Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

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!

Advertisements

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

Miguel Cotto: I Worry Some Times…

I worry about Miguel Cotto.

Ever since the first time I saw him fight, back in ’05 against Muhammad Abdullaev, he was supposed to be my guy in boxing.

He was supposed to be the fighter whose career I would fervently follow and admire, win or lose.

He wasn’t supposed to be the fighter I was always worrying about.

Miguel Cotto is, in many ways; the quintessential Puerto Rican fighter.

While his style consists of a combination of pressure-based infighting and skillful counter-punching, (backed by an impressive jab) everything he does has a “swagger” to it, a sense of theatricality and flash.

Unfortunately, it is this “swagger” that has always made me worry about Miguel Cotto.

Boxing is a sport that is, above all; won through skillful observation and analysis.

Occasionally, a fighter will come around that can overcome their opponents with pure athleticism and raw physicality I.E. Roy Jones Jr., but in most cases it is a fighter’s mind, timing and reflexes that win the day.

It is a sport wherein predictability and tendencies are a fighter’s worst enemy.

Miguel Cotto has quirks, and they aren’t the good kind.

Most of these quirks are fairly minor, and aren’t really an issue, such as his tendency to cross his legs or readjust his footing prior to stepping in.

The most visible of these quirks however, is one that seems to surface in-between exchanges, particularly when Cotto parries, or is caught by a right hand.

For whatever reason, Cotto has a tendency to tuck his chin against his left shoulder, drop his left arm to his waist, and cup his right glove against his temple.

Don't even try to tell me that's a shell defense...

My theory as to it’s existence, is that Cotto has a habit of “hanging on to” his perceptions and visualizations of the fight.

That is to say, the image in his head of what he should have done tends to linger and cause him to physically carry out the appropriate action just a moment later.

I swear I’m not a psyche student.  Scout’s honor.

In my eyes, it’s an immensely visible, and more importantly; exploitable tendency that I’ve always feared would lead to Cotto getting steamrolled by aggressive fighters with accurate punches and/or high workrates.

Oh wait, that happened already.

Twice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I started out this post being pro-Cotto, and I intend to end it that way too, but it goes without saying that Miguel Cotto is a fighter that, at this stage in his career; is all too vulnerable.

Just to remind everyone, he’s only lost twice.

The first time, against the bionic Mexican, Antonio Margarito; he may have been facing a man with loaded gloves.

The second time, against Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao; he was facing one of the best (active) fighters alive.

Neither loss should stand as a condemnation of Cotto’s standing as a fighter, however both losses were very hard to watch.

Not because he was pummeled so horribly, (he was) but because of the way he handled it.

Early in Miguel Cotto’s career, as a Junior Welterweight, he made his mark in the sport by being a “comeback kid” of sorts.

He was a dynamic and explosive fighter that had a reputation of being floored in his fights, only to get up and mount punishing offensives that would send his opponents packing.

After Cotto moved up in weight to Welterweight, a weight he claimed was healthier for him, his somewhat questionable chin seemed become less of an issue.

Personally, I feel that Cotto will never find an ideal weight class in boxing, (he’s too short for Junior Middleweight, and not all that big for a Welter) his chin will always be an iffy subject,  it just wasn’t until years later that we saw it tested again.

In his fight against the talented, but RETARDED, Zab Judah; Cotto took a monster left uppercut to the jaw during the first round that had him reeling.

He never went down, and he went on to win the fight by KO, (though Judah’s ADHD may have had more to do with that than anything else) but the point was, he was seriously hurt in that fight, and it showed.

Hell, he only punched Zab in the balls like, 30 times that night, sounds like the behavior of a hurt and/or pissed off fighter to me.

The next time we saw him seriously hurt, he was being swept away by the human tidal wave known as Antonio Margarito.

Pictured: The Bionic Mexican, Antonio Margarito

I remember the Cotto/Margarito fight vividly.

I was watching it with my parents, and my dad was rooting for Margarito, while I was backing the Puerto Rican.

My dad and I both knew Cotto was probably going to lose, but unlike my dad; I had a personal stake in the fight.

I wanted Cotto to win.

That’s what made it so hard when my guy looked the slickest he ever had in the first 5-6 rounds, only to slowly, and decisively; get clubbed to death against the corner post.

I remember my heart sinking the moment I saw Cotto take a knee without taking a punch.

It was like my generation’s “No Mas” moment.

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but it was important to me.

I wasn’t mad at Cotto for giving up, I was just blown away by the fact that actually got up and tried to fight.

It was stupid.

Pictured: An Idiot. It's Ricky Hatton, look him up.

When Arturo Gatti, or Jake LaMotta, or Tony Zale did their thing, nobody could stop them because they couldn’t stop themselves.

In their prime, you could beat any one of those guys over the head with a shovel, and somehow their mind, their body, no matter how fragmented and crippled; would find a way to stand in front of you and just keep swinging.

Hell, they used to say that Gatti was no good unless he was bleeding, God rest his soul.

Good thing he was usually swollen and/or bleeding on his way down the ramp.

Pictured: Arturo Gatti BEFORE the fight.

Seeing Miguel Cotto stand up and expect to turn the tide, after 4-5 rounds of awkwardly circling and half-heartedly jabbing at Antonio Margarito, was just plain sick.

When Miguel Cotto gets hurt, he makes mistakes.

When fighters make mistakes, they get hurt even worse.

Dissecting Miguel Cotto’s behavior while in “survival mode,” is painfully simple, even for a armchair quarterback like me.

Keep in mind, we’ve only really seen Cotto in this way on two occasions, though in this case, two times is twice too many.

Everything about his fighting reverts back to his quirks.

In short, his boxer’s mind sort of fizzles out, and all he’s left with are the comforts of his muscle memories.

Only problem is, most of his muscle memories are wrong.

He crosses his legs, he crouches too low, he retreats straight back, and he does that weird thing where he drops his hands, all while staying on his feet, but doing very little to keep himself in the fight.

Well, short of this anyway.

There are situations when the trainer should step in and stop the fight, and both of Miguel Cotto’s losses were those sort of situations.

Against the genetic freak, Manny Pacquiao, Cotto was in serious trouble for most of the fight.

In the early rounds, he did alright, landing the first real decisive blow of the fight, (a jab) and maintaining a degree of composure for the most part.

I was non-partisan for the Cotto/Pacquiao fight.

I remember watching the fight in a bar with some friends and saying to myself in the third round:

“Aw fuck, his feet are all over the place.  Pac-Man’s runnin’ circles around him.”

And it was true, Cotto was caught on far too many occasions, clumsily trying to reset his feet as he tends to do, while Pacquiao would dart in from the clever angles that have always made him dangerous.

This, is not one of those angles.

Let it be said also, that Cotto’s forehead centric guard is tailor made to make him eat straight left hands to the jaw.

Not a good thing when that’s your opponent’s money punch.

After Cotto went down, he was out of the fight.

Perhaps if he had better powers of recovery, or hadn’t been fighting as aggressive and accurate a puncher as Pacquaio, he may have been able to regain his senses and get back in the fight.

This was not the case however, and, while Cotto managed to keep Pac-Man at bay with the occasional stiff jab off the ropes every now and again, his legs spent the whole night fighting a losing battle against Pacquiao’s constant pressure.

It was truly unfortunate, for me anyway, to have had to watch Cotto stumble around, making all the same mistakes as he had in the latter rounds of the Margarito fight, for almost the whole of 12 rounds.

On a side note, I got a similar feeling of disgust watching Yuri Foreman hobble around on one leg for 3 rounds during Cotto’s most recent fight.

Mercante: "C'mon kid, suck it up." Kind of hard to do when YOU HAVE ONE LEG. Dumbass...

The Cotto/Pacquiao fight should have been stopped in the 9th round, or perhaps even sooner; end of story.

Maybe Cotto’s “survival mode” is just too good for his own safety.

Maybe he does just enough to keep the ref happy, and his opponent at bay in the hopes of hearing the final bell.

Maybe it’s his own damn fault he doesn’t just get knocked the fuck out and call it an early night.

I don’t know what to think of Miguel Cotto when he’s hurt, and all of the familiar quirks and bad habits boil to the surface.

I would never go so far as to say that Cotto’s days are numbered, and that his career is on the downward spiral, however that doesn’t keep me from worrying.

I’ll never stop watching all of Miguel Cotto’s fights, and he’ll never stop being my guy in boxing.

I am a Miguel Cotto fan, and by golly, I worry some times…

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

Donate