You have to love James Toney. The guy is immune to logic and has unwavering confidence combined with world class trash talking skills. Not only did the career boxer believe that he was going to knock out MMA legend Randy Couture, he didn’t even feel the need to train, coming in 20 pounds overweight.
The UFC bout between James Toney and Randy Couture, which had the intrigue of your typical episode of Shaq Vs., went exactly as expected. Couture made Toney look foolish by taking him on the ground, putting him in a choke hold and forcing “Lights Out” to tap out. The MMA fighter wins under MMA rules, just as the boxer would dominate under boxing rules.
I like how some talking heads screamed “end of discussion” after the tap out. Come on. As if anyone didn’t know that Couture was the overwhelming favorite to defeat Toney in his own sport. This is the equivalent of baseball pitcher Roger Clemens striking out soccer player David Beckham. Would baseball fans jump out their seats screaming and yelling “end of discussion!” or “Proof that baseball is better than soccer!”? Fights like Toney vs. Couture bring out the silly carnival atmosphere in fight fans. Not that that is a bad thing. Who doesn’t like a carnival?
In boxing news, one of the sports most prolific tiny boxers in history, Ivan Calderon, suffered the first loss of his distinguished career. The 35 year old Puerto Rican, who was on his way to becoming the next Ricardo Lopez, lost the Junior Flyweight Championship fight to Giovani Segura via 8th round KO. Lopez had a reputation as one of the best pure boxers of his generation. What he lacked in size, KO power, and strength, Ivan more than made up for in speed, skill, and the fundamental ability to hit and not get hit.
Segura’s constant pressure appeared too tough for the brave Calderon, wearing down the usually durable little warrior like no one had ever been able to do previously. This appears to be the end of an era. Boxers who fight near the minimum weight classes rarely fight effectively past the age of 30. Ivan’s demise was long overdue but one cannot help but be impressed by his ring accomplishments and longevity though even if his championship career ends here. If only the level of competition at the tiny weight classes were better, Calderon could have proved himself to be amongst the best pound for pound of his era. As it stands now, Ivan fought the best of his era who was willing to fight him, but that was not enough for him to be universally included in pound for pound lists.
Onto the mailbag portion of the mailbag, we start this week off with a wishful email comparing the now unlikely fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather to an epic match up from the 1980’s. Enjoy the bag and send me your thoughts/emails/snide remarks for use in next week’s mailbag.
Hagler vs. Leonard = Pacquiao vs. Mayweather
I see some parallelism here. Marvin Hagler was a southpaw with power and heart just like Manny Pacquiao.
Sugar Ray Leonard had cat-like reflexes, A+ defense, and underrated power just like Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
But if this fight ever gets made, do you see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather unfolding in the same way as Hagler vs. Leonard? If you’re tired of Pacquiao vs. Mayweather wishful thinking you may disregard this mail. 😀
-Pao Gasol aka Ronjo
There are some parallels to that match up but overall I think it is a bit of a reach. Yes Pacquiao and Hagler are both southpaws with heart. Hagler wasn’t all that big of a power punching knockout artist. He was solid and really strong, beating opponents up with an accumulation of punches. Their fighting styles are drastically different. Hagler was a consistent technician. His approach was slow, steady, orthodox, and brutal. Pacquiao’s style is fast, erratic, and unorthodox.
I have heard comparisons between Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather before. They are both really terrific boxers with superb defense and speed. I rate Leonard above Mayweather though in overall ability. Sugar Ray was also more of an offensive fighter who made for more interesting fights.
I actually do see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao playing out in a similar way. Pacquiao would be the aggressor and would do good work, landing effective punches. Mayweather would do what he does best and do just enough to try and barely win rounds or steal rounds. Judges are in love with Floyd so I could easily see him winning a close controversial decision that has fans split as to who should have won, just like Hagler vs. Leonard.
Did Margarito Know?
What do you guys think about the new Thomas Hauser article exploring the Margarito hand wrap issue?
I believe, even if, in all absurdity, Margarito is innocent of the charges, there is a time and place for everything and this is not the time to be rewarding Margarito, especially not on a grand scale. It may not be fair to Margarito (IF he is indeed innocent) but he’ll just have to suck it up since he was still a conduit to a crime that could have endangered the life of a human being.
I don’t really buy that he is innocent but then there is very little way of proving that he is in fact guilty and unless you subject him to a severe interrogation program and make him tap mentally, it’s all under heaven.
Margarito and Capetillo are so full of poop. Those loaded pads had obviously been used several times previously (especially since they had blood on them!). The constant denial only makes them look like lying fools and crooks. If they fessed up and moved on people would be more forgiving.
But I hear where you are coming from. There is no concrete evidence that Margarito knew that his trainer was putting more than gauze on his fists so crucifying him might be unfair. Although, if he was on trial he would probably be convicted due to circumstantial evidence.
Margarito vs. Pacquiao Is Annoying
Precisely as I have been saying, if Margarito only showed the slightest bit of regret, I would be more forgiving. Because even if he is innocent, what about his previous bouts where he might have been subjecting opponents to the same torture, utilizing similar methods? Sure IF he was ignorant of the wraps, he shouldn’t be punished, regardless, he was still the vessel of that crime – oblivious to the crime or not, he could have killed someone in there and that should be enough to put a certain degree of guilt on a person’s shoulders, something which he doesn’t seem to have or absolutely refuses to show if only to keep manufacturing an innocent image.
This fight with Pacquiao is annoying. Not only does it justify wrongdoing but it likewise conveys a multitude of wrong message. But you would surprised at how many of my fellow Filipinos are excited and supportive of this match-up. They support it not because they love Margarito or that he is a better replacement for Floyd Mayweather but that they don’t seem to understand what is happening here. They think it’s another fight, one big riveting mega-fight that Bob Arum is pushing for no matter what, and one that Manny can win entertainingly and easily.
This is why I believe Manny should step-up and put is foot down and say, “No. Give me someone else.” He is in a very good position to do something, with a word he could reverse the situation. With him now a politician what he does here would speak volumes of his character and benefit his time in office. It’s things like this that scares me about Manny being in politics as some of his closest political allies aren’t ones you’d rank in the benign and the honorable. I do not doubt his intentions, it’s obvious he’s a good person, but what happens when pressure is on and temptation is right at his doorstep? A win over Margarito doesn’t do anything for him. But a loss by Margarito, I wonder what that says?
You make excellent points. Margarito is being rewarded with the Pacquiao fight and he is the least deserving boxer in the world of a huge financial reward. Antonio is now licensed to fight in Texas so Margarito vs. Pacquiao will likely be held at Cowboys Stadium. As a politician, does Manny really want to send the message that cheating is okay? He is kind of saying that by allowing Margarito to win the Pacquiao sweepstakes.
Also, you are right that this is a no win situation. If Pacquiao wins, he was supposed to do that. Margarito’s stock is as low as it has ever been. His horrible loss to Shane Mosley has many legitimately wondering if all of Margarito’s success can be attributed to his hardened hand wraps. A loss to this version of Margarito would be devastating to Pacquiao’s reputation and legacy. There were better options available, even if that option was fighting a no name or simply sitting out until Mayweather was available. Manny has nothing to prove right now. If he can’t secure a Mayweather fight then he might as well retire because there are no more mountains to climb. Every other match up is a let down.
Kessler Drops Out of Super Six
I read today that Mikkel Kessler has a serious eye injury had to withdraw from the Super Six tournament. He was 1-1, having lost to Andre Ward but rebounded to beat Carl Froch. I thought that Kessler still had a really good chance to win this thing (I had picked him as the favorite when the tourney began). Anyway, my questions is what is Showtime going to do with the rest of the tournament? They already brought in replacement Allan Green, who proved to not be on the level, so are they going to find the next guy down now, even below Green’s level?
What should they do in this situation?
Nothing has been announced as the path forward yet, although we should expect an announcement any day now. We know for sure that the Super Six will go on without Kessler and Showtime promises that the tournament will not take a step back. They realistically have two options. They could replace Kessler with a top notch name like Lucian Bute or Kelly Pavlik. That route is unlikely though because Pavlik probably is not ready to take on another major bout at 168 and Bute has plans to fight Jesse Brinkley in October. Both fighters I think though, would be worthy enough to take over Kessler’s points in the tournament. Replacing Kessler with anybody lesser, such as Librado Andrade or Sakio Bika would only be watering down the tournament so I doubt Showtime goes that route.
The other option, which is the option I would go with if I were in Ken Hershman’s position, is to go directly to the round of four. Allan Green has zero points right now, and although he is not mathematically eliminated, he is expendable. Would people really want to see a replacement opponent fight a replacement opponent? Absolutely not. Therefore, they should drop Allan Green, and go directly to the final four, single elimination tourney.
The fights are already lined up with Andre Ward vs. Andre Dirrell on September 25th and Arthur Abraham vs. Carl Froch on October 2nd. The seeding is perfect too since Ward is the #1 seed with his 2-0 record and Abraham is the #2 seed due to his KO against Taylor. The winners of each will meet to crown the winner of the Super Six tournament. This is the best route and I hope that Showtime goes this way.
When the tourney was first announced I had a feeling that something like this could happen. Injuries are extremely prevalent in boxing today. You almost have to get lucky to see both boxers make it through an entire training camp without getting injured. Odds were that fights would be delayed, fighters would drop out, and changes to the format and rules would be necessary. That is exactly what happened, exposing the problems and flaws of the Super Six format. In a perfect world I would love for all weight classes to be settled with round robins.
Mikkel Kessler will probably get a crack at the eventual winner of the Super Six tournament if his eye eventually gets better, and maybe even Allan Green too if he records a nice rebound win. The winner also has to worry about Lucian Bute and his claim to the top spot in the super middleweight division. What an collection of fighters in this division.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next week with more emails and commentary.