Tag Archives: Antonio Margarito

The Promoter: Mayweather And Cotto Excite, Apocalypse Near

The funny thing about boxing scoring you might not understand, if you’re like a lot of general sporting types and get most of your boxing news from the Bottom Line, is that a wide score doesn’t necessarily indicate the competitiveness of a fight (Duh, says the fight fan: There are travesties in judging and refereeing all the damn time) and so even if a fighter is knocked down five times in say, two rounds, as long as he stays on his feet he can squeak out the other ten rounds of a championship fight and claim the victory.  It’s like awarding a baseball team the win for hitting three solo home runs in three separate innings, while the opponent hung a nine in the first.

Yet this year’s Mayweather Fight on May’s First Saturday portrayed this little scoring quirk of the Science sans controversy, and the result was just: Floyd Mayweather took all three judges’ scorecards, with one putting down a 118-110 mark and two scoring it 117-111—that is, ten rounds to two, and nine rounds to three—and very, very few cried nay.  By trying real hard, a Puerto Rican partisan might have been able to give Miguel Cotto five rounds.  Yet Cotto, a man who has had the Possibly Shot tag applied since his 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito, made the toughest fight Floyd’s fought in years.

So the gist of this column is: Watch This Fight. Yes, it’s over, the decision is made, but that’s not the point.  With this one, I can guarantee you good action. Find a local with HBO; they’ll play it all week, starting Saturday.  Or be good at the Internet.

Floyd got his nose bloodied, people.  You want to see that, because he can still box, and whether his cheesy heel antics turn you on or off, he’s one of the best we’ve got.  Watching a modestly sized screen through a barroom window, it was evident even from afar that over 12 rounds, Mayweather was getting his hardest test since I started watching him live in 2006, and lots of people far more knowledgeable than I considered it his toughest fight since a controversial decision win over Jose Luis Castillo in 2002.

A quick-paced, clean, hotly contested fight without controversy at the end—that’s all your average boxing fans prays for before every bout.  The unjust thing about the Hype Machine is that neither Floyd Mayweather nor Miguel Cotto will receive nearly the sort of buzz that Floyd got for slapping down Victor Ortiz last September.  This was a far better fight, the sort of fight that makes you wish Mayweather fought more often.

I gave up dragging people into buying or finding Mayweather fights a couple years ago—they were always boring for my novice friends, and I’d hear about it. I love watching him work, even against lackluster competition, because he demonstrates the level of technique that crosses naturally into swagger that is only manifested by the very best practitioners of a craft.  Now, Floyd could be entering that evening of his career where there’s more knowhow than ever, but the legs aren’t there to completely dance around opponents, confuzzling them into lopsided decisions.  Melee Mayweather could be our next Floyd.

 

The Promoter: The Hits Keep Coming, Man

The past weekend’s bouts delivered good action without much in the way of surprise.  Miguel Cotto abused Antonio Margarito’s robot eye and firmly placed himself back into the SuperFights conversation.  If Pacquiao and Mayweather don’t get together, Cotto is a guy who can sell out a building and do good pay-per-view numbers all on his lonesome; in short, don’t be surprised to see Pacquiao-Cotto II or Mayweather-Cotto coming your way this spring.

It was a shame that the largely Puerto Rican crowd filling the Garden last Saturday in support of Cotto wouldn’t get loud for the undercard.  In a high-paced fight, Delvin Rodriguez beat Pawel Wolak convincingly enough that the latter decided to retire, and Brandon Rios overcame weight issues to bloody (the) hell out of Brit John Murray until a merciful 11th round stoppage.  Some nights, you’ve got to settle for good fights, not All Time Greats.

Here at The Promoter we can dip into greatness anytime (thanks Internet!) and our excuse this week is boxing’s Hall of Fame inductions.   I am far from qualified to comment on all of the inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, located in lovely Canastota, NY.   The fight game doesn’t afford the would-be critic the easily wavable numbers that make it so easy to stomp feet about the neuroses keeping out a Blyleven or Santo for oh-so-many years.   I’m sure there’s plenty of worthwhile fighters uninducted (although even boxing can’t compete with the Aging Rock And Rollers for HOF as Money Grab).

We’re going to ignore all of these worthy concerns, and focus on the undisputed headliner of this year’s IBHOF class: Thomas “The Motor City Cobra”/”The Hitman” Hearns.

Tommy Hearns’ career was not over until 2006-he waited five years for enshrinement-but his glory days were the 1980s.  He was one of “The Four Kings” who ruled the sport, coming up from Detroit’s Kronk gym with ridiculous power, height and length for a welterweight.

Here’s Hearns winning his first title from Mexican Pipino Cuevas at the Joe Louis Arena in 1980.  The cartoonish knockout comes around 5:30. Note the complete lack of advertising in the ring.

Hearns’ greatest achievement might be knocking out Roberto Duran.  The Panamanian great had only been down twice in his career until this fight, having already fought professionally 70some times at the age of 32.  Sugar Ray Leonard made Duran quit on his stool in the “No Mas” fight, but “Hands of Stone” had never been out cold.  Until 1984:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DvPFKii9-A

There were lots more wins for Tommy Hearns, and a bunch of spectacular knockouts, but he’ll probably be remembered best for his three rounds in 1985 with “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler. Disgustingly good stuff.

What 2 Watch 4

This coming weekend’s premiere fight matches England’s Amir Khan with DC’s Lamont Peterson, in a title bout at 140 pounds.  Khan has fast hands and good power, but his chin can be tested; Peterson’s a solid inside fighter who will have home ring advantage at Washington’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Keep it above the belt till we talk again.

 

 

The Promoter: The Barn’s Already Burning

“This is a PHONEBOOTH war,” blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lampley will say at some point during HBO’s pay-per-view broadcast this Saturday, and while the kids watching on their iLives won’t know what a phonebooth is, he will be correct.

There’s a whole slew of fights this weekend that promise Serious Action. Breadbaskets will be invaded, fighters will visit each other’s kitchens, chins will be tested, and yes, two sweaty shirtless men will attempt to occupy the same phonebooth.  There’s nowhere in those trunks to keep their cell phones, you see, and even if they did, they have no use of their digits to text away.  Please suggest some some new cliches.

Whatever you call fighting-in-close-proximity, this isn’t speculation: A lot of these guys have gone at it before, and produced some spectacular fights.

The headlining fight on the HBO show is a rematch between Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto and Mexican Antonio Margarito, and their first bout was a thriller. Margarito fights like the Terminator-not all that agile, but he keeps coming and absorbs blows, and he took plenty of them from the skilled Cotto through 11 rounds in 2008 before his pressure and left uppercut stopped the pound-for-pound top 10 boxer.

In an alternate universe, this is a good rematch that happened too late; Cotto and Margarito were both whipped by Manny Pacquiao.  Either or both of them could be shot, done, and Margarito has the very real concern of a right eye destroyed by Manny that gave the New York State Athletic Commission a long pause before it gave the go-ahead.

But this is a grudge match, full of Bad Blood: Six months after he stopped Cotto, Margarito was found with a sticky plaster of Paris-like substance in his hand wraps before he fought, and looked very unTerminator-like, against Shane Mosley.

No one’s sure if one or the other of these guys is done, but someone is getting bloody.  A sampling of quotes in the lead-up include Cotto calling Margarito a “criminal” and saying he’ll play with his health, as Antonio plays Super-Heel, in sunglasses and track suits and calling Cotto “little girl” and “crybaby.” The two episodes of HBO’s promotional series, 24/7, are well worth watching.

The undercard features three more fights with guaranteed action.  Brandon Rios is a mini-Margarito; the two Mexicans train together, and Rios is a similar sort of come-forward action fighter who can be an asshole, although he’s more skilled. His last fight he dispatched the solid Urbano Antillion in three. His opponent is John Murray, and while it’s unclear why he’s getting the title shot over countryman Kevin Mitchell, who stopped him in 8 in a UK Fight of the Year candidate, he’ll be throwing punches until he can’t anymore.

Philly welterweight Mike Jones has a near 80% KO rate and and has put on two straight hearty fights with Jesus Soto Karass.  He faces Argentine Sebastian Lujan, a thick welter who’s never been knocked out cold and is coming off a KO victory on Friday Night Fights in July.

Yet the most anticipated fight on the card among hardcore fans might be the opener, a rematch between Pawel Wolak and Delvin Rodriguez.  These are two good but unspectacular fighters who put on an absurdly good fight in July on ESPN.  In one of those odd occurrences where what should happen happens, they’re getting paid good money to do it again on a big stage.

Wolak had a hematoma over his right eye that looked like a ripe apple by the end, but ref Steve Smoger let them go, since the ring doctor said “let them roll.”  Smoger is famous for his laissez-faire approach to stopping fights, and he’ll be in the ring for the main event.  As if it needed anymore guaranteed excitement.

As an added bonus for those with premium cable but not looking to shell out PPV money (or with the broadband capability to find it on Google, WHICH IS HIGHLY ILLEGAL), Showtime’s got a two-fight bantamweight show with its own punchers and backstory.  Ghanian Joseph Agbeko and Mexican-American Abner Mares headline in a rematch of their August fight, where Agbeko got crotchshotted all night long, with ref Russell Mara doing jack about it.   Besides the empathetic pain experienced watching, it was otherwise a good fight.  The left-hand slinging Armenian-Australian Vic Darchinyan is in action with his great power and slowing reflexes against rangy Panamanian Anselmo Moreno, making his U.S. debut.

Hope Springs

Since there is a school of wisdom that says all you care about is Pacquiao-Mayweather, it’s my duty to tell you that those talks are looking better than they have in a long time.   But don’t get your hopes up!  However, neither guy really has any better options.  Plus, they’ll each make like $50 million for the fight, and that would be cool for them, I guess.

Further Reading

Eric Raskin has a pretty good contribution at Grantland to the ever-present for boxing writers genre of  “reconciling brute violence with my secular humanism.”

Till next weekish, stay in that kitchen boys and girls.