it’s great size serves as a perfect feint, goading opponents into firing away at thinking it to be an easy target, only to be fooled by it’s surprisingly lithe and dextrous movements.

Not only that, it needs to be mentioned that Tim Bradley’s Head grants him an incredible ability to cut off the ring and corner his opponents, as in most regulation sized rings, it ends up occupying at least 80% of the surface area.

There's no escape. It size grants it it's own gravitational field. It's science...

You don’t “share” a ring with Tim Bradley’s Head, it allows you to step inside.

Despite his best efforts, Alexander was unable to avoid the beast that is Tim Bradley’s Head, as though it honestly does not mean to cause harm to others with it’s near cosmic capacity to cause cuts and bleeding, it’s great size makes such collisions nigh unavoidable.

That being said, while the contest was indeed very close; Bradley’s Head was ultimately ruled the victor.

As it stands, most would agree that the top 3 of the Jr. Welterweight division would likely be comprised of: Timothy Bradley’s Head, Amir Khan, and Timothy Bradley himself.

While Amir Khan is indeed a tremendous talent, the size advantage, pressuring tactics, and sheer power of Tim Bradley’s Head are all factors that are hard to ignore when considering the outcome of this matchup.

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Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana Analysis

Wow.

What a night of drama.

Stylistically, this fight was one that I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since I caught word of it.

One on end we have Englishman Amir Khan, the ultra-slick, hard-hitting and quick-fisted boxer/puncher who just happens to have a suspect chin.

On the other, we have the Argentinean Marcos Maidana, a Junior Welterweight that punches like a mule kicks, and has a resiliency and tenacity that can only be described as being vaguely Terminator like.

Put the 2 fighters together, and you either have a one-sided drubbing of Maidana via Khan’s slipperiness and quick hands, or a one-punch blowout of Khan via the wrecking balls that some like to call Marcos Maidana’s fists.

Instead, we got a little bit of both.

The fight began with fireworks, with Maidana, in a decidedly asshole-ish showing of his ring demeanor; forgoing the traditional touching of gloves in favor of winging away with hooks and crosses that barely missed the mark.

Predictably, the remainder of the round belonged to Khan, as his handspeed and flurrying served to cripple Maidana’s punch output and demeanor.

Even so, Maidana managed to land 2 overhand rights to the temple/eyebrow/eyeball that caught my impression.

Towards the end of the round, Khan landed a pair of 2 picture perfect shots to the body; with the left landing directly on the liver.

Maidana’s baby face contorted into a mess of wrinkles and open mouthed agony that had me biting my lip just watching it.

With flashbacks of Oscar De La Hoya and Leonard Dorin creeping into my consciousness, I honestly thought that that was going to be the end of the fight.

Body shot knockouts are something that take an insane degree of testicular fortitude to recover from.

Despite the pain, asphyxiation, and wet noodle-fication of his legs, Maidana manages to haul himself up off the canvas and finish out the round, albeit looking like shit for several rounds thereafter.

It should be noted that I was pulling for Maidana in this fight, as I have serious issues with English boxers; plus Maidana’s a beast.

Let it be known, I respect any fighter with perseverance in their blood, and bricks in their fists.

Anyway, the next several rounds were all Khan.

With Maidana’s legs slowly getting back under him, there was little he could to do deter the punch output and blinding speed of the Pakistani Brit.

To his credit, despite being severely crippled for the first 3rd of the fight, Maidana did well to maneuver around Khan’s potent combinations.

Well, kind of anyway.

You see, often times Khan would wow with 4-5 punch combinations, (all to the head, despite the body shot knockdown) however often times Maidana would manage to duck out of the way, effectively taking the first and last, but none of the intermediary blows.

In either case, scoring the rounds for at least the first half of the fight was a non-issue.

Maidana would stuff Khan on the way in with single jabs every now and again, as well as land some pretty nasty low-blows and rib shots during clinches; but other than that he was just plodding around the ring waiting to be hit for the most part.

I’ve gotta’ hand it to the Brit, his punches were sharp as daggers, and his footwork, while hardly elusive, was quick as any 140 pounder I’ve seen.

It’s become clear that, despite his hilarious up-ending at the hands of Breidis Prescott (look it up, it’s gold!) unnder the tutelage of Freddy Roach Mr. Khan has show remarkable improvement.

His punch repertoire has become more varied, as opposed to his repetitive 1-2’s from back in the day, and his size as a Junior Welter seems more appropriate than his days as a Lightweight.

Most notably though, he seems to be getting the “Roach Treatment” in the form of adopting several stylistic quirks that most would consider Pacquiao-like in nature.

Like Pacquiao, he now holds his hands atop his brow at all times, creating an effective defensive shield that minimizes the amount of visible openings available to his opponents.

Not only that, in tonight’s fight he demonstrated a potentially detrimental quirk that Pacquiao has only recently adopted as he’s ascended in weight, and that is the tendency to lean against the ropes, box his gloves and forearms over his face and flanks, while tucking his chin to his chest whenever he gets crowded.

This tactic works for keeping fighters on their feet, as it only allows to superficial blows to land on them cleanly; however it also results in the fighter sacrificing the ability to throw punches inside, as well as hampers their ability to execute upper body movements.

Call it the Rope-A-Dope for a new era.

The only reason I bring this up, is because it became a major factor in the momentum of the fight once we got past the halfway point.

You see, with Maidana’s legs still being a little rubbery, not to mention his normal footwork being busted to shit in the first place; a big part of his game in this fight consisting of bulling his way inside and falling into clinches with Khan, wherein he would bang away with body shots and uppercuts… As well as low blows and elbows.

Despite the ugliness of the tactic, it began to pay out dividends as Khan’s habit of inviting punishment upon himself, instead of using his legs to get away; resulted in him slowing just enough to be vulnerable.

Sure enough, those overhand rights that Maidana, and in fact Khan’s former conqueror, Breidis Prescott, had landed in the earlier portions of the fight; began to rear their ugly head once again.

During the, I think it was the 6th round, Maidana caught Khan with several damaging combinations in the latter half of the round, shaking up the Brit and putting a smile on my face in the process.

Though the punches honestly weren’t that damaging, and were delivered much too late in the round to count for too much in the long run; when you’re dealing with a man that is known to have a fragile chin, both as an amateur and a pro; every punch landed on him has you thinking “knockout.”

Like any good story, the halfway point proved to be the turning point in the fight.

Remember how I said Maidana was “plodding around the ring?”

Well, that’s what he does normally, even when he hasn’t just been knocked on his back by a shot to the liver.

The thing you need to understand about granite chinned plodders, is that just because they’re slow, and predictable, and easy to hit; doesn’t mean they can’t find you and put the hurt on you.

Maidana was slow, and he ate a lot of shots, but he was consistent in this fight, (unlike some of his previous affairs…) and that counts for a lot in a sport where one instance of overextending one’s self can ruin the entire night.

Just ask Mike Jones.

Anyway, Maidana’s persistence paid off in a big way, as his smothering of Khan’s offense allowed him to finally start opening up with some serious shots to the ribs and nose of his opponent.

As mentioned previously, most of these shots were indeed superficial in nature, but when you have cinder blocks for fists like Maidana does; the term “superficial” takes on an different meaning.

While Khan’s offense and footwork remained sharp, they gradually became less intentional, and more instinctive and sporadic than anything else.

Make no mistake, Khan’s punch output and ring generalship for the majority of each round was most certainly sufficient to grant him the advantage in most any round, however he would do so while absorbing a great deal of punishment.

Despite Maidana beating on him pretty badly for the next several rounds, to his credit; Khan remained resolute and very much in the fight, even when it seemed like minutes at a time would go by without him throwing a punch.

Everything came to a head in the 10th round.

After stalking his man and eating a shit ton of punches to the brain, (no body shots for Mr. Khan) Marcos Maidana finally managed to land the blessed right hand on the button that we all hoped and prayed for since the day the fight was announced.

Well, at least I was hoping for it…

Khan was rocked as few fighters before him have been rocked.

While Maidana would go on to land a great deal of nice shots throughout the remainder of the round, (which was in fact, most of it) Khan, remarkably; kept his wits about him and tied up his man, used what little was left of his legs, and managed to survive the round, albeit while barely throwing a punch.

It’s a rarity in boxing without a down, but I believe most would’ve scored the 10th a 10-8 round for Maidana.

While it would’ve been something if Maidana had in fact pulled off the upset and flattened Khan as I had hoped, sadly this was not the case.

Khan would go on to change up his punches and angles in the last 2 rounds, most notable of which via taking advantage of Maidana’s frequent ducking and lunging by incorporating a savage lead uppercut that would stand up the beastly Argentinean and briefly deter his neverending march forward.

To his credit, Khan survived the 10th round as well as any fighter could hope to.

His legs back within the next round, and went on to thoroughly dominate the remainder of the fight, securing his already fairly certain advantage on the scorecards and granting a victory over the interim world title holder.

While that’s all I really have left to say about the fight, it needs to be said that I was thoroughly disappointed in referee Joe Cortez’ officiating in this bout.

While I used to love Cortez as a ref, in recent years I’ve begun to doubt his judgment.

At first I thought it was maybe his age, or some sort of mental debilitation; however nowadays I think he might be “dirty.”

No, I don’t think ‘ole Joe is into Sonic the Hedgehog porn; what I mean to say is that I think he might be corrupt.

In the Mayweather and Ricky Hatton fight, he seemed far too quick to break the fighters from clinches, as if he was primed to prevent it.

In this fight, he seemed very pro-Khan.

Maidana is known to be a dirty fighter, and indeed did make frequent use of low blows in this fight, as well as one elbow that cost him a point that may have given him a draw on some scorecards, but he did so while Khan himself implemented dirty tactics.

Khan would hold behind the head and push Maidana down during just about every clinch, and yet I never recall him receiving a warning from Cortez about it, much less an instant point deduction.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just because the trainers in these 2 fights made it a point to drill the point home to Cortez that “these guys are dirty, be on the look out for this, and this…” but something just didn’t smell right in these 2 bouts.

Oh well, I suppose fair and firm is better and safer than say, Frank Cappuccino, who would would allow a fight to go on even if one guy had a Glock and the other was asleep… and in a wheelchair, or Arthur Mercante Jr., who demonstrated in the Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman fight that he doesn’t give a shit if one guy can’t stand, he paid to see blood and goddamnit, he’s gonna’ see it!

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The Azn Badger’s One Day Weekend Itinerary

Azn Badger got hit by truck… Truck was from company called “Wreck Your Shit Co.” Driver was named “Fatigue McRagealot.”

  1. Have looked like bum for some time now…  Shave and haircut = Priority.
  2. Tabemonos*….
  3. Beat Batman: Arkham Asylum.  Was knocking on the Joker’s door last time I played the game… A week ago… Will beat insane clown’s ass and complete game with all Riddler whatchamacallits acquired.
  4. Squander potential purchase of cheap Christmas gift in favor of using 40% off Borders coupon on comic book for self.  Azn Badger works hard, he deserves to be selfish every once and awhile…
  5. Tabemonos*…
  6. Watch shitty movie I’ve already seen 50 million times, only this time watch it on Blu Ray.
  7. Hang out with Mencius.  But only for awhile…  Azn Badger too tired to deal with people…
  8. Tabemonos* while watching Guy Fieri stuff his fat, greasy face for the 50 millionth time.  Thankfully, not in HD.
  9. WRITE FUCKING BLOG.
  10. Watch Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana, and Timothy Bradley vs. Devon Alexander on the HBO with the old man.  Khan’ll probably box circles around Maidana, but like they say; Maidana always has a puncher’s chance… Here’s hoping he puts the Brit to sleep, and Bradley ekes out another victory…  The Azn Badger also happens to be an Irish Badger, so hatred of Brits is to be expected…
  11. Attempt nocturnal activity known in most circles as “sleep.”  Most likely fail…

 

What the fuck did I do to my can? I tried to open it and the, uh, "opener thingy" bent all funny...

*Tabemono: Japanese word for “edible object.”  Pronounced Tah-Bei-Mo-No, though in this case the term is pluralized in the English manner of adding an “s” sound for the sake of cheap laughs.  My roommate and I used to do a lot of stupid shit like this to keep ourselves busy…

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