Jade's Fight Night--HBO PPV, Mayweather/Hatton
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.
All that having been said, lets go to the card
Okay, lets get this said right from the start, the last time I saw an undercard this crappy was Floyds last fight against Oscar de la Hoya. Back then, I figured that the reason for the bad undercard was because Oscar the promoter was too busy being Oscar the fighter to come up with a good lineup.
Now I know what the reason is: Floyd doesnt want to chance anyone having a more exciting match than he does.
Great thinking if you want your audience to save their energy for your match. However, these matches were so boring that he would be lucky if they didnt all fall asleep or leave before his match even started. Fortunately, Ricky Hatton was gracious enough to provide us with his own imported cheering section, who were far more entertaining than anything going on in the ring.
Match #1: Wes Ferguson (17-2-1, 5 KOs) vs. Edner Cherry (22-5-2, 10 KOs) 2, 10 rounds, lightweight div.
Why this rematch was booked is beyond me: the last time they fought, which according to HBO was about six months ago, Cherry demolished the younger Ferguson. This time, Im assuming either Cherry was having a bad day or he decided to give Ferguson a break for a few rounds by playing hug-fest with him; the first few rounds consisted almost entirely of clinching. For his part, Wes Ferguson didnt even register a punch on Compu-Box for the entire second round, and didnt do much better even in the first.. Cherrys trainer was not at all happy with what he was seeing. His first words to Cherry at the end of the first round were, This is not what we trained for. Theres way too much holding going on.
Things werent any more pleasant for Fergusons trainer, Roger Mayweather (Floyds uncle and trainer), who could be heard hollering throughout the match, Keep jabbing, Wes! Wes appeared to be trying to comply around the third round, and it was somewhat effective; HBOs Harold Lederman had him leading by two points going into the sixth round.
However, in the sixth, Edner Cherry caught Ferguson with a left hook that knocked him off-balance, his feet tangled up with Cherrys and he went down. It was ruled a knockdown, but could also have been considered a trip just as easily, but for Wes Ferguson, it was the beginning of the end. With one second left in the sixth, Edner Cherry landed a second left hook and Ferguson dropped like a sack of bricks.
Winner by KO: Edner Cherry, 2:59 of sixth round
Jades Fight Grade: C
I would have scored this a B if not for the two rounds of hugging I had to suffer through in the beginning. When a fighter doesnt even register as having landed a punch, you know things are going to be bad.
Fight #2: Daniel Ponce de Leon (c.) (33-1-0, 30KOs) vs. Eduardo Escobero (33-1-0, 30KOs), 12 rounds, WBO junior featherweight (122lb.) title match
On paper, this had all the makings of an interesting match. Both fighters had identical and impressive records, with only one loss each. Ponce de Leon in particular has an unorthodox fighting style that he has somehow managed to make work for him. Escobedos trainer is Nacho Beristain, one of the premier Mexican trainers in the world. If anyone could expose and take advantage of the weaknesses in de Leons style, it would be him.
Unfortunately, this fight wasnt worth the paper it was figuratively printed on. Escobedo did manage to take advantage of Ponce de Leons habit of lunging and taking too big a step before he threw a punch. However, his line of defense consisted almost entirely of ducking down to draw punches to the back in the hopes of getting de Leon to have points deducted. Needless to say, not only didnt it work, but it was getting really annoying to watch. Im surprised that he didnt end up with points deducted himself for his efforts.
For Ponce de Leons part, his offense wasnt doing him much good, either. In the middle rounds, he began picking up the pace and increasing the pressure on Escobedo, and that was getting him some rounds, but he spent way too much time lunging but not landing anything. Add that to Escobedos bend-over act, drag it out over twelve rounds, and youve got yourself a seriously boring match. It was so boring, I actually dozed off through a good portion of each of the last four rounds, each time being jolted awake by the sound of my husband waking up from his own dozing-off and yelling Jesus Christ, how long is this crap going to last?!
The crap went the distance. The judges scored it 118-113, 117-111 and 118-110. Where they got those scores, I have no idea. You really couldnt have given either fighter that big an advantage over the otherthey were both equally bad.
Winner by unanimous decision (and still champion): Daniel Ponce de Leon
Jades Fight Grade: D
The fight was about six rounds too long, and just godawful. Nuff said.
This was about the point that Hattons fan club made their appearance. More on them to follow.
Match #3: Jeff Lacy (22-1-0, 17 KOs) vs. Peter Manfredo, Jr. (28-4-0, 13 KOs), 10 rounds, 170-lb. fight
This was Jeff Lacys first fight in over a year since his shoulder surgery, which not only repaired a tendon to keep his arm from popping out of the shoulder socket, but also worked on his rotator cuff. Between that and the inevitable ring rust, it was pretty iffy as to how hed do in this fight. He didnt necessarily disappoint, but he didnt exactly impress. I believe it was Emanual Steward who referred to him as a weightlifter with boxing gloves on. That more or less summed up Lacys performance; a lot of strength, but very little stamina and speed.
At least he had an excuse for being a little slow and not so effective, though.
Peter Manfredo, for all his Contender fame, has never impressed me much. Tonight, he somehow managed to impress me even less. He was performing in front of a crowd that was hungering for somethingANYTHINGto wake them up and get them psyched up. This was his chance to show people he was more than an ESPN gimmick. Did he rise up and take the opportunity being offered to him?
Oh, hell no. Instead, he decides to play the part of a minimum wage slave. His attitude and performance were that of a man who was bound and determined to put out only as much effort as was necessary to collect a paycheck, because he sure as hell didnt want to be there.
The fight was impressive only in that someone actually managed to draw blood. Lacy knocked Manfredo down in the fourth, but that apparently took his last ounce of energy, because he didnt land much of anything else in the way of a power punch the rest of the fight. A headbutt from Manfredo in the ninth drew the blood; it certainly wasnt a punch, because Manfredo wasnt throwing too many by then. By the last round, the two fighters were stumbling around like a pair of drunks, clutching at each other simply to stay on their feet.
Judges scores: 95-94, 96-93, 97-92; if Peter Manfredo was expecting a reward for his efforts (or lack thereof), he certainly got what he deserved.
Winner by unanimous decision: Jeff Lacy
Jades Fight Grade: C-/D+
If Peter Manfredo appears on HBO as anything other than an opening match on a three-match card, Ill be surprised. His performance wasnt even ESPN-worthy; Teddy Atlas would have ripped him to shreds. As for Lacy, this didnt do his career any real favors, even if youre willing to overlook the ring rust. Hes clearly got a way to go to get back to where he was, if thats even possible.
Sadly, the most entertaining part of the Lacy/Manfredo match was the Hatton fan clubs rendition of Hatton Wonderland, sung to the tune of Winter Wonderland, throughout most of the match. They were a lively bunch; they sang, they played drums and horns--hell, they were more fun than any of the undercard matches.
Has this review dragged on a bit too long? Now you know how I felt watching the show up to this point.
Finally, were nearing the home stretch
Main Event: Floyd Mayweather (c.)(38-0-0, 24 KOs) vs. Ricky Hatton (43-0-0, 31 KOs), 12 rounds, 147-lb. welterweight title fight
Someones 0 has gotta gobut before that, lets bore you some more with national anthems and celebrities!
Legendary 70s sex symbol Tom Jones does the British national anthemand all we can come up with is a pathetic Tyrese? What, Wayne Newton wasnt available?
Oh, wait, there he isalong with Helio Castronieves and Mark Cuban, all there to remind us that they were on Dancing With the Stars with Floyd.
Other celebs in attendance: Jude Law, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley, Will Ferrell, Mario Lopez, Denzel Washington, Wesley Snipes, David Beckham, Jeremy Piven, Gwen Stefaniand the two-headed beast known as Brangelina Jolie-Pitt.
Okay, NOW can we see the fight?
At this point, I was ready to throw things if this fight wasnt any good...but this was a damn good fight.
Finally, somebody got Floyd Mayweather to get off his ass and actually fight for a change. Ricky Hatton achieved something else as well; he actually had Floyd rattled right off the bat. For once in his life, he was up against a guy coming at him faster than anyone else ever had, and he wasnt sure exactly what to do about it.
Unfortunately, at that point Referee Joe Cortez stepped in and nearly ruined everything. I have never seen a referee micromanage a fight to the point Cortez did in the early rounds of this match. Both fighters were trying to work the inside game, which is more or less Hattons specialty, and Cortez appeared bound and determined to keep both of them, but especially Hatton, from doing so. He called timeout to lecture both fighters at least four times in the first two rounds alone. In the sixth round, he deducted a point from Hatton for hitting Floyd in the back of the head, even though the punch occurred at a point when Floyd was actually turning his back on Hatton, which is a trick Floyd likes to use just for that reason. Im not a big fan of all the trickery that is part of the inside game, which is why Im generally not a fan of Hattons, but when both fighters are equally using the inside game to try to gain an advantage, you have to just let them have at it. I was actually hoping that theyd both turn and deck Cortez and just finish the fight without him.
Referee interference notwithstanding, the fight was one of those that could go either way, depending on who you were talking to. Hatton was controlling the pace and more or less fighting his fight for most of the match, but his punches werent landing nearly as often as he was throwing them, and his eagerness to jump Mayweather often allowed Floyd to tag him with a straight right hand. Floyd, on the other hand, wasnt throwing quite so many punches, but those he did throw were clean and effective. In the eighth round, Floyd finally showed the world that he was capable of putting on an impressive display of aggressive offence, peppering Hatton repeatedly. He even went so far as to bring out his jab in the ninth, a punch he regularly eschews as if it was demeaning for him to even consider using it.
Hatton was still coming on strong, but it was clear that he would have to either somehow knock Floyd out or manage to dominate him so thoroughly in the final rounds that the judges would have to give him the win. His fan club was making some serious noise for their boy (you'd have thought the match was taking place in the UK, not the NV) but the To be the champ, you have to beat the champ factor was looming large. Add in the referee interference and the fact that Nevada judges usually have serious mancrushes on Floyd no matter what hes doing (or not doing), and the odds were not looking good for Ricky Hatton unless he could pull off a KO.
Unfortunately for Hatton and his fan club, things got settled earlier than they expected. In the tenth, Floyd landed a left hook that sent Ricky staggering. Unfortunately for Ricky, it sent him staggering head first into the nearby corner post, then down to the canvas. He managed to get up and take an eight-count, but it was clear that he wasnt going to last much longer. Floyd smelled blood, and he was more than willing to finish the job. Another flurry of punches sent Ricky to the canvas again, and Joe Cortez stopped the fight. One might have thought Cortez was a bit quick pulling the trigger, but you could tell from the look in Ricky Hattons eyes after the first knockdown that allowing the match to go on at that point was a matter of courtesy. He was toast, he just didnt know it yet.
Winner by KO (and still champion): Floyd Mayweather
Jades Fight Grade: A-
Great fight, but Ive got to deduct a little something for Cortez micromanaging.( Let them fight next time, Joe!) This is the kind of performance I have been wanting Floyd Mayweather to deliver, and finally he did it. Ricky Hatton did an awesome job as well, but in the end, his style of fighting was for once to his disadvantage. A little more patience might have brought about better results.
Overall PPV Grade: B
Awesome main event, but the crappy undercard matches cannot be ignored. If even one of those three matches had been impressive, it would have made the ppv a lot easier to sit through. Floyd Mayweather says hes moving on to promoting matches instead of fighting them. Ill believe it when I see it, but I will say this much; hopefully hell provide better undercards the next show he puts on.