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Thu Apr 25, 2013, 10:53 AM

Boxing (4-27)

April 27
At Buenos Aires, Argentina (HBO): Sergio Martinez vs. Martin Murray, 12 rounds, for Martinez's lineal/WBC middleweight title

At Ontario, Calif. (HBO): Cristobal Arreola vs. Bermane Stiverne, 12 rounds, WBC heavyweight eliminator

At Brooklyn, N.Y. (Showtime): Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah, 12 rounds, for Garcia's WBC/WBA junior welterweight title; Peter Quillin vs. Fernando Guerrero, 12 rounds, for Quillin's WBO middleweight title; Daniel Jacobs vs. Keenan Collins, 10 rounds, middleweights

At Sheffield, England (Showtime, same-day tape): Amir Khan vs. Julio Diaz, 12 rounds, welterweights

There are five good fights on television on Saturday, and -- time permitting -- coverage of a sixth bout that is of interest in the boxing community.

Rather than post one long preview of all the boxing matches, I thought that I'd attach a post on each for this thread, after beginning with the schedule here, in the OP.

2013 has gotten off to an outstanding start in the Great Sport. I expect that Saturday's bouts will continue the high-quality fights that we've been seeing.

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Reply Boxing (4-27) (Original post)
H2O Man Apr 2013 OP
H2O Man Apr 2013 #1
H2O Man Apr 2013 #2
H2O Man Apr 2013 #3
H2O Man Apr 2013 #4
H2O Man Apr 2013 #5
H2O Man Apr 2013 #6

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 25, 2013, 07:23 PM

1. Chris Arreola

Let’s start with the heavyweights. Most of you will remember big Chris Arreola, as a hard-punching Mexican-American who usually delivers excitement in the ring. For sake of full disclosure, I’ve known Chris -- very casually -- for a few years. Hence, my opinion of both him, and his career, may not be fully objective.

Few sports fans outside of the boxing community know that Chris was a top national amateur, but in the light heavyweight division. As a pro, he has not had the self-discipline needed to always enter the ring in good enough shape to deliver his “A game.” In his early pro career, he could get by on less, because he was strong, hit very hard, took a solid punch, and was (and is) very intelligent in “ring smarts.” His love of shocking television interviewers in post-fight chats with numerous “f-bombs” made him appear, in my opinion, someone fans could relate to as a tough guy/friend.

However, too frequently, the ring reputation one attains ends up working against a man. It did with Chris, in that he challenged Vitali Klitschko for a title in September of 2009. He was far too inexperienced for that bout, and he came in too heavy to bob-and-weave. One needs to be at their best potential to fight either of the Klitschko brothers: Chris was stopped in ten brutal rounds.

Two fights later, he came in out-of-shape, and was out-hustled by Tomaz Ademak in twelve rounds.

Although he has now won seven in a row, it has been against relatively soft opposition. In part, this is due to the weak state of the heavyweight division. But Chris is not yet at the level he was in late ‘08, when he knocked out Travis Walker (28-1-1) in three rounds …..much less at his peak four months later, when he flattened Jameel McCline in four.

Chris turned pro in 2003.His record is 35-2, with 30 knockouts. He is 32, which is not “old” for a heavyweight -- but it’s not young, either. He hasn’t fought in 14 months. If he is going to make another run at the title (both Klitschko brothers will retire fairly soon), he needs to become dedicated to it now.

Stiverne is two years older, at 34. At 6’ 2” tall, he is an inch shorter than Chris. His 80” reach gives him a 4-inch advantage. More, he didn’t have the wear-and-tear of Chris’s extensive amateur career, and though he turned pro in 2005 (2 years after Chris), his 22-1-1 record (20 knockouts) has been at relatively slow pace. He lost to top ten contender Ray Austin (TKO 12); but did decision previously undefeated Franklin Lawrence, a second-tier heavyweight contender.

While Chris could potentially benefit by getting some rounds in, I think he’d do better to end this one as quick as possible -- by the end of the second round. Stiverne has the ability to knock any person he hits cleanly unconscious. Take him out early, then get back in the ring at the end of July.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 09:09 AM

2. "The Golden Child"

When I was young, my friends and I used the description “Golden Boy” to describe our contempt for a certain breed of pampered athletes. Per the sport of boxing, they were the guys we sought to fight. As a rule, they were arrogant snots, with inflated records secured by hometown advantages. I remember one in particular -- a blonde golden boy who entered the ring to the theme song from the first “Rocky” movie. His manager would never let him fight me, even though he was two weight classes heavier. So I trained a kid that I had defeated twice, and that fellow put the first defeat on that golden boy’s record.

Fast-forward several decades, and I’m suddenly an old man, bringing his young fighter (my son) to amateur cards in eastern New York. One of the kids we watch is nicknamed “The Golden Child.” But this youngster is as far from pampered as he is from being arrogant. It’s Daniel Jacobs, from Brooklyn, who wins his first national title at the age of 15. In the next three years, he will win six more national tournaments. We would bump into this extremely talented young man several times over the years, and he was always so friendly and well-mannered that he seemed almost unreal -- a perfect example of the goodness of the guys who participate in the most crooked and violent of sports.

Danny made his pro debut on the 12-8-07 undercard of the Mayweather vs. Hatton fight. He knocked his opponent out in 29 seconds. His next fight lasted a few seconds longer, until a vicious body punch left his opponent on the canvas. He continued winning, until he faced Dmitry Piroy (16-0) in a televised bout. Jacobs’ grandmother -- who he was particularly close to -- died days before the fight, and he seemed distracted. He was stopped in five rounds.

He won two fights after the lose, but did not seem the same. Then, we learned that he was near death, battling a cancer that would end his boxing career, if not his life.

But Danny survived the life-saving surgery, and was determined to return to the ring. Now, miracles do happen -- they just require a heck of a lot of hard work. Last October, Danny faced Josh Lutheran (13-1) in the first step of his come-back. He scored a first-round knockout. Two months later, he faced Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2), and took him out in five rounds.

On Saturday, he fights journeyman Keenan Collins (15-7-3) on the Brooklyn undercard. The bout is scheduled for 10 rounds. I’m really looking forward to this one.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 10:05 AM

3. "Kid Chocolate"

Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin defends his WBO title against Fernando Guerrero in what looks to be an entertaining fight. Quillin, from Brooklyn, is 29 years old; stands 5’ 11”; has a 73” reach; and has a 28-0 record, with twenty knockouts.

The biggest name on Peter’s record is Ronald “Winky” Wright, who cam out of retirement to challenge Quillin last June. Peter won an easy, one-sided decision in 12 rounds. Four months later, Quillin fought Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in his most exciting bout. Quillin scored two knockdowns in rounds 4, 6, and 12, but the fight was far from as one-sided as the scorecards indicated. Three 10-7 rounds gave Quillin the well-deserved victory, but he proved himself against a tough, determined opponent that night.

Guerrero is 3 years younger, and 2 inches shorter than Quillin. Born in the Dominican Republic, he relocated to Maryland to pursue his boxing career. His record is 25-1, with 19 KO victories. He was stopped in his lone loss.

Guerrero has faced more limited, second-tier opposition than Quillin. It appears likely that Peter, who is coming into his prime, should win impressively. However, as always, anything can happen inside the ring.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 11:32 AM

4. Khan vs Diaz

Amir Khan will face tough Julio Diaz on this next step of his comeback. Khan, an amateur standout in England, was once one of the sport’s hottest prospects. Questions were raised when, in a bout between two undefeated young contenders, Breidis Prescott flattened Khan in the first round. However, with top trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, Khan would come back to become a dominant fighter among the lower weights.

In three significant title defenses, Amir stopped Paul Malignaggi; decisioned tough Marcus Maidana; and KO Zab Judah. There were rumors that he was beginning to outbox his more famous gym-mate, Manny Pacquiao, in training. It was ever thought that Khan had the style to possibly outbox Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

But then, in December of 2011, Khan lost his title in a disputed 12-round decision to Lamont Peterson. In that bout, Khan complained to the referee many times about what he considered Peterson’s dirty tactics; that raised some more questions, in a sport where looking to the ref for help in a tough fight is viewed as weakness -- indeed, Khan is a capable “dirty” fighter himself, as he showed when knocking Judah out with low blows.

In July of 2012, Khan faced undefeated Danny Garcia. He appeared to have the young contender ready to stop, when he was hit hard -- clearly hurt, Khan would panic in the ring, and was stopped in round four.

This led to his splitting with Roach. Last December, Khan stopped a brave but overmatched Carlos Molina in 10 rounds. The next step on this comeback is veteran Julio Diaz, who has a record of 40-7-1 (29-5).

At 33, Diaz is seven years older than Khan. He has a half-inch in height, but an inch less in reach than Amir. More significant may be that he has had a longer career, and has sustained a lot of damage over the years.

In May, 2011, Kendall Holt -- an explosive puncher -- stopped Diaz in three rounds. However, Julio won two knockouts since, then fought to an 8-round draw with top prospect Shawn Porter last December (in other words, Diaz won the fight in the ring, and was robbed by the judges).

On paper, Khan should win, and be about ready to challenge someone for a “title,” if not the real championship. But, again, anything can happen -- especially with Amir Khan.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 10:51 AM

5. Martinez vs Murray

Sergio Martinez defends his middleweight championship in Argentina against undefeated challenger Martin Murray, in what should be one of the most interesting fights of the month. The Champ is 38 years old; his record is 50-2-2 (28-1). Murray, 30, is 25-0, with 11 knockouts. Perhaps the biggest question is: how much does the aging champion have left, especially coming off a fight where he was badly hurt in the final round?

Martinez fought most of his career in Europe. Although he was recognized as a real talent, the American promoters did not think his style -- hit-and-don’t-get-hit -- would translate into large ticket sales in the USA. His first big fight here was in February of ‘09, against Kermit Cintron. Although Cintron was counted out after being decked by a punch, the referee “decided” to let the bout continue. Martinez clearly won the fight, but it was ruled a draw -- evidence, one could safely say, that the promoter viewed Kermit as having a more promising future.

Later that year, Martinez lost a disputed decision to undefeated Paul Williams. I thought that the fight could have been decided either way (or a draw), though I had Paul winning by a round. Still, this led to Martinez getting a shot at the middleweight title.

His April, 2010 fight with Kelly Pavlik showed that Sergio could mix it up with a larger, much stronger opponent. Pavlik experienced difficulty seeing in the second-half of the fight, due to serious cuts that Martinez’s hands, head, and elbows had opened around his eyes. Still, Kelly was able to land numerous solid blows on the challenger, of the type that no one Pavlik’s size had been able to stand up to, before. Martinez won a decision and the title.

In November, he defended the title against Williams, in a much-anticipated return bout. Martinez caught Williams with a crushing counter-punch in the second round, scoring what was clearly the “knockout of the year.” Suddenly, promoters viewed him as a marketable slugger. He would defend the title four times in televised bouts, scoring three knockouts. However, the one-punch devastation of Williams was not repeated: for Sergio is a classic boxer, who tends to wear an opponent down, slowly and methodically.

Last September, he defended the title against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. The son of the Mexican boxing legend entered the ring as a cruiserweight, taking full advantage of the day-before weigh-ins that are harming the sport. Martinez is actually a junior middleweight, who owns the middleweight title; he was facing a challenger with a 30-pound weight advantage. (Only in boxing!)

Martinez won the first eight rounds easily. Chavez did little but absorb punches, while missing the few shots he got off. But Martinez was burning up a lot of energy. Think of this: in the gym, a good trainer has his fighter use different sized heavy bags. Punching a 100-lb bag tires the fighter much more than hitting a 70-lb bag with the exact same punches over the exact same number of rounds. Now, add Martinez’s expending energy to avoid Chavez’s punches.

In the 10th round, Chavez began landing more. The television announcers didn’t see it, but I surely did -- and they were having an impact. Martinez won the round, but he burned a lot of energy. In the 11th, Chavez picked up the pace. His left hook began to land. Sergio clearly felt those punches. Again, he took the round, but he suffered some damage.

In that final round, he attempted to stop Chavez. In doing so, he ran into several hard left hooks. He went into the ropes, and the ref failed to count that as a knockdown (only the ropes held him up). Thus, Chavez landed more hard shots -- and that was similar to hitting a man on the canvas. Chavez wasn’t wrong; the referee failed to do his job. Martinez went down, injuring his ankle on the way. Thus, when he got up, he couldn’t run away from Chavez. Instead, he was forced to do battle in close until the round ended.

In Murray, he faces a bigger, stronger, younger man who has not lost as a professional. While Murray is not a big puncher, he is extremely aggressive, and fights in a brawling style. At his best, Martinez has done well against such fighters. But, if he’s not at his best, he’s in for a tough night.

It is hard to predict, without having seen both guys train. (Fighters don’t “get old” in the ring; that happens in the gym.) My son thinks Martinez will stop Murray in the later rounds. I think he’s more likely to win by decision. But I think there is a very real chance that Murray will be too strong in the second-half of the bout, although that doesn’t mean he’d get a fair shake in the champion’s home turf.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 11:24 AM

6. Garcia vs Judah

Danny Garcia was scheduled to defend his title against Zab Judah in February. It was postponed until late April, after Garcia was reportedly injured in training. When it was reported that Garcia had been seen “out partying,” rather than training, some thought it meant the young champion delayed the fight because he wasn’t getting in shape. In fact, the exact opposite is true: the postponement was due to Judah’s getting into very good shape.

The classic example of the benefit’s a young man gains by forcing an older man who gets in top shape to deal with such a delay can be found in the pages of Howard Cosell’s autobiography. Muhammad Ali was preparing for his return bout with Charles “Sonny” Liston. While visiting Liston’s training camp, Howard saw that Sonny was in great shape; Cosell began to doubt that Ali could beat this version of “the Bear.” But a hernia caused Ali to postpone the fight. When Howard saw Liston again, he was shocked by the difference: Liston had aged, and could not regain that top conditioning. And this law of the ring is why Garcia’s camp moved this fight from February to April.

Garcia, at 25, is an inch taller than Judah, but has about 4 inches less in reach. But the most significant factor here is age: at 35, Judah is nearing the end of his career. His best win may have come in 1998, when he beat tough Micky Ward. He won his first title in 2000; defended it five times, all knockouts; then faced Kostya Tszyo in a title unification bout. Zab dominated the first round easily; began showing off in the second; and got flattened as a result.

Judah would win more titles, but lose in the biggest fights. Cotto stopped him. Zab gave Mayweather a good fight for six rounds in 2006, but could not maintain the pace Floyd had set. Amir Khan punished him in a one-sided bout.

Yet, in his last fight, Zab knocked out previously undefeated Vernon Paris in nine rounds. And the 13 months he’s had off since that fight could actually help him, more than it helps Garcia.

Danny Garcia is 25-0, with 16 knockouts. In late 2011, he won a split-decision over Kendall Holt. In March of 2012, he decisioned a shot Eric Morales. This set up his fight with Khan last July. It looked at first like Khan would stop an overmatched challenger; but Garcia won by TKO in four. Three months later, he knocked out the shell of Morales in four rounds.

This fight could go either way. Fighters often become better once they win a title. It’s likely that this will hold true for Danny Garcia. In theory, he should be able to set a pace that the older man cannot maintain.

But if that old man has become more disciplined, and is in good shape, he has the skill set needed to upset the young lion.

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