Ted the Bull’s Scotch and Cigar Club (Number Eight)

boxingBy Ted Sares -- ESB July 2009 Rankings Update --Hey, it’s club time so get comfortable near your key pad and monitor and torch up a nice Punch - Black Prince (Size: Ring: 46, Length: 143). It's not easy to find it as this marvelous stick will no longer be produced. Great strength and wonderful flavor. I shall miss these guys; good-bye to good friend. For scotch this month, I am featuring the dark and intense Lagavulin. Pungent and potent (be careful), with a richly peaty, deep, smoky flavor, it has an intense, long, ambrosial finish. Damn, it’s good.

In the background, I have Ronnie Earle and Bryan Lee doing their upbeat guitar thing. . I also have John Lee Hooker doing “Boom Boom Boom,” Buddy Guy doing “Slippin' In,” and Hound Dog Taylor doing “Natural Boogie.” Of course, any reasonable request will be entertained, though I’m partial to jump blues, West Coast Blues, Chicago Blues and particularly boogie (I like Mitch Woods) because they go so well with boxing and cigars..

Now then, speaking of boxing, I have listed a few subjects that might spark your interest, but as always feel free to inject your own topic.

1. What’s up with Kelly Pavlik?

I live in Youngstown. The only name here is my name and if I s**t the wrong way, it hits the paper. --Kelly Pavlik

There have been rumors of late but they have shown to be false. But that, combined with the stresses of fame, prompted The Ghost to visit a sports psychologist in Cleveland a few weeks ago. And according to the champ, that’s how the scurrilous rumors found traction. Enough said, my real question about Kelly is when are you going to fight again now that his June 27 title defense against former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora has been postponed?

Sure, a potential October fight with and win over WBA middleweight titlist Felix Sturm would go far in restoring some of the luster that Pavlik seems to have lost (Sturm has a July date with rugged Khoren Gevor that will be no walk in the park. However, what I’d much rather see is Abraham vs. Pavlik, for what once considered a somewhat routine Pavlik defense is clearly no longer the case. At any rate, as soon as The Ghost fights, the better to put rumors to rest.

By the way, Abraham beat a guy (Oral) who got careless and abandoned a strategy that would have given Arthur fits; namely, box and move and box and move, but Abraham is very strong man and has very heavy hands. Some say Oral was Abraham’s Gary Lockett; I say nonsense. No one knows how a an unknown guy will perform until he, in facts, performs, and Oral showed heart but he also hit the deck five times.

As well, rumors are swirling that Abraham can no longer make the middleweight limit and will move up in weight class rather than make a mandatory defense against Giovanni Lorenzo. That, of course, would cancel out a Pavlik fight but put King Arthur in a division where some serious money can be made. How about Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor for a “soft opening,” and then Andre Ward for something a bit more difficult. Consider the possibilities.

2. My Pound-4-Pound Top Dozen Right Now

I generally avoid doing boxing-related lists (except the ESB divisional rankings which are a labor of love) because at best they are simply a snapshot at a particular moment in time and are subject to constant change. Nevertheless, here is mine as of today:

1) Manny Pacquiao
2) Juan Manuel Marquez
3 Juan Manuel Lopes
4 Paul Williams
5. Bernard Hopkins
6) Shane Mosley
7) Vic Darchinyan
8) Nonito Donaire
9) Chad Dawson
10) Miguel Cotto
11. Jorge Linares
12.Celestino Caballero

Why is Mosley ranked higher than Cotto? Because he slaughtered the guy who butchered the guy who beat him, but he did this MOST RECENTLY. My guess is Mosley is fresher than Cotto and that's why I have him ranked higher--that, and the fact I saw Margo's ghost in his fight with Clottey. However, some might say that ranking between Mosley and Cotto could spark an endless debate with valid statements on both sides. Many contend that Mosley took the number one spot when he beat Margarito who had just taken the number one spot from Cotto--and Cotto has not reclaimed that spot yet though he's on the way--or so it would seem..

What do you think? How about a “better” list?

3. Golden Boy Promotions is Taking a Beating these Days

“Tito” Ortiz just took a beating from “El Chino” and many say he quit. Previously, Roberto Guerrero chose to have his fight stopped instead of going forward (though he later redeemed himself) , and before that, Oscar De La Hoya, unlike Baby Bull Juan Diaz, quit on his stool rather than go out on his shield against Manny Pacquiao.

I wonder if Golden Boy is pushing these guys too fast and they are feeling the pressure? Ortiz looked in charge of matters during much of his fight, but perhaps the pushback from El Chino together with the pressure of a hi-profile bout depleted his will. And what about Guerrero‘s inexplicable quit job?

As one poster from another site suggested (and it got me to thinking), has Oscar set the example that its ok to quit? On balance, I don’t think so because he himself was brought into pro boxing very rapidly after his Olympic triumph and he became a world champ very early.

And some argue that Hopkins is a GBP fighter who beat schooled Kelly Pavlik, Mosley just put on a Tour de Force savaging Margarito, and Marquez won with a great KO over Diaz. Also, they have promotional rights over Floyd Mayweather's next 3 fights as well as with fight of Juan Manuel Marquez. And there also is David Haye if he ever decided to stop talking and somehow manages to get into a boxing ring.

On the other hand, they do have to regroup around Daniel Ponce de Leon and Juan Diaz, and losing James Kirkland was major as I saw “future champion” written all over that monster.

So, is GBP really taking a beating or what?

4. The Jr. Featherweights.

Each club session, I like to feature an ESB Divisional ranking and I must confess there are few things I like better than to put together the ESB rankings because I love the research that goes into it (as in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, etc). This month, it’s the talent-packed Jr. Featherweight (122 lbs division. Here are the rankings as of July 1, 2009:

Jr. Featherweight (122 lbs)

1. Juan Manuel Lopez
2. Israel Vazquez
3. Rafael Marquez
4. Celestino Caballero
5. Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
6. Toshiaki Nishioka
7. Bernard Dunn
8. Rendall Munroe
9. Bernabe Concepcion
10. Ricardo Cordoba
11. Daniel Ponce de Leon
12.Jhonny González
13. Antonio Escalante
14. Kiko Martinez
15. Steve Molitor

Molitor was demolished by Celestino Caballero, but did beat well-traveled Mexican Heriberto Ruiz by SD in an IBF Super Bantamweight Eliminator for the #2 Spot. But I’m still not convinced. Meanwhile, Jhonny González keeps finding ways to snatch defeat from victory and keeps sliding down the rankings.

The difference in the top four is so close they could be interchangeable parts. Take your pick.

Your reactions?

5. Will Darchinyan ever fight Donaire again?

In boxing you have to fight the best to be the best and I just want Vic to know that this is the fight of my life. --Joseph Agbeko

I think after this fight they are going to change my opponent’s name to Joseph ‘Chimpanzee’ Agbeko. --Vic Darchinyan

I’m going to let him do whatever he wants to do in this fight because I can do whatever he does better than him. --Agbeko

I can’t spend my career just defending, defending, defending. I have to move up in weight and go after more titles. I have the power to demolish anyone. I’m going to keep moving up. --Darchinyan

I'm going to demolish him (Donaire) in a rematch --Darchinyan

Gary Shaw says Vic only wants the best fighters (guys like Arce, Mijares, and Kirilov). And maybe Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko with his 81 KO percentage also fits the bill, but the fight that has to be made sooner or later is against Donaire unless Vic can no longer make weight at 115lbs. But if Donaire can beat Rafael Conception at super flyweight in September, a catchweight fight at super flyweight becomes very doable. “The Raging Bull” is moving up to Bantamweight (118 lbs) where, if he gets by Agbeko, he will find several opportunities for big fights. But the ONE BIG is against “The Filipino Flash.” The best fight the best so let’s get it on.

As for “King Kong, he has an opportunity to restore some glory for Ghana (since fellow Ghanaians Joshua Clottey and Kofi Jantuah both lost recent bouts), but he has never been in with a guy like Vic before. Look for another savage icing from the Bull.

Meanwhile, in the battle of trash talk, Agbeko has little or no chance against the insensitive one.

6. R.I.P Alexis Arguello

Sadly, former boxing champion and Managua, Nicaragua Mayor Alexis Arguello was found dead in his home on June 31, 2009. Coroners were conducting an autopsy on the 57-year-old to determine the cause of death, but it appears to be a suicide. The Hall of Fame boxer Arguello was world champion in three different weight classes. Born in 1952, he fought 14 world champions and in 1981 he became the sixth man in boxing history to win a title in three weight divisions — featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight.

Known as "The Explosive Thin Man," he finished his Hall of Fame career with a 82-8 record and an eye-popping 65 KO wins. Included among his wins were victories over Ruben Olivares, Alfredo Escalera, Bobby Chacon, Rafael Limon, Jim Watt, and Ray Mancini. His first fight with Aaron Pryor will forever be linked to ring greatness and courage.

I remember him as a classy, humble and fan-friendly person who loved life, loved boxing, and loved his country--Nicaragua, for whom he briefly fought on the side of the Contras. Ironically, he returned Sunday from Puerto Rico where he honored the late baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.

Alexis will be greatly missed. R.I.P. Champ.

Visit the author’s site at for stories, photos, and cool music.

Article posted on 02.07.2009

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