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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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Kirkland/Angulo: One Of The Best Opening Rounds I’ve Ever Seen


I’ve always found it interesting that the first round of a boxing contest is commonly known as the “feeling out” round.

During the first 3 minutes of a typical boxing match, it’s usually expected that the fighters will be tentative, cautious, and in the case of a southpaw/conventional matchup; just plain awkward.

The first round is when fighters begin to gauge one another’s reach and distance, begin to jockey for good positioning, begin to time one another’s movements, and begin to lay the groundwork for slowing or speeding up the pace of the fight in their favor.

In a sport filled with metaphors to it, the first round in boxing truly is one of the most profound examples of liminality in the ring.

While many would look upon the a boxing match as a barbaric and savage affair, established elements of the game like the “feeling out” round serve as crystal clear reminders that, boxing may not be an inherently gentlemanly sport, but when everything comes together; there really an artful science to it.

That being said, as flowery and poetic as I’ve done my best to make it sound, the sport of boxing is at it’s core, a sport that deals in little more than 2 men standing before one another and pounding the shit out of another.

Though it undoubtedly helps a great deal, particularly in regards to extending the longevity of one’s career, one does not need to be a technical genius to succeed in the sport of professional boxing.

In the right quantity, sometimes guts, raw physicality, and unerring tenacity can be enough to carry the day.

Such was the case when James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo clashed last night in their highly anticipated bout at 154 lbs.

Pictured: Kirkland and Angulo. Jesus fuck, Angulo is ugly...

On the one hand we had James Kirkland, a stout and atypically muscular whirlwind of a fighter coming off a first loss in the form of a sudden and bizarre first round knockout to Nobuhiro Ishida, as well as a recent stint in prison for illegal firearms possession.

On the other, we have Alfredo Angulo, a bestial Bionic Mexican of the highest order with only one prior loss to the intensely bipolar Kermit Cintron.

Curiously enough, Angulo came into last night’s fight following a fairly recent Visa debacle, resulting in his deportation from the United States for the past 2 years.

In a nutshell, both fighters came into the ring last night highly regarded prospects with explosive punching power, aggressive head-first fighting styles, and less than exemplary records in regards to U.S. laws and regulations.

On paper, the matchup between these sounded like fireworks all the way.

While the fireworks didn’t last all the way through the fight, I’ll be damned if I’ve seen a first round as dramatic and visceral this side of Hagler/Hearns.

Pictured: One of the best damn fights you'll ever see.

From the opening bell, both guys stepped to center ring with bad intentions.

Kirkland came out swinging, asserting his dominance through swarming Angulo with volleys of clubbing punches at close range.

Possessed of a naturally aggressive and stalking style, Angulo took some shots in the opening 30 seconds, though his amateur pedigree occasionally shined through as he evaded shots calmly and efficiently.

Even so, the first 30-40 seconds were all Kirkland, as his attack proved so constant and smothering, that the typically offensive-minded Angulo barely managed to get off a shot.

That all changed around the 1 minute mark, on the strength of a single, heatseeking missile of a straight right hand delivered by Angulo smack dab onto the point of Kirkland’s chin.

Time seemed to freeze as Kirkland backed Angulo into corner, swinging with wild abandon, only for the courageous Mexican to suddenly step forward during a millisecond break in the action, and knock Kirkland onto his backside with one of his first cleanly landed punches in the fight.

Earlier, I mentioned James Kirkland was knocked out by Nobuhiro Ishida in the first round.

While I neglected to mention that Ishida managed to knock him down 3 times in said round, I feel it’s perhaps much more important to make mention of the fact that, despite the increasingly senile and ignorant Joe Cortez’ decision to stop the fight, Kirkland made an earnest and capable attempt to stand up every time.

Hurt, and downed 3 times, James Kirkland need to be held down by the referee in order for the contest to be brought to a halt.

If ever there were a man who defined the word “tough,” for my money it’d have to be James Kirkland.

That being said, as you might have expected, Kirkland did in fact get up from the bunker busting right hand to his jaw courtesy of Alfredo Angulo.

Not only that, while most trainers likely would have chastised him for doing so, Kirkland stood up almost immediately following the knockdown, taking nearly all of the standing 8 count on his feet.

Fortunately for James Kirkland, he trains under Ann Wolfe, who as I hope we all know, enjoys watching her fighters dole out beatings as much as she does watching them take them.

Said philosophy may not work on all occasions, but as I said before, sometimes guts count for more than anything else, and last night; you can sure as hell bet that rang true.

Storming out of the neutral corner, Angulo’s previously dormant offense erupted with an explosive torrent of punches.

On shaky legs, Kirkland foolishly stood his ground and attempted to stand and trade with rubbery arms, eating thunderous barrages of punches to the head in the process.

Eventually chasing the Gumby-legged Kirkland into the ropes and all around the ring, Angulo continued to pour on the punishment, landing blows at arms length while the referee continued to watch Kirkland like a hawk in anticipation of what appeared to be an inevitable stoppage.

After 20-30 seconds or so though, it became apparent that Kirkland was not nearly as enfeebled as he seemed.

Sure he was off-balance, and still very much in trouble, as well as largely unable to put the mustard on his punches in the way that made him famous; but amidst the beating he was taking, he was also doing well to deflect blows with his forearms, as well as occasionally tie-up Angulo.

Make no mistake, Kirkland was still very much a hurt man at this point, but he was a hurt man that with a plan and bad intentions.

For nearly a minute and a half, Angulo rained down blows on Kirkland unopposed, however as tends to be the case when a fighter fires on all cylinders against a man that just won’t quit; Angulo eventually began to slow.

Though under great duress, and eating hard punches every step of the way, slowly but surely, James Kirkland began to work his way back into the fight.

Pictured: Kirkland strikes back.

It didn’t happen all at once, but in the last minute of the round, Angulo’s fatigue got the better of him, and his once crackling punches began to come out at almost comically slow speeds.

Looking like a weary fighter caught in a time warp, Angulo found himself in the most unfavorable of positions:

Out of gas, and faced with a man who had not only already taken his best shots, but had almost fully recovered from them.

Slipping and deflecting Angulo’s sluggish punches, Kirkland quickly jumped back on the offensive and miraculously pushed Angulo back on his heels with an accurate head and body attack.

No longer swinging for the fences, nor fighting with pure aggression, Kirkland laid into Angulo with a varied and intelligent assault that one wouldn’t expect given his usual wild demeanor.

That being said, following an intensely dramatic, back-and-forth first round, with the lead changes hands literally from minute to minute, James Kirkland gave the boxing world an astonishing gift by handing Alfredo Angulo his first knockdown in professional boxing with seconds to spare.

It wasn’t a flashy down, nor did it seem to be the result of any one punch, but it was legit, and it firmly secured Kirkland’s lead for the remainder of the evening.

Given the state of Angulo, having just been knocked down for the first time after having completely drained his stamina over 3 minutes, it was hard to see him lasting much longer in the fight.

For 5 more rounds, a startlingly fresh Kirkland clubbed away at a groggy and active, but largely ineffectual Angulo before the mighty Mexican would eventually succumb to the rising tide and be saved from himself via an early, but entirely justified TKO stoppage in the 6th round.

Pictured: The fight reaches it's conclusion.

In watching this amazing display of intestinal fortitude, one couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Angulo, but at the same time awed by his capacity to push forward despite his damage and fatigue.

Even so, my personal opinion was that, had James Kirkland had more accurate and sharper punches, chances are Angulo would’ve been laid out no later than the 3rd round.

It’s a strange criticism for what easily amounted to a career defining, Round of the Year shoo-in performance, but one that I feel is entirely valid nonetheless.

Kirkland/Angulo may not be the best opening round of boxing I’ve ever seen, but it’s the best I’ve seen in a long time, most likely the best ever fought in my lifetime, and in my eyes; not far from second best to the magic of Hagler/Hearns.

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Toshiaki Nishioka Prevails In 12 Round UD!

*Note* Pic not taken from this evening's fight. *Note*

It’s official, Toshiaki Nishioka is now the first Japanese world champion boxer to successfully defend his title on American soil!

Sadly, I was unable to watch the fight this evening, as I don’t get the channel it aired on, but from what I read it was a wash for Nishioka.

Instead I ended up watching the Sergio Martinez/Darren Barker fight on HBO, which turned out to be suprisingly frustrating for Martinez in a Winky Wright sort of way.

I hope Barkers’ alright, as I’ve never seen a guy wilt to the canvas without taking a solid shot the way he did.

It reeks of an injury or lack of will to continue, but I’d hate to hear he had a brain bleed or something.

Enough with that shit, back to the Azn celebration!

Rafael Marquez has been getting long in the tooth ever since his costly series of fights against Israel Vasquez, so in many ways I guess he was the perfect opponent for Nishioka to test mettle against.

That is, he entered the ring shopworn, but still strong and bearing solid name-recognition.

In any case, I am immensely proud of Nishioka for his historic victory, and I greatly look forward to watching the fight to see just how well he did.

Despite this, as much as I’ll root for him, in all honestly I don’t see Nishioka being able to handle the likes of Nonito Donaire.

Like I said though, I’ll still be rooting for him, should that fight materialize in the near future.

Scores: 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113, Nishioka UD 12

 

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Mayweather Defeats Ortiz By Hilariously Stupid KO

Pictured: Floyd Mayweather decking an apologetic and entirely off-guard Victor Ortiz for the 10 count.

As you’ve likely heard by now, Floyd Mayweather earned his 42nd consecutive victory by defeating Victor Ortiz last night in controversial fashion.

In a move that will likely go down in history as one of the more snarky and underhanded in-ring moments of his career, Mayweather sucker punched the young Ortiz during an awkward moment of miscommunication between the fighters and referee Joe Cortez.

It’s funny too, ’cause for all of the 4 rounds it lasted, the contest was actually shaping up to be an entertaining bout.

Ortiz didn’t look all that comfortable with Floyd, as he ate right hands all night and never really managed to create any angles or cut off the ring; but to be honest, he was a lot more competitive than I initially expected.

On several occasions, Ortiz was able to bully Mayweather to the ropes and get some punches off, however most of it was just for show, not really dealing any significant damage.

Even so, instances in which a fighter is able to bully Floyd, or put him in a position where he isn’t 100% in control of the flow of the fight are very much a rarity in boxing, so I’d consider that an achievement in and of itself.

In all fairness to Ortiz’ pluck and tenacity though, Mayweather looked to be in charge throughout.

Oddly enough, I’d go so far as to say this was one of Floyd’s best performances in years.

He threw combinations.

He threw an inordinate number of punches per round.

Hell, he even pressed the attack and went on the offensive early in the 3rd round!

Despite all this, Floyd’s accuracy with his lead right was easily the star of the show.

I don’t know if it was Mayweather speed or Ortiz porous defense, but watching Floyd slip straight right through his opponent’s guard was a thing of beauty.

In all honesty, despite the eventual outcome of the fight, the puffiness of Ortiz’ face in the 4th coupled with his inability to seemingly get comfortable with Floyd’s movement and speed suggested that he’d likely be hurt or felled by a right hand at some point in the fight.

We’ll never know of course, but I’m just saying is all.

After 4 rounds of an occasional flurry on the ropes from Ortiz in a Mayweather dominated fight, few could have predicted the end to the fight.

From what I saw, Ortiz caught Mayweather on the ropes towards the very end of the 4th round, whereupon he began to throw combinations.

As is typical of employing such tactics against Mayweather, most of the punches bounded off of the undefeated fighter’s elbows and shoulders, though in this case 1 or 2 actually did make their mark pretty solidly.

During all of this, Mayweather found an opening in Ortiz’ flurry, and attempted to sling his arms over the younger fighter’s shoulders, likely in an attempt to tie-up.

At this moment, Ortiz lowered his gloves and proceeded to hike himself up onto his toes, lurch forward, and slam his cranium into Floyd’s chin.

Pictured: The "butt" in question.

Fouling in boxing is an art, one that some fighters have built their entire style off of.

Fighters like Evander Holyfield were routinely accused of using their head as a third glove, while trickier fighters like Bernard Hopkins managed to get away with using every dirty trick in the book.

Fouling can be useful to offset an opponent’s mental state, open up a cut, or to buy a moment to breath.

The thing is, fighters that make use of fouls as a tactic, usually know how to do so subtly and in manner that doesn’t call attention to their wrongdoings.

Hell, I’ve seen instances where ‘ole B-Hop managed to trick the ref so bad he actually managed to get away with a foul and cost the other guy a point!

What I’m driving at here, is that Ortiz has never shown himself to be a “dirty” fighter, but his amateurish and blatant use of an intentional headbutt was in very poor taste nonetheless.

The guy claimed it was unintentional, that Mayweather “leaned into” the butt; but if you watch the replay, the footage paints a picture that plainly supports the contrary.

Besides, since when does Floyd “lean into” anything?

Anyway, following the headbutt, Ortiz approached Floyd and gave him a friendly hug and apologetic kiss on the cheek.

To be honest, I really wouldn’t think a fighter, least of all Floyd Mayweather, would really be down with the idea of his opponent kissing him during the fight.

Maybe it’s just me, but Floyd doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would respond well to a gesture like that, even in jest.

Following this, Joe Cortez jumped in and hastily deducted a point from Ortiz, separating the 2 fighters in the process.

Upon returning to the center of the ring, Ortiz appeared to continue his apology, to Floyd as the 2 touched gloves.

During this exchange, Ortiz’ gloves remained no higher than chest level, often dwindling as low as his thighs.

Mayweather on the other hand, approached the center of the ring with his gloves held to his temples and at the ready, even during the ceremonial touching of gloves.

If anything was to be deduced from this image, it was that the 2 men were in very different states of mind at this moment in time.

Ortiz was working on perhaps a 3rd gesture of apology, while Mayweather was good and ready to continue the fight.

What followed was of course Mayweather clean clocking Ortiz with a left hook, followed by a straight right hand that ended the night.

Pictured: Joe Cortez finishes out the 10 count as a listless Victor Ortiz rides the bus past Queer St. and on the way to Queer Manor.

During this entire process, Joe Cortez made no indication for the 2 fighters to continue.

Truth be told, he was probably the least informed individual at the time of the knockout considering he seemed to be eye-fucking the judges/officials during the seconds preceding the sucker punches.

While many view this event as disgraceful to the sport of the boxing, and a stain on Mayweather’s reputation, I look at it as just another silly moment in boxing.

Sure, I was looking forward to the fight, and I was a little upset that both fighters didn’t get to show everything they had, but I’m not gonna’ lose sleep over it.

After all, the guy I was backing won, and he looked phenomenal leading up to the KO.

“Protect yourself at all times” is the golden rule in boxing, and Ortiz simply got too cute for his own good.

The funny part is, while Floyd will likely take most of the flack for knocking out a virtually defenseless opponent, personally I think Ortiz deserves some shame for the headbutting.

Seriously man, butting is fine, but not when you do it in blatant and malicious fashion.

Ultimately, it was a fight that could potentially do harm to both fighter’s reputations for the forseeable, however business is business, and boxing marches on.

You’ll see, a few months will pass and, surprise!:

Mayweather will still be bankable, and Ortiz will still be on his way to becoming Oscar De La Hoya Mk. II.

Oh well, boxing fans will moan and howl over this silly “sucker punch” ending until either something dumber/more controversial happens, or there’s a rematch and Floyd wins it the way most of us figured he would in the first place.

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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!

 

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Another Japanese Fighter Bites The Dust…

Pictured: Akifumi Shimoda smacks super-underdog champion Ryol Li Lee.

Before anyone jumps to any conclusions based on the heading of this post, let it be known; nobody actually died.

I merely used the phrase “bites the dust” because, well; frankly it sounds cool.

That being said, this past Saturday night, I was blessed with a rare opportunity to see a Japanese boxer fight on American soil in the form of Jr. featherweight champion Akifumi Shimoda’s title defense against amateur stand-out, Rico Ramos.

Said fight was staged on HBO, which in the boxing business basically translates to “the big leagues.”

That being said, I came into the fight hopeful, but fully aware of what to expect.

As detailed in some of my previous posts here, and here; Japanese boxer’s are not exactly a dominant force in the sport.

Well, except for maybe Piston Honda...

In most cases I have to go very much out of my way to dig up videos and records of Japanese fighters, largely because even the very best of them rarely get to a stage in their career where fighting outside of Japan is an option, let alone economically viable.

The fact of the matter is, Japan is a small island nation that isn’t exactly crazy about boxing; making it difficult for their fighters to grow beyond the competitive confines of their nation’s borders.

The last couple of fights that I can recall involving a Japanese fighter fighting in a high-profile match on foreign soil; had very mixed results.

On the one hand, long-standing (or should “sitting”) middleweight champ Felix Sturm tattooed the face of, and utterly annihilated the unproven Koji Sato.

Pictured: What happens when protected champions are fed unproven competition.

On the other, underdog Nobuhiro Ishida managed to beat the odds and inexplicably force a first round stoppage of up-and-coming Jr. middleweight beast, James Kirkland.

Pictured: What happens when a young fighter doesn't know how to react to a knockdown.

Oddly enough, both of these contests involved Japanese fighters from 154-160 lbs., the highest weights the national Japanese boxing commission stages fights at, and consequently some of the weaker divisions in terms of talent.

While Ishida’s win seemed like a fluke, given that Kirkland seemed very much clear-headed despite the multiple knockdowns; Sato’s loss was a forgone conclusion.

Both guys were low-rated, and obviously brought in as fodder for their opponents.

The only difference was, one pulled the upset, and the other may have had years taken off his life.

Now that I think of it, I think that’s why the fight from last Saturday night meant a little more to me than the others I mentioned:

Akifumi Shimoda went into the fight last Saturday night a legitimate, defending world champion.

While hardly a big deal to anyone outside the hardcore, it meant something to me to know that Shimoda was held in high enough regard that the people of Teiken Boxing Gym felt it wise to send him to America to defend his title.

Not only that, in winning the fight he would’ve made history as being the first Japanese champion to successfully defend his title.

In case you couldn’t tell from the way I phrased that last sentence, and indeed the heading of this post; Shimoda did not make history.

A Southpaw, Shimoda came into the fight sporting excellent footwork and a straight to the body with mean intentions.

To my surprise, Shimoda proceeded at a measured pace out the gate, cutting-off the ring and pressing the action.

He didn’t look great by any means, but he did more than enough to stymie Ramos and shut down his anemic offense.

All through the fight, I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of a small group of Japanese fans positioned behind Shimoda’s corner, shouting his name and waving a big white banner in support of their champion.

Like me, they were rallying behind the Japanese guy despite virtually everyone else in the New Jersey arena not giving 2-shits about who he was or where he came from.

Indeed, I felt myself wince at the sound of the ring announcer pronouncing the bout as a production of “Tai-Ken” Boxing Gym.

It’s “Teh-ee-ken,” asshole.  Get it right.

Despite my better instincts telling me Shimoda was going to get knocked the fuck out like seemingly all of his countrymen do when fighting away from home; I found myself feeling in the later rounds that Shimoda might actually get the win.

Then came the 7th round.

Early in the fight, Shimoda slammed Ramos with a nasty headbutt that opened a gash over the challenger’s eye.

The cut was pretty bad, and as such; Ramos’ trainer urged him to step up his efforts and throw more punches.

It took a few rounds of nagging from his corner, but for whatever reason; Ramos came out to fight in the 7th.

All through the round, you could tell something was different.

Mostly defensive and counter-oriented, Ramos lost the majority of the rounds in the fight purely based on his sinfully low punch output.

In the 7th, Ramos poured it on and went on the attack.

From the opening few seconds of the round, Shimoda went from being an indefatigable and confident young champion; to a fighter on the run.

Ramos backed Shimoda up for much of the round, something he hadn’t done for 1 second in any of the earlier portions of the fight; and indeed, seemingly couldn’t miss with his right hand.

Gassed or hurt, or maybe both; Shimoda spent his last moments in the fight stumbling backwards, seemingly without any answers to his opponent’s assault.

Stepping back and around the left side of Ramos amid a torrent of punches, Shimoda walked right into a cracking left hook that sent his jaw from one corner of the ring to the other.

BOOSH.

Oh yeah, and he went down too.

Splayed out on the mat, utterly devoid of consciousness, Shimoda’s last act before the referee’s stoppage was to clumsily, and pathetically rise to his knees and face first onto the mat.

In watching that 7th round, you got the sense that, had Ramos asserted himself earlier in the fight, there’s a good chance he would’ve walked right over Shimoda.

While there was no clear disparity between the 2 fighters in terms of technical ability, the difference in guts and raw athletic power seemed fairly evident during the final round.

It saddened me to see Shimoda lose his title, knowing full well that he; nor likely any other Teiken fighter would likely be making their way over to the states any time soon.

At this point it seems Toshiaki Nishioka and Koki Kameda may be the only 2 Japanese boxers that stand any chance of competing on the world stage.

Personally, I fail to see the beauty of Kameda and his brother Daiki’s collective souls, so here’s hoping Nishioka makes his way over here someday.

Hopefully he’ll fair better than most Japanese fighters seem to.

 

 

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Klitschko vs. Haye Flopped. Literally.

*Sigh* Once again my blind optimism towards the sport of boxing has lead to my utter disappointment in a high-profile bout.

Klitschko vs. Haye was supposed to be a score-settler, a fight that would do wonders to improve the image and worth of the winner.

True, David Haye has been overrated since day 1.

True, Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most boring and methodical fighters in the sport.

At the end of the day though, my gut told me this fight could’ve been something special.

Little did I know, my gut is retarded; most likely as a result of me having exclusively dined on hot dogs for the first 10 years of my life.

Yup, there's the fat fuck...

Like the hot dog munching, and very much overweight kid I was though; I came into this fight with wide-eyed enthusiasm, hoping and praying that Santa would drop down my chimney, the troops would come home from Iraq/Afganistan/The Moon, and heavyweight boxing would live again.

Sadly, as the title of this post would indicate, this was not the case.

Klitschko jabbed the night away and basically did the same as always, but in my opinion, and the opinion of virtually anyone who saw this fight that isn’t from the UK; Haye was largely the culprit in creating the flop-fest that was Klitschko/Haye.

That’s right, I said “flop-fest.”

What do you get when you type "flop fest" into Google Images? Hipsters and Batman.

For those who may not know, a “flop” is a term used in sports to describe the act of overplaying a foul or injury for the purpose of gaining some sort of advantage, usually through falling to the ground in dramatic fashion; hence the term: “flop.”

In soccer, players will flop to penalize the other team and get them carded.

In basketball, flops are used to gain the referee’s attention for calling fouls.

... Or for calling attention to how unbelievably stupid one is.

In boxing, the closest thing to a flop, one usually sees is that of a fighter feigning serious injury from a headbutt or foul for the sake of catching a breather.

It’s underhanded, yes; but in most cases a feigned injury in boxing is usually derived from a legitimate, if not minor foul that is simply exaggerrated.

It’s very rare to see dramatic “flops” in boxing that come as a result of entirely false circumstances.

Such was the case with David Haye’s performance in yesterday’s fight.

At an imposing 6′ 6″ and 240 lbs, Wladimir Klitschko is widely known as a fighter that gets a lot of mileage out of leaning on and holding his opponents.

Pictured: Klitschko, winning a fight in his own special way...

Holding is technically an illegal tactic in the sport of boxing, however this doesn’t stop every fucking trainer on the planet from teaching their fighters to tie-up their opponents when injured or in close-quarters.

Given Klitschko’s rather extreme height and reach, it only makes sense that he would lean on his opponents or tie them up when they venture too close, as with a wingspan like his; it’s hard to imagine his in-fighting abilities would be all that great.

In knowing this about Klitschko’s tactics, my guess is that David Haye’s camp made the decision to employ a “clever” strategy to counter the leaning and holding.

Said brilliant strategy, in the fine tradition of soccer; saw Haye flopping to the mat at the slightest touch of Wladimir Klitschko’s forearms or shoulders.

I can’t blame him for trying, as the strategy largely served it’s purpose given that Klitschko ended up getting a point deducted at one point; but the fact of the matter is, David Haye absolutely sucks at flopping.

I’ve seen William Shatner take falls more convincingly than the shit Haye was pulling yesterday.

Seriously man, the big Brit flopped to the canvas with such frequency that my brother had to call bullshit, exclaiming that he’d seen WWF matches where guys spent less time on the mat.

To make matter worse, it was clear that Haye just wasn’t in the fight by about the halfway point, seemingly checking out both mentally and physically for the most part.

The man’s stamina has always been in question throughout his career, and had he not been knocked out as a result of being gassed in a previous fight; I’d say it was on no better display than it was yesterday.

I hate to judge a book by it’s cover, but I’ve always felt that David Haye’s heroic bodybuilder physique was always ill-suited for pro boxing.

Like the similarly buff and bulky (and overrated) Jeff Lacy, Haye always looked the part, however his form was constructed of far too much “glamour muscle” to support the tremendous stamina and flexibility requirements of pro boxing.

If you want any evidence as to the state of Haye’s stamina throughout the fight, just look to his corner between rounds, and indeed before the fight even started; and take a look a how much water he chokes down throughout.

The man must have drank 2 gallons of water, which in case you didn’t know; is a big, big no-no in boxing.

Haye landed a handful of pretty big shots in the fight, though they all came one at a time.

Klitschko was hurt maybe once in the fight, in the last round; and from what I could tell he recovered surprisingly quickly.

All in all, it was a boring night (afternoon?) at the fights, with the only real drama spawning from the looming possibility that either fighter could hurt the other at any point due to their shoddy chins.

I will say this though, the entrances for both fighter’s were some of the most elaborate I’ve ever seen, though it would’ve been nice if they had been better coordinated.

Kudos to George Foreman for spoiling Klitschko’s big reveal on live television.

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Psyched For Klitschko vs. Haye

The heavyweight division has been boring as fuck for the better part of a decade.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lifelong fan of boxing, but in all honesty; I kind of got the shaft when it came to the talent pool of my generation’s heavyweight division.

Truth be told, I think watching Joe Mesi awkwardly stumble upwards to the upper eschelons of the division was probably my biggest heavyweight thrill of the 2000’s.

Anyway, for those who are unaware, since the days of Lennox Lewis; heavyweight boxing has been completely and utterly dominated by the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir.

Pictured: 2 guys that are more successful than you.

Many find their safety first, and consumately European style of boxing to be boring, and therefore a liability to the sport; however personally, I respect their abilities.

In my eyes, Vitali proved his worth by giving Lennox Lewis one of the toughest fights of his career, as well as through his somewhat miraculous comeback after a 5 year lay-off.

Wladimir doesn’t really have any tooth and nail, career defining fights on his resume like his brother, however I feel that’s to his credit.

As boring as Wladimir can be, his consistency is to be commended.

In a sport in which so much of the proceedings are determined by mental toughness and sharpness of reflexes, “consistency” is an adjective that is reserved for only the very best.

That being said, Wladimir’s biggest liability has always been the supposition that he has a shoddy chin, largely due to the fact that his only losses (3 in total) have been the result of being laid out cold from a single punch.

Not THE punch, but still pretty bad...

That doesn’t change the fact that he has a phenomenal reach, an incredible jab, and one of the most devastating right hands in the business.

Oh yeah, and he’s got Emmanuel Steward in his corner.  That counts for A LOT.

Well, when Klitschko decides to listen to him anyway…

Tomorrow night, Wladimir Klitschko will fight David Haye in what many are calling “the only fight that matters in the heavyweight division.”

Let me just say, the lead-up to this fight has been unbelievable.

For those who are unaware, after claiming the Cruiserweight championship from Jean-Marc Mormeck in 2007, David Haye immediately moved up to the heavyweight division (at 6′ 3″, one could argue this was his natural weight) and claimed the WBA title from Russian giant Nikolai Valuev in 2009.

BWAHAHA! This was hilarious...

Having secured his place in the division by gaining the WBA strap, Haye issued a challenge to both of the Klitschko brothers, ultimately gaining a date with Wladimir.

During the promotion of the fight, Haye showed up to a press conference wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with a graphic depicting him standing over the 2 brother’s decapitated corpses:

Pictured: The Shirt of Infamy.

Typically a very calm individual, Wladimir reacted to this with noticeable anger.

Despite the juicy promotion, Haye eventually pulled out of the fight, citing a back injury.

It’s been 2 years since that promotional fiasco, and now we’re finally getting the fight we’ve all been waiting for.

While I know Klitschko stands as a symbol of stagnation for the heavyweight division, in all honesty I think I’m going to be rooting for him.

Call me old-fashioned, but if you ask me; David Haye talks too much for his own good.

He’s a very talented fighter, good enough to have become the guy at cruiserweight; but his arrogance doesn’t hold up to the quality of his resume.

In all honesty though, this fight is a hard one to call.

Both have clear weaknesses and strengths, it’s just a matter of who can exploit their opponent better.

Klitschko has a suspect chin and might be too robotic to contend with a lot of lateral movement.

At the same time however, he has excellent fundamentals, a reach advantage, as well as an overall size and strength advantage.

"Everything he hits, he destroys!"

Haye is known to have stamina issues and hasn’t faced the same level of competition as Klitschko.

At the same time however, he is incredibly fleet of foot and hand and is excellent at punching from dangerous angles.

If Klitschko’s chin comes into play, I could definitely see Haye putting him down with a right over-the-top.

Kind of like this.

If Haye’s stamina or focus lapse at any time, then I could definitely see Klitschko sweeping the whole 12 rounds.

It’s an either or kind of fight, but for my money; I’m going with the big Ukranian.

In any case, here’s hoping the fight doesn’t suck, as like I said; it’s kind of a big deal….

 

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Donaire vs. Montiel: Vengeance By Proxy

A funny thing happened way back in 2005.

You see, I’ve been a fan of boxing ever since the first time I watched Rocky with my old man; but up until 2005, there were no active Asian, or more specifically; Japanese fighters that caught my interest as being noteworthy in the sport.

Sure, Toshiaki Nishioka and Daisuke Naito were, and are pretty good fighters; but nothing about them ever seemed competitive on the world stage I.E. the elite level of the sport.

The simple fact of the matter is that boxing simply isn’t all that popular in Japan, nor do I believe the Japanese physiology is all that well-suited for the sport in the first place.

We’re short, we’ve got stubby limbs, we’ve got a reputation for being pillow-fisted, and we have a tendency to grope/fondle others in public.

Pictured: How we say "hello."

Bullshit aside, a major factor in the stunted progress of Japanese boxing, is the simple fact that the country is an island nation.

Combine the insane travel arrangements required to put fights together on Japanese soil between a foreigner and a national, with the public’s general lack of interest in the sport; and you have an equation that results in Japanese fighters rarely having the opportunity to test their mettle against the world’s best, nor having the in-house competition available to them to prepare them for said contests.

Needless to say, most of what I read (I never got to see an Asian boxer on TV until Manny Pacquiao’s HBO debut) about Japanese fighters consisted of Ring Magazine articles about them getting flattened by Mexicans, or worse yet, beaten by their countrymen in boring 12 round jab-fests.

For most of my life, hall of famers like Khaosai Galaxy, Gabriel Elorde, Pancho Villa, and Masahiko “Fighting” Harada would serve as my only “Azn Boxing Heroes.”

That all changed for me when I discovered the Kobe based bantamweight, Hozumi Hasegawa.

Not a handsome man by any standard, but a good fighter nonetheless...

Hasegawa first caught my attention when he dethroned long-reigning bantamweight champion, Veeraphol Sahaprom.

To put things in perspective, Sahaprom had held the bantamweight title since 1998, not to mention had fought Toshiaki Nishioka 4 times prior to this, drawing and decisioning Nishioka on every occasion.

While the man had the kind of bloated record that only Thai fighters can produce in this day and age, few could argue that Sahaprom was a stiff challenge to any bantamweight of the time.

Seriously though, only a Thai could be so audacious as to defend his world title against debuting fighters, or worse yet, 0-1 fighters; on multiple occasions no less.

Hasegawa’s victory over Sahaprom would serve as the first of many happy moments I would be proud to witness as a half-Japanese boxing fan.

Pictured: The face of a half-Japanese boxing fan. That's right, we do exist!

For the first time in my life, I had found a contemporary Japanese fighter that was not only winning consistently, but seemingly growing and improving with every bout.

The funny part was, aside from being left-handed, Hasegawa never really seemed all that different or special compared to other Japanese fighters.

For most of his career he was a defensive minded out-boxer with with quick yet economical hands, sharp straight punches, and a good eye for counter-punching.

He wasn’t a powerhouse, he wasn’t a physical specimen, he was just a good Japanese fighter that, for whatever reason; was on a helluva’ winning streak.

Following his victory over Sahaprom, Hasegawa would go on to win their rematch by TKO, as well as defend the bantamweight title more than any other Japanese fighter in history, all while amassing 7 KO’s, more than he had accrued in his entire career up until 2005.

Despite all of my apparent dick-sucking of Hasegawa, I feel it’s worth mentioning that there’s another little element to my hero worship of the man.

You see, way back when, my brother actually went to live in Kobe for a year.

While he was there, he joined a boxing gym headed by trainer Senrima Keitoku, the man who would one day go on to train Hozumi Hasegawa.

While it’s a loose connection at best, for whatever reason, it means something to me to know that the same goofy old Korean-Japanese that my brother told me used to cane fat kids in his gym, just happens to be same one that trained one of my personal sports heroes to world champion status.

Pictured: A pennant my brother back with him from Kobe.

Like I said, it’s hardly a connection, but to me it means something special.

Anyway, before I let things totally veer off into weird touchy/feely bullshit, I think it’s time we actually got down to addressing the subject heading of this post:

This evening, Filipino bantamweight superstar Nonito Donaire challenged stalwart Mexican champion Fernando Montiel.

This is called a "filler" image. It bears no purpose other than breaking up the text in an eye-pleasing fashion.

Coming into the bout, the 2 men represented the top-tier of the division.

While a bantamweight tournament is currently being hosted by Showtime, a tournament which both Donaire and Montiel were invited to participate in; both opted out in favor of fighting each other due to the general belief being that they were “above” the majority of the other participants in the first place.

It was one helluva’ big deal, and a bout that I was very much anticipating.

On paper, both fighters were quick-fisted and fleet of foot, with Donaire having a slight edge in both categories, while Montiel held the more intangible advantages of caginess, fundamentals, and; arguably, tenacity.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the bout however, was the fact that both fighters were known to possess extraordinarily heavy hands for their weights.

Maybe not Carlos Zarate “heavy,” but heavy nonetheless.

Goofy 'stache or not, this man wrecked so many people's shit it wasn't even funny...

Despite all this, my interest in this bout came not as a result of their skill sets or attributes, but rather as a consequence of their previous in-ring achievements.

While Donaire had indeed caught my eye with with his revenge KO of his brother Glenn over Vic Darchinyan back in 2007, Montiel was the one that really got me invested in this match-up.

You see, Fernando Montiel actually fought Hozumi Hasegawa this past April.

While Hasegawa looked to be on the way to a comfortable points victory in the early goings, Montiel caught him on the point of the chin with a savage left hook.

Thoroughly knocked onto Queer Street, or rather; 2 blocks down the road onto the even queerer street that is “Queer Manor,” Hasegawa got hung up on the ropes and was brutalized for several seconds longer before the match was stopped, his titles were stripped from him, and his winning streak and reputation were sent down the shitter.

Despite how much I hate to watch it, here’s a clip:

Regardless of what Hasegawa’s gone on to accomplish, coming back to win a bout 2 weight classes North at featherweight and generally staying out of trouble; my heart sunk the day I saw the man utterly destroyed at the hands of Montiel.

While I would go on record saying I bore nothing but respect for Montiel, after all not that many Mexicans are willing to fly all the way out to Japan just to claim an alphabet title, I would be lying if I said I came into the Donaire/Montiel bout not hoping to see the man knocked silly.

Seriously, I wanted to see Montiel knocked the fuck out almost as much as I wanted to see Ricky Hatton get Pacquiao-ed in every fight he ever had.

Fortunately, tonight I had Nonito Donaire AKA “The Other Filipino” to sub in for tonight’s Pacquiao-ing of Montiel.

From the opening moments of the fight, it was quite clear that there was a palpable disparity in overall speed between Donaire and Montiel.

Both guys looked a little pensive, an expected consequence given both fighter’s punching power; however Montiel seemed almost too relaxed, holding his arms outstretched as if expecting to deflect the majority of the incoming punches.

Not exactly a sound tactic when the other guy is clearly the faster fighter.

Despite this, only about 2 punches of note were landed in the first round, a counter left hook to the chin, and a heavy body shot, both of which were landed, quite authoritatively I might add; by Donaire.

In 2nd (and final) round of the contest, Montiel rushed out the gate, landing a few decent shots here and there, and generally looking to set the pace of the fight.

Then, as if answering my prayers; Donaire flattened Montiel as I have seldom seem a fighter flattened.

Charging in and pressing the action, Montiel let loose with quick straight right hand, unaware of the monster left hook that Donaire had begun the process of uncorking just a millisecond earlier.

In short, Montiel landed his shot, and fairly cleanly at that; however in the process of doing so he overextended himself and quite literally ran chin-first into the sock full of quarters that is Nonito Donaire’s left fist.

Splayed out on the mat, eyes unseeing, and brain thoroughly checked at the front desk, Montiel rolled about like a turtle on it’s back, a very drunk and/or “special” turtle; for half of the referee’s count.

Like this, but on his back. And y'know, almost half-conscious.

Why the ref even bothered to count, or allowed Montiel to continue, even if it was only for a few seconds; is beyond me.

Despite my feelings leading up to the bout consisting of wanting to see Montiel punished, and my hero avenged; I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Fernando Montiel…

For about 2 minutes.

Seriously though, he’s a terrific fighter, that sadly doesn’t (and probably won’t) receive the press or fanfare that he likely deserves, but tonight, Nonito “The Master of the Revenge KO” Donaire was by far the better man.

Anyway, thus was the tale of the Azn Badger’s boxing hero, Hozumi Hasegawa; and his vengeance by proxy via the fists of Nonito Donaire.

Thanks for reading, I know it was long; but hopefully it was worth the trouble!

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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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