Tampa Bay Sports Day

Boxing Fact or Fiction

1. Gatti/Ward was the best trilogy of the decade.

Fact..With all due respect to the Vazquez-Marquez trilogy, there was no series of fights this decade that even came close to the amount of drama that Gatti/Ward brought us. It was not just the best trilogy of the decade, but it might been the best in the history of this great sport. These guys were true warriors and represented what boxing is about. No showboating, just fighting. The first fight of the trilogy was the best, and it deserves a place among the handful of greatest boxing matches in the history of the sport. Round 9 of fight 1 is perhaps the greatest display of toughness and guts you will ever see in boxing. Who could ever forget Jim Lamply yelling at referee Frank Cappuccino to stop the fight for Gatti as he was just being battered. But Gatti stayed on his feet and fought back to go the full 10 rounds.

The second and third fights were no different as they these guys continued to give it everything they had and more. The second fight was great because Ward wouldn’t quit even though Gatti was obviously getting the best of him. In third fight, Arturo Gatti broke his right hand in the fourth on a punch to Ward’s hip early in the fight which forced him to change his whole style. After the round, Gatti told his corner that he had broken his hand, but when his trainer asked what he wanted to do, he didn’t hesitate: “I’m gonna keep fighting.”

Marquez and Vazquez was great but two of those fights didn’t even go the distance. Ward and Gatti did not even think about givinp or letting the ref stop the fight. It’s pretty sad writing this because I just don’t think we will ever get as great trilogy ever again

2. Despite major successes and new world champions, you still consider Gary Shaw Promotions second banana to Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions.
2. Fact. .Gary shaw is starting to get up there but isn’t quite on the Top Rank or Golden Boy class just yet. Shaw knows his boxing very well and has got some great talent in his stable with the likes of Chad Dawson and Rafael Marquez. However, they just aren’t the star boxers that Rank and GB have. Sahw can put together the exciting fight but does not have the guys to put on a big PPV fight. He may have some champions but what does it all mean if people don’t know who they are? When I see one of Shaw’s boxers take part of a 24/7 show, then we will know that he is finally one of the top promoters in the buisness.

3. OK, I lied… there will be Pacquiao/Mayweather questions. With the bloodwork controversy in the press, you think this is a legitimate stumbling block, and not just “hype.”
3. Fact…This is no shocker to me that this fight is still not signed. But I never thought it was not going to be about the money. Mayweather and his father are convinced that Pacquiao has done steroids in the past. Floyd has said that the Phillipines is known for being one of the biggest steroid providers in the world. He knows this is going to probably be the toughest fight of his career and will do whatever takes to slow Manny down before the actual fight. I don’t think this is hype at all because people are going to buy and watch this fight no matter what. The hype has been there for months and Pacquiao and Mayweather should know that. These guys are the top two stars in the sport and just want to make sure  that one is not getting over on the other. At the end of the day, this fight will get it done because they just “ have” to.

4. Yeah right. Who was I kidding, Pacquiao/Mayweather-free… Anyway… Pacquiao’s slander lawsuit against Mayweather’s team has merit and should be seen through in court.

Fact- You can’t really blame Manny on this one. Wouldn’t anyone else in the sports world be upset if it happened to them? Manny Pacquiao is a very proud and respected warrior in the realms of boxing. He does not want anything or anyone to take away from his wonderful performances he has provided for boxing fans over his career. The Mayweather camp is trying to throw Pacquiao off with these false allegations. Manny should pursue the lawsuit regardless what happens with this fight. The possibility of seeing Mayweather and Golden Boy pay up to Manny would be pretty sweet for him. If Manny is not hiding anything, he should not hesitate to sue and really stick it in Mayweather and his father’s face.

5. OK, let’s try to get back on to other boxing… You think Steven Luevano can pull off the upset over Juan Manuel Lopez in their January 23rd bout.

Fact- If you asked me this before Lopez’s fight with Mtagwa, I would have said fiction for sure.  Despite the decision victory, his win was far from his most impressive. Lopez came within seconds of being knocked out at the end of the 11th round and nearly again in the 12th. Despite all that, he gained a great deal of experience in the fight and will come into his fight against Luevano as a smarter fighter. He needs to be that if he is going to win this fight.

Luevano is very skilled fighter who I feel will give Lopez a real run for his money.Luevano has been dominant in the Featherweight division with a record of 37-1-1 and is in a position where the most competition he can get is by facing an explosive smaller fighter who is willing to move up and try his luck in the Featherweight division.It should be very interesting to see not only how Luevano deals with Lopez’s aggression but also how Lopez deals with Luevano’s smart, tactically sound boxing.

Like I said, Luevano is a skilled boxer and will not put himself in any position to be knocked out and will make Lopez look  unimpressive the first half of the fight. I do think Lopez will figure out a way to get the victory but Luevano has the goods to pull of the upset.

6. Sorry, ok, last question about Testinggate… due to the drug test roadblock, Pacquiao/Malignaggi is being discussed. If this Plan B is signed, it would drop your interest in Manny’s next bout from MASSIVE to ZERO in no time flat.

Fiction- My interest would be right in the middle but leaning more toward massive. Anytime Manny Pacquiao fights, I am going to always be very interested when he steps into the ring. A fight with Malignaggi would be a very interesting and intriguing matchup. Paulie is on a real high right now coming of his impressive victory over Juan Diaz. The guy talks a big game and a  fight with the biggest star in the sport could bring us another side of Malignaggi we have not seen. He has also accused Manny of taking PED’s and you know Pacquaio will not forget that. I think the contrast of both these guy’s styles is fascinating to me and while I won’t give Malignaggi a shot, I think he could make it very entertaining.

Yuriorkis Gamboa — Prospect of the Year
Gamboa’s win as prospect of the year might be the most impressive of all the Scrappy winners. Prospect of the year had the most nominees of any category with eight and makes Gamboa’ that much more impressive in the boxing community. Can anyone really argue with Gamboa’s rise toward stardom this year? He had an impressive a 4-0 record in 2009 with 4 KO’s. He won the interim WBA featherweight title with the 10th round KO over Jose Rojas. In his last fight, Gamboa looked great in finishing off Whyber Garcia with a 4th round KO with an amazing combination of power and speed. The fight was on the undercard of the Lopez-Mtagwa ” Latin Fury 12″ main event but Gamboa felt like he should be the one in the main event. He might have had a case as Lopez struggled with a decision win while Gamboa dominated.  Gamboa has won his last six fights by KO and looks for a big fight with Lopez sometime during 2010. The sky is the limit right now at the age of 27 and the only thing that can really stop him is himself. His uniquely talent and physical abilities can surely carry him into greatness.

Top Rank — Promoter of the Year
Bob Arum and Top Rank had themselves as good a year as any of the promotions. It did not start of well as Golden Boy’s Shane Mosley totally destroyed Antonio Margarito. Let’s not forget about the plaster controversy involving Margarito which gave Bob Arum and is company a big black eye. But that sure looked to be the only downer at otherwise successful year for Top Rank. First off, when you have the prospect and fighter of the year in your stable, it does not take a brain surgeon to let you know you have are the top promoter of the sport. Top Rank delievered us the biggest and highest grossing fight of the year as Top Rank fighters Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto gave us a fight that anyone can get into. While it was a dominant victory for Manny, the atmosphere on fight night was something that Golden Boy could not deliver for the Mayweather-Marquez disaster.

Amir Khan — Comeback Fighter of the Year
Last September 6th, Amir Khan suffered a most embarrassing and devastating a loss a professional boxer can have. Going into a fight with Brendiss Prescott at 17-0, Khan looked to continue his promising young career with another win. However in front of his home country in England, Presscott murdered Khan by scoring two knockdown in 54 seconds of the first round and handed Khan his first career loss. Not many would blame if Khan never came back to be the same and we have seen many boxers through the years just tank after a bad loss.
But Khan wanted to prove he was different and came right back three months later to close out his 2008 with a second round TKO of Oisin Fagan. Khan would build off that win and had himself a nice comeback in 2009 going 3-0 with 1 KO. One of those wins came against future hall of famer Marco Antonio Barrera as he won a technical decision after the fight was stopped due to a horrific cut to Barerra after a clash of heads. It was a very impressive win and proved that the loss to Prescott was behind him. Khan finished of his comeback of 2009 on December 5th when he knocked out Dmitry Salita in the first round. Thanks to the comeback year, Khan may have earned himself a big fight in 2010 with one of the best 140 pound fighters in the world, Timothy Bradley.

Victor Ortiz — The No Mas Award (Most Flagrant Display of Quitting)
This may have been the easiest award to give out. Ortiz came into 2009 with high hopes as he was elected the ESPN prospect of the year for 2008 and picked to be the breakout star of 2009. His 2009 started out well as he fought his first bout televised on HBO

against Mike Arnaoutis. He scored a technical knockout of Arnaoutis in the second round, winning the U.S.B.A title and retaining the WBO NABO title. But disaster struck for Ortiz in his next fight as he took on Marcos Meidana.In one of the more exciting fights of 2009, Ortíz and Maidana were knocked down in the first round. Ortíz knocked Maidana to the canvas twice in the second round. Ortíz suffered a cut in the 5th round and was knocked down in the 6th round. The fight was stopped when Ortiz was taken to the ring doctor and elected to stop the fight. But it looked as if Ortiz and not the doctor was the one who elected not to continue.
In a most bizarre display, Ortiz said in his post fight interview I’m young, but I don’t think I deserve to get beat up like this. So I have a lot of thinking to do.” This is a fighter that was signed by Golden Boy and HBO to be on of their top stars. It just doesn’t seem like Ortiz has the courage to be a great fighter. He has been crticized by everyone in boxing from Chris Arreola to Max Kellerman. ” When things were going his way,  Victor fought hard. But his heart disappeared when Maidanatook his best shots and spit right back in his face. Great fighters show tremendous courage and resolve. They argue against a fight being stopped. Think about Diego Corrales screaming at the doctor to give him one more round. Think about how Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti fought their butts off just to finish a fight when a normal guy would have been done much earlier. The quitter label was always be on Ortiz until he can prove he has the heart in his next big fight.