MGM Grand, LAS VEGAS, Nov. 12
GIVE AND TAKE: Pacquiao barely won. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
One felt a sense of disappointment over Manny Pacquiao’s performance against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night, a feeling that the Filipino superstar should have done better.
In a fight where finality was expected, a sense of closure, Pacquiao once again had to settle for a decision that divided then judges and was open to debate.
HERMOSILLO, Mexico, Oct. 29
SAME STORY BUT QUICKER: Concepcion paid for being careless. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Sometimes, when a fighter gets knocked out he can make an adjustment in strategy and come back to win the return bout.
Terry Norris did this when he boxed intelligently to outscore Simon Brown in their rematch; Chiquita Gonzalez switched to a smart-boxing style when, after Michael Carbajal knocked him out in a war, he twice outpointed Carbajal in subsequent meetings.
Staples Center, LOS ANGELES, Oct. 15
FIASCO: Hopkins grimaces, the fight's over. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
FRIDAY UPDATE: The term “firestorm of controversy” comes to mind. After the big-fight fiasco involving Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins in Los Angeles on Saturday night the boxing world seems to be talking about little else.
One thing is becoming clear. The original verdict of a second-round TKO win for Dawson is not going stand for much longer. It seems inevitable that the California commission will shortly declare the bout to have been a “no decision”.
MGM Grand, LAS VEGAS, Oct. 1
NISHIOKA finished strongly. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
After a worryingly slow start, Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka showed his class in winning a unanimous decision over Rafael Marquez in an excellent main event on Fox Deportes from Las Vegas on Saturday night. It was the first time a Japanese boxer has successfully defended a world title in the U.S. as Nishioka retained his 122-pound belt.
I enjoyed this fight. Marquez put up a gritty, competent challenge but Nishioka was just a bit too fast for him. Marquez’s punch-anticipation at 36 isn’t what it used to be, and he just didn’t seem to see the punches coming as Nishioka fired in sharp left hands from his southpaw stance. Marquez stood up to Nishioka’s best shots, though.
LAS VEGAS/LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17
ALVAREZ opened up in the sixth. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Referees came under fire in two big fights this weekend, Joe Cortez for his confused officiating in the bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz, of course, but also, to a lesser extent, Wayne Hedgepeth for his stoppage of the Saul Alvarez-Alfonso Gomez fight in Los Angeles.
To a lesser degree, Tony Weeks received a bit of criticism for docking Jessie Vargas a point for a low blow in the fight with Josesito Lopez.
WROCLAW, Poland, Sept. 10
KLITSCHKO'S 10th-round onslaught ended the fight. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Say what you will about the Klitschko brothers but they have faced all comers in their dominance of the heavyweight division. Although Tomasz Adamek stood no chance in Saturday’s title fight in Poland he had earned the right to be there — it was just that Vitali Klitschko was too big, too strong and too good.
I don’t know quite why Jim Lampley brought Rocky Marciano into the commentary with his suggestion that Marciano somehow fought inferior opposition, mentioning the name of Roland LaStarza.
ERFURT, Germany, Aug. 27
HELENIUS wore down a game opponent. / Photo: Team Sauerland
After the disappointment of Klitschko against Haye it was good to be reminded that the heavyweights can provide entertaining fights, with Alexander Povetkin outpointing Ruslan Chagaev and Robert Helenius stopping Siarhei Liakhovich on Saturday’s big show in Germany.
Although Povetkin won a world title, he was workmanlike rather than exciting. Helenius provided the big hitting as the 6ft 6ins “Nordic Nightmare” hammered a very tough and game Liakhovich into defeat in the ninth round.
Hard Rock hotel and casino, LAS VEGAS, Aug. 13
MARES fought well, but refereeing controversy spoiled the show. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Great fight, pity about the refereeing. Russell Mora, normally a sound official, had a bad night last night in his handling of the thrilling bantamweight title bout on Showtime that saw Abner Mares, aided by what appeared to be benevolent refereeing, defeat Joseph Agbeko by majority decision.
There was no real argument about who had scored the greater number of points. The computer statistics showed that Mares had thrown and landed more punches and landed more power punches — a “power” punch being anything other than a jab.
TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, Mexico, July 30
The big hits of last weekend’s boxing, for me anyway, were Mexican female superstars Ana Maria Torres and Jackie Nava, who staged their second thrilling fight in three months. The first fight ended in a draw, but Torres won Saturday’s rematch by unanimous decision, coming on strongly in the last two rounds to put the issue beyond doubt.
Torres, 31, moved up in weight from the 115-pound division to take on the very popular 122-pounder Nava, also 31, in these much anticipated bouts.
Mandalay Bay, LAS VEGAS, July 23
KHAN ran right over Judah. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Fans had a winner and loser in Saturday’s big fights on each side of the pond— a rousing battle for the British heavyweight title that saw underdog Tyson Fury defeat Dereck Chisora and a big-fight flop in Las Vegas as Amir Khan ran right over a confused and intimidated Zab Judah in five rounds.
As we now say, I’m taking nothing away from Khan, but Judah was a major disappointment: This was a fighter who declared himself “150% ready”; the “new” Zab Judah, he said, was a “monster”.
Boardwalk Hall, ATLANTIC CITY, July 9
LARA landed left hands all night. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Believe it or not there have been worse decisions than the one that gave Paul Williams a debatable victory over Erislandy Lara in Saturday’s junior middleweight bout on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
For me, Lara was a close but clear winner, 115-113. I can understand the outcry over the decision, though. With the TV commentary informing us that Williams was being beaten up so badly that his health was at risk, and veteran “unofficial official” Harold Lederman giving Lara nine of the first 11 rounds, a viewer almost cannot help but be carried along by the views expressed by those closest to the proceedings.
MENDOZA, Argentina, July 2
BARROS got the verdict but few seemed to agree.
Well, was it such a dreadful decision? I have reviewed the video of the controversial featherweight title fight between Jonathan Barros and Celestino Caballero, scrutinised the judges’ round-by-round scores and come to the conclusion that the fairest result would have been a draw.
This is a minority view. Almost everyone believes that Caballero was flat out robbed, that Barros got the ultimate in hometown decisions in his Mendoza backyard. The Argentinean TyC television network scorer had Panama’s Caballero winning. Caballero scored two knockdowns, one in the opening round, another in the ninth. Case closed? Not really — at least not in my view.
HAMBURG, July 2
ONE of the rare moments when Haye wasn't moving away/
After all the talk of dramatic destruction, what we got from David Haye against Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night was 12 rounds of hit-and-run boxing with one of the ingredients missing.
Haye was disappointing, Klitschko was workmanlike and the much-anticipated heavyweight title fight turned out to be a dud. (“Wake me when the fight starts,” HBO sage Larry Merchant laconically commented in the eighth round.)
CANELO wore down Rhodes. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
It wasn’t exactly dramatic but Saul Alvarez nevertheless gave an accomplished display in outclassing British veteran Ryan Rhodes in their junior middleweight title bout on Saturday night in Mexico. Alvarez is still learning his craft at just 20 years of age, but to make a fighter of Rhodes’s experience look as if he didn’t belong in the same ring stamped ‘Canelo’ as a bit special.
Rhodes gave his best effort but it was never going to be enough. It was Alvarez who looked like the more seasoned fighter because he was treating Rhodes almost like a sparring partner.
Staples Center, LOS ANGELES, June 4
CHAVEZ pounded Zbik with hooks to the body. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
No one’s pretending that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is the best middleweight in the world, but the son of Mexico’s most celebrated fighter showed guts, determination and stamina in his hard-working and deserved majority decision win over Sebastian Zbik to capture the WBC middleweight title on Saturday night in Los Angeles.
It was a fight that saw Zbik having success in the early rounds while Chavez finished strongly. Some of the middle rounds were open to debate, but rounds 10, 11 and 12 were all Chavez.
Chavez showed improvement under trainer Freddie Roach. The Chavez of pre-Roach days might have blown the fight, but Junior dug in and showed the heart and desire of a real fighter. He threw combinations more impressively than I have ever seen him throw them, letting his hands go in a way that impresses the judges.