Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

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It’s a double dip of rematches headlining the boxing weekend.

The main attraction headlining the HBO line-up features Miguel Cotto seeking revenge against Antonio Margarito.

With the historic rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico boxers already, and the history between the two fighters that even precedes this fight, this is a compelling rivalry that has developed between the two Top Rank fighters.

The first fight between the two was a classic championship welterweight bout that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada back in June of 2008.

Cotto started out strong, displaying his technical superiority in the early rounds but Margarito’s pressure and will overwhelmed Cotto during the middle rounds and well into the later rounds which ultimately resulted in a Tko stoppage for Tijuana Tornado.

This would result in the first loss of Cotto’s career, as well as physical and psychological damage that may be beyond repair as since the fight Cotto has not looked like the same fighter.

A trail of controversy has followed Margarito’s since his win over Cotto beginning immediately when he squared off against Shane Mosley in 2009. It was discovered by Mosley’s trainer Naazim Richardson, that Margarito was attempting to enter the ring in his fight against Mosley, wearing loaded hand wraps.

Many have suspected along with Cotto himself, is Margarito may have used the same illegal wraps in their bout.

No one but Margarito, his promoter Bob Arum and his trainer at the time Javier Capetillo, knows what really happened that night with the hand wrap situation. I believe this is probably something Margarito has been doing for a long time, and it wouldn’t surprise me if his promoter had prior knowledge of this illegal activity taking place.

Regardless, this is an intriguing match up because of the personal emotions involved. Neither fighter likes each other, they probably do not have any respect for one another, and this fight is personal on many levels.

HBO did a great job hyping up this event, with the Face Off and 24/7 episodes respectively, promoting this fight. Both programs gave an in depth view of the relationships of the fighters, the ups and downs, family life, training camps, basically the paths each fighter has taken since their initial bout three years ago.

As for how the fight will turn out, unfortunately both fighters are shells of their former selves. Cotto has not looked the same physically since his fight with Margarito, and has struggled against Joshua Clottey, got annihilated against Manny Pacquiao, and did not look too impressive in his most recent fight against a washed up Ricardo Mayorga.

Margarito looks like he is on the decline as well. After Mosley utterly destroyed him, he was suspended for a year and looked bad in his comeback fight against Roberto Garcia. Margarito was then steam rolled by Pacquiao, who arguably administered one of the worst beatings in Margarito’s career.

They have both accumulated a lot of damage over the past three years including in their own fight, and I do not expect to see prime versions of either fighter. Margarito also has an eye issue, a n injury he suffered against Pacquiao and I think the injury is worse than what the public was lead to believe. The only reason this fight is continuing is because of the financial implications behind the fight.

As for who will win, I believe Cotto is the emotional favorite, the crowd will support him being there is a strong support for Puerto Rican fighters in New York, and I believe many people sympathizes with his whole story. I am personally rooting for Cotto, but I think if Margarito has anything left in the tank, he has the style that will beat Cotto.

Hand wraps aside, Margarito’s physical and mental pressure wore Cotto down and if that trend continues in the second fight, I see the same result occurring again.

If Cotto is to win this fight I believe he should target Margarito’s body as well as his damaged eye. Cotto would also do well to clinch occasionally and not let Margarito get into a rhythm. Mosley effectively implored this tactic in his win against Margarito, and Cotto would benefit from this as well.

Like stated before if Margarito does resemble some of his old self, I do expect his pressure to overwhelm Cotto.

The promoter of both fighters Bob Arum has other plans, as I’m sure he is hoping for a Cotto victory so he can attempt to pull off a third fight between the two in the future.

Also featured tonight is the bantamweight championship rematch between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko. This fight will take place on Showtime, and while I think this is a great fight and have anticipated this rematch for awhile, I think the timing is bad and Showtime did a poor job promoting this fight.

The first fight between the two was controversial and a great fight overall in itself. I think both fighters deserve the distinction of having the boxing public’s attention and should have all eyes on them during their bout. That won’t be the case with Cotto vs. Margarito airing on HBO at the same time but be as it may, this is going to be a great fight.

The first fight between the two was action packed, and expect much of the same in the rematch. Both fighters hurt each other, with Mares stunning Agbeko in the opening round, and with Agbeko retuning the favor in round four.

Unfortunately, Agbeko was the victim of many low blows that weren’t called by the referee and that may have played a factor in the majority decision that favored Mares.

I do think Mares will attempt to apply a more defensive game plan, and fight a more strategic fight imploring his counter punching abilities.

On the under card of the Mares-Agbeko card is a bout featuring Vic Darchinyan and Anselmo Moreno. Moreno has the style to beat Darchinyan and is very quick, but the question is whether he is ready to step up against great opposition. Darchinyan charges forward and has the power to out opponents out. He is also experienced and very cagey. An interesting fight to say the least.

Back on HBO, on the under card of the Cotto-Margarito head line, features two rising stars in Brandon Rios and Mike Jones.

Mike Jones a skilled, undefeated, powerful punching welterweight goes up against former Margarito opponent, Sebastian Lujan in an IBF title eliminator. I expect Jones to overwhelm Lujan, who after this fight may have to settle for being the division’s gatekeeper.

Brandon Rios, childhood rival to Victor Ortiz, goes up against Manchester’s John Murray in a lightweight championship bout. It was to be for a lightweight tile but Rios failed to make weight and was stripped of the title. Both fighters are young, experienced and talented. Look for Rios to pull out a tough victory in a highly competitive fight, but his body punching will lead him to victory in the end.

From the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, to Madison Square Garden in New York, New York, coast to coast this is a great weekend for boxing.

Whether if you’re a diehard or a casual fan, you’re in for a treat.

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Last Saturday at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, thousands of fans cheered to the punches of rising star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Accompanied by his legendary father Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., and lead by hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach, Chavez accomplished what many thought he would do since the beginning of his career.

Chavez captured championship gold, in the form of the WBC Middleweight Championship.


Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

This can be perceived in many ways depending on who you ask or from which angle you are looking at.

A championship should be celebrated and recognized as a great accomplishment, especially at the highest level of competitive pugilism. But as HBO analyst Max Kellerman points out, “A championship belt is more so used as a promotional tool nowadays”.

Basically stating, Chavez hasn’t really done anything out of the ordinary, and many people including myself, agrees with Kellerman’s opinion.

Not to take anything away from Sebastian Zbik or Chavez, but this event is apart of something that has been in the making since the beginning of Chavez’s career.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has carefully guided the young star, bringing him along slowly and matching him against questionably soft opposition. This past weekend was the icing on the cake.

Zbik is actually a good fighter, but not good enough to be a threat and is not necessarily a dangerous opponent.

From the weigh in, up to the actual night of the fight, Zbik was the smaller man even being outweighed by at least fifth teen pounds by Chavez on fight night who came into the ring weighing 180 pounds. That’s five pounds over the light heavy limit by the way.

Zbik although having a stellar amateur background, is not a powerful puncher. Coming into the fight he was undefeated with 30 wins, with only ten of his victories coming by way of knock out.

Zbik also has a recent history of fading late in fights, as he did against one of his last opponents Domenico Spada.

As for the fight itself, it was an entertaining affair. It was the fast hands and seasoning of Zbik vs. the determination and body punching of Chavez.

There were some close rounds, and some were difficult to score. Throughout the fight, Chavez would land the more authoritative punches and Zbik threw more and landed more punches. Zbik out landed Chavez ten out of the twelve rounds.

A fight that was even extending into the championship rounds, Chavez gained momentum and pulled away towards the end.

It was the will, body punching, and weight advantage that pulled through for Chavez. He forced Zbik into fighting a bar room styled fight, and made life difficult for Zbik.

It was essentially a war of attrition, with the stronger, larger, determined Chavez prevailing in the end.

Going forward, if I was a fan of Chavez I would not be too optimistic. There is much room for improvement, and with three fights under Freddie Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, I haven’t seen much progress.

There were many moments in the fight, were Chavez looked like he was in limbo. He didn’t know whether he wanted to fight on the inside, or fight from the outside.

Ineffective from the outside, he eventually just settled with trying to make a it a war on the inside. The only problem is standing at 6’1” his height makes it difficult for him at time on the inside.

Foot work is another issue and something to work on in the future. It sets up offense and defense and will be a key component for Chavez going forward as he looked awkward at times in the ring.

Defensively Chavez appears to be very easy to hit, and is fortunate Zbik lacks punching power, because he caught Chavez with clean effective punches quite often.

Perhaps it is good fortune, or even better promotion and match making.

Going forward, many fans would love to see a match with Chavez and the lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

The fight would be a huge event and a major step up in class for Chavez. As mentioned earlier many fans and boxing critics would love to see this fight happen, but I have a feeling Arum has other plans.

Original Source:

A change of direction for Leo Santa Cruz

By Kirk Jackson: Leo Santa Cruz proved many nay-sayers wrong, improving his record to 31-0-1 (17 KO’s) after defeating former three division world champion Abner Mares via majority decision.

Serving as the headliner of an action packed card for the Premier Boxing Champions brand on the ESPN network, the main event did not disappoint, although the more eye appeasing fights transpired earlier in the evening.

Much of the talk surrounding Santa Cruz entering his fight against Mares was the scrutiny he has faced as of late because of the lack of quality opposition.

Suffering a similar fate like former lineal junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia and deemed a “Cherry-picker” by critics, Santa Cruz has fallen out of good graces with some fans. Prior to fighting Mares, the recent opposition of Santa Cruz was shaky at best.

Manuel Roman, Jesus Ruiz and Jose Cayetano don’t exactly scream murderer’s row.

Add to that, Santa Cruz is managed by the one and only Al Haymon. Anyone associated with Haymon for whatever reason, is heavily criticized and at times unfairly so.

There’s a negative connotation, as Haymon has been depicted as the bad guy of boxing, with all of his underlings (fighters) labeled as cherry-picking cowards.

In reality, Haymon and the fighters he manages are just like everyone else in sport for the most part. Al Haymon is not much different from Bob Arum, Don King, Lou DiBella, etc.

From a fighting standpoint, not everyone can be pleased, but from a style of fighting perspective, Santa Cruz initiates the action. Although lacking the punching power especially moving up in weight to score the dramatic knock-out, Santa Cruz is still effective and always in pursuit of his opponent.

He should be commended for that. If we analyze his career thus far, he can be compared favorably even to some of boxing’s biggest stars.

Santa Cruz may not be the superior fighter, but he has a better resume than the highly regarded current IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook 35-0 (24 KO’s).

It can be argued his resume is better if not on the same tier of Terence Crawford 26-0 (18 KO’s) and Gennady Golovkin 33-0 (30 KO’s) as well. And these are current world champions who can be found on any credible critic’s pound for pound list.

Santa Cruz has defeated six former or current world titlists; the most notable names include Cristian Mijares, Eric Morel and most recently Abner Mares.

It can certainly be argued Santa Cruz conveniently avoided fights with stiffer competition in the super bantamweight division.

Names such as Carl Frampton 21-0 (14 KO’s), Scott Quigg 31-0-2 (23 KO’s) and Guillermo Rigondeaux 15-0 (10 KO’s). All three aforementioned fighters are undefeated by the way.

But with the move up to featherweight, Santa Cruz can make amends in one of boxing’s historic divisions. After his initial splash against Mares, Santa Cruz can fight some other big names of the division and solidify himself as one of the pound for pound greats currently fighting in the sport.

The undefeated WBA super world featherweight champion Nicholas Walters 26-0 (21 KO’s) would probably love the opportunity to face Santa Cruz.

Add WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell 26-1 (15 KO’s) who is also managed by Haymon and WBO featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko 4-1 (2 KO’s) to the list of hopefuls in the Santa Cruz sweepstakes.

All of these potential match-ups can make sense financially and make sense from a crowd pleasing, competitive, please the fans perspective.

Which path will Leo Santa Cruz take?