The Week That Was (March 24-30, 2013)
Mile High and Bam Bam once again left fight fans hoarse, exhausted and as happy as co-eds at Florida Gulf Coast University…
Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Alvarado outboxes Bam Bam in an instant classic
After their second epic slugfest it’s pretty safe to say that anytime Mike “Mile High” Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) and Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) square off in the ring you can pencil them in for Fight of the Year. Yep, it happened again. Less than six months after engaging in arguably the best fight of 2012 (ESPN.com named Pacquiao v. Marquez IV Fight of Year), Mile High and Bam Bam once again left fight fans hoarse, exhausted and as happy as co-eds at Florida Gulf Coast University. This time, however, Alvarado’s hand was raised at the conclusion of the 12-round clash, as he was awarded a clear-cut, unanimous decision victory to claim the Interim WBO light welterweight title.
“The second round, in truth, was the best round I have seen since round one in Hagler–Hearns,” the seemingly ageless promoter Bob Arum told the media following the boxing porn fight fans were treated to Saturday night. Arum is often prone to hyperbole, there’s a reason why his company Top Rank Promotions has been a top dog for so many years, but it’s clear that this boxing war merits as many accolades and as much praise as can be heaped upon it. I’m not sure Hall of Fame writer Michael Katz could adequately detail the fierceness an incredible nonstop action that transpired over 12 hellacious, blood curdling rounds of world-class fisticuffs. But unlike the first fight, Mile High made a commitment to do something that many would think would be at odds with these fighters’ innermost cores—box. No, Alvarado didn’t turn into Pernell Whitaker or Willie Pep overnight, but he did do an excellent job of boxing on his toes and using his legs to move around the ring.
Alvarado didn’t begin the contest employing the technique of the sweet science; he started it the way he and Rios ended their first fight, by throwing bombs. After a thrilling first round, the combatants exchanged heavy leather in the aforementioned second stanza. Alvarado was forced to do his version of the Macarena when a left hand from Rios buckled his legs, before he quickly regained his composure. Alvarado got the best of the third round and the two continued to go at it, tick-for-tack, like Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in War of the Roses, minus the mutual hate. It was just short of a miracle they were both still standing in the 9th round when Alvarado began utilizing the “strategic movement” he said he and his trainer Henry Delgado worked on. As Rios continued to search and attempt to destroy Alvarado, the latter refused to allow Bam Bam to set his feet and tee off on him. By the end though, Alvarado’s face resembled a slab of rib eye usually held for display in window of Ruth Chris Steakhouse. Regardless, he had done enough to exact revenge and claim victory.
Immediately following the brutal contest both men were taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons. “Brandon gave me a shot to redeem myself,” Alvardao said afterwards. “I’ll give him a shot for the trilogy.” Don’t expect to see them face each other immediately, as Arum expressed interest in matching them against other fighters before meeting for a third time.
Crawford shuts out Prescott but fails to entertain
The executives at HBO Boxing After Dark must be grateful that the highly anticipated rematch between Rios and Alvarado followed this horrible fight, because otherwise fans might have changed the channel. Undefeated and immensely talented light welterweight Terrence Crawford improved his record to (20-0, 15 KOs) after earning a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision victory over Breidis Prescott (26-4 20 KOs).
I would attempt to recap the action that took place, but there was nothing notable to recap, and if it did I missed it when I feel asleep during this drab contest. One thing we did learn about the prospect Crawford is that he has excellent boxing skills and a high ring IQ. Despite fighting a naturally bigger man, Crawford used his timing and speed to get inside of Prescott’s reach, where he was able to consistently land crisp, accurate jabs. Prescott has above average punching power, but because of his subpar technique, he failed to land many, if any, substantive punches. Prescott’s size initially posed a problem for Crawford, but the Nebraska native took firm control of the fight and never looked back.
Prescott is a tough contender who will forever be known as the first man to beat and stop Amir Khan, and he’s usually in pretty entertaining fights. Hopefully, this was an aberration and was just a bad style matchup for him. For Crawford, his handlers at Top Rank say he will return to the lightweight division where his size would match up better with fighters there.
Salle des Etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Triple G obliterates Ishida in three rounds
Hopefully for Nobuhiro Ishida (24-9-2, 9 KOs) the flight from Japan to Monte Carlo wasn’t a long one, because it would be a shame if he traveled far to suffer that kind of a butt kicking. The machine known as Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs) racked up another victory, as the man many consider to be the hardest hitting fighter in the sport recorded his 23rd career knockout and 13th consecutive stoppage.
Going into the contest, most observers tabbed Triple G as a huge favorite. But despite his eight career losses, Ishida was considered a very sturdy fighter who had never been stopped. Ishida, unfortunately, can no longer make that claim after suffering one of the most brutal knockouts of the year. With the exception of his stunning first round blowout of then undefeated James Kirkland in April of 2011, Ishida had never displayed much power; he had registered only nine knockouts in over 20 fights. Still, for some unknown reason he felt like his best method of attack against Triple G would be to blitz the much feared puncher. Ishida and Golovkin started the first round exchanging power shots in the middle of the ring. By round two neither man felt the need to try to establish any semblance of a jab. Though Ishida was somewhat competitive early, by the middle of the third he was absorbing some serious damage. Then, with less than a minute to go in the round, as he was backing up from Triple G’s never-ending assault, he was laid out by a sick right hook. The punch was devastating and knocked Ishida out cold, leaving him sprawled on the bottom rope with half of his body still in the ring and his head on the scorer’s table.
For Ishida it was his third consecutive loss and he must reassess whether he can still be a serious contender in the sport. Triple G added to his growing highlight reel with this stay-busy fight, and he now waits for a high profile match he deserves in the summer.
Edwin Rodriguez remains undefeated as he cruises to victory over Maderna
Massachusetts super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriquez raised his record to (24-0, 15 KOs) when he scored a rather easy unanimous decision victory over the lightly regarded Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (19-1, 13 KOs).
Rodriguez kept his title hopes alive by outboxing Maderna over 12 one-sided rounds. Prior to the contest, Rodriguez was ranked number three by the WBC, WBA and IBF as his promoter Lou DiBella positions him for a mandatory title shot. Maderna’s limited skill set made him no match for Rodriguez, who defeated him using an educated jab and slick boxing ability.
Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona, New York, USA
Brian Vera awarded controversial TKO in aborted fight
Prior to the premature stoppage, Brian Vera (23-6, 14 KOs) and Donatas Bondorovas (17-4-1 6 KOs) put on a fan friendly fight at Turning Stone Resort on the latest edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights. Just when the action was starting to heat up, referee Charlie Fitch called a halt to contest citing Bondorvas’s impaired vision due to bleeding. The longtime contender at middleweight, Vera was awarded the TKO as he retained his number one ranking by the WBO.
Longtime promoter Bobby Hitz had the audacity to state afterwards that his fighter Bondorovas “had the fight under control and was cruising to victory,” even though all three judges had him trailing on the cards at the time of the stoppage. Fitch claimed he stopped the contest because when he asked Bondorovas between rounds if he could see, the Lithuanian native indicated that he was having difficulty. Hitz and Bondoravas’ people insisted that it was a misunderstanding on the fighter’s part because of his limited understanding of English. Based on the excellent round he had in the seventh, it’s hard to believe Bondoravas didn’t want to continue fighting. Vera created problems with some unexpected head movement early on, and reopened an abrasion on the bridge of Bondoravas’ nose that subsequently bled throughout the fight. In the sixth round, a Vera right hand opened up a small cut above Bondorvas’ left eye. Despite these obstacles, the Lithuanian arguably had his best round in the seventh. By then Vera had regressed into the standstill slugger, an accusation that has dogged him throughout his career, while Bondoravas’ right hand began landing with more frequency. It was, alas, too little too late, as Fitch decided to short circuit what was turning into an electric fight.
A rematch is warranted, but Vera’s number one ranking and a chance a title shot against WBO champion Peter Quillin probably rules that out.
Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Bellew and Chilemba fight to twelve-round stalemate
In a competitive bout fought at a deliberate pace over 12 rounds, neither Tony Bellew nor Issac Chilemba were able to claim victory in this WBC light heavyweight eliminator. The judges scored the fight 116-115 Bellew, 116-112 Chilemba and 114-114 even.
Apparently neither man will lose their rankings with the WBC; Bellew is rated the number one contender and Chilemba the number three. Chilemba, who is trained by former trainer of the year Buddy McGirt, used sharp counterpunching tactics to keep the aggressive Bellew at bay for the majority of the fight. Bellew fought before a huge hometown crowd, which despite their enthusiasm for the Liverpool native couldn’t will him to victory. The fight was so close that even Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn found it difficult to pick a winner. He did, however, seem a bit disappointed by his charge: “I had it very close. I thought Bellew could have done more.”
Telegraph.co.uk reported that the WBC could order a rematch in order to determine the mandatory contender for the title now held by Chad Dawson. Both fighters expressed an interest in fighting again, though Chilemba made it clear he didn’t want to come back to Bellew’s backyard.