Cheers and Jeers Around The World of Boxing

24.11.05 - By Gabriel DeCrease: Cheers to…Muhammad Ali upon the opening of the eighty-million-dollar civic-center that bears his famous name in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to functioning as an event/cultural enrichment center, the structure will display a large collection of memorabilia from Ali’s long and storied career as a boxer and civil rights activist.

Jeers to…Jeff Lacy for agreeing to dress up, alongside Joe Calzaghe, in the traditional garb of the British High Court Judges. A flowing red robe might have gone under the radar, but the long, powdered wig made him look simply ridiculous. At least the fight dodging Welshman lives under British rule. I suppose that makes his part in the charade seem slightly more credible. I know the fight is taking place in Manchester, and thus the stunt is topical, but come on, I thought this grudge match was supposed to be akin to all-out-war?

Cheers, begrudgingly, to…Jose Luis Castillo for finally beginning his campaign as a junior-welterweight. He is scheduled to square off against Michael Clark on December 17th. Clark has fought solid opposition on several occasions with mixed results, but is at least a decent tune-up patsy for “El Terrible” at 140-pounds. If only Castillo would have moved up in weight after his supposed lightweight rematch with Corrales.

Cheers, and then Jeers, but mostly Jeers to…Floyd Mayweather who looked speedy and strong as ever in his first fight at 147-pounds. He dismantled a decrepit looking, but still somewhat game, Sharmba Mitchell inside the six rounds. However, immediately afterward he opened his mouth and again made me start praying that someone knocks him off his feet and through the ropes in the near future. Mayweather exclaimed after the fight, “Zab needs me so he can become a millionaire. If Zab don't fight Floyd Mayweather, he'll never be a millionaire.” His reference to current welterweight king Zab Judah seemed to reflect post-fight dyslexia, as it is Judah who is at least as marketable commodity as Mayweather, and possesses a much larger fan base. Mayweather needs the fight every bit as much as Judah does.

Jeers to…Antonio Tarver for dismissing Jeff Lacy as a potential opponent for a future light-heavyweight brawl, and immediately shifting his attentions to an unlikely and far-off showdown with the once-great, now-junked Mike Tyson. I get it, money means more than credibility, but Tarver should consider that while Lacy’s stock may well rise exponentially after his unification duel with Joe Calzaghe, Tyson’s can only go down no matter what he does. Oh yeah, and Tarver never was a beast at 175-pounds, why does he think he can stand up with the big boys? Someone might remind him that playing a heavyweight in Rocky VI, and possibly getting over on a sixty-year-old Sly Stallone in a scripted movie scene, does not make him a heavyweight contender.

Cheers to…Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas for battling back from the brink and laying it on the line against one another for a shot at the WBA 154-pound strap. The old dogs have taken their licks, and it shows. The Sugar used to be in Mosley’s gloves, and now it seems to be in his gas tank, and Vargas is not very feroz these days. But nonetheless, Alex Terra Garcia seems beatable enough to get the two fan favorites hyped and hopefully ready to make a good fight.

Cheers, reluctantly, to…Winky Wright for giving Sam Soliman a crack at the big time. Wright is doing Soliman the favor that he himself waited so patiently for, and I have to respect that. Both Winky and Sam are nice, humble, respectable guys who are intrinsically good for the reputation of the sport. However, the fight promises to be a hesitant technical tangle in which Wright will shutout Soliman so completely that it will make us all wonder why we were glad he scored a match with Wright in the first place. Thankfully, HBO is giving this one away for free.

Big Jeers to…Chad Dawson and Ian Gardner for making one of the worst fights I have seen since Sam Peter pulled a John Ruiz against Jovo Pudar. Dawson is supposed to be the next big thing in the way of hard-hitting, all-action prospects, but for ten-rounds against Gardner he looked nervous, overly cautious, inefficient, and somewhat pillow-fisted. And Gardner fought as if he had been trained by petulant schoolgirls as he slapped and whined and made faces all night while avoiding the fight he was so handsomely paid to make. Gardner proved himself a sorrowful disgrace as he tried to quit every time he missed a big punch, or, gasp, actually ate some leather. Showtime gave us a farce and called it a fight; I sincerely hope Dawson and Gardner are now officially counted out of “The Next Generation.”

Big, Big Cheers to…Marteze Logan and Americo Santos for redeeming the Gardner/Dawson debacle with some spirited and unexpectedly exciting junior-welterweight undercard action. This fight found a well-groomed and well-promoted prospect, Santos, going up against an outlandishly busy young journeyman, Logan. Going into the fight Santos was 23-0, while Logan was 21-19-2. Logan had fought just seven days before, as a junior middleweight! Despite all predictions, the hard-swinging Santos was out-boxed, out-foxed, and somehow out-punched by the unheralded challenger in a fun and frantic war of attrition that went the bloody distance. Logan got a well-deserved decision and the viewers were given some comfort food to chew on while we endured the main event. Inerestingly enough, this fight would never have been televised if the rugged and often-ko’d Daniel Jiminez had not been forced to cancel his slated bout after his neurological tests came back with some red flags waving. It was great to see Logan and Santos take each other to task, but I sincerely hope Jiminez gets a clean bill of health after further testing.

Article posted on 24.11.2005

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