Sunday, October 07, 2007

Boxing Blogging: "I Didn't See Nuthin'" Weekend

Hey y'all. Being at Carleton, I don't get HBO (much less PPV), so this is the time of year I don't really get to see many of the big fights going down. Which is a shame, because there are some great ones (Pavlik/Taylor, especially, was one I'd have loved to see). But I still follow the news, and I figure I'll give some quick takes on some of the boxing tales that have been washing up these past few weeks, starting with the fights last night.

Though Barrera/Pacquiao was the main event, the person who seemed to impress most last night was Librado Andrade (26-1, 20 KOs). Coming off his first career loss to Super Middleweight Champion Mikkel Kessler (who will attempt to unify the division against Joe Calzaghe in a monster fight later this year), Andrade was put down on the mat for the first time against Yusaf Mack (23-2-2, 14 KOs), whose only loss prior to last night was against current titlist Alejandro Berrio. Andrade, apparently, is built like a mack truck -- the shot that put him down was one that many observers said would have been a 10 count for most other fighters, and throughout the fight he was simply walking through huge punches by Mack. Finally, in round seven, Andrade's sustained, relentless attack wore down Mack, who went down three times before the fight was called off.

Also on the undercard of Barrera/Pacquiao was Steven Luevano (34-1, 15 KOs), who convincingly out-boxed a game Antonio Davis (24-4, 12 KOs) to retain his share of the featherweight title. Finally, contender alum and former titlist Steve Forbes (33-5, 9 KOs) scored a mild upset over prospect Francisco Bojado (18-3, 12 KOs) in a tightly fought split-decision win. This was a bounce-back fight for both men -- Bojado in only his third fight after a three year layoff after losing to Jesse James Leija, and Forbes after being absolutely robbed in a match he dominated against Demetrius Hopkins. Forbes fought this bout three weight classes higher than his title days as a super featherweight champion, and even in that division he wasn't known as a power puncher. But he's a very, very slick boxer, and got the better of a decision tonight that could have gone either way.

Meanwhile, in New York, Kali Meehan (33-3, 27 K0s) pounded DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson (24-5, 20 K0s) into submission, the latter losing when he didn't come out for round seven. Andrew Golata (40-6-1, 33 KOs) knocked out Kevin McBride (34-6-1, 29 KOs), apparently without ever straying below the belt. Good for him. But the real fight of the night was the "Nigerian Nightmare", Samuel Peter (29-1, 22 KOs) surviving a major scare against Jameel "Big Time" McCline (38-8-3, 23 KOs). People tend to deride McCline, who is now 0-4 in title shots, but I don't think that's fair. He has wins against some quality people (future champ Shannon Briggs, Lance Whitaker, Michael Grant, plus pumped-up cruiserweights Terry Smith and Rob Calloway), and some early career losses make his record look worse than it is. What is true is that McCline tends not to be able to finish people off. He lost to Calvin Brock in a fight he knocked him down solidly in the seventh. In his best title performance, he lost a split decision to Chris Byrd after putting him down in the second. He also has had his share of bad luck -- blowing out his knee in the third round of his title fight against Nikolay Valuev in a fight he started off strong in. And so, tonight, McCline continued his habit of hurting people and then letting them come back to win. He had Peter down three times in the fight, all prior to the fourth round, and had the champ badly hurt. But he didn't press the action, and faded badly as the bout went on. Peter ended up winning the fight unanimously, and even McCline couldn't protest, which shows how lopsided rounds 4-12 were. Fun historical fact: Peter's only loss was in his first title shot against Wladimir Klitschko, in a fight where he, too, put his opponent down three times only to lose the fight in a unanimous decision (by not winning any second of the fight where he wasn't knocking the champ down).

Over at ESPN, the Contender, Season Three is starting. It's an interesting batch of fighters -- definitely some of the strongest resumes we've seen thus far on the show. However, it's also somewhat unbalanced -- some of the fighters are significantly more accomplished than others. Sakio Bika (22-3-2, 14 KOs) and Sam Soliman (33-9, 13 KOs) would appear to be in a class of their own in this field. Also of interest: not one, but two of the fighters on the show are known primarily for being knocked out by Allan Green. Jaidon Codrington (16-1, 12 KOs) was drilled by Green in 18 seconds in the 2005 knockout of the year. While this made him a YouTube phenomenon for awhile (and not in a good way), I wouldn't make too much out of it. Anybody can get clipped, and even though I think he's mildly overrated, Green is still a fantastic fighter who is dangerous to anyone. Codrington has a strong amateur background and has won eight straight since then, including his first Contender fight against previously "undefeated" Brian Vera. The second fighter to be put down by Green is Donny McCrary (23-6-2, 13 KOs), who almost became known for scoring one of the biggest upsets in ESPN boxing history when he caught Green and had him out on his feet. Green went down, but managed to steady himself and rally for a 6th round knockout. Despite coming significantly closer to beating Green than Codrington, McCrary is without a doubt the inferior fighter -- unlike Codrington, he was brought in as a record padder for Green (he did show that there is no such thing as a guarantee in boxing), and unlike Codrington, he's really been regarded as a journeyman for the bulk of his career. Also unlike Codrington, he lost his opening bout in the Contender, getting picked apart by a far superior Sakio Bika.


Finally, I admit the whole reason I wrote this post was to have an excuse to embed this YouTube video, which, as BadLeftHook puts it, is the best fight promo ever.

The dolphin'll have to wait!

Game on, Ibragimov.

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