Tuesday, July 17, 2007

EVERYBODY ASKS ME


Everybody asks me and I tell them to think of how impressive IBF heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko looked against Lamon Brewster a couple weeks ago when he made Lamon quit after six rounds. Then I tell them to think of how thrilling IBF welterweight belt holder Kermit Cintron was last weekend in Atlantic City when he completely obliterated Walter Matthysse in less than two rounds. Both of those fighters are of course trained by the incomparable Emanuel Steward.

Taking that into consideration you would have to conclude then that WBC and WBO middleweight champion Jermain Taylor is simply not listening to Steward. Or perhaps it’s just that Jermain Taylor is as good now as he is ever going to be and that he has gone as far as he can with his ability. Maybe he is what he is.

Taylor, in many respects, has been a tremendous success with two wins in the books over Bernard Hopkins and the draw with Winky Wright. Taylor has also made four successful title defenses. But on the other hand he has been tremendously disappointing with many close, disputed decisions in those title fights.

Taylor has been raked over the coals in the boxing media, especially since he came up flat against Cory Spinks in their fight back in May. However, Jermain Taylor can make a lot of people forget about the disputed decisions if he can beat #1 contender Kelly Pavlik on September 29th in Atlantic City. It’s the best fight that can be made at 160 and kudos to both Lou DiBella and Bob Arum for making the fight happen.

On a final note as it pertains to Jermain Taylor. Everybody asks me and I tell them that the fact that Taylor says he cannot make the middleweight division limit of 160 pounds anymore and that his fight with Kelly Pavlik will be his last as a middleweight, is very disappointing news. It’s troubling that a young guy like Taylor, at only 28 years old, is having difficulty making weight. Think of Marvin Hagler who fought at 160 pounds for his entire career and Bernard Hopkins who made 160 pounds for over 15 years and those two were never far from their fighting weight. I’ll bet Taylor weighs in the vicinity of 190 pounds or more right now. Hagler and Hopkins would never have let themselves get that far out of shape.

Everybody asks me and I think that new WBO titlist Paul “The Punisher” Williams is going to be punished for being too good and that he is going to scare away a lot of the other welterweights. I think Williams is going to find out that just because you beat the man – that doesn’t make you “the man”. As a result, he’s going to be getting shut out of all the big fights at 147.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that if Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito fought 100 times you would see the same fight that we saw Saturday night 100 times with a close decision that could go either way every time. I had Williams winning the fight 115-113. Like everyone else, I saw Williams winning most of the early rounds with Margarito coming on in the middle to later rounds. The problem for Margarito is that he couldn’t stay consistent on the inside and really let his hands go. I think it was a case of him not being active enough recently. Margarito is the type of guy that should stay busy and my feeling is that the busier he is the better he is. Fighting so infrequently over the past few years really hurt Margarito in the fight against Williams, plus he was outfought all night, especially in the last round.

There is no way that the WBC welterweight champion, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will ever get into the ring with Paul Williams. There is also no way that promoter Bob Arum is ever going to let WBA belt wearer Miguel Cotto get anywhere near Williams.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that Kermit Cintron, the IBF alphabet title holder and Williams would be a great fight. I think the best fight for Williams is Cintron. However, I just don’t think that Emanuel Steward, who is also Cintron’s manager, will ever let Kermit get anywhere near Williams. Steward has always shied away from ever having his guys fight left-handers. In this case Steward has a great influence on opponent selection for Cintron. Many people forget that Steward is very accomplished as a manger and his work with Thomas Hearns and others was exquisite. I don’t see Steward letting Cintron in with Luis Collazo or Joshua Clottey either. A Clottey fight maybe - but no for Williams or Collazo.

Everybody asks me and I tell them I will need to see more of Kermit Cintron before I make a decision on him. The IBF title he holds is a sham/paper championship that he picked up after Mayweather was rid of it. Cintron has improved since Antonio Margarito blew him out, no question about it, but Cintron now needs to show consistency with world class opposition. I think the fight you’ll see for Cintron next is Joel Julio. Julio has renewed his career since losing to Carlos Quintana and he looked decent last week in knocking out Cornelius “K-9” Bundrage on ESPN2. Both Cintron and Julio are promoted by Main Events and I think Manny Steward would agree to the match-up.

With Oscar De La Hoya rumored to coming back to the welterweight division that’s going to put a lot of guys and a lot of fights on hold. Mayweather will likely not return if Ricky Hatton is going to face De La Hoya. I view De La Hoya’s comeback as a bad thing for boxing because if he is only planning on fighting once a year what’s the point? For De La Hoya and the guy he fights it’s great because they’ll all make a ton of money, but it puts a hold on the division for some other guys and it prevents otherwise great fights from being made. My feeling is that Hatton beats Oscar anyway. Hatton is a real fighter who is active. Like Bob Arum says, “Oscar is businessman now.”

I’d like to see Oscar in with Hatton because I think Oscar gets knocked out again. Oscar can’t take it to the body (see Bernard Hopkins) and Hatton will test him severely there (see Jose Luis Castillo).

Everybody asks me and I tell them that should Antonio Margarito still get his fight with Miguel Cotto it would be similar to the situation when the Mayweather versus Zab Judah fight was still made after Judah lost to Baldomir. I still like the Cotto versus Margarito fight, but I would rather see Cotto vs. Shane Mosley. I think that fight would sell very well whether it was in Las Vegas or New York and it’s a great mesh of styles. Mosley takes a great punch and he’s very strong so he’d offer a little more than Judah did last month. However, at his age, I’m not sure that Shane can sustain that type of fight over a long number of rounds.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that 38 year old Roy Jones, Jr. looks like Jersey Joe Walcott to me now. Watching Jones against Anthony Hanshaw on Saturday night I thought Jones had a strong facial resemblance to the furrowed brow that Walcott sported. Walcott was considered ancient when he fought his last fight at the tender age of 39 – just like Jones is considered to be ancient now.

Everybody asks me and I agree with Arturo Gatti – he is too small for 147 pounds. The other part of the problem is that Gatti is just used up. Former welterweight champ Curtis Cokes put it best when he once said that, “Every fighter’s body has a certain number of fights in it.” And Gatti exceeded his number by a couple. Arturo should have called it a day after the destruction at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and he should have never gone back up to 147 pounds.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that Max Kellerman should be ashamed of himself for kicking Arturo Gatti when he was down. Kellerman, who has a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease, offered his thoughts on Gatti’s career Saturday night by saying that Gatti could never beat top fighters and that he was the product of careful matchmaking. Whatever, Max. Larry Merchant was much more appreciative of Gatti’s sacrifice and much more diplomatic in his view of Arturo’s career. I don’t think Kellerman will ever get it – he just doesn’t listen and he is what he is, too.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that an Alfonso Gomez versus Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight would be a great scrap. The little Chavez is developing into quite a fighter and although he looks about 15 years old – he has a left hook that makes grown men weep. I was lucky enough to see the young Chavez in person when he fought on the undercard of Cotto versus Judah at Madison Square Garden last month. His left hook took Grover Wiley apart. I was laughing out loud a few times and when I was asked what I was laughing at I said, “Poor Grover, he knows that hook to the body is coming and he can’t do a damn thing to stop it!” I think Chavez, Jr. wins a Gomez fight with his height, reach and hook but Gomez will test him. But then what do I know? I picked Gatti to beat Gomez !

Everybody asks me and I tell them that Fernando Vargas versus Ricardo Mayora is a good match. Both guys are looking to redeem themselves after knockout losses and both are perceived as being at or near the end. My feeling is that Vargas is seriously damaged goods and him gaining 100 pounds after being stopped by Shane Mosley is not going to do his body and skills any favors. Some will say that Roberto Duran did the same thing and look at how he performed. Just one thing, Vargas is no Duran. I like the fight because I like Mayorga and watching him at press conferences has been my greatest source of boxing entertainment for a number of years now. Eating a chicken leg while being weighed in against Vernon Forrest, drawing a funny face on a Felix Trinidad poster, slapping Oscar in the back of the head and now the big press conference fistfight with Vargas. It’s all great theater and even better comedy. We need a whole barrel-full of Ricardo Mayorgas in boxing and then people would stop talking about boxing being “boring”. I wonder if he has any brothers?

Everybody asks me and I tell them that Wladimir Klitschko versus Evander Holyfield is not a fight I’d ever be interested in seeing. I don’t want to see Hasim Rahman against Klitschko either. Holyfield, I suppose, deserves the fight more than Rahman does but neither guy belongs in the ring with Wladimir. The fight I’d like to see is Klitschko vs. “The Russian Giant” - former belt-holder Nikolay Valuev. Since WBA titlist Ruslan Chagaev and Sultan Ibragimov, the IBF belt wearer are facing off against each other in October it leaves Klitschko who has beaten several of the top contenders with few names left to fight. A Klitschko versus Valuev fight is interesting and it would have some entertainment value. It would also sell very well in Germany where Valuev is based and where Klitschko is very popular. If not Valuev then how about Oliver McCall? “The Atomic Bull” at age 42 is two years younger than Holyfield, he deserves the fight with his recent win over the highly ranked Sinan Samil Sam and he has one of the best chins ever seen in the heavyweight division. Plus, in the right frame of mind, McCall can punch like a mule kicks.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that watching the countdown to “Hopkins versus Wright, Coming to Fight” the other night on HBO was laugh out loud funny. One of the early scenes was Bernard Hopkins jogging/shuffling through a Philadelphia graveyard. Hopkins looked like a guy who had lost his walker he was moving so slowly. Hopkins looked like he was one step from the grave as he huffed and puffed along.

Dan Birmingham, the trainer of Winky Wright, said that “Wink walks around at 190” and Wright looked awfully round and overweight in the training scenes. Wright at 35-40 pounds overweight has the look of Humpty Dumpty or Mr. Potato Head. The scene in which he was eating Krispy Kreme donuts was less than inspiring. It’s really just a no-no for Wright to be that far above weight at his age (nearing 36). Can you imagine Alexis Arguello or Carmen Basilio eating Krispy Kreme donuts in their training camps when they were in their primes? Eddie Futch must be spinning in his grave.

Everybody asks me and I tell them I wouldn’t spend $50 on the Hopkins versus Wright pay-per view if you gave it to me. For an HBO subscriber, the person who buys an HBO PPV event is buying the undercard and this undercard is low grade and shallow. Save your bucks and watch the main event for free the next week and spend your money for the Erik Morales versus David Diaz fight on August 4th. It will likely be Erik’s farewell as he’ll look about as good as Arturo Gatti just did on Saturday night.

Everybody asks me and I tell them that based on the smile I saw on Jameel McCline’s face last week that he must be getting a career high payday to face Vitali Klitschko.


July 2007

2 comments:

chris said...

as usual, i enjoyed reading the latest comments -- the only thing i question is how jermain taylor can be questioned. he's undefeated and he's fought the best. hopkins beat de la hoya and tarver without much trouble but in between he lost twice to taylor. taylor may not be showy but he's doing something very right when hopkins and then winky wright don't fight as much as they need to to win. i thought he beat ouma and spinks, two good fighters, convincingly and he's not afraid to take on the impressive kelly pavlik. and i bet he'll win. because he is one of the best boxers in the world, right there with mayweather and wright and...

welterwatcher said...

Cintron and Steward are not the least bit afraid of Williams. Is he awkward, yes...but that is nothing to be afraid of. Cintron competes regularly with Andy Lee, a powerful fighter who is similarly sized as Williams. Lee packs a lot more power than Williams ever will. I've witnessed some of these exchanges and Cintron can more than hold his own against a fighter of PW's size. While Lee packs a punch to actually worry about...Williams is a slapper with moderate power. This fight will take place and when it does...Cintron by KO!