Well, my speculative, reactionary (useless) post from yesterday is pretty much worthless now. As it turns out, the Brazillian criminal that killed Arturo Gatti was, well, his young wife and mother of his small child. Yeah. The details are starting to filter in about Gatti's death, and she's pretty much the only culprit now.
Amanda Rodrigues is apparently the only suspect in Gatti's murder, thanks to her inconsistent story, the fact there was no sign of a break in at the home, the blood on the purse believed to have been used to strangle Gatti, and the fact that the couple have a pretty rocky history together. The two broke up briefly this year, though they were supposedly reconciling despite their history of occasionally violent clashes.
I always kind of wondered how Gatti would adjust to retirement, and I guess now he won't have to.
He's been out of boxing for two years now. Arturo "Thunder" Gatti, one of the toughest fighters to ever step foot in the squared circle, has been found dead today in a condo in Brazil. Foul play is suspected. Gatti had been on a second honeymoon with his wife and 10-month-old baby.
Brazil is a beautiful country, but it's so fucking dangerous to go there as a tourist if you have any money. There are so many people just looking to kidnap and rob a rich Westerner. I have no doubt this is what cost Arturo Gatti his life. Recife, which is the area where Gatti was staying, is notoriously unsafe if you get out of the tourist areas. Even then, it's still not safe.
Arturo Gatti never backed down from a fight in his life. In the ring, he was the blood and guts warrior who fought until his face was hamburger, then he fought some more. I have no doubt he stood up to the cowards that were trying to rob him, and that's what cost him his life. Official details are forthcoming, but I can't see this brave son of a bitch going out any other way.
Thanks for the memories, Thunder. You left us way too soon.
Happy St. Patrick's Day from SB, myself, Irish Mickey Ward, and the Dropkick Murphys. One of my favorite bands ever, and my favorite boxer ever. Two great tastes that taste great together! Enjoy, kids. Tomorrow, the official update on the SportsBastards March Madness pool will be posted. Until then, rock out, possibly with your cock out.
As I mentioned in my last PPV review, I hate Shane Mosley.
Multiply that by ten thousand, and thats how much I hate Floyd Mayweather.
Yes, Floyd Mayweather is pound-for-pound the best boxer in the world right now, if not for all time, but he is also one of the worst fighters to watch when hes in the ring. If it wasnt for the amount of hype HBO puts out for his matches, I doubt anyone would bother to shell out the bucks to watch him.
Outside the ring, Floyd is a master showman; he knows how to work a crowd, he knows how to play up a fight, he knows how to promote himself to make people watch him. Unfortunately, all that ends the minute Floyd sets foot INSIDE the ring. Technically, hes got blistering speed and hes an effective counter-puncher, but these days, his style is more defense-based than offense-based. Even though he has 24 KOs to his credit, its been quite some time since Ive seen him actually knock somebody out. He prefers instead to go the distance with his opponents, relying on his speed and counter-punching to get him the win and only putting forth a minimum of offense when hes not taking entire rounds off when he decides he needs a break. I dont know if he thinks a longer fight is somehow more entertaining or if hes so damn lazy he cant be bothered to actually make an effort. Either way, a Floyd match is usually a snooze-fest. I respect the talent he has, but the fact that he doesnt use that talent to its full potential (especially when Im paying good money to see him use that talent to its full potential) annoys the hell out of me.
Tonight, however, Floyd Mayweather is up against Ricky Hatton, another undefeated fighter who not only can match, if not beat, Floyd in the speed department, but whose style of fighting is of the come-at-you-with-everything-hes-got-all-night-long brand, which will certainly put Floyds counter-punching skills to the test. If anyone on this earth stands a chance of knocking Pretty Boy Floyd on his ass and off his high horse, its Hatton. Rons more of a Hatton fan than I am, but if Ricky Hatton can get the job done, Ill love him longtime.
Fight Night with Jade: HBO PPV--Madison Square Garden
Let me get one thing out on the open right now: I hate Shane Mosley.
I hate Shane Mosley about as much as I hate Duke, Miami, the Dallas Cowboys and the Boston Red Sox, and all more or less for the same reason: because just about everyone else has them on a freaking pedestal, and they are all to some degree overrated.
It's not so much that Mosley isn't talented, it's just that I don't see how he manages to beat some of his opponents. Yes, he has quick hands, and still does even at the ripe old age of 36, but he's not necessarily a power puncher and he isn't always the dominant fighter in a match. In his first fight against Oscar De La Hoya, he took the decision despite the fact that De La Hoya had been the more aggressive and active fighter, and had set the pace throughout the entire match (and considering Oscar's tendency to fade in the late rounds, that's saying a lot). Oscar seems to have forgiven Shane, since Mosley's now one of his "Golden Boy" fighters, but I have not.
Ever since Vernon Forrest crushed him twice in a row, I have been waiting for more fighters to figure out what makes Shane Mosley tick, but other than a couple of losses to Winky Wright, he has been maddeningly successful. Tonight, Mosley challenged undefeated Miguel Cotto for Cotto's WBA welterweight title. Cotto has the power and the speed to beat Mosley, but his chin falls somewhere between glass and granite and he's shown in past fights that despite being unbeaten, he isn't unstoppable. Would Miguel Cotto make me a happy Mosley-hater or would Shane Mosley manage to annoy the hell out of me yet again?
It's been three years since Vladimir Klitschko suffered an embarrassing and career-threatening KO at the hands of Lamon Brewster. Over those three years, he's worked hard to repair the damage and establish himself as a champion in the making. Now comes the rematch with Brewster, and the question is asked:
Was this fight really necessary?
If Vladimir Klitschko wants to turn himself into a Lennox Lewis clone, the answer is apparently yes. Part of Lewis' champion rep involves beating the men who beat him first. (Never mind the fact that the reason he got beat in the first place was that he was too lazy to train properly for those fights.) Vladimir Klitschko appears to be trying to emulate Lewis' rise to championship by imitating Lewis, from hiring Emanuel Steward, Lewis' trainer, to adopting Lewis' habit of draping himself over his opponents to wear them down to taking on an opponent who he should have beaten the first time, but didn't. Whether he will become a champion of Lewis' stature as a result of all this remains to be seen.
In a sense. Lamon Brewster needed this fight more than Klitschko did. His career has been at a standstill since his loss to Serguei Lyakhovich and the repair of a detached retina in his right eye, and he needed to prove that he was still not a person to be underestimated.
Was this fight really necessary?
Having watched it, I can honestly say no.
It wasn't a bad match, per se. Vladimir Klitschko clearly demonstrated that he is not the man he was three years ago. He started the match in the center of the ring, determined to show that he was going to be in charge of this fight, and he certainly was. He very skillfully kept Brewster at a distance, peppering him with jabs before nailing him with power punches. He was in complete control of the ring action from start to finish. While Lamon Brewster was in good physical shape for the fight, he didn't appear to be mentally prepared or even mentally involved in much of the action in the ring. In the first fight, he had succeeded by putting constant pressure on Klitschko. This time, he seemed baffled by Klitschko's offensive attack and unable to mount much in the way of effective offense on his own part. His trainer, Buddy McGirt, dismayed by the amount of punishment Brewster was taking from Klitschko's repeated jabs, warned him after the fifth round that he would stop the fight if Brewster kept getting hit as he was. His words had little impact; although Brewster did appear to be trying to put up a fight, it was clear that he was hopelessly outmatched tonight, and, after consulting with his fighter, McGirt threw in the towel just before the start of the seventh round.
Winner: Vladimir Klitschko by TKO
Jade's Fight Grade: C+
As what seems to be the case with most heavyweight fights these days, this was not an exciting fight, and that was not necessarily due to the mismatch of opponents. Klitschko put on a very good performance in the ring, but considering his recent past performances, I was expecting no less from him. He loses points in my book, though, for using his "draping" tactic with Brewster in this fight. First of all, it was completely unnecessary; he could have beaten Brewster with his jab alone, there was no need to try to tire him out beforehand. Secondly, he looked damn stupid doing it; for all intents and purposes, it looked like he was trying to mount Brewster and get a piggyback ride.
As for Lamon Brewster, in both his interviews and his performance in the ring, he gave the impression that his focus seems to be more on keeping his brain cells intact than on being aggressive in the ring these days. It's an honorable goal for a fighter; after all, far too many end up either dead or drooling in a nursing home before they're 60, but you cannot expect to have a profitable career in boxing trying not to get hit. He should either retire and find a safer line of work or put together a better offense so he doesn't have to worry about getting hit in the first place.
Someone needs to punch the mother of newborn baby Autumn Sullivan Corbett Fitzsimmons Jeffries Hart Burns Johnson Willard Dempsey Tunney Schmeling Sharkey Carnera Baer Braddock Louis Charles Walcott Marciano Patterson Johansson Liston Clay Frazier Foreman Brown in the uterus. Twice. Possibly Ricky Hatton, considering the way he folded Jose Luis Castillo up like an accordion with a body hook on Saturday night.
Im a big boxing fan, but come on. I know its just her middle name, and lots of kids get two stupid middle names instead of one these days, but 25 middle names? Roger Clemens and the K clan are not amused.
Normally, Im not inclined to compare boxing to a horse race, but tonights HBO PPV reminded me of the earlier Belmont Stakes win by Rags to Riches; a stumble at the gate followed by a steady, solid performance and capped off with a spectacular finish. A record 20,600 people packed Madison Square Garden for this one, and by all accounts, they certainly got their moneys worth. It was also one of the bloodier cards Ive seen in a while. Anyone who says MMA fights are too violent would think twice after seeing this ppv.
As always, lets go to the card:
Ya gotta love the sports/drugs relationship; half the sports world are denying they're on drugs, the other half are blaming their shitty performances on being drugged.
Case in point: boxer Antonio Tarver, who now says the reason he sucked ass against Bernard Hopkins last year was because he might have been drugged. Apparently Tarver has a problem with the idea that dropping from 220 pounds (his reported weight when he appeared in "Rocky Balboa") to the 175 he needed to be for the fight might have made him slow and sluggish, so he had to come up with another reason he was dead in the water. The fact that the post-fight urine test showed no signs of drugs in his system doesn't seem to matter to him, either. He wasn't supposed to suck, so he had to have been drugged.
I don't know what's more pathetic: that he actually expects someone to believe him, or that it took him a year to come up with this.
I got so distracted by my email last night that I didn't get much chance to watch the fights on HBO, so I caught the rebroadcast this afternoon. On paper, this was one of those cards that has you wondering why it's not a pay-per-view; two middleweight fights, the winner of the first one becoming the universally-recognized number one contender for the title belonging to whoever wins the second fight. Did this card live up to expectations? Half of it did, the other half, not so much...
...because they won't stop talking and you can't understand a damn word they say.
Boxing wasn't saved tonight, but it's not dead, either. After months of HBO hype, the De La Hoya vs. Mayweather PPV proved to be more sizzle than steak, but what steak existed was decent. Let's go to the card:
Peter Manfredo Jr. vs. Joe Calzaghe, or a retrospective on reality TV
Reality shows are a mixed bag as far as sports are concerned. Aside from pure entertainment fare, like Pros vs. Joes, there have been two serious sports reality ventures, UFCs The Ultimate Fighter and Mark Burnett/Sylvester Stallones The Contender, both of which purported to either launch a new career or resurrect a failed career through the magic of television. Basically, were talking American Idol with full body waxing and more bloodshed.
Like everything else in life, there are two sorts of people. There are those that do something and sink or swim on their own, and there are those that sign up for reality shows, get lucky, beat up a bunch of no talent scrubs, and have success handed to them for their prowess at television games. While the alumni of The Ultimate Fighter have gone on to some level of success, the same thing cant be said for former Contenders (Sergio Mora aside).
Unfortunately for Peter Manfredo, Jr., Season 1 Champion of The Contender, Joe Calzaghe isnt an also ran club fighter. Joe Calzaghe is a world champion in the 10th year of his title reign. Hes got 20 successful title defenses. And apparently, hes more than willing to break his hand on the face of a reality show survivor, thereby delaying his chance at a superfight with fellow super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler.
Calzaghe got a hometown stoppage in the third round, after basically having his way with Manfredo over the first two rounds of the fight. Yes, Manfredo was stopping a lot of the shots thrown at him. Yes, I think the stoppage was premature. No, Manfredo wasnt hurt, but he wasnt fighting back, either, and Calzaghe had him pinned in the corner. While I think you could have let the fight run until Calzaghe finally got the knockout that was coming, its probably smarter in this day and age not to let someone get battered about the head and torso when theyre clearly outmanned, outgunned, and outclassed. Even with a broken hand, I dont see how Manfredo couldve recovered from the beating he was taking in that round, and even one-handed, that fight was Calzaghes to lose.
Hopefully, Calzaghe will heal quickly and we can get on with the serious boxing. While I like Manfredo, and while I did kind of root for him to do well, its obvious that theres a wide gulf between a reality TV fighter and the real thing. Guts can only make up for so much, and Rocky lost to Apollo in their first fight, too.
Listen, dude, I know what youre thinking. You see all these fights, and all these fighters as part of your job with HBO Sports announcing boxing. You look at the woeful state of the heavyweight division and you think to yourself, You know, old bean. These pugilists are woefully inadequate. We could vault over this barricade and give these scousers a right wallop on the coconut.
Then you have a hot cup of tea and crumpets and get your hair rebraided. But it's not that simple.
Floyd Mayweather Sr. has been called many things: Sugar Ray Leonard's personal punching bag, a decent boxer, an excellent trainer, a bad father, greedy fuck... Wait, did I say greedy fuck? Why, yes I did. Of course, when you want 2 million dollars to train your fighter to take out your own son for good, you passed bad father level into complete bastard.
According to Matt Miller over at Bad Left Hook, Oscar got sick of the greed. If you saw this in your USA Today a month back, Floyd wanted a lot of cash to train the Golden Boy to inflict a lot of pain on "his boy." Which yes, that's where that 2 million dollar figure comes in. If Oscar would've been blind enough to pay that, Floyd would've been the highest paid trainer in the history of boxing.
While I don't blame ol' Roger for wanting to put a beating on a punk like Pretty Boy Floyd (and he is a fucking punk), know your role. Oscar knew his, and he ended up calling upon the services of Freddie Roach. We know Freddie probably feels the same about Punk Ass Mayweather, and he'll put his greatest effort into getting Oscar into killing shape. He'll also do this at lower cost, too.
Floyd Sr., sorry about your damn luck. Maybe you get to be at ringside to get morbid pleasure out of seeing your disrespectful seed getting forced into retirement or retardation. But then again, maybe he'll squeak by to end his career as weak as he started it...
At some point or another in the layoff between 147lbs and 140lbs, Ricky Hatton learned to box. I know, I was surprised too, but he moved his head, slipped punches well, and stood back and picked at the stronger Juan Urango, using his handspeed to his advantage by beating Urango to the punch early and often. Ricky was never in any real danger, and he seemed to know this once he got a taste of Urangos power. By the same token, Ricky knew that he didnt have power enough to knock out Urango.
I guess, if I had to describe Ricky Hattons first fight at his natural weight class (140) since moving up to Welterweight (147lbs) to defeat Luis Collazo, Id use the word proficient. Hatton was proficient in his easy 12-round decision against Juan Urango, but not spectacular. Thats not to say that Ricky Hatton wasnt impressive, but not impressive enough to garner the kind of following his promoters seem to think hes destined for.