Fighting Irish: Can Rahman Bear It?

10.08.05 - by Chris Ireland: Before you purchase Don King's Pay Per View card this Saturday, reflect on Lacy-Reid, or even think about trying to figure out Floyd Mayweather's future, check out this week's edition of "Fighting Irish." But before I dive into this week's big news, including thoughts on Lacy's performance, one quick thought. Why has it taken Joe Calzaghe this long to take a major fight? Sure, the undefeated champ took on the likes of Robin Reid, Omar Sheika, and Charles Brewer, but the Lacy fight will be his biggest event to date. A sad thing when you consider who he could have fought at middleweight (Bernard Hopkins), light heavyweight (Roy Jones, Glenn Johnson), or even in his own weight class (Sven Ottke). If he gets by Evans Ashira, I think he's in big trouble come November. Read on as I get my Irish up and take a look at Joe's future opponent and much more..

Lacy Destroys Reid: I, along with many other writers, predicted a tough scrap when Jeff Lacy met Robin Reid last Saturday. How could we not? After all, Reid had all of the credentials necessary to give a young, inexperienced champion fighting in front of his hometown a handful. He was tough as nails, packed a formidable, though not lethal punch, was highly skilled, and had years of experience against the best. What we would later find out is that Reid, though possessing every quality prior mentioned, isn't equipped with the kind of magical energy in the ring similar to Jeff Lacy's. Lacy is boxing's version of the Energizer Bunny, only instead of beating on a drum all day, the Florida native beats on his opponents. From the beginning of round one, Lacy begins throwing punches as part of a quick, violent attack, and until the final bell sounds, he keeps going, and going, and going...... Even if you think Reid was robbed when ref Jorge Alonso gave the hometown kid a bit of a break, ruling Lacy's shot on the break a knockdown AND taking a point from Reid for a headbutt, you'd have to be crazy to believe Lacy wasn't on his way to victory anyway. "Left Hook" is one of the most exciting fighters today with an offense not unlike a young Mike Tyson's, and is a serious threat to Joe Calzaghe later this year. Who do I like? Calzaghe's chin has looked shaky enough lately for me to believe that Lacy can stop Joe in a six round war.

Rahman vs. Barrett: While wondering if Vitali Klitsckho will ever emerge from the Ukraine to defend his title, Hasim Rahman and Monte Barrett will fight for the interim title Saturday. Yes, that's right, it's not enough that we have a thousand world champions. We also have to have interim champions. But when a champion is as inactive as Vitali Klitschko has been, injured or not, something has to be done. While the champ has been licking his wounds and dodging mandatory challengers, Rahman and Barrett have truly fought their way into title contention. Rahman, after losing to John Ruiz in 2003, has been one of the more busy elite heavyweights in the world, going 5-0 with 4 KO's. Barrett, after upsetting Domminick Guinn last year, took a very unnecessary fight against Owen Beck on the undercard of Judah-Spinks II in February. Monte overcame a serious cut and some heavy shots from "What The Heck" to keep his title hopes alive. In this one, I'll take Rahman. As time has gone on, Barrett's win over Guinn looks less impressive, while Rahman's new dedication to the sport was evident in his destruction of Kali Meehan. Rahman wins a tough struggle, taking the decision.

Mayorga vs. Piccirillo: Also on DK's card this Saturday is one of my personal favorites, Ricardo Mayorga. The former welterweight champ may have Nicaraguan blood running through his veins, but he's got some Irish stones. Not many fighters would walk into Felix Trinidad's backyard and dare him to hit them in the chin. Mayorga didn't hesitate. With a title on the line in a few days, Mayorga has brought his championship caliber trash talk to the table, claiming that he'll only need a round or two to take care of his Italian opponent, Michele Piccirillo. What's scary about this fight if you're in the Mayorga camp is that Piccirillo gave Cory Spinks a tough time in their two fights, and one the first fight via controversial decision. Spinks of course went on to defeat Mayorga for the undisputed welterweight title. This corner likes Mayorga because of Piccirillo's stand-up style, but "El Matador" may have left a lot of his youth in the ring against Trinidad.

Tszyu vs. Hatton Rematch Unlikely: If Ricky Hatton's trainer has his way, his fighter won't tangle with Kostya Tszyu in a rematch. Billy Graham has said that "A rematch is pointless." Pointless? Maybe I'm missing something. I was under the impression that Tszyu-Hatton has been one of the better fights of 05', shook up the boxing world, was worthy of the hype, and was certainly good enough to see again. But luckily for us, Billy Graham isn't Frank Warren or Ricky Hatton, so until we hear one of those two concur with Billy, take this with a grain of salt. (In case you were wondering, I'd take Hatton in a rematch).

Floyd's Decision: Winky or Zab?: Over the past week, both of Floyd Mayweather's ears have gotten a workout. In one ear is Winky Wright, a pound-for-pound elite who could conceivably beat anybody at 154 or 160, wanting a 50-50 purse split. In the other ear is Zab Judah, the undisputed welterweight champion, perhaps the only man in the world who's natural talent is in the same league as Floyd's, asking PBF to sign the contracts for a showdown later this year. If I were Floyd's matchmaker, I'd give Zab Judah the call over Wright. A fight with Judah would bring in plenty of money for Floyd and would put an opponent in front of him that's MUCH closer to his size than Wright. Though "Super" has elite speed, power, and defense, he loses his focus in the ring too often. No matter what happens outside the ring, Mayweather never makes that mistake. When Judah gets hit, he doesn't always take the punch too well either. Mayweather is fast enough to connect on the champ's chin, and I think he'd take a decision in a surprisingly entertaining fight against Judah. PBF has shown he's willing open up with more offense as of late, and that makes the difference against Judah. This subject was covered in my last article, and figures to be an ongoing drama for weeks to come.

Santos vs. Rivera: Showtime recently announced an intriguing 154 pound title match-up, when WBO champ Daniel Santos signed on to face Jose Rivera on September 3rd. Santos owns a win over Antonio Margarito, and looks to continue his unbeaten streak in title fights (currently with nine). Santos and Rivera aren't super stars in the sport, but are two very underrated, skilled guys worthy of a spot on Showtime. Santos' last major fight was last year against Margarito on HBO, when Daniel won a very entertaining technical decision after nine rounds. Rivera last made headlines when he was upset by Luis Collazo in April, losing his WBA welterweight title via split decision. Rivera hasn't been a very busy fighter, stepping into the ring only twice in the past three years. Santos is one of the more underrated fighters in the world, and will knock Rivera out in 9.

Article posted on 11.08.2005

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