Thursday, May 17, 2007

Boxing Blogging Part I

I'm developing into a real boxing fan since I've been at Carleton. If Matt Yglesias can break from serious blogging to do basketball, and the LGM crowd has hockey covered, then why can't I do a little boxing?

Unfortunately, since I don't get HBO at Carleton, I'm pretty much limited to the Wednesday and Friday Night Fights cards shown on ESPN. So we'll start with yesterday's Wednesday Night Fights in Hollywood, Florida, which featured three televised fights.

The first pitted prospect puncher "Mean" Joe Greene (14-0, 11 KOs) against a journeyman veteran named Jose Spearman (27-12-4, 11 KOs). Both, interestingly, were Golden Gloves champions, but Spearman's career had not gone well--as Teddy Atlas put it, all his wins came against "C+" opposition or worse. Meanwhile, when he stepped up, he had been knocked out a whopping 7 times--a problem going against the undefeated Greene, who had the reputation as a knockout artist.

Greene was impressive, flooring Spearman in rounds two and four, but I can't help but think he should have gotten him out of there within the distance. Perhaps he was putting rounds under his belt against probably his strongest opposition to date. And to be fair, the fourth round knockdown, where he had Spearman seriously hurt, came at the very end of the round and enabled Spearman to recover in his corner. It wasn't a bad performance, to be sure, but if Greene really has the power people say he does, someone like Spearman should be hitting the floor and not making it up.

The second fight pitted Joel "Love Child" Julio (30-1, 28 KOs) against Mauro Lucero (42-11-1, 28 KOs), a former lightweight fighting the tail end of his career at junior middleweight. This is the third time I've seen Julio fight--the first being his upset loss to also-then-undefeated Carlos Quintana. Julio's been on the comeback trail since then, but the problem is that in the fight immediately following the Quintana loss, Julio escaped with only a tight decision against a faded Cosme Rivera, which couldn't help his confidence. His first round knockout of Lucero should help, but it's probably time for him to get back to more solid competition.

I don't want to leave Julio without mentioning Thomas Davis, the third fight I've seen Julio in (it came after Rivera but before tonight) and a fighter he dispatched in 7 rounds. Davis, an ex-marine, is a fighter who intrigues me, and not just because of his platinum pink trunks. He's currently 11-4-1 with 7 knockouts, not a particularly impressive record. But three of his four losses have come against very strong opposition--Julio, 21-1 Oscar Diaz, who later became the NABF welterweight chmapion, and Luis Collazo, who became the world champion in the Welterweight division before losing a pair of fights to Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley. Those are some serious names for a young fighter. Moreover, he has a no-decision againt dangerous Richard Guitterez (whose only loss comes to Joshua Clottey) and he owns a first round knockout victory over Kendall Holt, Holt's only loss as he gears up to fight for a welterweight world title shot of his own against Ricardo Torres (to be fair, Davis was getting battered by Holt before catching Holt going for the knockout). In essence, we're talking about at least three world-class boxers for a guy who has yet to break 20 fights. Davis is extremely tough, and I feel like if he could get a promoter who would develop him a bit rather than throwing him directly in with the lions, he could really blossom as a fighter.

Finally, the main event pitted Glen Johnson (44-11-2, 29 KOs) against Montell Griffin (48-6, 30 KOs). Both were former light heavyweight titlists who were fighting an eliminator to get a shot against IBF champion Clinton Woods, who took the title off of Johnson last year. Though Griffin's slickness let him a take a few early rounds, Johnson settled in and figured him out, controlling the entire second half of the fight before Griffin's corner stopped the fight in the 11th. Johnson's loss to Woods was a razor-thin split decision, and you know he's back for revenge. His come-forward, consistent style isn't exactly flashy, but it isn't boring either, and could make for a great fight against Woods, who has already fought Johnson three times (splitting the contests 1-1-1, this one is the tie-breaker).

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