12.06.06 – By Michael Montero: It’s that time again everybody. Whether you agree with me or disagree, love me or hate me, you gotta respect me because I tell it like it is… Finally a PPV card worth the money! I am totally opposed to battling PPVs on the same night, and I pretty much hate PPVs altogether – so why did I order Top Rank’s card this weekend? Because it was at a discounted price, $40, and it featured SIX bouts with young, rising talent – that’s why..
And for once, I truly feel that I got my money’s worth. I watched Pacman II stop Kevin Kelly with a vicious liver shot. I got to see a sixteen-year-old kid (Chavez Jr) beat up a grown man yet again – always fun. I saw John Duddy grow as a fighter in his toughest test yet, Tommy Z make his heavyweight debut in style – and of course, the main event was truly a thrilling affair.
Another pleasure was hearing George Foreman’s voice commentating once again, as well as the roars of a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd – and not having to see dozens of HBO, Showtime or Don King logos everywhere. Even though the main event really didn’t deserve PPV – the card itself was worth the price. Boxing promoters, managers and networks take note – when you want to charge us boxing fans for your “shows” – please use this one as an example of what works.
My first note on this fight is that the ancient dinosaur posing as a referee needs to retire as he’s either completely blind, or simply drifting off into senile dementia. Cotto repeatedly used head butts, elbows, forearms, rabbit punches and low blows to beat up his smaller opponent. He also showed that he wasn’t afraid to hit while holding Maglinaggi anytime the two fighters clinched. The referee should never work a professional boxing match again. I am sick and tired of incompetent refs and judges ruining championship fights – the promoters and sanctioning bodies do enough of that already!
Second, Paulie Maglinaggi isn’t a very big guy, and he doesn’t hit very hard – but for what he lacks in one punch power, he more than makes up for with his talent, quickness, toughness, passion and heart. The loud mouth trash-talking is just a show for the cameras everybody; we saw the real Maglinaggi in the ring on Saturday night. In his first fight on the big stage, he showed everybody what he is truly made of. He suffered a bad cut from a head butt in the opening minutes of the fight, and his inexperience showed as he began to panic. For the first few rounds, he was completely off his game plan, as it was clear that he was thinking more of his injury than the mission at hand. His sloppiness led to a 2nd round knockdown, and the end looked near, but he managed to recover and actually take the fight to the bigger man in the middle rounds. He stopped Cotto dead in his tracks several times, and even stunned to Puerto Rican titlist towards the end of the ninth round. At that moment the ref stood between the two fighters and broke them up for some reason – only he knows why…
Fighting through numerous injuries, and in with a power punching Junior Middleweight posing as a 140 pounder, the Brooklynite somehow managed to finish the fight on his feet – and earned everybody’s respect. It was clear to this writer that on a different night, without any injuries, with a little more experience and perhaps a different ref, Maglinaggi could have beaten Cotto. After the lopsided first three rounds, many observers (including myself) had the fight dead even – 4 rounds a piece, 1 even. This fight was close, it was competitive throughout. I personally would love to see a rematch, but it will never happen. This was Miguel Cotto’s last fight at 140 pounds – he’s on to bigger and better things in the Welterweight division (he’ll probably look for Ricky Hatton very soon). As for Maglinaggi, he will be a 140 pound titlist in the not so distant future.
Hopkins – a living legend
Say what you will about Bernard Hopkins outside of the ring, the man is truly a legend when he steps in it; and what he accomplished this weekend is the perfect way to leave it. I am not one of those who believed that Antonio Tarver was the best Light Heavyweight in the world coming into this fight. Even last year I would have favored guys like Tomasz Adamek and Zsolt Erdei to beat him, but he was undoubtedly a top five 175 pounder and the last dominant one. For Bernard Hopkins, at 41 no less, to move up TWO weight divisions and dominate Tarver is simply incredible (he clearly won 10 of 12 rounds). “B-Hop” should walk into the sunset now off of this dominant victory; he has nothing left to prove.
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