Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

For Once, I’m Backing Mayweather


It’s funny, despite largely despising his public persona, over the years I’ve begun to appreciate Floyd Mayweather a lot more as a fighter.

I’m not saying I never acknowledged his skills, as that’s pretty much impossible to do without willfully deluding yourself to the truth; rather I failed to recognize how valuable he was to the sport of boxing.

In short, outside of Congressman Pacquiao, no other currently active fighter possesses the name recognition and marquee value that Mayweather does.

In an era where boxing is rapidly becoming less and less relevant in the eyes of the masses, fighters like Floyd Mayweather, however publicly distasteful their image may be; are crucial to the success and survival of the sport.

That’s not to say boxing will every truly be phased out as a sport, (it won’t) but without big name fighters to generate money and interest; the chances of the sport floundering or losing ground to MMA become much more feasible.

That being said, the reason I used to hate Floyd Mayweather, was not because he acted liked a buffoon outside the ring, or because I found him boring, but because he was just so damn good.

Growing up, I remember watching the young Floyd cut a swath through the competition, gradually moving up in weight and creating matchmaking chaos all the way.

Every time he’d move up in weight, everyone in the division would either swarm to make a date with him, or hastily move up themselves so as to preserve their reputation and continue with their careers.

Most of all though, I just hated him because he beat my boy Gatti so badly.

I still have trouble watching this.

Nowadays, despite the repeated instances of Ray Leonard-esque layoffs, I’ve begun appreciate Floyd’s place in the sport.

In many ways, he’s like this generation’s Muhammad Ali or Jack Johnson, not in terms of skills or style; but in terms of the way he markets himself.

He’s a loud, brash, defiant, and arrogant black man, and what results is people coming out, en masse, to see if he’ll back up his words or end up eating them.

If anything is true about Floyd Mayweather, it’s that, of all the pay-per-view buys and ticket sales he generates, half of it can likely be attributed to people that want to see him lose.

I don’t know if it’s intentional on his part or not, but Floyd has very skillfully positioned himself as the quintessential heel of boxing.

Like in wrestling, everyone knows that it’s easier to sell a feud between a face and a heel as opposed to 2 faces, and as such; Floyd has basically streamlined the marketing and matchmaking process for his fights by (seemingly) willfully embodying the role of the heel.

Ted DiBiase: The Mayweather of wrestling, minus the in-ring ability.

Floyd is far from one of my favorite fighters in the sport, but I do enjoy watching him work nonetheless.

Of this generation, I can think of a better technical boxer than Mayweather.

He doesn’t use his legs to dance as much anymore, but in terms his positioning and quickness, few can match him.

His economical style is far from the most thrilling to watch, however his ability to remain elusive and utterly dominate the pace of the fight are second to none.

Similarly, his hand speed and tricky defense put him the rare position of being dangerous at all times, while being a steadfast 12 round fighter.

On top of it all though, in my mind Floyd’s mind is his greatest asset in the ring.

While he certainly is far from a mental giant outside the sport of boxing, Mayweather is, like Bernard Hopkins; a genius in the ring.

B-Hop: Master of demoralization, deception, and straight up dirty tactics. I love it.

More than that though, he’s possessed of a confidence and focus that seem virtually indomitable.

In a sport where mental strength accounts for about 80% of a fighter’s success at the top level, having unwavering confidence in one’s self is key.

While one-punch knockouts can and do happen, more often than not, knockouts are crafted through a combination of serendipity and careful coordination.

The point I’m trying to get across, is that often times, when you see a fighter defeated in emphatic fashion; it comes as a result of several visible factors throughout the fight.

In short, many fighters are defeated in the ring mentally, long before they are physically.

Case in point Zab Judah, who has a tendency to suddenly become retarded after the fourth round.

While he’s not a knockout artist in the least, Floyd is a fighter that frustrates, humiliates, and makes guys quit through sheer boxing skill.

And through a few cheap, borderline fouls, but that’s besides the point.

Today Floyd Mayweather will be fighting Victor Ortiz, a young Southpaw that’s dropped every man he’s faced at one time or another.

Many people look at Ortiz’ recent hard fought victory over Andre Berto as a Fight of the Year candidate, but personally, I do not.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a very good fight, with no less than 5 knockdowns throughout, however personally I found it to be somewhat frustrating.

To his credit, Ortiz dominated the fight through bullying and crowding Berto, resulting in a fight that was a whole lot more one-sided than the knockdowns would suggest.

Essentially, the outcome of the fight was decided solely in the first half of the bout, with Berto mentally checking out sometime after the sixth round.

Berto has never been possessed of one-punch knockout power, and given that he was pressured into relying solely on counters and potshots; he never really got his stuff going in the fight.

While I wholeheartedly commend Ortiz for his dominating performance, his lack of offensive tact (I.E. jabs) resulted in him getting floored twice but a guy that was fighting both hurt, and on the run.

He overextended himself, as young guys tend to do in energetic brawls; and it cost him what very likely could’ve been an easy victory.

Eat enough of these, and you go down. It's simple physics.

In case you couldn’t see where I’m coming from with all this, I’m picking Floyd to win over Ortiz.

While Ortiz can in fact box, his bet would likely to be to brawl with Floyd, though if he brings the same free swinging style as he did in the fight with Berto, he’s likely to walk into something big, more than likely a right hand.

Homerun punches are a double-edged sword.

Sure the have the capacity to deck guys in one shot, but should the be slipped or countered, the resulting fatigue and damage generated by such an outcome is far greater than punches of a more economical nature.

I wouldn’t go so far as to predict a knockout on Floyd’s part, but I do see him getting to Ortiz and maybe hurting him at some point.

For what it’s worth, and I’m likely to piss somebody off with this, I honestly don’t like Ortiz.

He can be fun to watch, as any guy that knocks people down can be; but I really don’t like the image he projects.

He has that trademark Golden Boy-tailored, people friendly image, but underneath it all he clearly has a chip on his shoulder, not to mention a massive helping of machismo.

With the haircut, the tribal tattoos, and the talk of “destroying” his opponent, Ortiz comes across as a fighter for the UFC crowd moreso than boxing.

Guys like this = Ortiz' crowd.

Oh well it’s not important, I just felt I should get that off my chest while I was on the subject.

That being said, tonight will be only the second time I’ll have rooted for Mayweather, with the first being when he fought Ricky Hatton.

Man I hate Ricky Hatton…

Anyway, here’s hoping my support for him doesn’t jinx, but above all; here’s hoping the fight turns out to be a good time!

 

Filed under: Boxing, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Floyd Mayweather: Back In Action

After a lengthy 16 month layoff, Floyd Mayweather has finally announced his return to boxing this coming September.

Curiously enough, Mayweather’s chosen opponent comes in the form of the very live dog that is Victor Ortiz.

I’m not gonna’ lie, the selection of Ortiz as a “comeback” opponent actually kind of shocked me.

Despite Mayweather’s considerable talents and in-ring ability, 16 months is a long time for any fighter to be away from the sport, such that it’s difficult not to look at this fight and see it as being anything less than dangerous for Pretty Boy Floyd.

I wouldn’t expect Floyd to get old overnight, as he’s still relatively young, and is notorious for being a gym rat; but even so, Ortiz would not have been my first choice for a comeback fight.

At the same time though, Floyd is one of the shrewdest and most selective matchmaker’s in the business, which leads me to believe he saw something about Ortiz’ game that he could take advantage of.

Seriously man, if history has taught us anything; it’s that Floyd Mayweather only fights the big fights when he is damn well good and ready.

Case in point: Mayweather/Mosley

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at some of factors that might have lead to Ortiz being Mayweather’s pick for his next fight.

Ortiz’ most recent fight saw him move up in weight and bulldoze the everloving shit out of the popular, but somewhat overrated Andre Berto.

I apologize, that is probably one of the most annoying songs the internet has ever produced.

*ANYWAY* despite the weight gain, it’s common knowledge that Ortiz was massive for a Jr. Welter; leading me to believe that, in a fight with Mayweather; the size advantage would likely go to Ortiz.

The Berto fight was highly competitive in terms of clean punching, but in terms of just about everything else; Ortiz dominated.

Despite his image enhancing performance in the Berto fight, (Ortiz had carried the label of “quitter” after the Maidana fight) Ortiz showed many of the same deficiencies he’s shown throughout his career.

In bullying Berto along the ropes, Ortiz showed little to no head movement, as well as a tendency to loop and telegraph his punches.

Pile this on top of Ortiz’ lack of a solid or consistent jab, and you have a fighter that very likely could fall prey to Mayweather’s slippery M.O.

So why do I still see that as a risky matchup for Floyd?

The layoff has a lot to do with it, but mostly I think it’s just Ortiz’ size and bullheadedness that have me thinking he’ll be a handful for Floyd.

Mayweather was stymied, and in the eyes of some; beaten by Jose Luis Castillo’s bullying and infighting in their first fight, and in the case of Ortiz, I could see him approaching the fight as a bigger version of Castillo.

Ortiz clinched and wrestled his way to victory against Berto, and though I’d never suggest Berto and Mayweather were on the same level in terms of technical ability, but even so, I think it’s fairly significant that Ortiz completely shut down Berto’s game in that fight.

At the same time though, Ricky Hatton made his living being a bully, and basically tried to do the same thing to Mayweather, and we all know how boosh that turned out:

The one other thing that’s worth mentioning about Ortiz, is the fact that he’s a Southpaw.

Mayweather has gone to great lengths to avoid Southpaws throughout much of his career, and with good reason.

Southpaws tend to land on Mayweather at above average frequency, (read: still not that often…) and as such, it’s clear he has some issues with them that most other conventional fighters tend to have.

At the same time though, Ortiz rarely makes use of the more advantageous tools that a Southpaw possesses.

He doesn’t have much of a jab, his feet are rarely in the “right” place, and his right hook never seems to come into play enough.

On top of all this, one also has to consider the fact that Ortiz’ mental toughness still might not be too far removed from his disastrous loss to Maidana, not to mention Ortiz had his hands full in pounding out a draw against Lamont Peterson.

The way I see it, if a fighter like Peterson can give Ortiz a run for his money, than Mayweather could likely do the same; maybe even hurting him in the process.

Don’t quote me on that last bit.

In any case, I’m seriously looking forward to this fight, as though I’m not a Mayweather fan per se, I respect his talent, not to mention the money and attention that he brings to the sport of boxing.

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Andre Berto Vs. Victor Ortiz: A Fight Worth Watching

Damn! THATS a haircut!

This Saturday evening, WBC Welterweight champion Andre Berto will face 140 lbs. Southpaw dynamo Victor Ortiz.

In this day and age, when boxing has long since become an event driven business; it’s not often that non-pay-per-view match ups could be considered “must see” material.

That being said, consider Berto vs. Ortiz as “must see” as it gets.

Both fighters are in the prime of their physical development.

Both are vying for mainstream popularity and success.

Both are exceedingly heavy-handed.

Most importantly though, both are known to be vulnerable in some respect.

Put it all together, and you get an explosive fight that’s liable to put some serious miles on one, if not both fighter’s odometers; regardless of the actual length of the bout.

Pictured: How both fighters are gonna be talkin after the fight...

That being said, who do I think will win?

Well, even though I’m biased towards Andre Berto, ’cause well; I like him, in all fairness I feel Berto is the logical pick as winner.

As mentioned earlier, both fighters are notably heavy-handed, though it’s definitely worth re-iterating the fact that Ortiz will being fighting at 147 lbs. for the first time in his career.

While weight and body size will always be a factor well worth considering when picking a winner in boxing, in the current age of supplements and sports science; it seems be a factor of diminishing importance when dealing with fighters naturally/healthily filling out to a heavier weight class as opposed to gaining extraneous weight or being forced to move up due to a failing body structure.

Pardon me, I appear to be rambling.

The point you were supposed to extract from all that bullshit above, is that I feel the increase in weight won’t be much of a factor for Ortiz, as at a barrel chested 5’9″ he not only seemed big for a Jr. Welterweight; he also seemed big standing next to Andre Berto.

Berto: "Yeah... Hes biggern me."

On that note, as mentioned previously, both fighters have shown signs of vulnerability; Berto due to his porous defense and willingness to trade punches, and Ortiz for his questionable heart.

While his performances have been consistently energetic and well-fought, the main complaint against Berto these days is derived from his controversial split-decision victory over Luis Collazo, as well as the general dearth of big name fighters on his resume.

While there’s no defending Berto for the lack of A or B grade opposition on his record, given that he had at least 2 chances to make a date with the then recent conqueror of the seemingly invincible Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley; it’s worth mentioning that Collazo, a Southpaw like Ortiz; is just one of “those guys” that can make anyone look bad.

Any opportunity I take to post a picture of Ricky Hatton gettin bopped in the noggin is one worth taking advantage of.

One thing’s for sure though, Berto certainly does take far too many punches in his fights; however to date I have yet to see him actually pay for it.

That is to say, while he may stand toe-to-toe too often with guys; he has yet to lose, and he’s managed to put a lot of guys away in the process.

Moving on, as anyone reading this is probably aware, Victor Ortiz caught the bad end of a vicious back and forth affair with the brick-fisted Marcos Maidana back in 2009.

That fight ended as a TKO due to a cut over Ortiz’ eye, however the general understanding was that he responded in the negative when asked whether he wanted to continue.

This decision cost Ortiz a great deal in the face of the boxing community and his fans, leading to him fighting off of HBO’s telecasts during the early stages of his rebuilding phase.

...During which time he traveled back to 1992 and stole Will Smiths hat.

That being said, similar to Hector Camacho after his brutal encounter with Edwin Rosario; it would seem Victor Ortiz caught a taste of something he didn’t like, and has since made adjustments to his fighting style in hopes of never running into it again.

Once a freight train middle range brawler, Ortiz’ game has recently transformed into that of a more tactile and less volume oriented one.

Make no mistake, he’s still an aggressive fighter; he’s just not as prone to go balls out and leave his chin out in the open.

Anyway, that’s enough Berto/Ortiz 101, let’s get down figuring out what’ll happen when these 2 meet!

While speed is an issue many are speculating about, in my eyes neither guy is a mover, and both fighters seems comparable in terms of handspeed, so until I see them in the ring together I wouldn’t count on that being a determining factor in deciding who will come out ahead.

The real issues I see as being key to determining a winner for this fight, are the one’s that inevitably come up when dealing with left-handed fighters; and that is who gets off first, and who dictates the pace and the range of the fight.

From what I’ve seen of both men, Ortiz is a middle range, in-and-out type fighter, while Berto prefers to step in a little closer and dole out high-low combinations until he’s given a reason to back off.

Pictured: Both fighter

While this logic would suggest Ortiz as being the one most likely to dictate the flow of the fight, given that he’s more likely to step in to engage rather than hang back and rely on his jab; truth be told I think Berto’s aggressiveness will lead to him pulling the trigger earlier and more often.

In addition to that, one must also consider that Ortiz is the taller man by a scant half-inch, however Berto has the reach advantage of 2 inches.

In my mind, this translates to Ortiz’ middle range fighting taking place very much inside of Berto’s comfort zone; leading to prolonged exchanges in the latter’s favor.

Looking at both fighter’s repertoire of punches brings even more evidence in favor of this hypothesis.

Ortiz’ money punches are, like most Southpaws; his right hook and and his straight left hand.

He has a good jab, but in recent days he’s used it more as tool for keeping rhythm or measuring distance as opposed to a combination starter or actual weapon.

Pictured: The vaunted Ortiz jab...

His punches come from some pretty slick angles, however he rarely takes advantage of his Southpaw stance in creating them; preferring to square up with his opponents and step out of range to avoid punches as opposed to slip or block them.

Berto on the other hand, fights from a conventional stance and relies on short hooks with both hands, as well as a magnificent right uppercut.

While the uppercut probably won’t be helping him all that much against Ortiz, given that their opposing stances will force him to reach with it, an inherently double-edged sword of a punch; in order to connect with it, I feel that the speed  and sharpness of his hooks will give Ortiz fits every time he steps in.

While none of this points to either man winning out on paper by a clear margin, the length and frequency of Berto’s jabs and left hooks will likely create some difficulty for Ortiz in countering over the top with right hooks.

Perhaps most important of all though, Berto has recently begun using a straight right hand as a key punch in his arsenal; clearly a product of training for and fighting Southpaws post-Collazo.

BOOSH!

Ask anyone how to fight a Southpaw and they’ll tell you 2 things:

Keep your lead foot outside of his, and feed him straight right hands until he chokes on them.

In the end, I think Berto’s tenacity and combination punching will ultimately win the day.

Make no mistake, both guys are likely going to be sore in the morning after this one…

Prediction:

Both guys “do what they do,” but Berto forces, and ultimately wins the majority of the exchanges.

Berto, TKO stoppage Round 7.

Anyway, I’ve ranted and rambled enough about this one for tonight.

As anyone can tell, I’m uber-excited for this one; so hopefully it turns out to be worth the 1200 word post.

G’night.

"Innnn West Philadelphia, born and raised..."

Filed under: Boxing, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shane Mosley’s Road to Pacquiao

“On May 7th, 2011, pound-for-pound superstar Manny Pacquiao will face future hall of famer, Sugar Shane Mosley.”

I read this about a week ago, and immediately found myself shaking my head in disapproval.

Despite being an amazing fighter, with a superb track record at that; the thought of Mosley facing Pacquiao now just makes my stomach turn.

Almost 2 years ago, Shane Mosley was on top of the world.

Fighting as a 4-1 underdog, Mosley utterly trounced Antonio Margarito, making use of a cagey and highly tactile gameplan imparted to him by his new trainer, Bernard Hopkins’ old friend Naazim Richardson.

While he looked absolutely brilliant in that performance, effectively turning back the clock on what at that time was a very uncertain era in his career, (loss to Cotto, tough fight with Mayorga) the truth remains that he clinched, rough housed with and clubbed his way to victory against a momentum based slugger with a habit for blocking punches with his face.

With his FACE.

In other words, while I would never take anything away from Mosley for his incredible victory over Margarito, as the timing of the win couldn’t have been more epic; (Cotto had edged a victory over Mosley earlier, and Margarito had just torn Cotto to shreds) but I think it needs to be said that people shouldn’t have been nearly surprised by it as they were.

Now, if Mosley had gotten a shot at Pacquiao then, when everyone was singing his praises and ballyhooing for him to challenge the world’s best; I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with him challenging Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.

I would never have believed he could beat either of them, but I could have seen myself entertaining the prospect of him putting up a decent fight.

Instead though, Mosley would miss out on an opportunity to battle the (still) rising prospect Andre Berto due to the Haitian earthquake, and would remain inactive for nearly a year and a half.

A year and a half can make a world of difference when you’re nearly 40 in a young man’s sport.

As fate would have it, Mosley would finally get his shot at Floyd Mayweather, being thoroughly outboxed and, dare I say; brutalized for 12 rounds, despite landing an exciting overhand right that had Mayweather on queer street for a good while.

Outside of that one punch though, deprived of opportunities to clinch with and smother the offense of his fleet-footed opponent, Mosley looked like an old man in that fight.

First and only time I've ever seen him beat up like this.

Even so, it’s easy to look bad when you’re fighting one of the best (semi-active) fighters on the planet.

Following that horrendous loss, Mosley apparently went back to the drawing board and decided to rebuild his career.

How moving up to a weight that brought him nothing but shitty performances and ugly losses, as well as choosing Sergio Mora of Contender fame, an opponent with little to no marquee value or talent, figured into this plan is beyond me; but then again what do I know, I’m just a blog writer.

Anyway, as you can probably tell by now, Mosley’s next and most current fight was fought against Sergio Mora at Jr. Middleweight, in what was one of the sloppiest, boring, and utterly pointless contests in boxing that I can recall in recent memory.

Pictured: Mosley vs. Mora in a nutshell.

Mosley looked tired, bearing an impotent offense with none of the twitchy speed and sharp punching that made us all love him back in the day.

Mora on the other hand, was exactly the same as we all (regretfully) remember him.

Quick of fist and foot, and slippery to boot; Mora was his same boring self, making no use of his speed advantage by throwing too few (pillow fisted) punches.

With neither man able to do much of anything right in the fight, the contest ended in a draw, and rightfully so.

Neither man deserved to walk out of the arena that night feeling like a winner.

I'd have slapped them in the face instead of raising their hands. That's just me though...

And that, my friends; is Shane Mosley’s road to facing the pound-for-pound king of boxing.

A big win against a walking target, a punishing and brutal loss to the “other” best fighter on the planet, and a draw with a slippery tomato can.

That’s what gets you a big-time fight with the best in the world?

Sadly, this match seems to have been constructed, by Bob Arum no less; with the potential of pay-per-view buys in mind more so than it’s significance in regards to the competitive value of the bout.

Mosley’s was and is a great fighter, but it’s clear he’s entered the twilight of his career and should be considering his health more so than his checkbook.

I’ve seen his recent interviews.

I’ve noticed that his speech and mannerisms have begun to slow.

In a young man’s sport, where landing and dodging blows to people’s craniums is the name of the game, one should be wary of how “little things” like this could translate into their in-ring performance.

In other words:

If you’re noticeably slowing down and getting “goofy” in a fucking interview, maybe, just maybe; you’re also slowing down in the ring, probably more than you think.

This fight scares me, as I can’t help but feel that this time, against a far more aggressive and active opponent than his previous conqueror; Mosley will get hurt.

And I don’t mean “hurt” in the “I cut my finger on an envelope” sort of way.

I mean the guy might get knocked stupid.

Truth be told though, for a boxer like Shane Mosley, a pugilist that many proudly refer to as more of a “fighter” than a “boxer,” such an experience might be the only way he’ll ever find it within himself to call it quits.

I just hope the day Sugar Shane finally throws in the towel isn’t the day he finds himself unable to remember his kid’s names.

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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