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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Shane Mosley’s Road to Pacquiao

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

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

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

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

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

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

With his FACE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pictured: Mosley vs. Mora in a nutshell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve seen his recent interviews.

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

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

In other words:

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

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

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

I mean the guy might get knocked stupid.

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

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

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Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis Analysis

Word to the wise:

Never stay up past midnight to watch boxing when you’ve gotta’ be up for work at 5:30 in the morning.

Unfortunately for me, that’s just what I did last night; in fact I was so committed to seeing the action that I ended up watching the Spanish version of the telecast.

Oh well, at least the fight was good; commentary was fun too, even if I didn’t understand it.

Getting to the point, Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis was an intriguing, if not somewhat predictable matchup.

Marquez, despite his fairly recent climb in weight, has built up an incredible reputation for being a supremely talented boxer-puncher, with quite possibly the greatest capacity for making mid-fight adjustments of any fighter on the planet.

Despite an almost guaranteed tendency to get dropped at some point in most of his fights against A-level opposition, the man has a solid chin and has recently begun to favor mixing it up rather than stepping out of range as he used to in his youth.

Katsidis, coming off a brutal steamrolling of British prospect Kevin Mitchell, is the prototypical brawling infighter, complete with the requisite lack of head movement and elusiveness.

He telegraphs his shots like fuckin’ Samuel Morse, but just ’cause you can see the punches coming, doesn’t necessarily mean you can always avoid them.

Possessed of a solid punch, he has the power and physicality to overwhelm lesser fighters in the earlier rounds with his sometimes overly aggressive/energetic style, regardless of the significant drain on his stamina in the later rounds.

Though he’s been humbled by fighters with superior boxing skills in the past, his tenacity and rough fighting style are usually enough to give his opponents fits, particularly if their footwork isn’t sharp enough to keep him at distance.

You put all those factors I just listed for both fighters together, and the result of the fight is as elementary as 2+2 = 4.

That’s right.

I went to school.

I know numbers n’shit…

Anyway, as you may have guessed by now, the fight went a little something like this:

Katsidis came out swinging in the early rounds.

Marquez got dropped pretty solidly in the 3rd, moreso than probably either of the Pacquiao fights, only to battle back and survive the round.

Katsidis bullied Marquez for several rounds thereafter, controlling the flow of the fight, but absorbing a lot of shots for his troubles.

Eventually Katsidis began to slow sometime after the 6th round, putting the momentum of the fight firmly in Marquez’s hands.

In the 9th round, (the same round that Marquez previously stopped Juan Diaz in their first encounter) Marquez opened up with some savage combinations, staggering Katsidis and rendering his legs into wet fettuccine.

After a full minute of awkwardly stumbling about the ring, not throwing punches, nor really taking any, referee Kenny Bayless called an awkward end to the contest, citing Katsidis’ inability to continue as his reasoning for doing so.

Just about every point I listed above could’ve been determined about this matchup without ever having seen the fight.

Well, everything except the goofy ending.

Honestly, I found myself feeling that Katsidis, upon first being hobbled, was ready to go.

He was out on his feet for a minute or so, and the stoppage was indeed warranted given his inherent helplessness, however the timing of the stoppage was just plain awkward.

I like Kenny Bayless.

I’ve always joked that he’s the most passionate ref on the planet, screaming the count and seemingly brought to tears every time a fighter goes down in his ring; but in this case he waited far too long to call the fight.

A minute is a long time to be on queer street, but it’s also a long time for a professional brawler like Katsidis to recover.

In fact, if memory serves, I seem to recall Katsidis being in the process of throwing his first punch in over a minute at the time of the stoppage.

Like I said, perfectly legitimate stoppage, but horribly timed nonetheless.

*Ahem!* Anyway, let’s discuss some the technical elements of the fight, shall we?

Katsidis, while one-dimensional in many regards, demonstrated some truly effective infighting skills in this fight.

That’s saying a lot when faced with one of the craftier and more intelligent ring technicians of our generation.

His short hooks were fine tuned and razor sharp, perfectly befitting of his phonebooth fighting style.

Hell, if he hadn’t gone all in with his bullying tactics, and ate twice as many punches as he gave, I felt he could’ve eked out a slim decision from the judges.

Despite this, the Australian remains too predictable and open to counters to prove a significant threat to any of the elite fighters at Lightweight.

Like Arturo Gatti before him, he’s an entertaining TV fighter that will never be starved for opponents on HBO given his balls-out approach to fighting, however he’s barely a step above gatekeeper in terms of overall ability.

He’ll probably, quite literally, be bled dry by the sport and it’s unscrupulous promoters inside of 5 years.

Moving on to Marquez, the Mexican technician still remains at the top of his game despite being 37 years of age.

While Marquez put on a terrific performance in this outing, like the previous Pacquiao fight, he did so while absorbing a great deal of punishment, however intelligently.

While I wouldn’t call the nasty down that Marquez took in the 3rd to be a sign of a chink in his armor, I did find it alarming how shaken he was by it.

My roommate used to say:

“It’s a Marquez fight.  He isn’t even awake until he gets knocked down once or twice.”

While I find that to be true in most cases, (and hilarious) usually when the mighty Mexican gets floored, he comes back and trades with his opponent like he’s trying to make score a 9-10 for the round.

This time though, despite what others may say; I think Marquez got rocked pretty good.

The shot he took was a counter left hook on the point of the chin, and despite whatever degree of machismo he may have flowing through his veins, his legs couldn’t hide how frazzled he really was.

In either case, at 37 he’s still not looking old, even if he kisses canvas in most of his fights.

Enough about the down, let’s get back to the technical stuff:

As is always the case with Marquez, the finest elements of his game were his most subtle.

For instance, while fighters with better footwork most likely would’ve circled to avoid Katsidis’ infighting, Marquez stood toe to toe with him and traded, albeit in an intelligent manner.

Bowing at the waist, and placing his head out in front of himself, Marquez effectively crowded Katsidis’ punches, forcing him to reach around Marquez and taking a little something off of the impact.

Though Marquez would eat solid shots on his temples all night, his courage and toughness allowed him to remain focus amid the whirlwind of blows coming at him.

Another neat little element of Marquez’s performance, was his constant use of the jab.

In the early rounds, the jab was largely ineffectual; something that most of us could’ve predicted given Katsidis’ inherent toughness and propensity for rushing out the gate.

As the fight wore on though, Marquez’s jab started landing more often, and with more authority.

Much like what I said of Katsidis earlier, just because something is predictable, doesn’t mean the other guy is going to be able to avoid it every time.

More importantly though, the jab was serving the dual purpose of causing Katsidis to “reset,” and even stand him up when it landed particularly cleanly.

What I mean by “reset,” is that Katsidis displayed a habit of mechanically switching from offense to defense whenever Marquez would circle or step out of range.

Boxing is a combative sport wherein the main objective is to hit without getting hit.

The finest of boxers are the one’s that display a capacity to do both at the same time, seamlessly.

Katsidis is a fighter that shifts gears from offense to defense in a very visible manner, such that intelligent fighters like Marquez are able to capitalize on the transition period with well timed offensive flurries.

Needless to say, during the instances when Katsidis was clearly not in “fighting mode,” Marquez’s constant, and seemingly half-hearted jab, would suddenly spring to life and turn into a piston-like combination starter.

Anyway, I’m writing all of this from cloudy memories of last night, so I think I’ve just about run out of stuff to say.

For those that didn’t catch this one, I’d suggest finding a way to sit down and watch it, ’cause it really was a competitive and exciting bout, despite whatever I may have said about it.

In any case, see yah’ tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Prediction

This is going to be what I like to call a “political” prediction.

That is to say, I’ll post my genuine, honest to God feelings as to what’s going to happen in the fight; but I’ll do so while mentioning some of the other potential outcomes.

In other words:

I’m hoping to make my prediction while covering my ass.

Anyway, here’s what I think:

Manny Pacquiao has demonstrated in his previous fights in the 140 lbs+ weight range, that his speed, tenacity, and chin have survived the climb in weight.

In Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao will be facing a naturally larger opponent, creating perhaps the largest size disparity he’ll have faced up to this point.

Despite the size issue, here are some of my thoughts Pacquiao as a fighter in general:

 

Manny Pacquiao, being awesome.

Manny’s greatest assets in my book, are his impeccable footwork; wherein he keeps his feet set and primed for leverage and power regardless of his positioning, his calculated exploitation of the obscure punching angles granted to him by his Southpaw stance, and his tendency to breach his opponent’s comfort zone for slightly longer stretches than most fighters are capable.

What I mean by that last statement, is that Pacquiao uses in-and-out tactics with his power punching; but with greater emphasis on the “in” than the “out.”

Most fighters dart in for a few shots, reset; and start from scratch.

Manny darts in for A SHIT TON of shots, changes angles, and comes in for some more; all while generally remaining (or at least feigning that he is) within his opponent’s perceivable punching range.

This results in many opponents chasing Manny in instances when he’s really not far enough away for such actions to be a viable option I.E. Ricky Hatton.

 

A little to the left Mr. Hatton. Jus' sayin'...

Lunging/charging fighter + Filipino with superior handspeed = Filipino with another KO notch on his belt.

In terms of punching angles, to my knowledge Manny’s best shots come straight down the pipe ala a Southpaw Kostya Tszyu, or swatting down from above with a right hook to the point of the chin.

In general, like any good middle range fighter, he aims to connect at the height of extension, though in his case he tends to aim for the chin with his hooks instead a broader target like the the temple or sinus.

 

Sorry to spam the Hatton pics, but you have no idea how happy I was to see his clinching ass flattened...

And you wonder why he’s been knockin’ fools out all these years?

Enough about Pacman, it’s time to show Antonio Margarito some respect:

 

Antonio Margarito, being awesome while pointing.

Antonio Margarito’s best assests are his granite chin, the tremendous volume of his punch output, and his capacity to continually build momentum throughout the fight.

The Tijuana Tornado has a chin, I don’t think anyone would argue that.

To date, Shane Mosley is the first and only fighter to knockout Antonio Margarito, in what was an incredibly one-sided affair.

Despite this, one has to take into consideration the fact that ‘ole Sugar Shane had to club the mighty Mexican across the jaw with overhand rights for nearly 8 rounds straight before his legs began to wobble.

 

9 rounds of THIS. Even Tony Zale would've gone down once or twice...

Make no mistake, water droplets can crack any rock given enough time, and in the case of Antonio Margarito, it took around 24 minutes of torrential downpour for it to finally happen.

The man was knocked out, yes; but in no way should that make anyone discount his ability to take punishment.

Moving on, Margarito is a very large Welterweight with average handspeed, but with a round-to-round punch output and well-varied repertoire of punches to make up for it.

He’s a classic example of the “Bionic Mexican (TM)”:

"I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle..."

A momentum and pressure based fighter with an incredible chin that loves to go to the body, but will gladly throw at whatever you show him in the meantime.

That being said, Margarito is an especially large example of the Bionic Mexican, particularly at his weight.

No doubt aware of this, Margarito stalks his opponents and keeps his gloves in their face all night until they mentally break down.

While said strategy often results in him eating a lot more shots than most trainers would like to see their fighters deal with, it also has the added benefit of causing fighters to fight on the move, forcing opponents with foowork issues to throw the majority of their punches from weak stances, thusly diminishing the power of their shots I.E. Miguel Cotto.

This was hard for me to watch. *Sniff* Cotto was my boy...

In terms of best punches, I have to say that I’ve always felt Antonio Margarito had a particularly nasty uppercut with both hands.

Given the length of his arms, I’d imagine it comes from below many fighters periphery, as well as reaches farther than most would expect; thusly resulting in a elusive and powerful punch that is hard to see coming.

"Hello, Golden Johnson." (2 minutes and 28 seconds later) "Goodbye, Golden Johnson."

Not only that, it should also be mentioned that said punch is usually backed up by about 20 other punches from several different angles.

Add it all up, and you have a whirlwind of solid shots from all angles, with one particularly nasty one hiding out somewhere just below.

Now then, let’s get to the prediction, shall we?:

Manny Pacquiao, UD or TKO round 6-8.

As with all of Manny Pacquiao’s fights since he started his journey North of 135 lbs, the only way I see him losing if the other guy gets to do “his thing.”

In the case of Ricky Hatton, I felt that if Ricky could only win if he could get his annoying ass “clinch and hit” game going.

He didn’t, and the result was one of the grandest blow-outs I can recall seeing on live TV.

 

Yay! No more clinching!

In the case of Miguel Cotto, I felt that if the stout Puerto Rican could stymie Pacman with his jab, and then play him into his left hook to the body, he might have a chance at taking the fight.

While Cotto managed to do both of these things, for about 10 seconds; he was ultimately unable to cope with the footwork and angles of Pacquiao, and was thusly hurt too early in the fight to build any sort of momentum.

 

... Not exactly the best way to win a fight there Mr. Cotto.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s all about the comfort zone with Pacquiao.

In short, he denies his opponents of ever acquiring one for themselves over the course of the fight.

Fighters like Juan Manuel Marquez, that have the benefit of a sturdy chin and the capacity and to adjust mid-fight, as well as the willingness to stand and trade in order to weather the storm, are exactly the types of fighters that have what it takes to handle Pacquiao.

The boxing equivalent to yelling, "Get the fuck out my face, son!"

Bear in mind I said “handle,” not “beat.”

In Margarito I see a fighter that has all of the traits I just mentioned, except for the ability to adjust.

While I would never go so far as to say that Antonio Margarito is a one-dimensional fighter, (he’s not) I don’t see him as having the sufficient level of science in his fighting to take a step back and say:

“This isn’t working.  Let’s start over next round.”

As such, I have a feeling that this fight could end up being another case of Pacquiao doing his thing, while the other never gets a chance to show what he’s got… While eating an ungodly amount of punches.

While that is my gut feeling and my official prediction for the Pacquiao\Margarito fight, there are a few alternate scenarios I feel are worth mentioning:

First off, Margarito’s chin, coupled with his punch output; could in fact put Pacquiao in his place.

Unlike Ricky Hatton, whose rigid head and neck posture caused his damage to pile up prematurely, Margarito, much like his fellow contemporary Bionic Mexican brother Librado Andrade, is amazingly skilled at rolling with the punches.

Uh... Good job?

While Pacquiao’s hardest shots come straight down the middle, thusly negating this maneuver; said technique could allow the Tijuana Tornado to power through some of Pacman’s more superficial punches, thereby allowing Margarito to land some shots of his own, thusly turning quick potshots into full-blown exchanges.

Make no mistake, if Margarito can exchange with Pacquiao as he’s attempting to step in or out of range, the momentum factor could make for some interesting later rounds.

Another aspect of the fight to take into consideration, is the fact that neither fighter is known to clinch very often, if at all; and yet both display a vulnerability to the technique.

In the case of Margarito, the clinch was instrumental in Shane Mosley’s victory over him, as it allowed him to smother his punches, as well as land heavy shots on the way in without the danger of follow-up shots to contend with.

While I have yet to witness anyone able to successfully clinch with Pacquiao with any sort of regularity, my gut tells me he too would have issues contending with it.

He’s a middle-range fighter with impeccable and commanding footwork, meaning if you take those factors away from him, he’s left with a crippled offense and the fatigue brought on by the constant grappling.

While I honestly don’t see it happening, if Margarito really wants to win, (and lose the respect of his fans in the process) it would be interesting seeing him stoop to the level of using the methods of his previous conqueror to take on Pacman.

Truth be told, while clinching is supposedly a form of cheating according to the official rules of the sport, for this fight it would make a lot of sense for Margarito to try.

He’s got the height and wingspan to take full advantage of it, and the disparity in size would most certainly wear on Pacquiao, regardless of how deep his stamina reserves may be.

Anyway, after a long day of work this is just about everything I can think of to say on the subject of Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.

I probably won’t be seeing this one live, so make sure to check it out for me!

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A Tribute to the “That Guy’s” of Action Cinema

I’d like to take a moment to honor Danny Trejo in recognition of his remarkable achievement of going from being little more than a “That Guy” in action movies throughout the 90’s, to landing his first legitimate starring role in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete.

In my early childhood I knew him as “that ruddy-complexioned guy that dies all the time.”

Danny Trejo on the set of Anaconda upon being handed his paycheck.

Later on I knew him as a much friendlier personality in the form of the voices of Enrique on King of the Hill,

He's so friendly!

and well; himself, in the videogame Def Jam: Fight for New York.

Well, it’s about 20 years overdue, but finally the day has come that we can all say we know Danny Trejo as the star of his own movie.

Anyway, in honor of Danny Trejo and the host of other perpetually typecast actors, I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the “That Guy’s” of action cinema.

What is a “That Guy,” you ask?

According to Google Images, THIS is a "That Guy." I vehemently disagree.

A “That Guy” is one of those actors that is consistently typecast in various bit-roles, typically along the lines of “ugly thug #1” or “dude that gets shot.”

It goes without saying, that the vast majority of “That Guy’s” end up playing villains throughout the entirety of their careers.

Think of it this way:

If you’ve seen an action movie actor enough times that you know their face, but not their name; chances are they’re a “That Guy.”

Take Noel Gugliemi for instance. You probably saw him in S.W.A.T., Training Day, or The Fast and the Furious, but you probably didn't know his name.

Over the years there have been a handful of “That Guy’s” that have ascended to legitimate celebrity, though every case is essentially a million to one shot.

For the most part though, a “That Guy’s” claim to fame generally springs from the list of big name action stars that have killed them throughout their career.

Take Sven-Ole Thorsen for example:

The funniest pic I could find.

A veteran of an ungodly number of action films, the big Dane got capped to shit by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Quick and the Dead,

he got offed by Steven Seagal in On Deadly Ground, he got the everloving-shit kicked out of him by Russell Crowe in Gladiator,

Yup, that's him on the left.

and to top it all off, he’s been torn apart by Arnold Schwarzenegger more times than I care to count.

Best of all though, not only has ‘ole Sven been killed by Ah-Nold more times than I’ve used the word “fuck” on this blog, he’s also accomplished the astounding feat of being killed by Arnold twice in the same movie franchise.

Said franchise would of course be the Conan series.

Sven was in both films, playing 2 different characters, though in Conan the Destroyer he was fitted with a dorky looking helmet, most likely to hide his appearance.

Not this dorky, but close enough.

No article about “That Guy’s” can be made without mention of the uber-prolific Thomas Rosales Jr.

You may of course remember him as the deaf as fuck Hispanic mercenary, Carter, from The Lost World.

You're gonna' get Spielberg Spite Killed so bad...

Well, beyond that, chances are you also remember him from Raw Deal, The Running Man, Last Action Hero, (Arnold killed him a few times) and the sci-fi sequels, Robocop 2 and Predator 2.

Any man that takes a bullet from Robocop, and gets skinned by the Predator, definitely deserves special mention.

Robocop likes to be thorough. Shooting people 3 times is standard practice.

Another example of the quintissential “That Guy” I’d like to point out is the classic “Azn That Guy,” Al Leong.

As seen in Die Hard.

If ever there was a need for an Asian “That Guy,” in any action movie ever, chances are Al Leong was considered for the part.

With his distinctive beard and outrageous bald spot, Mr. Leong made in appearances in such classics as Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure (as Genghis Khan no less) and Big Trouble in Little China, as well as achieved the honor of being killed off by industry greats like Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon),

Tee hee, that was silly.

and Bruce Willis (Die Hard).

Mr. Leong about a half second before Mr. Willis put half a clip through him.

Though in my eyes he’s nowhere near as accomplished as either of the other 2 men above, Patrick Kilpatrick is a “That Guy” that deserves mention, if not for his awesomely-badass  name, then for the sheer strength of his performances.

Whenever I look at him, words like "rapist" and "pedophile" spring to mind.

Few “That Guy’s” can match Kilpatrick’s ability to stand out from the crowd with his creepy mannerisms and borderline down-syndrome kid facial structure.

That being said, Mr. Kilpatrick’s been killed by Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, Arnold Schwarzenneger in Eraser, and he even got to be the primary antagonist in the Jean-Claude Van Damme prison actioner, Death Warrant.

Not only that, he got to fight Treat Williams in The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not An Option.

What?

I happen to like Treat Williams…

How could you not like him!?

Anyway, I don’t want to overstay my welcome with this tribute post, so I’ll just finish by rattling off a few more “That Guy’s” that deserve to be known somewhere on the internet.

Nick Chinlund AKA Billy Bedlam from Con Air, thanks for having the raunchiest, slimiest voice of any “That Guy” EVER.

Should've put the Bunny back in the box...

Robert Z’Dar, thanks for having the biggest fucking chin on the face of the planet.  Oh yeah, thanks for making Tango and Cash suck just a little bit less too.

Just so you know, he's not wearing any makeup or prosthetics. Seriously.

Tommy Lister, thanks for being the president of THE WORLD in The Fifth Element, and giving us Deebo in Friday, and Zeus in No Holds Barred.  Foh’ real man, I don’t think anyone else could’ve done so much with so little.

THAT, my friends, is a unibrow.

Michael Berryman, sorry about the Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia, but think of it this way, you saved many a filmmaker a shit ton of money on makeup effects.

That's him on the left, stupid.

and Brian Thompson, thanks for reminding me of Michael Berryman when you’re head’s shaved, and for the Buffalo Bob sequence in Joe Dirt.

Brian Thompson in drag = Funny.  Spade without Farley = Sad.

Anyway, there’s a shit ton of other “That Guy’s” deserving of recognition, and perhaps we’ll get to them another day, but for now, here’s to hoping they all know they’re appreciated.

Remember, just ’cause I don’t know your name doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you do.

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