Saturday, February 10, 2007


Everybody asks me, and I tell them that Rocky Juarez doesn’t have much of a chance this weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas when he takes on Marco Antonio Barrera for the second time. Juarez’ best chance for a victory against Barrera was back in May in Los Angeles when the California State Athletic Commission was adding up the scorecards.

In that fight, Barrera was the overwhelming consensus choice and he may have taken Juarez lightly. The fight was initially declared a draw and then later changed to a split-decision victory for Barrera when a scorecard error was discovered. The second time around, Juarez is not going to be the lucky benefactor of facing a Barrera that is less than his best or having a commission that is arithmetically challenged.

Barrera, “The Baby Faced Assassin”, with a hall of fame career record of 62-4 (42)KO, 1NC turned pro at the pubescent age of 15 in a dusty Mexico ring. From all accounts, Barrera has trained like a man possessed and says he is going to show up in much better mental and physical condition for this fight. Barrera had this to say last week during a press tour: “I feel I have to take the fight to take away any doubts about the first fight. I have no choice but to fight hard and I’m not going to leave any doubts. I’m facing a young hungry fighter, but I’m going to go in and win. I haven’t felt this way in years.”

Look for Juarez to fight at least as well as he did the first time, but my hunch is that Rocky Juarez will not fight a better fight. The difference in the first bout was the fact that Barrera was gassed after five rounds and he allowed Juarez to unload that sneaky left hook to the chin while they were on the inside. When Barrera was up on his toes and moving in the center of the ring he dominated with his left jab and he peppered Juarez time after time with his piston-like left hand.

Juarez, for his part, says he knows what he did wrong in the first fight. “I have an example of how to fight him already. I’ve been in the ring with him. We’ll be cautious, but we also know we have to take bigger risks and throw more shots to outwork him and do what we need to do to get the victory.”

Rocky Juarez, 25-2 (18)KO has always had a flaw of waiting too long in fights. Juarez is too patient and often times downright passive and he has just never let his hands go enough in his professional career. It is Juarez’ most serious stylistic flaw. Juarez had Barrera in serious trouble on numerous occasions the first time around and it’s doubtful that he will have those same opportunities Saturday night. If Rocky had just let his hands go and really applied some pressure and mixed in some bodyshots in that first fight he very well may have taken Barrera to the cleaners. Seemingly, Barrera is always better in rematches or when he has something to prove. Look for Barrera to come away from this fight with a wide decision victory or perhaps even a late round stoppage.

Pretty Risky

Everybody asks me, and I tell them that I don’t think Carlos “Tata” Baldomir has much of a shot against “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather in November. I was as guilty as you in thinking that since Baldomir also beat Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti that he may really be able to give Mayweather a run for his money. Although Baldomir is a wonderful character with a touching story and is easy to root for - he just isn’t in the same galaxy as Floyd Mayweather when it comes to skills.

While Baldomir, the true welterweight champion at 43-9-6 (13)KO, is no doubt the larger man physically and is probably stronger than Mayweather at 36-0 (24)KO it must be said (and regrettably so) that Mayweather is light years ahead of Baldomir when it comes to the fundamentals of boxing. Floyd rarely gets tagged with so much as a combination and he could be the best defensive fighter in boxing in addition to all of his other talents.

Floyd is undoubtedly the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet and he also is never one to mince words. Floyd had this to say last week in Los Angeles during the press tour: "I'm in the sport to either put you on your ass or put you on your face. This is not a gentleman's sport. This is not golf or tennis - this is boxing - and I'm the best at what I do. I know I'm the best. I'm not here to brag. I'm not here to boast. I ain't gotta’ tell you what I can do.”

Watch again, dear fight fan, the first several rounds of Carlos Baldomir against Zab Judah in the basement of Madison Square Garden. Judah, the best five round fighter since Mike Tyson, was able to totally befuddle Baldomir with subtle movement and a right jab. Baldomir was horribly off balance and was getting painted with stinging shots to the head. Then Zab got hit with a right hand and blamed Don King for it.

I shudder to think at what the gifted Mayweather will be able to do with Baldomir. The promoters are calling this fight “Pretty Risky”. They should be calling it “Pretty Ugly” because that’s how Baldomir is going to look at the end of this one.

Arum Getting His Money Back

Everybody asks me, and I tell them that Bob Arum is feeding the Outdoor Life Network venison and calling it filet mignon. Boxing fans are already complaining about the quality of Arum’s dishes on the OLN (what did you expect, Kelly Pavlik and Brian Viloria on a pheasant hunt?) and the lack of compelling match-ups. Arum is reportedly being paid $250,000 per episode and so far he’s served up matches that are from the ESPN or Telefutura soup line . The main courses have featured Kelly Pavlik and Brian Viloria and on the menu Thursday night is “Kid Diamond” facing Jairo Ramirez for something called the NABF “Interim” Lightweight title.

For the end of the month entree, Arum gets out the leftovers when he feeds the horribly used-up, 39 year-old former featherweight titlist Kevin “The Flushing Flash” Kelley to former junior lightweight titlist Carlos “El Famoso” Hernandez who is no spring chicken cordon bleu at age 35. Somebody in a state athletic commission needs to get off the pot and flush the toilet on Kelley’s boxing career.

For $250,000 per show, Arum should be making better fights, but how else should we expect him to make back the million dollars he lost on the Maskaev vs. Rahman II pay-per screw?

September 2006

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