Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

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

Sugar Shane Mosley: The Odd Road to Redemption

Shane Mosley never beat Vernon Forrest.

Undefeated at that point in his career, Mosley had just moved up 2 whole weight classes, from Lightweight to Welterweight to face, and defeat; Oscar De La Hoya in the first super-fight in his career.

He was standing at the screen door of mainstream success, only to get splashed in the face by the dirty dishwater of an upset loss.

Said thrower of said dishwater, was one Vernon Forrest.

Vernon Forrest: Man, Boxer, Thrower of dirty water...

An amateur Gold Medalist, Forrest entered into his first bout with Mosley an undefeated and well-rounded fighter that, while quite accomplished up to that point, was regarded as a very well-rounded, but otherwise unexceptional fighter.

In the 2 contests between these 2 men, Forrest humbled and hurt Mosley as virtually no fighter had up to that point in his career.

Not only that, a little bit of research (*cough!* Wikipedia! *cough!*) shows that he also defeated Mosley in the Olympic trials.

That’s not to say Vernon Forrest was any sort of super talented uber-fighter, (he wasn’t) the simple fact of the matter was, he had Sugar Shane’s number.

They say styles make fights.

Well, sometimes it’s not so much the styles of the 2 fighters, as it is a simple matter of 1 man being exactly the wrong fighter for the other guy.

Eder Jofre had Fighting Harada:

Willie Pep had Sandy Saddler:

And Shane Mosley had Vernon Forrest:

…And to a lesser extent Winky Wright, but he doesn’t count on account of him being a problem for, let’s see, just about EVERYONE.

Well, maybe not Paul Williams...

Sugar Shane never beat Vernon Forrest, and now, through the mysterious machinations of the vile beast that is boxing promotion, Shane Mosley is hours away from facing the last man to fight, and defeat Forrest, Sergio Mora.

Yeah... He held that belt for about 5 minutes...

Personally, I don’t get it.

I don’t get how Sergio Mora has managed to somehow remain at all relevant in the sport of boxing after his stint on Sylvester Stallone’s ill-fated reality program, The Contender.

He’s fought a total of 8 times since winning The Contender, way back in 2005.

*GASP!* You mean he BEAT Peter Mandredo!? TWICE!? Sarcasm, folks: It's for dinner.

Unless you’re Sugar Ray Leonard and can repeatedly retire, unretire, and otherwise pick and choose whatever world champion at whatever weight class you want to fight at any given moment, simply because you’re SUGAR FUCKING RAY LEONARD, then there’s no way you should expect to find success in boxing by fighting 8 times in 5 years.

The point is, I fail to see the beauty of Sergio Mora’s soul, and thusly can’t help but feel that he’s being fed to Mosley for yet another comeback attempt.

Of course, everyone already knows that part.

The part of this that makes me feel weird, is what happens when you read into this particular match-up a little deeper than I think we’re supposed to.

Vernon Forrest is dead.

He was murdered on July 15th 2009 during an armed robbery attempt at a gas station.

Despite some recent downtime in his career due to reconstructive surgery, his talents had remained fairly well-preserved up until his death, such that it was difficult to ever discount his abilities despite his lack of marquee, “name;” value.

Sergio Mora beat Vernon Forrest, only to have the Light Middleweight title snatched away from him in their immediate rematch.

Pictured: Sergio Mora post-WBC Belt snatch-ery.

Forrest died a champion.

Now Sugar Shane “wants” a crack at Sergio Mora (I’m sure he had nothing to do with the match-making process).

Hmm, now that I think of it, Ricardo Mayorga also beat Vernon Forrest, TWICE.

In fact he flattened his ass like a opossum on a busy country road.

Wasn’t it just 2 years ago that Sugar Shane knocked out El Matador after a hard fought battle?

Pictured: A frustrating, awkward battle with a wonderful finish.

Come to think of it, isn’t it interesting that Sergio Mora and Ricardo Mayorga were the only fighters to ever defeat Vernon Forrest?

I smell someone’s lame attempt at earning their redemption via proxy.

Sort of a “I beat the men that beat the guy that beat me” thing.

It’s childish, but it happens all the time in boxing.

Think of it as the equivalent to the dick measuring contest in the sport.

No, you don’t get a funny pic for that one…

What the hell do you think Manny Pacquiao was doing when he fought Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton just after Floyd Mayweather had done the same?

Sending a message, that’s what.

In the case of Sugar Shane though, he’s got nothing to prove.

He’s, quite literally, fighting ghosts.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I don’t get it, but then again I’ve never had the shit kicked out of me in something that I’ve spent my entire life working at, twice, and then had to live the rest of my life with the knowledge that someone out there was “the better man.”

Just sayin’ is all…

Anyway, in regards to the fight, I wouldn’t think Mosley would have too much trouble with Sergio Mora.

Though Mora is long and rangy like Forrest, and has fast hands, he’s nowhere near as physical as he Forrest was, nor is he very good at putting his punches together in bunches, so I could definitely see Mosley looking like a young man against him, much like Forrest himself did in his second bout with Mora.

Bwahaha! In the FACE!

Then again, this fight is taking place at 154 lbs., a weight that Mosley has never looked good at.

Given his relatively advanced age, combined with the extra weight, I could also see him ending up looking like an old man, as he did in his previous bout with Mayweather.

Not gonna' lie: This was hard to watch.

Then again, that fight was against Mayweather, who can, and does, consistently make just about everyone look bad.

Bottom line:

Mosley is the selling point to the fight, thusly making him the favorite to win.

Though he’s quick, Mora doesn’t have a punch, and doesn’t really know how to use his attributes to his advantage, so I see this as a case where Mosley, the more talented fighter, will most likely win a fairly boring points victory via pot-shots and clinching.

What can I say, thank God for the promising undercard, which features Daniel Ponce de Leon, Victor Ortiz and Saul Alvarez.

I wouldn’t expect a lot of boxing science being put on display by any of the above listed fighters, (especially Ponce de Leon…) nor would I expect any sort of significant changes in the rankings as a result of their fights, but hey, when your main event bout is just about as irrelevant at 154 as humanly possible, one shouldn’t expect the undercard to mean anything for the lower weights either.

Anyway, I’ll probably be watching this one in a week or 2 when it’s free on HBO.

To all those who see this one live, have fun.

Take it easy in the afterlife Vernon Forrest.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Haha, turns out every major fight on the undercard ended up a big knockout for the above mentioned fighters, but the main event turned out to be a fuckin’ SPLIT-DRAW.

Talk about your worst outcome imaginable…

Oh well, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:

Sergio Mora is no fun to watch.

That’s right.  I blame him.

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

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