EPIX – The Intro to Boxing
Last Saturday’s WBC Heavyweight Title fight was supposed to be the launch of EPIX into boxing coverage and what better way to start then with a heavyweight title fight? Vitali Klitschko, 42-2, 39 KO’s, the defending champion was up against the former Gold Medalist and top contender Odlanier Solis, 17-0, 12 KO’s (at the time).
EPIX had bought some time. Vitali is not known for stopping his opponents early. He had just gone twelve rounds with Shannon Briggs, ten with Albert Sosnowski, twelve with Kevin Johnson, and ten with Chris Arreola. We were in for a fight lasting somewhere around 10 rounds or more likely, 12.
To launch the boxing on the station, EPIX offered a free preview, available on line for anyone that wanted to watch. They promised no bill, no pushy emails, and just a look at what they plan to offer the fight and movie fans. All did not go according to plan.
The first big problem was that too many people signed up for the free preview and it crippled the site. Nobody saw the fight for free and the boxing fans were quick to scream on message boards. EPIX did not get good press and the boxing fans did not miss much.
Some things were apparent when the bell rang. One, Odlanier Solis was intimidated. He fought scared and that put Vitali in finish mode early. He has great instinct in the ring and knows when his opponents would rather be at home. He typically helps them get there. Two, Vitali’s reflexes are not what they used to be. His low left hand and inability to avoid the punches made him a very easy target for Solis and he took advantage of it. At 246 pounds, Solis wasn’t in shape for the fight and now the idea of Tomasz Adamek beating Vitali is not so far fetched.
At the end of the round, Vitali landed a right hand that wobbled Solis and as he backed away, he fell down and immediately grabbed his knee. This may have been his exit from the fight and he took it. There is no question that Vitali scored the knockdown and perhaps the injury was legitimate, but at 246 pounds, the lack of conditioning may have added to the probability of injury.
Vitali made an amusing statement on Youtube, where he noted that he would not touch his next opponent for the first three rounds to guarantee the fans some action. At 39 years old, you have to imagine that his career is heading toward its end, and although he won via first round stoppage, there were some alarming things that were exposed and that make the champion’s hold on the title not as firm as it once was. The question is: Is there an able opponent that can exploit them?
The mobile and fit Adamek is the man that plans to try, and if he is going to take on a Klitschko, the slower and not as sharp, Vitali is where to start. If David Haye should upset younger brother Wladimir, then he versus Vitali would be big business and perhaps that is what Vitali is waiting for before he calls it a day. He wants to see how that fight plays out.
EPIX didn’t have the boxing debut it wanted, but every network and promoter suffers through a bad boxing deal. HBO and the other networks have had nights that they’d rather forget, and EPIX can only go up from here.
Floyd Mayweather JR – Will He Return?
Manny Pacquiao is focused on his May opponent, Sugar Shane Mosley, and despite the big name of “Mosley,” the chances of him pulling an upset are less than slight. He will need to land early and make the most of that “puncher’s chance,” but as you saw against Floyd Mayweather, JR., Mosley couldn’t finish the job. How can an old fighter find the mark against a near prime Pacquiao? It’s not going to happen. So we look ahead.
Floyd Mayweather, JR., is back in the news and back into the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes, holding his winning ticket to be cashed in at his discretion. Rapper 50 Cent hit the bee’s nest and brought up steroids again and has re-ignited the fire around this big fight. Floyd has been MIA from the sport and, as he does in the ring, has picking his spots outside of it. He will come back on his own terms, but Manny is in the radar.
Perhaps a win by default is the hope. If Mosley is successful and lands the miracle punch and knocks Manny cold, Floyd can announce that he is unquestionably the best because he dominated Sugar Shane. He tried this with Juan Manuel Marquez, a man he easily beat but gave Pacquiao the most trouble of his career. Nobody bought it. Nobody will buy this. There is no getting around facing Pacquiao. Both men need the fight and it will happen.
When Mosley crumbles in about 8 rounds, expect the announcement to be made that they in agreement, finally, to fight. It will be in Las Vegas, and it will be the shot in the arm that boxing needs. Despite all the obstacles, money rules, and this bout brings in a boatload of cash and gamblers. It is “the fight.”