This is my first ever post, and hopefully the first of many…
Let me cut to the chase, 2013 has been a great year so far for boxing. We’ve had some of everything: if you enjoy watching two guys go at it for twelve rounds, look no further than Rios-Alvarado 2, Bradley-Provodnikov, or Froch-Kessler 2. These were fights that a casual boxing fan would love. If you enjoy one-sided beat-downs then I recommend Garcia-Lopez or Brook-Jones 2. This third one isn’t an “if”, EVERYONE enjoys watching a great knockout, and this year we’ve had some beauties: Matthysse-Peterson, Stevenson-Dawson (more on this one later) and then a pair from hammer-fisted Kazakh Gennady Golovkin, against Nobuhiro Ishida and Matthew Macklin. I recommend you watch the Ishida KO… to quote James Toney: “That right was something terrible…”. And finally, if you enjoy watching a good fighter get utterly dominated and outclassed, then watch these fights: Mayweather-Guerrero (more on this one later), Hopkins-Cloud, and Rigondeaux-Donaire.
In boxing, upsets WILL happen. There have been two major upsets this year. The first is Martinez-Murray… “How was this an upset?” I hear you ask. Well, it wasn’t an upset. Sergio Martinez, the current middleweight kingpin, won. However, the fight made me upset. Martinez is my favourite active fighter, and to see him scrape to a decision in his native Argentina made me and most observers realise that his 39 year old body is finally showing signs of slowing down. He damaged his knee ligaments, and broke his hand for the second time in as many fights. His incredible ability, stamina, coordination, athleticism and overall boxing IQ have earned him six defenses of his middleweight crown, but it seems his time at the top is coming to an end. Knowing Martinez though, I think his heart and desire will carry through one more defense. However, I think if Martinez gets dominated or knocked out in his next fight then he should consider retirement. Nothing is as depressing as watching a once-great fighter get bettered and battered by a bunch of nobodies- think of James Toney or Roy Jones Jr..
The second upset- don’t worry, this is a real upset- was Adonis Stevenson’s one-punch KO of Chad Dawson in round one, winning him the light heavyweight title in the process. Believe it or not, this “upset” actually made me happy. Partly because of Stevenson’s crazy celebrations when the referee waved the fight off after Dawson beat the count but was clearly on unsteady legs, but mostly it made me happy because I don’t particularly like Chad Dawson. Why? He is so boring to watch. Simple. He calls himself a pure boxer, but let me tell you this, he is hardly the second coming of Pernell Whitaker. “Bad” Chad doesn’t press the action, doesn’t change his tempo, and rarely adjusts- think of his losses to Pascal and Ward. However, the biggest reason I don’t like Dawson is because he is so boring outside the ring. Have you seen any of his interviews? I would honestly rather watch paint dry. This guy’s interviews are as monotonous as his fights. Also, changing trainers as often as I change my socks doesn’t do the guy any favours either. But I digress… The Stevenson KO is the biggest upset of the year because of how important the fight was. Stevenson was moving up from the 168lbs division to challenge the lineal champ at 175lbs. Stevenson is a 35 year-old ex-convict who shone under the tutelage of the late Emanuel Steward and is now trained by the Hall of Fame trainer’s nephew, Javan “Sugar” Hill. Stevenson was relatively unheard of, and Dawson constantly reiterated in press conferences that he was nothing more than a tune-up fight. Oh, did I forget to mention Stevenson has 18 KO’s from 21 professional victories? The guy is ridiculously heavy-handed, and Chad Dawson now knows this more than anyone. I look forward to Adonis “Superman” Stevenson’s future in the sport.
MAYWEATHER AND THE MONEY TEAM…
In the biggest boxing event of the year, Floyd Mayweather defeated welterweight contender and former lightweight champ Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. Actually, “defeated” implies Guerrero was a challenge. Mayweather totally outboxed, outwitted and outmoved Guerrero. He looked 26 instead of 36 that night, and if it wasn’t for Guerrero’s ability to take a punch, he would have been knocked out in the late rounds. This was expected though… I didn’t think for a minute that Mayweather would have trouble going into this fight. At the end, the fight was an indication to how good Miguel Cotto still is. I believe that fight was the most difficult in Mayweather’s career, and you can tell this by how respectful he was to Cotto before, during and after the fight. Guerrero didn’t get any respect from Floyd, but I guess he has his father Ruben to blame for that. Remember that infamous “woman beater” rant? Floyd’s latest challenge is young, strong 154lb champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez… I predict another victory, but you never know.
Since his lover’s quarrel with 50 Cent, Mayweather has evolved from boxer to promoter/trainer/manager to young fighters like Mickey Bey and J’Leon Love, as well as seasoned veteran and new 154lb titlist Ishe Smith. The Mayweather family- Floyd Sr., Jr., Roger, Jeff and of course the tagalong Mr. Leonard Ellerbe- are investing in these young fighters, and Floyd (Jr.) is taking them under his wing, and under the ever expanding banner of The Money Team. Good luck to them… Meanwhile, in a bid to not be overshadowed by his former bff, Mr Cent is also trying out this whole promotion business, look up SMS Promotions, and their stable of fighters, including Billy Dib and Yuriorkis Gamboa- I think those are the only two… Well, since I want to remain impartial, good luck to 50 Cent in his promotional aspirations also.
Finally, a quick word on Bernard Hopkins… The guy continues to rack up victories against young, strong fighters, at the tender age of 48. His latest victim was Tavoris Cloud. a hard-hitting 31 year-old, who was out to end the great B-Hop’s career. Hopkins dominated him, landing flush shots, cutting him with a short left hook, and, most embarrassingly for the young Cloud, made him miss most of his punches- at one point, Hopkins was slipping punches against the ropes like a young James Toney. It seems, though, that fighting Hopkins is a lose/lose situation. If you win, all you did was beat on an old man, and if you lose, you’ve lost to an old man. This is a testament to how great Hopkins is though, and, love him or loathe him, you must respect what he’s accomplished.
As I finish this post, I have to wonder whether the second half of 2013 will be as good. We have some cracking fights, including Pacquiao vs. Rios and Marquez vs. Bradley, as well as the return of Andre Ward and an unbelievable card on Sept. 14, with Mayweather vs. Canelo headlining, and Garcia vs. Matthysse on the undercard. Expect to see Leo Santa Cruz on that card, as well as perhaps Austin Trout or even Abner Mares. Let’s hope I have a lot to write about this January.