Azn Badger's Blog

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Thoughts On The Fight Night Champion Roster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tommy Morrison:

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

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

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

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

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

At least that would’ve made me laugh.

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

Cristobal Arreola and Eddie Chambers:

Man, heavyweights are fat these days...

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

That reason being the Klitschko brothers.

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

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

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

 

Aw... I made the fattie cry.

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

Butterbean:

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

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

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

Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carlos Monzon:


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

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

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

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

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

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

Jermain Taylor and Danny Jacobs:


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

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

Anthony Mundine:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But no, instead we get Anthony fucking Mundine…

Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sergio Mora:


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

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

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

Bottom line:

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

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

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

Diego Corrales:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vinnie Pazienza:


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

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

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

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

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

Whoop-dee-fuckin’-doo…

Closing Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jus’ sayin’ is all…


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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.

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