Posts Tagged With: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Bitter Gripes


I have to say I think it’s dandy that Chavez Sr. is disappointed in his son for his performance against Saul Alvarez on May 6th.  This is exactly what senior set himself up for the moment he made his son’s career more about himself than about junior.  Anyone who’s paid attention is aware that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. possessed some impressive talent at one time, but was gifted much of his professional advancement.  He made his early career on soft competition by any standards, and took championships from mediocre champions.  He demonstrated a lack of dedication several times in his career when failing to make weight, but that’s just an indicator of the overall deficit in his training, his technique and his mentality.

While he looked impressive against guys like Peter Manfredo, Bryan Vera and John Duddy, their styles are exceedingly one-dimensional and their pacing conducive to a Chavez victory.  Those fights were really his peak, anyway, despite what advocates might claim.  Before those fights, his greatest challenges took the form of Andy Lee and Matt Vanda, who, while formidable in their own right, are nowhere near being considered for elite-level fights.  He wasn’t even ready for Matt Vanda until his 38th professional fight.  To put that in perspective, Floyd Mayweather Jr., in his 38th fight, took the WBC welterweight title from Oscar de la Hoya.

Chavez Jr.’s obsession with being worthy of his name was the entirety of his ambition.  That’s why he didn’t care about boxing as a sport.  For him, boxing was just the vehicle for his assumption of his father’s throne.  At the very least, he thought he was destined for greatness.  It’s like you could see it on his face every time he came to the ring, “thanks everybody, yeah, I look like my dad, right?”

Maybe that’s what all the rivalry hype was about in the lead-up to Alvarez-Chavez.  Maybe Alvarez wanted to prove that he was the one who would achieve greatness, not because of his lineage or because he looked like or even fought like the Mexican warrior archetype.  Alvarez showed he would achieve greatness, least of all because he was destined for it, but instead because he earned it through decades of hard work.  If Chavez Sr. is disappointed in his son, he should be disappointed in himself for projecting the idea of boxing as a commodity.  It’s more than that, especially for those less naturally gifted.  Unfortunately, senior pushed his son too far, one time too many.  It’s clear where junior falls in the line of greats, and the successor to this throne won’t be a Chavez.

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A Full Card


It’s hard not to speculate wildly when there are so many great fights just around the corner.  Two reasons these fights are even more interesting now: Alvarez-Chavez is out of the way, and Joshua-Klitschko surpassed all our expectations.  It’s hard to see past such momentous fights before the dust settles, but now that we’ve gotten a satisfying conclusion to the Klitschko reign, and a stamp of approval for Canelo’s run at middleweight, we can sit back and appreciate this year’s bountiful spring and summer offerings.

Tomorrow, Delvin Rodriguez will be working to regain his place in the junior middleweight division after taking a series of unwinnable fights against division mainstays like Cotto, Lara and Trout.  He was the warm-up for these three superior fighters, all on their way to lucrative losses to Canelo.  The soft-touch contest against Courtney Pennington (10-4-1) in Connecticut won’t be televised, but we can guess how it’ll end.

This coming Saturday, May 13th, AWE will broadcast a WBA junior bantamweight title fight.  It’ll likely be as thrilling as most junior bantamweight fights, so nothing to set your DVR for.  Also that night, in Michigan, James Toney will be fighting.  Fortunately, it won’t be televised.

While not a thrilling prospect, it’s always interesting to see Diego de la Hoya in the ring, and he’ll be headlining the ESPN card on Thursday May 18th, building his record against relative unknown Erik Ruiz.  The following Saturday begins a big weekend for boxing with a heaping helping of interesting fights, some not so interesting.  The most tantalizing prospect coming from HBO, we’ll be treated to Terence Crawford-Felix Diaz for Crawford’s WBO and WBC titles.

I watched Diaz, the 2008 gold medal winner from Dominican Republic, lose his last major match in October 2015 when he took on hometown favorite Lamont Peterson.  This was the main event of the same card as the tragic final bout of Prichard Colon’s career.  The whole crowd in attendance was puzzled by Lamont’s inactive offense and ineffective defense, at times booing his performance.  Those who stayed for the end the fight were even more shocked when the scores were announced in favor of Peterson.  May 20th will be the night for Diaz to redeem himself in dramatic fashion, but going up against a force like Terence Crawford, it’s unlikely he’ll get the victory needs.

The same night (May 20th) on Showtime, we’ll get three Gary Russells including the famous Jr., plus Rances Barthelemy and Andre Dirrell all taking on unknowns for transitional fights, and top top it all off, Gervonta Davis and Liam Walsh in the main event.  It’s unlikely anyone will do well against Davis at this stage of his career, but Liam Walsh will be a legitimate test.  If we’re still hungry for more, FS1 will be serving up a few tomato cans to clang around the ring too.

May 27th we get Kell Brook and Errol Spence Jr. just a week removed from Terence Crawford’s next stepping stone fight.  Hopefully, the winner of the more highly celebrated Brook-Spence contest will be facing Crawford soon.  All three are names with enough longevity to take boxing fans into the next era, but two in particular, Crawford and Spence, seem to have the most potential.

June 3rd we get Adonis Stevenson-Andrzej Fonfara.  This should be an exciting fight with a lot of good exchanges, settling any unanswered questions from their first close fight.  Fonfara is talented and his style matches up well against Stevenson, but it’s likely Stevenson will adapt better the second time around and close up any gaps.  Also that night, Fres Oquendo, whose last fight was a loss to Chagaev in 2014, will “fight” Shannon Briggs.  Appropriately, the fight will take place in Hollywood.  Briggs has fought steadily but met his last significant opponent, Vitali Klitschko, seven years ago.

June 16 Claressa Shields will be in the ring again, but of course, it won’t be televised.  To be fair, most of Shields’ fights are painfully one-sided.  Still, there are other exciting female boxers and these fights can’t draw any viewers if they aren’t accessible.

The following night on June 17 we’re already set for the rematch between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward, with the undercard featuring Guillermo Rigondeaux.  While no one is likely to disturb Rigondeaux’s reign, his opponent is undefeated and could provide some resistance.  Fans are hard set on their picks for the Kovalev-Ward rematch, as they were for the first fight.  It’s a rational argument either way, and I would still make the case that Kovalev could easily have taken the cards in that match.  If past evidence is any indicator (think Cotto-Margarito II, Mayweather-Maidana II, Rios-Alvarado II), the fighter who relies more on mental agility, ring IQ and technique will refine his strategy and come away with the win.  Ward has been so smart in all his fights in the past that he’s not only undefeated, he even managed to win landslide decisions against fighters who specialized in making slick fighters look clumsy.  Kovalev is a force, to be sure, but he doesn’t seem to have many dimensions to his style.  If something isn’t working, he works harder at what he does well and usually something gives.  In this case, that won’t cut it.  He’ll have to find a weakness in Ward’s game, or he’ll have to sure up one of his own, so that he can keep the offensive points from going to his opponent.  We know Ward will best him in defensive technique, but if Kovalev can hurt Ward or keep him from working actively, we could see a trilogy in the making.  Ward will likely take the win by decision, but Kovalev will make it very interesting.

The crown jewel in the summer lineup will be the epic clash between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.  There’s enough to speculate about with that fight to fill a book, so for this post we’ll just acknowledge that the biggest treat of all still awaits us, ready to offer solace for the bittersweet arrival of fall.

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Squandered Skill


Our 2017 Cinco de Mayo fight is here, but there isn’t much to say about this classically flawed matchup.  On paper, it sounded like an important fight–two famous Mexican fighters, one at the top of his division, fighting for status as their nation’s warrior–but after last week’s spectacular display between Klitschko and Joshua, the reality of the fight is looking somewhat more bleak.  There isn’t much heated debate between fans on either side about who will win or why.  That’s because there isn’t that much at stake unless you’re an old-school Mexican fight fan.  Not that there aren’t enough of those out there to generate some impressive ratings for the pay-per-view, but will the result of this fight be significant to any boxing fans who aren’t Mexican?  Chavez is clearly the one with more invested in the idea of being known as the genuine Mexican warrior, but will his machismo draw Alvarez into a career-altering mistake?

Breaking down what each athlete is trying to achieve gives us a clearer idea of what’s at stake.  Chavez is trying to prove he really is great by beating a smaller, better fighter, after years of wallowing in apathy and mediocrity.  Alvarez, by all accounts, is trying to show that he can take detours on his predestined route to greatness.  If Alvarez lost by knockout, we might think that middleweight was just too big for him.  But we would’ve known that after his first fight at 160 anyway.  If he won but got beaten up, or lost but came close to a win, then the ultimate result is the same but his ability and skill-level are called into question.  In the most extreme scenario, if Alvarez dominates the fight completely, all we get is an indication that he’s ready for middle, which again would’ve been evident in his first fight at that weight.  None of these scenarios tell us anything about the middleweight division as it currently stands (where Alvarez claims to be headed).  We still won’t know if Alvarez will be able to handle a top 160-pound fighter and we still won’t know if a fight with Gennady Golovkin will be made.  Most of all, we still won’t give a shit about what Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. does with himself, because he hasn’t been a middleweight in years and has never held an elite position in any division.

Those scenarios aside, we’re left with the purely negative possibilities for the result of the fight.  By contrast, these consequences could significantly affect the middleweight and/or junior middleweight divisions.  If by some calamity Chavez were to dominate the fight against Alvarez, the rankings for junior middleweight would be entirely upset, and the showdown between the top junior middleweight and the top middleweight would be summarily neutered.  Lastly and least desirably, we must accept the possibility of a draw.  If some cosmic aberration causes the fight to be declared a draw, the reputations of both fighters will suffer, and their fans’ devotion will be diminished, as will the revenue involving either fighter in the future.  This result would lock one of the sport’s top attractions into a messy negotiation for a rematch that very few outside of Mexico would be likely to watch.  Even if negotiations were uncharacteristically efficient and brief, Alvarez would spend at least months, and possibly years, at the peak of his career, negotiating, promoting, training for and recovering from the rematch.  Chavez would soak up all the money he could and proceed with an uneventful denouement to his career.

That brings me to a point I’ve made before, and I’ll try to make it my last lambast about this.  Alvarez has developed a pattern of struggling to make smooth transitions from one stage of his career to another.  Suddenly shifting from junior middleweight opponents to a light heavyweight opponent for this fight shows an unsettling lack of perspective from his camp.  It’s eerily reminiscent of the decision to jump from opponents like Alfonso Gomez, Kermit Cintron, Josesito Lopez and Austin Trout, to Floyd Mayweather.  He’s jumping two weight classes ostensibly to test his abilities for a fight against Golovkin, but the opponent he chooses isn’t a popular middleweight, a highly skilled middleweight, or even a middleweight at all.  Instead, he chose for his opponent a lazy, unrefined non-entity, who typically comes in 10-15 pounds heavier than Golovkin does.  Yes, these fights make Alvarez more money and afford him more recognition than almost any other could, but in terms of his reputation, they’re risks without reward.  Mayweather is still looking for number 50, and had Canelo stayed undefeated through Mayweather’s retirement, a return for the reigning junior middleweight champion would be very attractive.

Alvarez has already racked up more wins at age 26 (two more wins to surpass Mayweather) than most fighters do in a career.  He could’ve made his legacy secure simply by staying active and fighting legitimate opponents, but he wasn’t content.  It would be great if that discontent translated into big fights against gatekeeper middleweights or stay-busy fights against everyone of importance at junior middle, but instead we get this third option.

In an interview with ESPN, Alvarez said making history in his career was important to him, but what kind of history is he writing?  The dominant junior middleweight who never passed up an opportunity to overreach?  The tiny middleweight who refused to take fights at 160?  Or does he expect us to see him as the Mexican warrior who took on all challengers?  The majority of fans won’t see him that way, I can tell you, regardless of the result of this fight.  For one thing, Alvarez has clearly been strategically avoiding Golovkin, and for another, fight fans who haven’t spent a lot of time on the Mexican history of the sport don’t care who beats Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at welter, middle or any other weight.

Names with the resonance of “Chavez” are few and far between.  Chavez senior set standards for the whole sport with the level of competition he faced, his longevity, and the excitement of his fights.  Alvarez, on the other hand, is building his history on names that won’t stand the test of time, and for reasons that are less and less compelling.  The fight against Amir Khan made sense because it was hard to imagine Alvarez losing, even on points, and because it’s satisfying to watch loudmouth pretenders like Khan put in their place.  Of course, it would’ve made just as much or more sense before the fight with Mayweather.  Liam Smith was undefeated and large for junior middleweight, so that made some sense, but because no one had ever heard of him, the result was just more padding on Canelo’s record.

These factors have conspired to constrict the potential of one of the greatest fighters of our time.  In this context, when you start to look at the names and numbers on his record, the biggest accomplishments for Alvarez start to look thin.  While he already had a lot of experience at that age, he was very young when he handled Kermit Cintron so easily.  Pretty good.  In his very next fight, he handled an aging Shane Mosley impressively.  Very good.  Then, he dismantled two oversized welterweights and lost every moment of every round to Mayweather.  Not so good.  Three more upper-level guys crossed off the list after that.  Not bad.  Then, in possibly his greatest performance, Alvarez showed us new levels of talent in an impeccable fight against the shopworn Miguel Cotto.   Truly great–except that it was probably the last fight of Cotto’s career.  It was probably the most beaten up, worn down version of Cotto (who is probably one of the most beaten up fighters of all time) ever to enter the ring, and that’s the version Saul Alvarez built his middleweight reputation on.  It was no more legitimate that Cotto’s coup of the middleweight title from the all-but-absent Sergio Martinez.

So Canelo’s greatest professional achievement is asterisked.  His second greatest accomplishment, also necessary to qualify.  The more general accomplishments of gaining experience and compiling an impressive record, now compromised by puzzling decisions and an utter defeat.  If Alvarez wins tonight, will he finally feel secure in his status as a Mexican legend?  Will that release him from his obligation to take fights that don’t further his career?  Maybe then he could sign a fight against a real middleweight, or more appropriately, a large junior middleweight with real talent, like Kell Brook.  Or will the prospect of fighting David Lemieux, Martin Murray, and Daniel Jacobs scare his team into signing more set-up fights?  If so, what will his team do when fans and analysts are clamoring for the fight with Golovkin and questioning Canelo’s courage even more than before?

I guess the best possible scenario is that Canelo will win convincingly and immediately take the fight with Golovkin.  At least then, his reputation will be restored and rankings will remain intact until he faces the guy who will likely be his beginning of the end.  Maybe.

Or maybe not.  I haven’t been able to bring myself to write up a prediction for this fight yet because I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s going to be the culmination of too many bad decisions.  There’s some metaphor there about trying to be the cock of the walk and chickens coming home to roost, but I don’t know what it is.  The only way I can think to put this in writing is to painstakingly (and it will be painful) go through individual elements of each fighter’s style and compare.  I know it won’t be fun to read, but since I’m the only one paying attention…Hopefully, I’ll feel differently at the end than I do now.

Speed:  Alvarez has the edge in speed though he’s not known for slick defense or fast combinations. Chavez can be sluggish but puts massive, fluid combos together when his opponent opens his defense.

Diagnosis: Non-factor.  Chavez is sturdy enough to handle sustained counter punching, Alvarez is smart enough to avoid 12-punch combinations if he’s not already badly hurt.

Size:  Chavez has the advantage in height, reach and weight.  If Alvarez can’t fight an active, powerful, precisely measured match, he loses either by points or by KO.

Diagnosis: Could be the deciding factor for Chavez.

Stamina:  Alvarez doesn’t seem to take rounds off toward the end of a fight, but doesn’t often reassert himself late either.  Chavez takes rounds off, but tends to hit a rhythm with high output that is rarely matched.

Diagnosis: Chavez has a bigger gas tank and a diesel engine, but if he needs much maneuverability he’ll end up in a fiery wreck.

Output and Activity:  Chavez has always had a high punch output in later rounds, but Alvarez is good at controlling distance and forward momentum throughout the fight.  Chavez leaves big openings when he’s being lethargic, but both fighters start slow.

Diagnosis: Whoever asserts this skill has a distinct advantage, whoever fails to prevent his opponent from applying this skill is vulnerable.  If someone starts faster than usual, his opponent will lose the early rounds and take some punishment.

Power:  Alvarez has the ability to apply enough power at the right time and in the right place for junior middleweights, but his record belies a more musclebound and less accomplished knockout artist.  Chavez has no sense of how to use the power he does have, and he hasn’t worked very hard at being powerful.  That said, he’s bigger and stronger and relies on volume and power in the later rounds for his wins.

Diagnosis: Chavez will demonstrate superior power even as he displays a superior chin.  In combination with volume, power could be Canelo’s undoing.

Chin:  Chavez takes a punch as well as anyone in boxing, and he’s larger than his opponent but doesn’t have a lot of power, and Alvarez is no slouch himself.

Diagnosis: Non-factor.  If Alvarez is getting hit enough for his chin to matter, the fight is already over.

Heart:  Alvarez has pushed through some tough moments in ways that we haven’t seen Chavez attempt, but neither one of them has had so little to gain in a fight against an opponent with such a size advantage.

Diagnosis: Chavez won’t have the fortitude (cojones) that Alvarez has, but he may not need it.

Footwork and Angles:  Alvarez can be impressive with his footwork and use of angles in both offense and defense, but he’s so much smaller he’ll have to use every bit of skill just to keep pace.  Chavez doesn’t do much with angles but he can move when he needs to, especially to cut off the ring, and he’s no more flat-footed than his opponent.

Diagnosis: If Alvarez isn’t at his best, all his tools will be negated by size.

Resistance to Damage:  Neither fighter has a history of stoppages for cuts or swelling, but Alvarez might have it a little better with his youth and resilience.

Diagnosis: Chavez could lose the fight on cuts or swelling.

Accuracy:  Precision punching and slipping is the only area where Chavez is helpless.  If Alvarez can build on what we’ve seen in the past and be in top form against someone this big, he could book himself for an extended stay in the elite ranks.

Diagnosis: Alvarez will probably outshine Chavez in every exchange, but if he doesn’t, there may be no chance.

Ring IQ:  Alvarez will be the smarter puncher all night long, but if he doesn’t hit the gas at the right moment he could easily lose a decision.  Chavez Jr. has Senior in his corner to pick up the slack.

Diagnosis: Chavez won’t evolve any brilliant strategies, but with a little luck and the help of Chavez senior he could adjust at the right moments and keep Alvarez from taking crucial rounds.

 

Okay.  I do feel a bit better.  Chavez could lose on cuts, swelling, sheer stupidity or inability to adapt.  Even so, and as much as it pains me to do this, I have to post my prediction now, and I have to guess that the larger guy, the one with deeper fan loyalty who’s more likely to get a close decision,  will take the win.  With any luck, tomorrow I’ll repenting for my lack of faith.  I’d be more than happy to admit my error.

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Rematch Batch


Last night two significant bouts broke the spell of unremarkable boxing that has plagued the sport for the past few weeks.  First, in Germany, Robert Stieglitz set out to settle a score in his third and final bout with Arthur Abraham.  Abraham looked strong and seemed to be positioning himself better throughout the fight than he had in their previous encounters.  Stieglitz managed several good combinations that were effective enough to get through Abraham’s guard but had to move backward for most of the fight.  In the end, Abraham was too defensively sound and too active for Stieglitz, winning on points and regaining his belt.

In the night’s big American rematch, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. took on Brian Vera to redeem himself from the lackluster performance from their first fight in which Vera was successful throughout the fight and even handed Chavez an unprecedented knockdown.  As usual, Chavez started slow and allowed Vera to land some impressive combinations, but as his momentum started to build, Chavez began unleashing powerful body attacks that drained Vera’s energy.  Showing uncharacteristic focus, Chavez pursued Vera consistently past the second round and broke down his pressure attack.  To his credit, Vera was tenacious is delivering that pressure even after the referee deducted a point for leaning without first warning him.  Vera’s relentless determination did him credit early, but by the end of the fight he had paid very little attention to his opponent’s body and his own had been beaten so consistently that his legs began to look weak.  Though it was clear that Chavez had the power and size advantage, his shots rarely stumbled Vera, and the ones that did stumble the immovable object were often brutal overhand rights that Chavez may have perfected for fighting smaller opponents at super middleweight. Chavez won on points but Vera wasn’t far behind and the performance provides more insight into the longevity of both the fighters. Vera may be nearing his end as a gatekeeper, and Chavez will still encounter challenges with sturdier, more technical opponents as he tries to ascend the ranks. 

The most exciting announcement of the week was a great middleweight fight between two aging legends, Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez.  An unusual choice for contract weight, pushing up toward the middleweight limit, will probably benefit Martinez more than Cotto, but at this point in their careers, both fighters are looking for a legacy fight that will maximize their earning potential.  This match will certainly secure the fighters’ already impressive legacies and could even pique interest in a fight with Mayweather, for the winner.

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Judges Get it Right


Who would have thought? After the recent rash of poorly judged and poorly officiated fights we finally managed to see an important fight resolved legitimately.  As I expected, Marquez was game and looked impressive against Bradley, but his style limited his punch output and his aggression to the point that Bradley won most rounds on activity alone.  Usually, Bradley landed the more solid punches because of his hand speed and accuracy, and usually he was caught with fewer flush punches because of his defense.  Marquez is still a great opponent, possibly the best opponent, for Manny Pacquiao, but his style is ineffective against opponents like Bradley and Mayweather, whose speed and agility make them less susceptible to counterpunching and harder to avoid.  In the future, HBO expects to see both Marquez and Bradley look for Pacquiao, but Bradley will also have the option of the up and coming Mike Alvarado if he beats Provodnikov, or another exciting rematch if Provodnikov prevails.  I think eventually Bradley may look for Mayweather, but if he’s smart, he’ll wait til he’s ready to close out his career.

Speaking of poorly officiated, Povetkin performed admirably while an uncomfortable Wladimir Klitschko leaned on him and tied up for twelve rounds, but the right man won the fight.  Can we say the same about the latest Chavez Jr. debacle?  Brian Vera is no superstar but he may have done enough to win on points over the a lackluster Chavez Jr.  The judges didn’t seem to notice Vera was in the ring that night.

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Fading Glory


Yesterday I watched the Max Kellerman Face-off episode featuring Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez. Like many of the other editions of face-off, the two fighters straddled backwards chairs and stared each other down across a plain grey table while Max sat in between them, all of them surrounded by darkness. The dramatic appeal of Kellerman’s set is not lost on me. Actually, I think creating the show was a great idea for promoting fights and even tends to reveal some objective evidence to help fans anticipate the fight result. Viewers get some sense of the fighters’ personalities through all the smoke and mirrors, their confidence levels, and how they think of the sport itself. For example, the Mayweather-Cotto episode touched on the marketing angle that Cotto was an undefeated fighter. Mayweather made the case that Cotto had only lost to a man who had almost certainly cheated to win (Margarito) and a man who had manipulated the fight conditions to give himself a huge advantage in conditioning due to weight (Pacquiao). You could see that Cotto was aware of the magnitude of the opportunity and that Mayweather truly considered him an elite fighter, if still a safe opponent. Those two looked much more comfortable in the mini-melodrama arranged with Kellerman than Chavez and Martinez and expressed much more substantial consideration of the fight. Chavez and Martinez were basically one-dimensional in their responses, claiming that they would beat one another and that “he doesn’t know me and my history.” Kellerman seemed to be trying to lead Chavez to imply that Martinez had been threatening to hurt him so badly in the ring because he was more afraid of Chavez than he had been of previous opponents, because Martinez does not usually make threats. Chavez didn’t pick up on it, though, instead repeating his claims that Martinez didn’t know him or how great his father was. Martinez then repeated his own mantra that Chavez was a fake who was trying to be his father rather than make his own legacy. Fairly inconsequential information overall, but two comments stuck out to me as being more genuine, possibly even as real indicators of what we’ll see in the ring. In the midst of a circular discussion about whether Chavez was too strong or Martinez too fast, Maravilla insisted that he couldn’t be beaten if he couldn’t be hit, that it was “just logic.” Chavez asserted startlingly “there is no logic in boxing,” to which Martinez responded “there is for me.” Anyone who’s seen the two fighters at their best can see how these statements reflect their respective styles, but if you’re paying attention, you can also see how it fuels the controversy over whether Chavez is the “real thing” or just riding a legend’s coattails. For their concluding statements Martinez made a perfunctory gesture of good will with an ominous air, while Chavez finally had something meaningful to say. “I am the new Julio Cesar Chavez,” he said. Well, we’ll see.

Cotto recently announced that he would relinquish the opportunity for a rematch with Pacquiao. He will be fighting the undefeated Austin Trout who has never had such a high-profile opponent as Cotto. I am very pleased with the decision because it gives Cotto a legitimate chance to cement his legacy and retire on a good note. While his most recent performance against Mayweather was thrilling and admirable and epic, he was too disappointed in the scoring to even participate in the post-fight interview. Not long before that, he was completely disassembled by Pacquiao, looking even more beaten up than he had in his first fight against the retired cheater Margarito (if that’s possible). Taking a rematch with either one would mean lots of zeros in his bank account, but probably just as many zeros where his brain cells used to be. I want to see Cotto go out with the respect and admiration he deserves. He can accomplish that by taking on a young fighter on his way up as long as he performs well enough. Let’s hope this is one last showcase of Cotto’s impressive abilities.

In response to Cotto’s statement, Pacquiao has begun negotiations with his second choice opponents, who just happen to be the much more dangerous fighters for him to challenge. Both are rematches, and his clashes with both have been controversial. At this point, most people are willing to accept that he lost to Tim Bradley Jr. and even that he beat Juan Manuel Marquez. Whatever they believe, Tim Bradley has the belts now and Marquez hasn’t had good luck against Pacquiao in the past. The more interesting fight is probably the Bradley rematch, but the fight styles of Pacquiao and Marquez create fireworks much more successfully. The end result of either fight, however, will be a reduction in the two athletes’ relevance to the sport. It seems unlikely that the much anticipated Mayweather-Pacquiao superfight will ever happen, and unless Pacquiao can somehow knock Marquez or Bradley out, he probably won’t ever reacquire his previous stature. Fans may have to settle for following young guns for a while until the elite can be convinced to fight each other again.

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Competition or Confusion?


Septermber 15th, 2012 will be a counterproductive but profitable day for the sport of boxing as two fantastically anticipated bouts occur on opposing networks at approximately the same time. If pressed, I’d always go with the expertise and presentation of the HBO crew and watch Martinez and Chavez, which may well be the more anticipated bout.  I’m equally interested in the future of Alvarez, however, as he will be tested once again against the proven opponent Lopez.  Whatever you end up watching, it’ll be a big night for boxing and for the marquee name fighters as professionals. Check the predictions page for my two cents.

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Alvarez Defeats Cintron


In an important Junior Middleweight bout tonight Saul Alvarez defeated Kermit Cintron.  Cintron recently set a punch record for the weight class for jabs in a single round but against Alvarez was unable to make use of his arsenal in the same way.  The skilled Alvarez fought at a three-inch height disadvantage and one-inch reach advantage, but showed his superior speed and technical ability against the veteran.  Max Kellerman offered the insight that “one of the problems is that Alvarez is the better counter-puncher,” not to mention the physically bigger fighter.  Retreating to a Cotto-like crouch in round four, Cintron inevitably took a series of vicious overhand rights.  Going down about halfway through that round, he regained his composure only to look even more battered and beaten, collapsing into the ropes as the bell rang.  Seemingly a single flush right hand at the end of round five inspired the referee to stop the fight with only eight seconds left.  Quick stoppage or not, the outcome of the fight was clear to everyone by that point.  The fight served as a publicity boost for a potential fight with Chavez Jr.

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