Monday Musings

15.12.03 - By Carl M. Rice, Jr.: Well, this certainly was an action packed weekend of boxing. On Thursday, there was Boxeo De Oro on HBO Latino, there was Friday Night Fights and Solo Boxeo on Friday, and on Saturday, Showtime Championship Boxing was on regular cable TV and, of course, there was the huge Don King Pay-Per-View card in Atlantic City. There were some lame fights, some action packed ones, and some upsets. I will get to all of this weekend’s action and my reaction in a moment, but I would first like to speak on the biggest upset of the weekend. I’m talking about the Audley Harrison fight...just kidding. I’m really talking about Mayorga v Spinks. I would first like to say congratulations to the new welterweight king. He was able to control the pace of the action for most of the bout, and for this he should be commended. But I have go to get this off my chest: Cory Spinks is the most boring fighter I have ever seen. He makes Chris Byrd look like Arturo Gatti.

There is a difference between boxing while moving and boxing in an all out sprint to not get hit. I wish that there were punch-stats available for the fight because all Spinks did was jab, wait about 3 seconds, circle to the left, jab, wait another 3 seconds, and circle to the right. I apologize to those who have not seen the fight because I just gave away Spinks’ actions for the duration of the boxing match. Mayorga did his best to try to force Spinks into some action, and sometime he succeeded in getting Spinks caught along the ropes and he tried to do some damage, but Spinks had his track shoes on and was ready to run away from any trouble for most of the fight.

Furthermore, I have a few questions that I would like answered: How can there be 5 slips by one guy and NONE of them are knockdowns? One or two of them seem legitimate. How can the referee, who seemed to be in Spinks’ corner all night, take two points away from Mayorga, one for hitting after the bell (which was not that egregious) and another for holding and hitting (when the replay showed that Mayorga did indeed hold, but threw the punch after he let go; there is a difference), but not take any away from Spinks for consistently leading with his head? While I’m talking about the ref, why wasn’t there a Spanish-speaking referee? The ref would give Mayorga warnings about something, and Mayorga would just shake his head in order to get back to the action; I’m not sure he completely understood what the ref was saying at times. Can a fighter win a fight moving backwards for most of the fight? I guess that answer is yes because Cory did just that.

Perhaps the most significant question is how can one judge have the fight a draw and another have it 117-110? Looking at the fact that the other judge had the fight 115-113, the judge who scored a lopsided decision for Spinks needs to retire or be forced to retire. I thought the fight was very close, but the feeling I get in this fight is the same I had after the Frietas-Casamayor fight. Had the referee not inserted himself into the action, the result would have been different. The most unfortunate aspect of all of this is that we will be treated to more fights featuring Spinks in the future.

Some thoughts of the rest of this past weekend’s action:

*Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Productions has put on some very good boxing shows. Very few of them have been easy fights for the boxers under his promotional banner. He appears to be one of the preeminent promoters after Bob Arum and Don King retires.

*Kermit Cintron’s fist loss will be by KO, and remember where you heard it first. I may be the only person who thinks this kid is overrated. I say this about “The Killer” because as I was watching his fight against Hicklet Lau, he was getting the bejeezus jabbed out of him. It was reminiscent of Felix Trinidad getting his head bounced like a bobble head doll by Oscar De La Hoya’s jab. If Cintron does not improve his defense and stop relying only on punching power, he’ll learn his lesson in a very painful manner in his first big fight.

*I was very disappointed with Fernando Vargas. I felt he could have taken Tony Marshall much sooner than he did if he had just gone to the body. He was doing him impression of Muhammad Ali out there, not with the fancy footwork and hand speed, but with anemic body punching numbers. In fact, I don’t recall him going to the body once, but maybe I blinked or something and missed it. If he is to return to boxing’s elite, he will have to step up this facet of his game. What’s sad is that Fernando used to be one of the better body-punchers in not only his division, but in all of boxing. His coming in at 160 lbs. also discouraged me. I suppose it can be attributed to his injury that initially postponed the fight, but it appears that he is several fights away from competing against championship level fighters.

*I don’t know what to make of Audley Harrision. It was obvious that he was in complete control of Brian Nix after the first 30 seconds of the fight, but for some reason he refused to go after his overmatched foe. Then, after blasting Nix out in the 3rd round, he seemed apologetic for fighting Nix. Here’s an idea: FIGHT TOUGHER GUYS! Nix’s last fight, which was only 4 months ago, was a 7th round TKO loss to Andrew Golota, who had been inactive for 3 years, so he’s then brought in to fight Harrison? If he wants to be taken more seriously, he needs to stop fighting stiffs. At 32 years old, his hourglass is quickly emptying.

*Zab Judah sure came out with a sense of purpose not seen since the 1st round of his fight with Kostya Tzsyu in 2001. He did exactly what he was supposed to do to a guy moving up in weight AND that had been KOed in 3 of his 4 losses. He was aggressive from the very first second of the fight and made his prediction of a 1st round KO a reality, and after 2 consecutive laxidasical performances since the Tzsyu fight, it appears that Zab is back in the house for sure, or as his rapper brethren Snoop Dog would say, back in the hizzle for shizzle.

*Travis Simms’ performance against Alejandro Garcia was stunning and impressive. This fight taught me a very valuable lesson: You cannot be articulate about picking fights if you don’t watch the tape. I thought Simms would just put up a good effort, but had I watched the tapes on both guys, I would have seen that Simms is quite a good boxer, while Garcia simply waits to drop the right hand on his opponents.

I felt that his being out of the ring for 13 months would work against him, but he came out very sharp in the 1st round. After seeing him pepper Garcia with straight left hands from the southpaw stance, I thought to myself “he can KO this guy”. I was thoroughly disappointed that Garcia did not go to the body effectively to slow Simms down, and that, combined with the fact that he was hardly throwing any punches, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened, which was a “tremendous” left hook, courtesy of Simms while Garcia was slowly moving straight back, looking at the referee to break them up. To Garcia: Protect yourself at all times. To Simms: Congratulations, champ.

*I received numerous e-mails saying how stupid I was for picking John Ruiz over Hasim Rahman, but the fight went exactly how I thought it would. Ruiz caught Rahman several times with the right hand and utilized a good stiff jab to work his way inside before clinching. Maybe this will force some people to reevaluate their opinion of Jones’ victory over Ruiz.

*A lot of people are going to have to make adjustments to their Pound for Pound list after Mayorga was upset this weekend. I want to be the first to say I TOLD YOU SO. I had been saying that while Mayorga’s two victories over Vernon Forrest was stirring, his fighting style did not warrant his being placed on the Pound for Pound list. Now those same people have to backpedal faster than Spinks did in his fight with Mayorga and will probably be forced to put Spinks on the list. After all, if they put Forrest on the list for beating Shane Mosely, then put Mayorga on the list after beating Forrest, their logic must be that Spinks is now on the list for beating Mayorga. If all goes according to the wishes of Spinks, all will be righted because if he fights the Sugarman, he will be removed from the list faster than he was placed on it.

*This goes without saying, but Bernard Hopkins is a great fighter. He completely dominated Joppy, and after the fight, Joppy made it known that this was his last fight. Hopkins was simply marvelous; he fought inside and outside with relative ease and reaffirmed his status as the best fighter between 147 and 175. He really has not showed any signs of slowing down, and this fact may prevent him from obtaining the big fights he wants in 2004. If he does not get those big fights, rest assured that it will not be Bernard’s fault.

*Chris Byrd did a decent job of commentating the fights, although he did seem somewhat uncomfortable in what I believe was his first time behind the mic. His performance, however, did make me realize George Forman’s value as a commentator. “Big George” says some bizarre things and he comes off as biased towards (or against) certain fighters, but his nuggets of strategic information will be missed.

Questions? Comments? Want to tape my eyes open and watch all of Cory Spinks’ fights? Please send e-mails to

Article posted on 15.12.2003

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