Azn Badger's Blog

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Thoughts On The Fight Night Champion Roster

Last night I visited the wikipedia entry for EA’s upcoming Fight Night Champion boxing videogame.

As an avid follower (and critic) of the series since it’s inception, I found myself looking through the page taking in all the little tidbits of anticipated gameplay features.

While the “darker” (translations from gamerspeak: bloodier, more profane, and possible T&A) tone of the game does little to peak my interest, in fact if they push it too far I might view it as a detriment to the sport and my enjoyment of the game; my greatest hope is that EA takes the time to improve their character creation system, as it was truly ass in Fight Night 4.

Unfortunately, most of the gameplay and features of Champion are still very hush hush at the moment; so there’s not a whole lot to be said about it.

One thing that I noticed though, was that most of, if not the entire roster of real life fighters included in the game has already been released.

Boxing enthusiast/fan/walking encyclopedia that I am, I feel it is my duty to go through this list, fighter by fighter; and scrutinize the fuck out of it.

Below are my thoughts on some of the fighters that stuck out to me as being weak additions:

Tommy Morrison:

"YOU AND ME TOMMY, WE WAS LIKE THIS! AND YOU BLEW IT TOMMY! YOU BLEW IT!!!"

Though he was featured in the previous Fight Night, I’m still puzzled as to why he was selected to be in the game.

Honestly, as far as accomplishments go, the coolest thing Tommy Morrison ever did in my book was almost get decapitated by Ray Mercer in one of the nastiest knockouts I can recall.

Other than that, he was white heavyweight with a good punch and poor stamina, he came a few rounds away from getting steamrolled by George Foreman, he was in Rocky V, and oh yeah, he was a white heavyweight.

If we’re gonna’ play the race card, personally I’d have rather seen Baby Joe Mesi get thrown in there…

At least that would’ve made me laugh.

Seriously, Tommy Gunn or not, Morrison just doesn’t cut it for me.

Cristobal Arreola and Eddie Chambers:

Man, heavyweights are fat these days...

I list both of these guys together, because they’re on my naughty list for the same reason.

That reason being the Klitschko brothers.

Not long ago, both of these guys were quickly climbing the ranks and looking good doing it.

Then they each met a Klitschko, and each had a big fat Ukranian dump squatted out on their reputation.

Of the 2, I feel that Chambers has fared better since then, largely because he hasn’t lost since then, (truth be told he hasn’t fought, but it’s better than going on to mangled by Tomasz Adamek like Arreola was) and because he conditioning has actually showed improvement over the years, unlike Arreola who just seems to keep getting fatter.

 

Aw... I made the fattie cry.

While both guys are decent fighters, this is just a case of bad timing for EA.

Butterbean:

On the strength of this photo alone, Butterbean is now officially "awesome."

Outside of the novelty, name recognition, and an opportunity to show off realistic fat jiggle physics, why the fuck does Butterbean deserve to be in this game?

Oh well, chances are I’ll end up beating his ass to relieve stress, kind of like I used to do with Ricky Hatton in the previous Fight Nights…

Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson:

Let’s get one thing straight, both of these guys deserve to be in this game.

As much as I hate Calzaghe as a person, and as a home-turf fighter; the man has a laundry list of accomplishments in the sport, and I tip my hat to him.

The only problem is, all of those accomplishments were achieved in the Super Middleweight class, not Light Heavyweight.

It may not be that big a deal to the people over at EA, but I feel that including the intermediary weight classes (the supers and juniors) is necessary both to pay the proper respect to the various real-life fighters in the game, as well as to balance out the roster.

That being said, having just 2 guys that never even came close to fighting each other listed for a weight class is just plain stupid.

Not only that, as with the case of Arreola and Chambers, Dawson recently went from being regarded as the guy at 175 lbs., to becoming somewhat of enigma overnight.

Truth be told, I’d rather see a legend like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, or hell, Michael fucking Spinks featured at Light Heavy, but if EA wanted to “please” us with a contemporary fighter (nobody gives a shit about Light Heavy since the glory days of Roy Jones) then I guess they got their wish.

Carlos Monzon:


Another fighter featured in the previous game, Carlos Monzon is somewhat of an oddity in the cast.

Most likely unknown to most casual boxing fans, especially younger ones, Carlos Monzon was one of the greatest, and longest reigning Middleweight champs of all time, however there’s a catch to that accomplishment.

Monzon was a champion that really didn’t fight that many truly great fighters.

Sure, he bested Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith, and Jose Napoles; but who the fuck other than myself and the old guys down at the barbershop knows 2 out of 3 of those guys?

Other than the opportunity to put Monzon head to head with his successor, Marvelous Marvin Hagler; I don’t really see why Monzon is in the game.

I’d have put Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano in instead, but that’s just me…

Jermain Taylor and Danny Jacobs:


Let’s just call this bad timing and call it a day, shall we?

Seriously, Jermain = Damaged Goods.  Danny Jacobs = Overrated.  ‘Nuff said.

Anthony Mundine:

"And next week I'm gonna' fight a paraplegic cancer patient! That'll put the naysayers to rest!"

Anthony Mundine was in the previous Fight Night, and my reaction to his presence hasn’t changed since.

Mundine is a decent fighter, but he’s been fighting tomato cans for too long now, and he’s barely relevant outside of his native Australia anymore.

“Wow, Fight Night must sell well in Australia, ’cause other than that, I absolutely cannot justify why anyone would ever want to put Anthony Mundine in a videogame.”

That’s what I feel on the matter, and I’m sticking to my guns.

The problem with that, is the fact there are so many great Australian fighters out there to choose from.

While I’m aware of the inherent licensing difficulties that come with dealing with real-life sports figures, I would’ve loved to have seen Jeff Fenech, or Lionel Rose, or hell, if they wanted another fairly contemporary fighter, I would’ve been happy to have seen Paul Briggs or Kostya Tszyu in there.

But no, instead we get Anthony fucking Mundine…

Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sergio Mora:


Okay, I am officially getting tired of seeing Contender alum in the sport of boxing.

Jesse Brinkley had a decent run, until being dismantled by Lucian Bute recently that is, Cornelius Bundrage recently snagged himself a world title strap from an aging Cory Spinks , and, uh, Alfonso Gomez bleeds a lot… And, fuck it, y’know what?

I’m done trying to talk up the Contender guys!

Bottom line:

Sergio Mora was a poor addition to the previous game, and Peter Manfredo is an even worse one to this one.

Put ’em together, and you get 2 piles of ass occupying 2 slots in historically one of the most prestigious weight classes in the sport.

Good job EA, way to take the money and run…

Diego Corrales:


Let me just start off by saying, Diego; rest in peace.

Corrales was always amazing to watch, but his ever-present status in the Fight Night roster has always felt odd to me.

While the man was indeed talented, it was the fights in his career, not his skills; that carved his place in history.

The man will forever be remembered as the man that made Floyd Mayweather’s reputation, the man that gave Joel Casamayor fits, and the man that ultimately gave everything he had to defeat Juan Luis Castillo in one of history’s greatest bouts.

That being said, while I would never say that including Corrales is a bad thing, I feel it’s foolish if none of the aforementioned fighters are included in the roster as well.

Seriously man, it should be a rule of thumb to include at least 1 real-life former opponent for every fighter in the roster.

Maybe it’s just me, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing out real-life matchups in my boxing games.

Vinnie Pazienza:


First things first, I refuse to call him “Vinnie Paz.”

His name is Vinnie Pazienza in my book, and that it shall remain.

Moving on, I know he’s got one hell of a devoted fan club, but what the fuck man?

Sure, he beat a bloated and washed up Roberto Duran, and he got flattened by Roy Jones, but other than the appeal of getting a chance to reverse/replay those matchups, who the fuck gives a shit about Vinnie Paz anymore.

EA could’ve at least included Greg Haugen or Ray Mancini, y’know; good fighters that fought Vinnie Pazienza at a point in his career when it mattered, but oh well, he was in the previous one, and now he’s back again.

Whoop-dee-fuckin’-doo…

Closing Thoughts:

I’ve got other complaints with the roster, but I’m tired so I’m gonna’ call it quits here.

The only other thing I feel I need to say, is that I object to the inclusion of the Junior Welterweight and Flyweight classes.

The former because it’s a random weight class to include, being as there’s so much real-life talent in it at the moment, but only 2 fighters in the game for it, and the latter because there’s only 1 fighter to represent the weight.

Why is Junior Welter the only intermediary weight class included besides Light Heavy?

It just doesn’t make sense to include those 2, but none of the others.

Not only that, but of all the fighters to include at that weight, why Emmanuel Augustus and Victor Ortiz?

Sure, both guys are fairly popular, but they’re not at all connected to one another, nor are they all that good compared to some of the other talents floating around out there.

On the same note, Timothy Bradley should be moved down to Junior Welter, as that’s definitely his proper weight.

As I mentioned earlier, no fighter should ever be listed without at least 1 other fighter that has fought/will fight them, and to have only 1 guy for a weight is just plain ludicrous, especially when Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire are so close to having their superfight… At Bantamweight.

Good job placing Nonito in the right weight class EA, really shows you’re paying attention.

Oh yeah, it’s dumb, but I feel it needs to be said that now that Fernando Vargas is in the roster, we really need to get Felix Trinidad in there.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…


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Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Evaluation

I had a lot of fun last night watching the fight at the bar.

Good friends, rowdy atmosphere, and the guilty pleasure of watching a bunch of meat-head douchebags that looked straight out of the fuckin’ Jersey Shore squirm as their boy “Tony” Margarito died by a thousand cuts.

*Sigh* It’s the little things in life that matter most sometimes…

Regardless of my contempt for all things douchy and meat-headed, I figured I would take the time to share my feelings on some of the fights on the Manny Pacquiao Vs. Antonio Margarito PPV.

I missed the Brandon Rios fight, so I’m not at liberty to comment on that one, however I will say this about the young Mexican:

He’s a rugged and talented fighter that definitely earned my notice with his crushing victory over Anthony Peterson, however the public persona he’s created for himself via his appearances HBO’s 24/7 are definitely not gonna’ earn him any fans.

Seriously man, he came across as oafish and needlessly “street.”

We know you’re tough man, we’ve seen you fight.

Just do us all a favor and let your fists do the talking instead of your mouth next time.

Moving on, I was thoroughly disappointed in Gabriel Rigondeaux’s performance against Ricardo Cordoba.

Perhaps it’s just the hype that Cuban fighters have been getting ever since Yuriorkis Gamboa started fighting in the ‘states regularly, but I expected a lot more from Rigondeaux.

His amateur accolades, recent pair of utterly devastating one-punch body shot knockouts, combined with his built in Pernell Whitaker/Wilfred Benitez-esque anti-punch radar led me to believe that he’d make his HBO debut count for something.

As fate would have it though, Rigondeaux apparently switched off his radar (or broke it), and caught a whiff of something he didn’t like about Cordoba, and thusly decided to wear his dance shoes for most of the fight.

The real surprise for me, was that Rigondeaux looked pretty lousy during the feeling out portion of the fight.

Despite the dramatic knockouts in his young pro career, Rigondeaux is not known among boxing circles for his punching power.

From what I’ve seen, and read, he’s a pure counter puncher that hurts his opponents by exploiting their missteps, not by pounding them with full force shots.

I don’t know if it was the pressure from the crowd, or maybe Cordoba himself; but Rigondeaux’s gameplan from the start seemed to be that of:

Hang back, slip shots, and then charge in with overhand haymakers.

Though it sounds exciting on paper, it doesn’t exactly thrill the audience when not a single one of said haymakers actually lands during the fight.

There were a pair of knockdowns in the fight, one for each man, with Rigondeaux taking a flash down at the hands of a jab to the nose, and Cordoba taking a full 8 count from a nasty body shot.

Kudos to him for getting up from that, can’t imagine how difficult that must’ve been.

While I’m on the subject, kudos to Ricardo Cordoba in general.

Despite a sloppy start, Cordoba skillfully made adjustments to his game, tucking in his elbows tighter after the down, and pressuring with the jab throughout the remainder of the fight.

Though I don’t doubt that he lost the fight, as in my opinion Rigondeaux scored just enough, and was just slippery enough to outpoint him; Cordoba showed an unerring tenacity that will likely score him some big victories in the future.

The man has a serious resume of losses to stellar competition, which will no doubt serve to either make him a gatekeeper for the up and comers, or a thoroughly avoided fighter.

In either case, I was impressed, and hope to seem him get a win next time.

Moving on, the next fight on the undercard was the truly bizarre, and utterly ridiculous contest between Philadelphian prospect Mike Jones, and the consistently tough to handle Jesus Soto Karass.

In short, the entirety of this fight’s story stemmed from a goofy, and for lack of a better term; stupid, course of action that Mike Jones decided to take after scoring a damaging series of punches on Soto Karass.

Make no mistake, Soto Karass was rocked pretty good in that second round.

He got caught solid, and stumbled to the ropes, and probably would have gone down had Mike Jones the slightest idea how to hang back and aim his shots.

Instead, we the the audience sat in shock, our mouths agape in silent incredulity as the Herculean form of Mike Jones proceeded to tuck his chin to his collar bone, clench his eyes shut, and whirl his arms about in a looping, windmill motion over and over and over again while making a whining sound akin to a female tennis player in the pre-Williams sister’s era of the sport.

To be fair, Jone’s shots landed just about everywhere on Soto Karass’ body.

On his arms.

On his ears.

On top of his head.

Hell, I’m a few landed in, y’know, vital locations, but I could be wrong.

Pretty sure one of the judges got clocked pretty good too.

This went on for probably a minute and a half.

During that time, as he ducked and squirmed about, gradually getting his legs back under himself; I’d imagine Soto Karass must have thought to himself:

“Is this guy fuckin’ serious!?  Oh well, may as well get comfortable…”

Well, turns out Big Mike was dead serious, ’cause he put everything he had into that amateurish display of 3rd grade schoolyard non-pugilism.

And do you know what he got for it boys and girls?

He burnt every ounce of stamina he had in the first 6 minutes of a 10 round fight.

For the remainder of the fight, Jones would stumble around, a rubbery and fatigued mess.

Despite this, he landed hard shots throughout the fight, and managed to skirt away from danger whenever Soto Karass would start building momentum.

Well, most of the time anyway…

Personally, despite punch stats that had Jones way ahead of Soto-Karass, (this was a surprise to me) I actually had Soto Karass beating him via pressure, consistency, and sheer activity.

Put it this way:

My eyes told me Soto Karass won, but if the numbers are indeed legit, then I’d concede that Jones escaped with a narrow decision.

With that ugliness (or is that silliness?) behind us, finally; we get to the main event:

Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.

This was an amazing experience to see live, surrounded by Pacquiao fans (and a handful of douchebags…).

While every punch the Filipino landed was met with raucous applause, in between it all I found myself clenching my fists and holding my breath every time Margarito got his engine going.

It was an immensely tense and dramatic event, and I’m glad I got to see it live.

That being said, how was the fight?

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, Pacquiao won virtually every round to win a unanimous decision, however it was by no means an easy victory.

On the contrary, this fight showed me a few sides to Pacquiao that I can honestly say I’ve never seen before.

In the first round, Margarito came out throwing nothing but jabs.

My guess is he was trying to set up a straight right hand, but he never really got around to it.

In either case, those jabs, however basic and lazy they may have been, actually landed with alarming regularity in that first round.

That surprised me.

What also surprised me, was that Pacquiao was flat-footed for most of the first half of the fight; something that in my eyes completely negates the advantages yielded by his unique fighting style.

The biggest surprise for me though, came in the 6th round when Margarito landed a tremendous body shot that actually had me thinking “knockout.”

Though my eyes and memories may be playing tricks on me, I swear I saw Manny almost take a knee before biting his lip and running away on rubber legs, and with noodles for arms for the remainder of the round.

Honestly, the look on Pacquiao’s face after he took that shot was one that will stick with me for awhile.

It was primal.

It was the face of a man faced with unfathomable pain, that looked upon the raidly encroaching beast before him and said:

“No.”

Though this moment was far and away Margarito’s finest moment in the fight, for at least 8 rounds he gave Pacquiao fits while eating his best shots.

Margarito never really “got going” as he typically does in the latter half of his fights, but he had his moments.

While his offense may have appeared ineffectual, and he may have won 1, maybe 2 round tops; every single time he landed anything, it sent a chill down your spine.

The disparity in size between the 2 fighters played a major role in this.

While Manny’s punching always looks good, no matter who he’s landing on, Margarito’s thudding shots, however ugly and infrequent, definitely seemed like the punches of a man 17 pounds larger.

In short, you got the sense that if Pacquiao tried to play cute and eat shots on purpose like he did during the Cotto fight, he probably would’ve gotten seriously hurt in this fight.

While I may be over-dramaticizing the events of the fight, the whole thing had an eerie, if not uneven sense of ebb and flow that reminded me a lot of the Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas fight.

Make no mistake though, Manny dominated the fight.

Don’t let anyone tell you he didn’t have to drag his ass through a mobile minefield to do it though.

One thing I’d like to point out, was how somber and worn out Manny seemed after the fight.

Come to think of it, there were several stretches in the fight, post 6th round body shot, where Manny actually seemed fatigued.

Can’t say I’ve ever seen the man slow down before, and I can’t say I liked it.

Seriously though, during the post-fight interview, the combination of Manny’s words and facial expression gave me the impression that he really just wanted to get out of there.

Usually he’s all smiles, and he’s so animated, but this time his mind really seemed to be in a different place.

My gut tells me he’s probably going to retire if he doesn’t get a date with Mayweather.

I suspect this fight was tougher than most seem to think, and he’s obviously got his congressional obligations to think about, so I guess it makes to leave while he’s on top.

Anyway, congrats to Manny for another history making victory, and all the best to Margarito, who I hope didn’t leave any years of his career, or life for that matter; in the ring at Cowboys Stadium.

Seriously man, Robert Garcia should check his words next time during the post-fight interviews.

There’s a time and a place for machismo, and the 11th round of a world title fight, with a battered, blinded and wholly ineffectual in your corner is not it.

That’s my opinion anyway.

Thanks for reading, see yah’ tomorrow!

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