Posts Tagged With: Andre Berto

Keepers


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Tonight we’ll see two of the most highly skilled gatekeepers in the sport.  Andre Berto, whose inexplicable progression through the ranks largely went unimpeded by his mediocrity, will take on Shawn Porter, who was rushed to the top of the division after avenging a draw with Julio Diaz.  I saw Porter summarily extinguish Pauli Malignaggi’s attempt at a return in 2014.  He certainly looked impressive in that fight, but he had a few elements of chance working in his favor.  For one, he had a 7-year age advantage, but more importantly, Malignaggi’s style was perfect for him.  Porter handed Devon Alexander his second loss, and most recently, triumphantly defeated the boorish Adrien Broner.  All these fighters should be counted as significant victories for anyone, but they’re also all clearly below the elite level.  The two shots Porter has had at the top of the division, against Keith Thurman and Kell Brook, were just short of disastrous.  While Porter adapted to Brook’s style well, the disparity in skill was unmistakable, and even more so with Thurman.

Andre Berto, on the other hand, never really had any significant wins to compare to Porter’s.  He’s solidly stuck between the middle and the top, and yet not quite at the level of other gatekeepers.  If I went by memory, I’d have been tempted to say Porter and Berto are at equal skill levels, but taking a look at Berto’s BoxRec stats puts things in perspective.  He was thrust into tough competition after ostensibly proving himself by beating a group of opponents beginning with David Estrada.  That group of four known fighters, upon which Berto built his reputation, all share a common pattern in their careers.  Estrada, Luis Collazo, Juan Urango and Carlos Quintana were all hot prospects at the time and seemed to be progressing quickly in the highly competitive welterweight division until they came up against a skilled opponent.  Before they ever fought Berto, all these fighters were hot prospects who had flown too close to the sun.  Estrada had been incinerated by Shane Mosley, Collazo by Mosley and Ricky Hatton, Urango also by Hatton, and Quintana by Paul Williams and Miguel Cotto.  After three losses to middling opponents at best (Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass) Berto managed a win, albeit a big one, over Josesito Lopez, and suddenly he’s signing a fight with Floyd Mayweather?  Granted, it was a good pick for Mayweather for a stay-busy opponent, but what a mismatch.  It was the only Mayweather pay-per-view I ever skipped without any trepidation (though if they sign Mayweather-McGregor, that’ll make two).  Since then, the only fight Berto’s had (already a full year ago) was when he avenged his loss to Victor Ortiz.  Great that he can beat an aging Ortiz, but why he’s still getting in there with upper-level competition is beyond me, especially with these long layovers between fights.

We can expect Berto to start out strong and look sharp with his punches, possibly even pushing Porter back as they feel each other out and establish a rhythm.  Likely, though, by round three, the skill disparity will be evident.  Berto will begin throwing wide, looping shots and leaving his hands down after throwing.  Porter will be obliged to throw straighter punches, and he’ll connect more frequently than Berto.  Porter’s defense will be stronger, though he’ll probably stand and trade more than he should, a behavior Berto tends to elicit from his opponents.  I think that’s because they’re so shocked at the audacity of an opponent to come forward square, flat-footed, throwing looping shots like a scene from Road House.  Whatever the reason, we’re likely to see the two sluggers trade at some point in the fight, and that may make the whole thing worthwhile.  It ought to be a showcase for Porter, and a good name to put on Berto’s resume even though it’ll probably have an ‘L’ in front of it.  It might seem more filler than killer, but after this transition fight we’ll have a better idea of where Porter sits in the division.  If he dominates Berto, he may be in line for a rematch with Brook or even Thurman (if Thurman’s feeling unambitious), a shot at Danny Garcia, or any of the other top welters.

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“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey


Rousey-Mayweather, that’s what people are talking about.  I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise, given that Mayweather’s next opponent, who he’ll be in the ring with in about two weeks, is Andre Berto, possibly the most inappropriate opponent possible for Mayweather, Berto’s status neither warrants the opportunity nor draws the attention necessary to justify the match.  Think about it, how much have you heard about this fight? Probably not much, because whether you’re a casual fan or a die-hard addict, you’re not that aware of Andre Berto.

Actually, though, I should really rescind my previous statement about Berto being the most inappropriate opponent.  At this point, people are actually pushing for a “no-holds-barred” (UFC-style) fight between one of the greatest technical boxers of all time (I think it’s fair to say) and the 12 and 0 freak-show Ronda Rousey.  She, and I emphasize she, is a mixed-martial arts fighter.  That alone should dissuade us from seriously discussing the fight, but hey, James Toney had so much success, why not go for it, right?  Yeah.  Putting a boxer in a mixed-martial arts fight is, at best, an attempt to discover whether a boxer has enough athletic ability to improvise methods of winning a fight other than punching.  Merely posing the question implicitly presumes that mixed-martial arts is “a real fight” and boxing is more like a stylized contest.  If there’s anything that either sport teaches fans, it’s that no number of bouts between equally matched opponents would prove that argument either way.  An unlucky but formidable boxer could walk into an arm-bar in the first round of a mixed-martial arts fight, just as easily as an unlucky but formidable MMA fighter could walk into a check-hook that puts them down for the count. The success achieved in professional wrestling by the clever intermingling of reality and fantasy has had an effect on the entire sports world.  Maybe that’s why we’re more interested in entertaining the thought of an emotionally-charged melodrama than we are in analyzing a fight with real-life implications for the sport.

Granted, Rousey is an extremely impressive athlete who would certainly defeat many fighters, man or woman, in MMA or boxing, at her weight and probably above.  But, that’s what great fighters do.  Real greatness, in the classic sense of the word, doesn’t come from looking scary or impressive on any once specific night.  Or, maybe it can, if you’re to believe the UFC.  Think about it.  Mayweather is an internationally recognized athlete who’s moved up in weight over several years fighting progressively larger, more elite opponents, to establish a 48-0 record.  Many of these opponents were some of the best fighters in the world, including guys who will go down in the history of the sport, like Miguel Cotto, Saul Alvarez, and now, Manny Pacquiao–all defeated soundly by Mayweather.  Ronda Rousey, in reality, is a novelty warrior in a burgeoning sport with a record of 12-0.  That’s twelve wins.  Against who?  And that pattern holds for the entire UFC organization.  Fighters are made and canonized in a matter of months rather than years because the sport itself has no historical lineage.

So, beyond the glaring inconsistencies in the judgment and evaluation of the athletes involved in the potential fight, one is a man and one is a woman.  Wait, let me rephrase: one is man with a domestic violence record, and the other is a woman.  Does anything more need to be said?  If so, Mayweather fights around 154 pounds, and Rousey fights at 135.  In other words, while some people might be excited by the novelty, no one will enjoy watching the fight for the same reasons Pacquiao-Mayweather wasn’t a slugfest.  In fact, it’s reminiscent of the strange “boxing” match put on by the WWF for Wrestlemania 2 between Rowdy Roddy Piper and Mr. T.  The clash of styles would create an awkward, low-action display of frustration that would reveal nothing about either fighter’s talent or legacy.  A lot of the people clamoring for this fight are probably the same “fans” who were disappointed in the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight because they thought it should have produced more action or that Pacquiao’s injury prevented him from performing.  Neither of those statements is accurate because based on the fighters’ styles, the result was exactly as any knowledgeable fan would expect, and both men did perform at or near their best, which is all you can hope for in any contest.  I’m not saying we should blame Rousey for puffing out her chest (so to speak) and making a big scene about challenging a fighter who automatically attracts media attention, just that fans shouldn’t be taking it seriously.

Back on planet Earth, some great fights have been taking place in a broad range of weight divisions.  Last weekend, Marco Huck took on relative unknown Krzysztof Glowacki for the WBO World Cruiserweight title.  Not only did the fight produce great back and forth action with both men going down, but the pace of the fight was unusually intense for cruiserweights.  Well worth watching, I think it should be considered a fight of the year candidate.  Just two nights ago the showdown between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares more than lived up to expectations, with both fighters averaging over 70 punches a round and the action rarely slowing for even a moment.  Fighting at featherweight, Leo Santa Cruz is still very rangy by comparison to most other fighters in the division, towering a full three inches above Abner Mares, who is the better boxer.  Mares made the mistake of rushing Santa Cruz from the opening bell, according to his corner.  I’m not so sure it was a mistake, however, as he actually found moderate success in that approach, even though Santa Cruz is the seasoned brawler of the two.  While Mares has the superior technique and plenty of power and athleticism, it can be difficult  to overcome a physical disadvantage of reach or height for any fighter, no matter how talented.  Yielding to his corner, Mares tried boxing from about round three forward, but took increasing punishment as he did so, naturally slowing down over the course of the fight.  Being unable to slip away from the wingspan of Santa Cruz often enough to make his infrequent but effective counter punches matter, Mares lost a lopsided majority decision.  Both fighters mentioned they’d be willing to work out a rematch, but given the end result, I’d be surprised if there was much demand, despite the fireworks.

The undercard featured some great bouts as well, including Julio Cesar Ceja’s triumphant comeback against Hugo Ruiz.  With both men hitting the canvas, the action was intense, measured and effective, with very little wasted motion.  Another in the continuing series of great fights from PBC.

Unfortunately, not all matchmaking is quite so inspired.  Shane Mosley, who has been inactive for two years after a 1-3 run, was matched against former opponent and former athlete Ricardo Mayorga, who didn’t even feign an effort to make weight.  Their first match was lopsided with Mosley putting Mayorga down and out in the last second of the last round, but this one, between an aging Mosley and an inflated Mayorga was slightly more competitive, until the sixth round, when Mayorga was again knocked out, this time by a body shot.  Somehow, Mosley’s promotional company, GoBoxing, managed to charge pay-per-view prices for the fight, possibly deluding himself into believing he can mount some kind of a comeback in the division.  Certainly not approaching Roy Jones proportions, Mosley still needs to have perspective on his place in the most competitive division in the sport.  As boxer-turned-commentator Antonio Tarver showed us recently against an aging Steve Cunningham, just because you still can, doesn’t mean you should.

On the horizon we have the long anticipated showdown between MIguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez.  This is a fight that we can count on for action and impressive skill, and while it won’t necessarily determine the direction of the division in the coming years, it will give us a strong indicator of where the top fighters stand, Cotto and Alvarez both being great benchmarks.

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Broner, Mathysse, Berto Tread Water


This past weekend Adrien Broner, Lucas Mathysse, and, to a lesser extent, Andre Berto fought as they always have, professing beforehand to have remedied flaws in their technique, but showing their true colors during their respective fights. The night’s headliner, Broner, started even more slowly than usual, taking several hard shots and further distancing himself from the Mayweather school of boxing in the first two or three rounds. As the fight went on, Broner’s opponent, Emmanuel Taylor, all but abandoned his very effective upright boxing style, and began leaning in to the exchanges, affording Broner the opportunity to use his speed and combinations to win rounds. Scoring what I would call a lucky knockdown in the last round, Broner sealed his victory, though the 115-112, and 116-111 scorecards betray his mistakes. Taylor turned out to be a formidable opponent who came to fight, and was somewhat comprehensively defeated, but that doesn’t change the fact that the biggest name on Broner’s resume is still Marcos Maidana, and Maidana wiped the floor with him and his slick boxing style. The second biggest name on that list would probably be Paulie Malignaggi, and even though he lost to Broner, the fight was very competitive. Maybe even more so than the fight with Taylor. Broner now asserts that he wants a fight with another winner on that night’s card, Lucas Mathysse.  While Broner has gotten a lot of attention for his idolatry of Floyd Mayweather and his flashy style, I’d argue that Mathysse is the more marketable and more impressive talent.

Mathysse won his fight in dramatic fashion, if you can call it that.  He scored a first-round knockout, but only because the referee stopped the fight at the count of 9 after a body shot put Roberto Ortiz down to a knee.  Not only did this fight fail to show us anything about undefeated prospect Roberto Ortiz, it also told us nothing about Mathysse’s recovery from his first loss, and his future in the division.

Berto’s fight ended up being equally uninformative, showing us that he can still be hit easily but that his endurance and heart are comparable to that of the highest-level fighters.  He kept the fight interesting by staying active and opening up his defense consistently.  He attributed some of his mistakes to ring rust, but also commented that he was surprised how quickly and fully his boxing technique came back, which is really a red flag for such a performance.  There were times that Berto, rather than cover up after a shot, would actually open his guard as if to regain balance by spreading his arms.  This is not an isolated lapse for Berto, he’s exhibited signs of the bad habit for years, sacrificing defense for offensive pressure, whether effective or not.  These fights didn’t leave us with more questions than answers, it just left us with one: why were these fights made?  If they were meant to pad the resumes of recovering fighters, then certainly it wasn’t necessary to give Mathysse a pass, and it was an odd choice to have Berto and Broner approach their next conflicts with the same game plan that caused them to lose in previous efforts.  Both were hit cleanly by mid-level fighters, and if they get the higher-level opponents they claim to want for their next outings, the results won’t be so favorable.

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Happy Birthday to Thoughts on Boxing


Today marks three years since I began writing this blog, having no idea what I wanted to do with it and still a little fuzzy on the concept of “blogging.” The writing has gone in different directions and through various styles, but I think the consistent thread has been my interpretation of the significant fights in boxing, as seen through the subjective lens of an amateur boxer. I say subjective because I’m sure I don’t know as much as I think I do, and I do take a somewhat outrageous standpoint on certain issues to provoke a response,  but I’m still learning, I’m still in the gym, and I’m still watching.  It’s still the sweet science to me.  So I’ll keep writing.

In keeping with the spirit of the writing, I should highlight the weekend’s upcoming event, which exemplifies boxing for boxing fans.  None of the names headlining Showtime’s loaded card on Saturday are marquee names in the pop culture sense.  They’re all just names boxing fans know and styles they can can predict.  Sure, even an MMA fan or two will perk their ears up when they hear “Adrien Broner” and “Lucas Mathysse” come out of the broadcaster’s mouth, but very few will remember Andre Berto.  Losing a key match against Victor Ortiz, Berto squandered what momentum he had in the division, coming back in his next fight with a win, only to comprehensively lose the next two consecutive fights, both to good-but-not-greats.  Mathysse and Broner are in slightly better positions, but both have lost key matches before achieving real stardom or consistency.  None of these guys will be reason enough to draw an audience that doesn’t normally watch boxing, and the opponents are so unremarkable that they aren’t even worth mentioning in that context.  For boxing fans, though, this is a solid night of sports.  You’ve got Rau’Shee Warren, the painfully slowly developing olympian, on the undercard.  You’ve got two overconfident punchers who thought they would remain undefeated for eternity, until they took on better competition and lost their most recent fights.  In Berto, you’ve got fading talent with a critical opportunity to resuscitate his career.  None of the opponents on the card are any more than the term implies, but if the inflated egos haven’t been reigned in, opponents could start to look like more than that.  For Berto, the reverse, the damaged ego, is his problem, so we’ll watch to see if he can keep cool under pressure, and if he does get into rough waters, whether he will sink or float.  On top of all of that, all these guys get into the ring to throw punches, so we’re guaranteed a night with at least a few interesting exchanges.

To everyone who reads Thoughts on Boxing, thank you.  I think the initial reason for this was just that I couldn’t find enough people to talk boxing with, so the comments, the opinions, the conversation–have all been a great outlet for me, a microcosm for the great sense of self, of serenity, and sense of purpose we find in boxing.  For the moments when it’s more sour than sweet, when it seems like those who shouldn’t have to struggle are always the ones who do, and we feel helpless, the memories here will remind me why we study the Science.

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Hatton Makes His Exit


Courtesy of Reuters

Senchenko puts Hatton down in Round 9

Last night one of my favorite boxers of all time played out the final act of his long-awaited return to the ring. Manchester’s Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton overcame two brutal defeats by the best athletes in boxing, three years of depression and drug abuse, and all the personal and public consequences that came with those obstacles to make a fight against Vyacheslav Senchenchko. Senchenko had been undefeated and a gradually rising star until he faced Paulie Malignaggi, who has been making a comeback of his own in recent months, performing well and looking impressive against decent opponents.
Malignaggi’s technical ability and precision were too much for Senchenko, leading to a TKO defeat that left Senchenko in need of a consolation prize like the matchup Ricky Hatton promptly offered. Defeating a former superstar like Hatton would send Senchenko right back to the front lines of the division and mend a slightly bruised reputation. This was also an appropriate move for Hatton, in that he would be facing an opponent who had unusual size for the division, a nearly perfect record with the exception of a fighter Ricky had already beaten soundly. After being thrashed by Floyd Mayweather Jr. Ricky Hatton fought Malignaggi and put on one of the best performances of his career, maximizing his speed and power advantages while controlling his technique enough to completely out-class Malignaggi. This outstanding victory set the stage for the ill-fated Manny Pacquiao debacle, in which Hatton fought probably the sloppiest fight of his career and was knocked unconscious in less than six minutes by the Filipino icon.
Understandably, Hatton was dissatisfied with this conclusion to his career as a fighter, and after confronting his debilitating depression and returning to the ring in the form of a trainer and promoter, he decided to come out of retirement, at the urging of his fans.  Ahead on the scorecards slightly and with only one round left to go, Hatton took a single body shot in the 9th that sent him to the canvas.  He was unable or unwilling to get up, so the referee called the fight with less than six minutes remaining.  Based on Ricky’s ability to take punishment and maintain a high work rate through late rounds, I think his inability to recover from Senchenko’s body shot is an indication of the toll taken on his body by the weight gain, weight loss and drug and alcohol abuse. This loss showed that Ricky’s age in the ring was too advanced to continue pursuing top competition in the welterweight division.  It’s often said in boxing that a fighter’s ring age is not always the same as his actual years since birth.  This is just the case with Ricky Hatton, who, at 34, could otherwise continue his career for a few years at least.  He has had some great moments in the ring but without a major overhaul of his habits and technique, Hatton had no place in the welterweight division anymore.  I’m grateful I can say one of my favorite fighters of all time got out of the sport before sustaining real damage.  He said in an interview after once again announcing retirement that if he had squeaked and by won by points he would “be telling you all the same thing,” which may or may not be true, but either way, he was smart enough to make the right decision, and you have to respect that. I was thrilled to see the great fighter in the ring again for as long as it lasted. I’ll always remember the excitement of his fights and I look forward to seeing his promotions and fighters becoming more successful.

In another somewhat high-profile fight that night Robert Guerrero defeated Andre Berto in a brutally competitive fight that involved both fighters bending the rules. Berto’s speed and accuracy were very effective against Guerrero in the first round but Guerrero quickly figured out that he couldn’t hit Berto behind his philly shell defense without making it a street-fight style war. Berto was knocked down once in the first round and once in the second round, but was able to recover well after he returned to his feet. His eyes were both nearly swollen shut by the end of the fight but he managed to score scintillating uppercuts and crosses adjusting to Guerrero’s tactics toward the end of the fight, contributing to a truly epic fight.
What I found most exciting that night was the undercard matching up and coming Keith Thurman who moved up in weight against Carlos Quintana, a respected opponent. Thurman utterly destroyed Quintana with very powerful, very accurate shots. Thurman’s defensive ability must be tested further before he can be considered an elite welterweight, but I think he’s well on his way to a big fight.

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More Ortiz, Please.


Tonight Victor Ortiz will have the chance to make his potential fight with Saul Alvarez much more real.  He’ll be up against Josesito Lopez who, while impressive, is not considered to be at the same level as Ortiz.  I am more than excited to see the two fights battling for the Mexican Independence Day weekend slot, Ortiz-Alvarez probably being the one I look forward to most.  The other possible fight, Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., is also intriguing.  Chavez looked great against the inept Andy Lee, as well he should, and Martinez is dying for a worthy opponent.  It would be a tough fight for both guys because of Martinez’ skill and Chavez’ size.  Personally, I’ve been predicting the exposure of Chavez since he first started getting hype, but it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to move up in weight and take the belt from Martinez. Putting aside boxing fans’ fantasies of an action-packed brawl to the finish between Alvarez and Ortiz, Lopez could be a substantial obstacle if Ortiz isn’t on top of his game.  Many times in the past fans have been mystified by Ortiz’ ability to fall short of greatness as he did against Maidana and Mayweather.  If anything like that happens tonight, Ortiz won’t be getting a fight with Alvarez, and he’ll probably start to fall off the radar given the state of the division and the dissolution of the epic rematch with Berto.  This is one of those fights where something peculiar could drastically alter the future of multiple fighters and, with the way things have been going in boxing lately, something peculiar is almost sure to happen.

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An Alternative for Alvarez


I was just posting my thoughts about fans’ speculation regarding the replacement for Paul Williams against Saul Alvarez when ESPN broke the news.  While the boxing world’s thoughts and prayers are with Paul Williams, we can’t help but wonder who will be able to fill the void in the showdown with Alvarez.  The division is loaded with prospects and talent making the list of potential opponents much more complex.  The first names that came to my mind were Cotto and Ortiz.  While Cotto is probably a little too much for the rising star, surely the fight with Alvarez would be an epic battle.  While Ortiz has already named his replacement opponent after the recent scandals with Berto and Peterson, I still consider him a great matchup for Alvarez.  Other names on the list could include Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and, yes, James Kirkland. I’m not disappointed in the decision to put Alvarez against a slightly smaller obstacle in Kirkland.  They’re both rising stars and stylistically Kirkland will be a challenge for Canelo because Alvarez will not be able to muscle his opponent around as much or take punches as often.  Who would you most have wanted to see Alvarez face?

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Cotto’s Swan Song or Swan Dive?


Image from FoxNews

Fight fans’ worst fears have been confirmed.  Mayweather finally chose an opponent rather than take a 50/50 split with Pacquiao.  Is Mayweather scared because he refused 50/50? Or is Pacquiao scared because he lets Bob Arum speak for him and wouldn’t take Floyd’s offer over the phone? Or maybe Bob Arum is the devil and has been trying to sabotage fight fans’ dreams from birth?

Who cares.

Floyd is going to jail for a long time, in terms of boxing.  Pacquiao might take a fight with Timothy Bradley.  What? The guy whose best punch comes from the top of his head?  Okay.  So the best we can hope for now is an early 2013 announcement of the megafight.  However, even if it happens, it’s not going to be the epic clash between the pugilistic deities we once envisioned.  No, both men hit their peak and began their gradual decline months or even years ago.  The marketability of the fight won’t be the same either.  While it’s not speculation to say that the fight would still be the most lucrative in history, it just won’t be the same.  I can’t express how disappointed I am that after years at the top of the division and a career-altering beating from loaded gloves, and then a much more legitimate beating from Pacquiao, Cotto is only now being given this opportunity.   Maybe a couple of years ago Cotto could have given us a fight to remember.  After redeeming himself against Margarito I was hoping to see Cotto retire in the limelight.  Hell, even taking a couple easy fights to show fans how good he still is against B+ fighters would have been satisfying.  Taking on the best in the division, though, is just unfortunate for him.  No way will it be a bloody mutilation like it was against Pacquiao, but it might not be far from it.  Mayweather’s much too fast, accurate and defensively sound to give Cotto much hope.  There’s always the chance that Mayweather’s legal entanglements might distract him enough that he’ll take more formidable left hooks to the body than he should, or that Cotto’s chin might give him an extra edge in the fight.  Either way, I still see a one-sided victory for Floyd and an unfitting end to Cotto’s glorious career.  Personally, I would have liked to see Cotto fight Alvarez because, while a legitimate challenge, I think he could beat the up and comer, securing his legacy and allowing him to go out with a bang.

With the megafight in gutter and Berto-Ortiz off the radar because of an injury, I don’t know what to look forward to anymore.  Hopkins-Dawson II? That’s a sorry substitute.  ESPN’s Friday night fights have been abysmal lately, as well, even with last week’s injection of Ruslan Provodnikov.  To keep myself occupied I’m adding a fight prediction page to the blog.  I’ll try to include some specifics to justify the anticipated result.

I don’t mean to downplay the significance of the passing of one of boxing’s most beloved and timeless icons, Angelo Dundee.  More than just Muhammad Ali’s trainer, Dundee is one of boxing’s benefactors and an example for others to emulate.  With the rest of the boxing community, I say a fond farewell to this profoundly influential fight fan.  We’ll never forget.

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Justice is Restored, Repeat Brawl on Horizon


December 13 was set as the date for the California State Athletic Commission to make a ruling on Bernard Hopkins’ recent controversial bout with Chad Dawson. As expected, the CSAC ruled that the injury was caused by a foul and therefore the fight was a no-contest decision. The fight was a dramatic failure due in no small part to the $60 price tag which no one had expected to pay for a Bernard Hopkins fight, much less a Chad Dawson match. This reversal helps assuage the fans whose bank accounts were robbed by this farce and also makes for a legitimate rematch and potential champion. I would be interested to see the up-and-comer Lucian Bute give Hopkins a shot after how unimpressive Chad Dawson was, no to mention what a bad sport he was. Overall, I think Hopkins’ dedication to his physical condition and to boxing are a credit to the sport. This fighter has helped to prove to the rest of the world what an “old man” can do, what solid fundamentals can do, and what really knowing boxing is all about.

The recent headlines have also featured Victor Ortiz as he prepares for his rematch with Andre Berto. Their first fight was sensational, full of action and a candidate for fight of the year. Ortiz’ success was the springboard he needed for a fight with Mayweather. He may have been getting ahead of himself with Mayweather, but the Berto fight is an appropriate one. While Berto is no superstar, he’s solid all around and Ortiz will have to work to be competitive. If their first fight is any indication, and I think it was, Berto-Ortiz II will be a real brawl with at least one knockdown. If the welterweight division wasn’t good enough already, the B+ level fighters are now becoming their own attraction. With the two fighters’ size, strength and the ? marks being posed about Saul Alvarez, I could be interested in seeing the winner fight Alvarez.

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