As most of you know that I have a love-love relationship with my DVR, I decided to take an honest look at my recordings and figure out which fights to delete and which fights to keep.
For the record, I play these fights while I write articles and they serve as background inspiration to get into the language of boxing. As I was scrolling through my odd mix of recordings, including a few movies such as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” I started to consider about this 2011 year of boxing. There have been highs and lows. So, suddenly, I decided to take inventory of those bouts that I really enjoyed. If I’m missing any bouts, please comment and give me a reminder.
KO’s and TKO of the Year
Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire, 27-1, 18 KO’s vs. Fernando Montiel, 46-4, 36 KO’s
When I replay this fight, Donaire showed tremendous energy. His demeanor was crisp, fearless, and he was taking his time against Montiel as they were feeling each other’s timing in the first round. The 2nd round started to see more action between fighters. Finally, Donaire unleashed a hook to the temple that left Montiel convulsing on the canvas. The referee allowed Montiel to get up but then Donaire pounced on him until the referee called the bout. The fight was called for a 2nd round TKO, but what a beautifully, executed punch. This fight is a keeper!
“Vicious” Victor Ortiz, 29-3-2, 22 KO’s vs. “Money” Floyd Mayweather, JR., 42-0, 26 KO’s
I try not to use the ‘F’ word (fixed) for this bout. Mayweather’s record remains undefeated (as I’ve always argued – it should if you only fight every 1-1/2 years!) I was rooting for Ortiz because he looked strong, determined, and I loved his story with rising up from poverty and taking care of his brother. HBO’s 24/7 showed a contrast of opposing personalities – loud mouth and cocky, the other humble and blessed for the opportunity. Both Ortiz and Mayweather have ‘daddy’ issues to a degree. But both Ortiz and Mayweather have emerged as excellent and determined fighters. As to this bout, I replay the 4th round.
Mayweather was winning. Then I saw the Ortiz head butt into Mayweather in the corner. Then, the two fighters were in the center in the ring hugging it out. Do I need to continue? It’s ugly after that RSR fans.
Then, I see a left hook and a right cross. Mayweather throws a hook and a cross – Ortiz down. Even when you rewind it, it looks ridiculous. Replay it over and over and it’s ridiculous! My point? This fight didn’t show what either fighter was capable of creating in the ring. This fight screamed refund.
Gary Russell, JR, 19-0, 10 KO’s vs. Heriberto Ruiz, 47-12, 29 KO’s
As far as super featherweight prospects go, Russell is the real deal. He is an extremely talented fighter who is slowly making his way through the division. This bout was supposed to be a 10 round fight, but instead, it showcased an excellent example of Russell’s timing, power, and hand speed. A southpaw, Russell doesn’t always look like the stronger fighter, but in this bout, he had the perfect combination. In the first round, Russell executed a right hook to the body and then a right hook to the head. Ruiz went down with no hope for recovery. Unlike the Mayweather vs. Ortiz bout, I love replaying this fight. It’s a keeper.
Let me clarify this category of disappointing fights. I chose fights that on first glance, I expected a better fight than what happened. And, if you look at the three I chose, you’ll see what I mean.
Wladimir Klitschko, 56-3, 49 KO’s vs. David Haye, 25-2, 23 KO’s
ZZZZZ. With all the hype to this fight, I honestly expected Haye to do a lot more than he did. He didn’t come out as aggressive as he could have and Klitschko just again, however boring, imposed his fighting style on Haye. Wladimir Klitschko reigns supreme in the heavyweight division. Until a heavyweight learns to cultivate a jab, the Klitschko Brothers will remain the heavyweight champions of the world.
Bernard “Executioner” Hopkins, 52-5-2, 32 KO’s vs. Bad Chad Dawson, 26-2, 16 KO’s
With homage to the professional wrestling writer on our website, I had high hopes for this bout. With the rematch victory over Pascal, I thought that Hopkins had really shown that as the crafty, veteran fighter, he can still school an upstart boxer who may still have a few things to learn. As per every Hopkins fight, I always turn on his bouts as he slowly, very slowly, and methodically breaks down his opponent by never losing his composure as he grounds down his opponent. Hopkins also had an edge against Pascal that showed he still has the stuff to be the oldest titleholder in boxing.
Then, the 2nd round. In what looked like a move any one of my sparring partners do to me when I get on the inside, Dawson picked up Hopkins and threw him down to the canvas, separating the shoulder, and prevented Hopkins from continuing. I hate watching this bout in replay. I turn away. In slow motion, in reverse, it’s actually quite humiliating. And, just to be clear, my sparring partners don’t thrown me down when we spar, I simply hang on for dear life until the timer goes off or at least they let me down gently as we touch gloves then I throw a cross! But Dawson didn’t allow Hopkins that kindness. Dawson threw down Hopkins.
Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan, 37-4, 27 KO’s vs. Anselmo Moreno, 32-1, 11 KO’s
Against Moreno, the always-aggressive Raging Bull was made to look foolish against a fighter with a better jab and technical skill. Moreno stood his ground and refused to be bullied by the Armenian bull. On Moreno’s part, he earned a 12 round unanimous decision. Darchinyan had better consider his words before calling out Donaire who is by far just barely beginning to hit his stride at the top of the bantamweight division.
When I thought of the fights for this category, I immediately thought of those bouts where I observed something different about the level of boxing. There are some surprising insights on my part and as I thoroughly considered technical skill, tactics, ring generalship, and effective aggression, these fights were pleasant surprises to me.
Nonito Donaire, 27-1, 18 KO’s vs. Omar Narvaez, 35-1, 19 KO’s
After his devastating TKO that left Montiel on the canvas, I thought he would decimate Narvaez. But instead, the Argentine southpaw Narvaez showed that if a fighter settles down and matches another fighter technically in timing, you can work to solidly compete within a bout. Narvaez showed some subtle dents to the Donaire arsenal. In other words, no fighter can ever underestimate another fighter. Donaire earned the 12 round unanimous decision, but I’d keep an eye on Narvaez, and much like fellow Argentine Marcos Maidana, he’s got some talent, fight, and unexpected/underestimated ability.
Jean Pascal, 26-2-1, 16 KO’s vs. Bernard “Executioner” Hopkins, 52-5-2, 32 KO’s (rematch)
In their first bout, a draw, really? But again, I always look at the judging in other countries. As my sparring partners and post big fight discussions go, we often say, “What fight was he looking at?” In this rematch bout, I for the first time really saw Hopkins as the brilliant tactical fighter that he is. He schooled Pascal on taking the fight away from his opponent and I loved Hopkins from the get-go. Yes, Pascal is younger. He’ll probably be fighting Hopkins again, but that’ll be the rubber match for the two. In this bout, Hopkins made it clear he wasn’t going to lose. From doing pushups to looking fresher as the fight drew closer to championship rounds, Hopkins showed he had a lot more to him than his years. A beautiful fight and well-deserved 12 round unanimous decision for Hopkins.
Andy Lee, 27-1, 19 KO’s vs. Brian Vera, 19-6, 12 KO’s (Rematch)
The return of the tall fighter fighting tall. Thanks to Emanuel Steward, Irish fighter southpaw Andy Lee had to redeem himself against the strong and bullying fighting style of Brian Vera. Back in 2008, Lee fought against Vera and lost in a 7th round TKO. Psychologically, Lee needed 3 years and a little polish to learn to fight tall and he rightfully earned a 10 round unanimous decision. Lee came out with a well-disciplined lead hand and worked an excellent jab-hook combination. He patted Vera down like a puppy. I expect Lee to make a huge impact on the middleweight division. He may even make a good match with Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez.
Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez, 53-6-1, 39 KO’s vs. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, 53-3-2, 38 KO’s
In the Pacquiao vs. Marquez III bout, I was extremely impressed with Marquez’s performance against the Filipino champion. Marquez and Pacquiao are matched so evenly against one another. And, for the second time, Pacquiao emerges as the winner. But I appreciate Marquez’s excellent sense of Pacquiao’s style and timing. The effective Mexican counterpuncher with excellent timing can make the greatest of champion fighters work just as hard through 12 rounds in order to earn the win by MD.
So, there it is, a look at the fights that I currently have on my DVR. Priceless. Let’s face it, my love for the sweet science remains as intact as ever. I can’t quite get rid of the fights just yet – I guess “Sleepless in Seattle” and “The Mirror has Two Faces” both might have to go.