Knockout Nation Radio Drop
Before we begin, here was my appearance last week on The Boxing Truth radio show discussing the connections between boxing and Hip-Hop, MMA, and my early prediction on Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Pavlik TKOs Espino, Accuses Williams of Ducking
In his native Youngstown, middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik (36-1, 32 KOs) made a successful return to the ring on Saturday (December 19) with a 5th round corner stoppage of a fearless Miguel Espino (20-3, 9 KOs).
Espino went straight at Pavlik in the 1st. Both fighters waged war on the inside, trading hard body shots. Pavlik proved stronger, and rocked Espino with a jarring right uppercut. Espino was stunned, but let Pavlik know he was not giving in by trading punches to close out the round. His aggression carried too far, and referee Steve Smoger took a point from Espino for hitting after the bell.
Miguel Espinos will was not enough to suppress Pavliks skill, and the champion started to take over more clearly in the 2nd. They continued trading, and Pavlik as the stronger man and more accurate puncher got the better of it. Another uppercut forced Espino to hold, and Pavlik remained focused on his body attack.
By the 4th, Miguel Espino was taking prodigious punishment. Kelly Pavliks main weapon in this battle, the right uppercut, dropped Espino for a 9 count. The challenger was all heart, and went against better judgment to wage war back in the trenches. That decision sent him to the canvas again, courtesy of 2 right uppercuts. Pavlik nearly ended matters, but Espinos determination kept him upright to close out the round.
Espino had no plan B once his strategy of outworking Pavlik failed. His stubbornness to fight inside gave him another unhealthy does of uppercuts, and he was dropped for a 3rd time off a straight right, left-right uppercut combination. Espino rose quickly, but his corner had seen enough and threw in the towel.
In his post-fight interview, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and Pavlik both went on the offensive against Paul Williams. The Punishers camp has derided Pavlik as a ducker since pulling out of their December 5 bout for injury, only to reschedule for December 19 with a lesser opponent.
We fought Bernard Hopkins because Paul Williams pulled out of the fight, Pavlik declared. Paul Williams you are not the most feared fighter because you have a guy standing right here in Youngstown, Ohio that wants you.
Arum added the fight can be made for early 2010 if Williams still wants it.
I had a contact signed by Kelly and Paul Williams to fight on December 5th, but Kellys hand didnt allow it to happen, Arum stated. I say to these loudmouth guys with Williams, just intial the contract and well do it first thing next year. Thats all they have to do. And if they dont, let them shut their damn mouths.
All the verbal jousting aside, this fight needs to happen. Both Pavlik and Williams are lacking in the defense department, so well see a fight with both men landing heavy leather on each other. Pavlik is the harder puncher, but can he dent Williams enough to overcome the Punishers non-stop punch output? That would be the crux of the fight. Make it happen!
For those of you who werent interested in plucking down $40 to see this PPV mismatch, check out the last two rounds of the fight below before it gets taken down.
Mayweather-Pacquiao Venue, Sparring Partners/Training
With a little more than 90 days remaining before the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao superfight, business is being finalized quickly in preparation for the January press conference.
After proposals from Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, and New Orleans, AOL Fanhouse is reporting that Las Vegas MGM Grand is the frontrunner to secure the lucrative matchup. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made a strong $25 million push to have the event at the 110,000 seat Dallas Stadium, but Mayweather refused to fight outside of Vegas. Additionally, the casino revenue played large part in the decision, as potential sites like the New Orleans Superdome or the Georgia Dome wouldnt have the betting income.
For better or worse, Las Vegas has had a stranglehold on all the major fights, and its no surprise they would be securing the biggest bout in decades. The unfortunate reality is that while this match sells itself, having it in another location besides Vegas would have done exponential good for the health of the sport.
For those who havent been to the MGM Grands Grand Garden Arena, its moderately sized at 17,157 seating capacity. This fight will sell out in minutes, and most regular fans wont get the chance to see this live. At Dallas Stadium or the Superdome, the place would be filled not only with hardcore fans and celebrities, but with a 110,000 seat capacity many casual fans would get the opportunity to be reintroduced to the sport.
Jerry Jones was acutely aware of this. Reports indicate that his fight proposal included a full week of events preceding the fight, which wouldve been great revenue for the host city and build the electricity for fight night. And New Orleans, with Bourbon Street not far from the Superdome, would have been a constant party.
Las Vegas has paid the cost to be the boss so to speak when it comes to these superfights. But like I said in my radio piece, the real test for boxing will be what happens after Mayweather-Pacquiao.
On the training, GMA TV News has confirmed that Manny Pacquiao will begin his training next month. As reported here previously, Pacquiao was hoping to get in over 8 weeks, since Mayweathers style is completely different from his most recent opponents. Trainer Freddie Roach plans to use that period to study Mayweathers habits and devise a perfect gameplan.
On Mayweathers end, the Michigan native is looking to southpaw Zab Judah to prepare himself for Pacquiaos speed. Mayweather won a unanimous decision over Zab in 2006, a fight noted for Mayweather early round difficulty with Judahs southpaw stance and speed, and Zabs riot-igniting 10th round low blow.
Judah, who won the undisputed welterweight title in 2005, favors Mayweathers chances because of a sharp accuracy with counter-punching. However, the Brooklyn native did not rule Pacquiao possibly outworking Floyd to a close decision.
If Floyd fights the fight that hes supposed to fight, then yeah, it could be an easy night for him. [Mayweather] is hard to hit, Judah explained to GMA TV News. I dont think Pacquiao is going to be able to run in there and throw those kinds of shots that he was hitting [Miguel] Cotto with, with [Oscar] De La Hoya with, [Ricky] Hatton with. Hes not going to hit Floyd with those kinds of shots. Floyds not a hard puncher but Floyds gonna connect. Hes sharp and hes going to be right there. Hes going to connect on him so were gonna find out if Pacquiao is really the truth. If Pacquiao beats Floyd, hey, you gotta take your hats off to him. The only way I see Pacquiao winning is a 12-round split decision.
Judahs a smart choice for Mayweather. Although hes not the complete fighter the Pacman is, both men possess an explosive first step. The Brooklynite will be able to emulate Pacmans quick left hands and get Mayweather used to adjusting his defense for the angles. Where Judah wont be able to help as well is emulating Pacquiaos right hand, which has improved immensely since the Filipinos campaigns at featherweight and 130. Still, Judah did drop Mayweather with a missed knockdown off a right hook counter, so Money may yet get some good work in that area as well.
Picking Judah also leads me to believe Mayweather may forego the shoulder defense in favor of the high guard, which he used to walk down previous southpaw opponents in Judah, Mitchell, and Corley. If true, this will be exciting for viewers, since it does open Mayweather to be hit more, even if hes blocking the punches. The trade off is that it allows Floyd to work the right hand straight down the middle, and coupled with his other weapons like the left jab to the stomach, hes been able to wear out his southpaw foes in spite of taking some leather. See below.
This will be dangerous to do with a puncher like Pacquiao, but would keep the fight in ring center for the majority of the time (advantage Mayweather), and lower Pacquiaos opportunities to drive him to the ropes and work him over if he ran (advantage Pacquiao).
[Looks at calendar] Is it March 13 yet?
Ricky Hatton Thinking of Mid-2010 Return
Former junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton has been taking some well-deserved time off since his May knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao.
In a recent interview with the UKs Mirror, Hatton revealed that he was aiming at a return next year.
Ive not made up my mind for certain but it looks like I will fight again next year. Ive heard a lot of read a lot of speculation about my future and I have to admit there are some great fights out there, Hatton told The Mirrors Steve Bunce. Ive enjoyed my time off from fighting and promoting has been brilliant. People told me that I would get the itch when I was at ringside at my own show and they were right!
The junior welterweight division is now loaded with names like Timothy Bradley, Nate Campbell, Devon Alexander, and Paulie Malignaggi. But if he does return, Hatton is looking for his end-game to be a UK showdown with Amir Khan.
A fight against Amir would be an enormous fight for everybody in the boxing business, but I would have to be one of the promoters, he explained. I know that Amir would take the fight and it is something that I have talked about; its a long way off, but it could happen. Amir has his own promotional company now and that is all that would be needed to make the fight happen.
Id put money on a prime 2005 Hatton to maul Khan to an ugly decision win. But in 2009 Ricky has slowed enough where Khan would likely KO him. Hattons punch resistance hasnt looked strong since the Mayweather loss, and Khan is punching very sharp these days. Hatton should pursue Juan Manuel Marquez for early 2010 (if the lightweight champ will stay above 135), and then look for a Khan cash-out to finish the year.
Chad Dawson Looks to Jean Pascal for June Fight
Even with two recent decisive rematch wins over Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, light-heavyweight champ Chad Dawsons HBO run has so far not generated the interest many expected.
Dawson promoter Gary Shaw is looking to match his man with WBC titlist Jean Pascal, who is coming off a decision win over Adrian Diaconu.
The reason for the June target date is that Pascal injured himself during the fight and is currently convalescing following shoulder surgery.
After beating Glen Johnson by a wide decision in November, Dawson called out Bernard Hopkins. To date, the Executioner has scoffed at the notion due to Bad Chads limited drawing power. But the Philly legends options are limited due to the 1st knockout of Roy Jones earlier this month. This makes the Dawson fight, or a showdown with Jones conqueror Danny Green, possible options for 2010.
Dawson will be a guest this evening with my good friends over at The Boxing Truth (www.theboxingtruth.com) discussing his upcoming fights, and his desire for a passing the torch bout with Hopkins. Make sure to check it out at 9PM EST.
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Other Fight Results
– Edwin Valero (26-0, 26 KOs) won TKO6 over Hector Velazquez (51-14-2, 35 KOs) to retain his WBC lightweight title.
– Sam Peter (33-3, 26 KOs) KO4 over Gabe Brown (18-13-4, 9 KOs) in an 8 round comeback fight.
– Humberto Soto (50-7-2, 32 KOs) UD10 (100-87, all cards) over Jesus Chavez (44-7, 30 KOs)
Throwback Fight of the Week: Roberto Duran vs. Davey Moore (June 16, 1983)
With all the pageantry, colorful personalities, and voluptuous card girls, we sometimes forget that boxing at its core is a glimpse into the savage, animalistic urges for our evolutionary past.
No one epitomizes those atrributes more than Manos de Piedra (Hands of Stone) Roberto Duran, and his unmerciful temperament was on full display in this horrific beating he gave to young WBA champion Davey Moore.
At this time, there were whispers of Duran being washed up at 32 years old. After losing the 1980 rematch in disgrace to Sugar Ray Leonard for quitting, Duran phoned in lackluster performances at junior middleweight against low-level opposition. Calls for retirement grew louder after being schooled by Wilfred Benitez and upset by Kirkland Laing for back to back losses in 1982. But after a sensational KO of Pipino Cuevas in early 83, Duran was given this chance to win Moores WBA title.
With less than 15 fights, Moore was not ready for the beast that was in front of him. Moore was thumbed hard in the right eye in the first round, and over the ensuing rounds the eye would swell grotesquely, cutting off his peripheral vision.
Instead of moving like most Duran opponents, Moore tried to trade punches on the inside. Duran easily slipped the blows, and would drive home wincing hooks to the body and head. Moore was beat all over the ring, and hurt badly several times despite remaining upright.
The last two rounds were difficult to watch and dangerous for bleeding and swollen Moore. Duran added rough fouls to the mix, slashing Moores face with the strings of his gloves (lacing). Duran smashed home a clean right overhand right in the 7th. Moore crashed into the bottom rope, but beat the count. Neither the referee nor his corner stopped it, and Moore took another beating in the 8th and was nearly killed before the towel was finally thrown in.
The win redeemed Duran from his disgrace in the Leonard rematch, and made him the 7th man in history to win world titles in 3 different weight classes.
Duran would go on to face Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns in losing efforts the following year. He would fight on for an astonishing 18 years before retiring in 2001 with a record of 103-16, 70 KOs, and recognition as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Moore was ruined, but managed to post a decent 6-4 record over his final 10 bouts, one of which being a win over Wilfred Benitez.
Tragedy struck in 1988 when Davey Moore was accidently killed at his home. He was trying to open his garage door, but failed to turn off his car, which rolled backward and crushed him against the door. He was 28 years old, and his final record stands at 18-5-1, 14 KOs.