Boxing


The Sun Rises Again*: Boxing Commentary, Cotto vs. Mosley Preview and More!

miguel cotto25.10.07 - By Christopher Roche: 1) With all the talk about Kessler vs. Calzaghe and Hatton vs. Mayweather, have we forgotten about Cotto vs. Mosley?

After his war with Zab Judah, it is great to see Miguel Cotto step back in the ring so quickly against a top-notch opponent. “Sugar” Shane Mosley presents a host of challenges for Cotto, but many of the obstacles Mosley presents are similar to the ones I thought would carry Judah to victory back in June. However, on that great night in the Garden, Cotto proved to the world that his determination and body attack are formidable obstacles for even the most talented fighters to overcome.

How does a thirty-six year old Mosley overcome the ferocity of the mighty Cotto? At this stage in Mosley’s career, some of his best attributes are vulnerable to diminishment, i.e. his speed and athleticism. If Mosley’s skill-set is even slightly faded, Cotto will break Mosley down, just as he did Judah. If Mosley is on top of his game, and he can put his punches together and move with the speed he had five years ago, then he stands a chance.

Paul Malignaggi, who is a slick boxer like Mosley, proved that if one is willing to match wills with Cotto, there is a chance to have some success. Malignaggi originally planned to box Cotto, but the size of the ring, coupled with Cotto’s pressure changed that plan, and Malignaggi had to fall in and slug a lot more than normal. Despite Malignaggi’s lack of major power, he backed Cotto off several times, but Cotto kept on coming.

One advantage that Mosley will try and exploit is that Cotto has been caught in the early going, and he has been down. Mosley has a lot more power than Malignaggi, and he needs to get to Cotto early because Cotto grows stronger as the fight moves along. For example, Cotto was stunned against Judah in the early going, but he dominated the latter two-thirds of the fight, and he essentially achieved a cumulative stoppage through constant pressure, roughhousing, low blows and hard shots. Mosley, like Malignaggi, is a finesse fighter, but Malignaggi was a young, inexperienced fighter when he fought Cotto, and he fell in with the bruiser. Malignaggi paid a hard physical price, but he went the distance and won several rounds.

At 36, I doubt Mosley is willing to stand in with Cotto and deal with cuts, head butts, low-blows and hard pressure. Mosley will likely try and box in the early going, and if he has an opening, he will try to take Cotto out. However, if he is stymied in the early going, then Cotto will find his rhythm and take the fight over. Barring early fireworks from Mosley, I do not think this bout will have the drama of Cotto vs. Judah, because Mosley is not the wildcard that Judah is, but ultimately it will be a huge win for Cotto and his evolution as a champion will take another step forward.

2) Why is the boxing public NOT so hot on Taylor vs. Pavlik II?

After reading several comments and articles on various websites and blogs, I have concluded that the public does not want to see an immediate rematch between Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik. I cannot understand why!

Taylor vs. Pavlik was the best fight I have ever seen live. Period. The atmosphere was incredible, and the fighters fought their guts out with everything on the line. Undefeated fought undefeated. Champion fought number 1 contender. This was old-school, knockdown, drag out fighting. Both men should be proud of themselves, and the fans appreciated their efforts.

Despite the incredible show that Taylor and Pavlik put on last month, I am reading more articles about Pavlik fighting John Duddy and Taylor moving up in weight. What I have not seen is a major groundswell of support for an immediate rematch next winter or spring.

When Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez fought, there was a major clamoring for a rematch, and now there is a lot of support for a trilogy. Both of those bouts ended in action-packed stoppages, just like Taylor and Pavlik, so why is the public’s reaction so different in the latter case?

Boxing fans are a fickle bunch, and they should be careful what they wish for, especially when they wish against a Taylor vs. Pavlik rematch. While the Pavlik vs. Duddy match is intriguing, it does not have the dramatic buildup of champion vs. number 1 contender or champion vs. former champion, and most people think Pavlik will win the Duddy fight going away. I personally will not make a prediction in that fight, since it is far from official.

Against Taylor, Pavlik was only two or three clean shots away from being stopped, and if Steve Smoger was not the referee, the fight might have been waved off. The fans only seem to remember Taylor helplessly crumpled in the blue corner during the seventh round, but the second round could have been the end of Pavlik. Further, Taylor was ahead on all three judges scorecards, and he was way ahead on most ringside observers cards, including Bert Sugar and Kevin Iole. For some reason, HBO and the television audience saw it differently, but nonetheless, before the knockout, Pavlik was not dominating Taylor.

If Taylor and Pavlik fight again, then Taylor might be able to correct the mistakes he made, and he could defeat Pavlik, thus setting up a trilogy. Pavlik, of course, could weather Taylor’s storm and take him out again.

The only certainty is that if they do not have a rematch, then we will never know.


Fight I Would like to See and Why

Juan Diaz vs. Manny Pacquiao: After Juan recently defeated Julio Diaz, he called out Pacquiao. Juan may be a little too young and ambitious with a callout like that, but it would be great to see how he would fare against the super-tough Pacquiao.

Incidentally, this would be another installment of the Filipino vs. Mexican (Juan split much of his life between Mexico and the States) saga that is unfolding in boxing, and as long as they do not stage this fight at the North Pole, then it would be packed with passionate boxing fans. Nothing is wrong with that!


Quote of the Week

“You know, Mayweather turns down and says that, you know, he takes less punches and makes the most money, I mean well I feel like saying, well that's why no one comes to watch you, you know, because, you know, nobody likes to get, take a punch and get hit, but I think, you know, until the Oscar De La Hoya fight, I think you'd be lucky to catch, you know, maybe four or 5,000, 6,000 at Floyd's fights because his style is obviously different, the crowd pleasing style of all the fighters, but no, I mean Floyd is a number one fighter pound for pound on the face of the earth, and I respect him, and I've never said anything other than that. But, if, you know, I don't, I still, even with all his titles and everything he's won and everything he's achieved, I still don't think he's the draw in this fight.”-Ricky Hatton (Quote appeared from a recent conference call, published on eastsideboxing.com).

Ricky Hatton is absolutely correct. Heck, half of the reason I watch Hatton’s fights is to see his ring entrance and his fans go wild. There is nothing better than a down-to-earth everyman get the respect of his fans, and while Hatton has world-class talent, most people can still relate to him. A good guy who enjoys a pint is welcomed company in almost any household in Europe or America.

Moreover, Hatton can fight like hell.

Injustice of the Week I

The Kessler vs. Calzaghe fight will not start in Wales until the wee hours of the morning, because HBO wants to start the bout at 9PM Eastern Time (USA). One of the bigger fights in European history will be at the mercy of alarm clocks or all-nighters. I am betting many of the fans in Cardiff will have a few pints in them before the first bell rings. I just hope they stay up for all twelve rounds, as I am predicting the fight to go the distance. I am also predicting a Calzaghe win.

Injustice of the Week II

The injustice of the week II, albeit a very minor one, is that the Sergio Mora vs. Elvin Ayala fight was on ESPN Classic??? I did not get the memo, and I missed the bout, as I waited for the Alfonso Gomez vs. Ben Tackie fight to come on ESPN2. Incidentally, Mora fought to a draw. I guess he should have taken that fight with Jermain Taylor back in May.

Gomez struggled with Tackie, but he at least won the bout by unanimous decision. Gomez may or may not have won himself a decent payday with Chavez, Jr. The results were inconclusive.


Non-Boxing Thoughts

The New York Football Giants are heading across the pond to play the Miami Dolphins in London this coming Sunday. I will apologize to all of the British fans in advance because we are exporting one of our lousiest teams for this game, namely the Fish of south Florida. I am a third generation fan of the Giants, and I can say with pride that they will somehow find a way to make this interesting.

I hope all of the folks in London enjoy the game. With the dollar dropping so much, feel free to fly over here anytime to take in a New York Giants game in New Jersey (they do not actually play in New York). Beware that your trip from Manhattan to Giants’ Stadium may take longer than your flight from London to New York because of construction and parking nightmares at the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Welcome to New Jersey; be sure to purchase souvenirs!

Reader Submissions

Nick F. wrote in the following:

Enjoy your boxing column keep up the good work.
I take offense to the idea that The Sun Also Rises is "the premier novel of the 20th century".

In my mind, there are at least 4 American novels that are better, The Great Gatsby which is probably the greatest book ever written:
On the Road
Look Homeward, Angel
Catcher in the Rye
Lolita

My favorite part of The Sun also Rises is when Robert Cohn tells Jake that he is his best friend and it says "god help you, I thought."

peace.

The Sun Also Rises actually inspired me to go to Spain and attempt to run with the bulls. I vaguely remember toasting the statue of Hemingway outside the Stadium at 9AM with a beverage in my hand. That was many years ago, and no other book ever inspired me to go halfway around the world, so I have to respectfully disagree with Nick.

I will be taking reader submissions and answering them in this space. Please e-mail me at chrisrockk@hotmail.com with questions and commentary, and we will include as many as we can. Please include your first name and hometown for publication and type the word “Column” in the subject line.


*This column is inspired by the premier novel of the twentieth century, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway spoke highly of the sport of boxing, and he participated as both a fighter and a referee. Every other week this column will humbly pay homage to the man who helped glorify the fight game back in its early stages. With a little hard work, the Sun Will Rise Again for Boxing, as together we can restore the sport to the top, one fan at a time. Thank You for reading the column.

The next edition will appear in two weeks.

Article posted on 25.10.2007



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