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Predictions For Boxing’s “Night Of Rematches” Part 1

Left: Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito. Right: Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko.

They’ve been a long time coming, but tomorrow night we’ll finally get to see the (hopefully) legitimate rematches for 2 of the most controversial boxing contests of recent history.

Said rematches are of the course the re-pairing of Jr. Middleweights Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, and Bantamweights Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko.

While Margarito-Cotto II is easily the more dramatic of the 2 conflicts, and will likely contain the most fireworks, rest assured, both contests are almost guaranteed to produce entertaining results for as long as they last.

That being said, given the controversial nature of the original bouts that gave way to tomorrow rematches, let’s take a minute to examine the nature of said controversies, starting today with Margarito-Cotto.

Pictured: Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito mix it up on the inside.

Back in 2008, Margarito-Cotto I (it’s traditional to place the winner’s name first, even if it’s harder on the tongue) represented a fantasy pairing between 2 fighters on the precipice of fame and glory, as well as at the top of the Welterweight division.

That the 2 of them hailed from Mexico and Puerto Rico respectively, 2 countries/territories that have been engaged in an ongoing boxing rivalry pretty much since the beginning of time; was merely icing on the cake.

The ensuing “Battle” (the promotional name of the fight) did not disappoint.

Both fighters, possessed of pressuring styles, laid into one another from the early goings, with Cotto’s scoring potent combinations throughout most of the early rounds.

Unfortunately however, Cotto failed to take into account Margarito’s Bionic Mexican chin, resulting in him overextending his offense and exposing him to his opponent’s swarming, nearly 100 punch per round assault.

Despite winning virtually every round beforehand, Cotto was stunned by an overhand right in the 6th, and following the tumultuous final seconds in the round, it was clear Cotto was hurt and essentially locked in survival mode.

From then on in the fight, Cotto was battered and bashed from corner to corner, struggling to stay on his feet, while only occasionally displaying even the slightest glimmer of spirit or offensive instincts.

In round 11, the fight was waved off as Cotto went down twice, both times apparently of his own volition.

Still get chills just lookin' at it...

That final image, of Cotto going down on one knee as Margarito charged in at him, is both a haunting and telling image that will likely stick with me forever.

Margarito had broken Cotto as no other fighter before him had done, quite literally by beating him into submission.

Just 6 short months after this potentially career-defining victory, Antonio Margarito would find himself knocked out for the first time in his career by Shane Mosley, and stripped of his boxing license due to the discovery of an illegal plaster-like material tucked in his handwrap.

Pictured: The actual evidence recovered from the dressing room that night.

To this day, his trainer, Javier Capetillo remains disallowed from serving as a second in professional boxing, while Margarito has since been re-licensed to fight in several states as of mid-2010, most likely due to the influence of Bob Arum.

Truly, it is hard to picture any other fighter, under any other promoter, that would be capable of regaining their license, let alone in the state of New York, following such a scandal.

Both Margarito and Capetillo have denied using the “loaded” wraps in any of their previous fights, though speculation on this matter has effectively cast a shadow over the entirety of his career.

Since fighting one another, both Cotto and Margarito have put a dangerous amount of miles on their respective odometers, with tough losses to Manny Pacquiao being perhaps the most noteworthy contribution to their mutual wear and tear.

While Cotto has indeed showed signs of slowing, as well as increased tendency to cut and swell since the Margarito fight, oddly enough it’s the iron-chinned Margarito who may been the more shopworn of the 2 entering into their rematch.

During his bout with Pacquiao, Margarito ate nearly 500 punches over 12 absolutely brutal rounds, resulting in a broken orbital bone beneath his right eye.

Supposedly the bone has since healed and/or been repaired, however it’s also worth noting that Margarito underwent cataract surgery on his eye as well, making this the first time he’ll be fighting since having the artificial lens installed.

Note the glassiness of the right eye (left on the screen). If you ask me his entire goddamn facial structure got rearranged after what Pacquiao did to him.

Common sense dictates that Margarito’s performance will be effected by the damage to and surgery of his eye, however he has been medically cleared to fight, so I wouldn’t expect it to factor in too much.

Even so, an odd detail such as this is not worth overlooking, so until the bell rings tomorrow night, it’ll remain a major question mark as to the outcome of the fight.

Neither man is likely to ever be as good as they were back in 2008, however both men obviously bear genuine animosity towards one another given the bloody and controversial nature of their first encounter.

It’s more than likely that this bout was put together, not just because of the grudge match appeal of the affair, but also because both fighters are likely faded to the point of only being competitive to each other.

Win or lose, I’d expect to see both fighters emerge from this rematch as gatekeepers of the Jr. Middleweight division due to the relative youth and ability of most of the talent at that weight.

In that sense, it’s fair to assume that both men will be entering the ring tomorrow night, whether it be in the name of redemption or revenge, just a little bit more focused, and a little bit more intent on caving their opponent’s face in than they seemed in their most recent fights.

The key in this fight, at least from my perspective, is the weight.

Their original 2008 bout was staged at 147, however tomorrow night’s rematch will be fought at a catchweight of 153.

The Cotto camp fought tooth and nail to secure that -1 pound catchweight, and it’s pretty obvious as to why:

Margarito is naturally the bigger man.

Pictured: The weigh-in for the first fight. Hard to believe they're in the same weight class...

At 5’11”, Margarito was huge for a Welterweight, while the stout 5’7″ Cotto was borderline below-average.

Cotto has long seemed like a man without a weight class in my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s my boy and he always will be, but his height and body type have made him unsuited for virtually every weight class he’s visited.

At 140 he was weight drained and would get knocked down too often.

At 147 he seemed comfortable, but when placed next to the Margaritos, Paul Williams, and Kermit Cintrons of the division, he seemed massively outsized.

At 154 he’s functional, however given the difficulty he showed in dispatching Yuri Foreman and Ricardo Mayorga, it’s doubtful his punches have the same mustard they had on them at 147.

Margarito on the otherhand, given his lanky frame and height, was likely weight drained at 147, meaning he’ll likely be stronger and even less likely to fatigue at 154.

If I’ve fought a guy that’s able to take 500 punches a night, and throw over 1,000 in the process, “stronger” is not a word I want the man to describe himself with the second time I step into the ring with him.

As much as I hate to admit it, 3 years ago a plodding, one-dimensional, weight drained Bionic Mexican pounded my boy Miguel Cotto into submission.

Putting aside the possibility of loaded wraps, as well as the potential of the artificial lens newly installed in his right eye fucking with his performance, I’m willing to bet that same plodding, one-dimensional Bionic Mexican has it in him to do it again.

Both guys are pressure fighters, however Margarito’s superior chin, stamina, and punch output saw him get the better of Cotto their first time out.

As has recently been confirmed yet again by Pacquiao-Marquez III, once a guy gets your number, he very rarely loses it.

In that sense, while I ultimately will be rooting for Cotto, I honestly think that Margarito; once again, provided his eye doesn’t play into things, will eke out another hard fought win over the Puerto Rican, likely through a late round KO or UD.

Margarito KO 8.

Check Back Tomorrow For The Next Round Of Predictions!

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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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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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