The Week That Was (Nov. 26 – Dec. 2, 2012)
Richard Schaefer said Cotto could still be a viable challenger for Canelo Alvarez. After losing two straight bouts, Miguel Cotto doesn’t deserve that fight…
AINTREE EQUESTRIAN CENTRE, LIVERPOOL, MERSEYSIDE, UNITED KINGDOM
Skelton or skeleton the outcome would’ve been the same
Matt Skelton (28-7, 23 KOs) wasn’t expected to fare well against undefeated heavyweight contender David Price (15-0, 13 KOs) and he lived down to those expectations on Friday night in Liverpool.
Price retained his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles by dispatching the faded former title challenger Skelton in two unspectacular rounds. After Skelton resorted to using his head as a weapon in the first round, once he realized his fists wouldn’t be enough, Price wisely attacked the flabby body of the 45-year-old Skelton, stopping him at 2:56 of the second round.
Skelton, who had been on a five-bout winning streak, albeit it against sub-par opposition, needs to hang up the gloves—but don’t be surprised if he continues to serve as a gatekeeper for young fighters. Price appears to be headed for a match with a past-his-prime Tony Thompson, in an attempt to prepare himself to get knocked out, I mean challenge a Klitschko for a title in 2013.
ODYSSEY ARENA, BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND, UNITED KINGDOM
Fury fights with little furor
“Not one time did he come out with that anger and aggression and towards the end it got very boring,” Kevin Johnson (28-3, 13 KOs) told reporters following his 12-round unanimous decision loss to Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. Johnson’s statement was off a little, because he should have said the fight was boring from the first round.
“Credit Kevin Johnson, he’s a slippery, slippery guy and I never went in to knock him out.” Fury said to anyone listening who hadn’t fallen asleep during the unwatchable fight. Johnson is best known for talking a lot crap before his fight with Vitali Klitschko in 2009, then going into the ring and putting on a putrid, uninspiring performance over 12 lopsided rounds. Once again Johnson talked a lot of smack about his opponent, and once again he did absolutely nothing inside the ring. Fury, who’s been labeled as the next great heavyweight by his promoter Mick Hennessy, was supposed to be a fighter who is guaranteed to put on an entertaining performance. Unfortunately for boxing fans, he was more than content to stink out the joint and get the easy victory. The less said about the lack of action in the ring the better.
Kevin Johnson will probably beat up a bunch of nobodies and run his mouth until he gets another shot a title, then once again turn in a pathetic performance. With the victory Fury is now the WBC number one contender for Vitali Klitschko’s belt. At 6’9” and 248 lbs., Fury on paper looks like a good matchup for Vitali, but his performance Saturday night won’t lead anyone to believe he has a chance at unseating the champion.
BB&T CENTER, SUNRISE, FLORIDA, USA
Little Tyson comes up small
Joan “Little Tyson” Guzman (33-1, 20 KOs) was once a talented and highly touted fighter thought capable of reaching the upper echelon of the sport. But now, at the age of 36, and following a disappointing eight-round technical decision loss at the hands of Khabib Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8 KOs), the chances of that happening are slim to none.
Guzman, who had compiled an undefeated record over a 15-year career, was handed his first loss when he was unable to continue fighting due to a litany of injuries. At the time of the stoppage, midway through the eighth round, two of the judges had Allakhverdiev ahead on their scorecards 76-75, with Guzman leading on the third judge’s card 76-75. Early in his career Guzman earned the nickname “Little Tyson” as he racked up one scintillating knockout after the other; however, he failed to display any of that power in this bout. Allakhverdiev took the fight to Guzman from round one and got the better of the exchanges throughout the night. In the third round the only non-injury related knockdown of the night occurred when Allakhverdiev landed two piston-like right hands that dropped Guzman to the canvas.
With the win the undefeated Allakhverdiev captured the vacant WBA super-lightweight title and sets himself up for a potential marquee fight in the talent rich division. Guzman and his promoter Acquinity Sports are requesting a rematch, and have indicated if that isn’t granted they will petition the WBA for a mandated one.
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NEW YORK, NEW YORK (Observations from Ringside)
Trout upsets the Big Apple cart
I’ll say it here first. I was wrong. In my pre-fight prediction I said, “I want to pick Austin Trout to win.” I didn’t because his history hadn’t shown me that he had the intestinal fortitude to capture a decisive win in Cotto’s adopted hometown of New York City. On Saturday night Trout made history by handing Cotto his first loss in New York in 10 fights, winning a lopsided decision by scores of 117-111 twice and 119-109.
“Cotto, Cotto, Cotto” were the familiar chants that greeted the Puerto Rican legend when he entered the arena to 13,000-plus fervent fans. The crowd turnout wasn’t as big as it has been for Cotto’s previous high profile fights at MSG, but the fans that turned out couldn’t have been more boisterous. As could be expected, Trout received a much less affable reception.
When the fighters stood face-to-face before the opening bell it was impossible to not notice the size advantage that Trout had. As the fight progressed, Trout seemingly grew not only in terms of his ring prowess but also in terms of physical stature. The excellent jab that Cotto used to establish a good rhythm in his previous fight with Floyd Mayweather was largely missing from this bout. Cotto was able to back up Trout in the early rounds as he targeted Trout’s head and midsection. Despite his constant pressure, however, Trout always remained calm in the face of adversity. Cotto repeatedly tried to back him against the ropes, but his nifty footwork always got him out of harm’s way. The crowd at the Garden was often silenced by Trout’s accurate punches, which increasingly took their toll on the game challenger.
Midway through the fight most ringside press had Cotto ahead. That’s when the champion Trout began to enforce his will. Cotto had stopped bouncing around on his toes and started to look very weary. The bigger man’s shots were clearly taking their toll. By the 11th and 12th round Trout was landing head-rocking uppercuts and an assortment of power shots.
At the conclusion of the fight it was clear to all who watched at press row that Trout had done enough to retain his title. It was just a matter of whether the judges would give the rightful man the decision. Much to the surprise of many, all three judges scored the fight for Trout.
Kudos to the Puerto Rican star for taking on a talented albeit unknown fighter. Where Cotto goes from here is anyone’s guess. There’s the possibility of retirement but Cotto indicated that he didn’t think he wanted to leave the sport in this fashion. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said he could still be a viable challenger for Mexican star Canelo Alvarez. After losing two straight bouts, Miguel Cotto doesn’t deserve that fight. Austin Trout certainly does, but it’s unlikely Canelo’s handlers will match him with the difficult southpaw. Hopefully Trout will get a chance to further unify the titles by facing current IBF titleholder Cornelius Bundrage.
Showtime must do better
Jayson Velez (20-0, 15 KOs) is one of the most talented prospects in the sport today and Salvador Sanchez II (30-5, 18 KOs) is a gimmick. When you put the two together you get this kind of result.
Velez stopped Sanchez in three utterly dominant rounds on the undercard of Trout vs. Cotto. How this bout garnered this kind of stature is a question that needs to be asked of the Showtime programmers. The most interesting thing about the fight was watching Sanchez’s Afro rock back and forth as Velez repeatedly hit him with every punch he threw. Sanchez’s claim to fame is that he’s the nephew of legendary Mexican fighter Salvador Sanchez. Sanchez was down in the second round and then again in the third before the referee graciously stepped in to save him—and us—from further punishment.
Velez is in line to face hard-nosed veteran and WBC titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in what on paper promises to be an appealing fight. With his fan-friendly style and huge support from his Puerto Rican countrymen he could position himself as a star attraction in the sport.
A mismatch on paper leads to a mismatch in the ring
I like middleweight contender Danny Jacobs (24-1, 21 KOs) and I think he’s one of the bright young stars in this sport. I would like to see more of him in the ring, just not against the Chris Fitzpatricks (15-3, 6 KOs) of the world.
Fitzpatrick’s corner waived the white flag between the fifth and sixth rounds after their fighter barely made it to the corner. The gap in talent between the two was huge as Jacobs beat Fitzpatrick from ringpost to ringpost with a sustained assortment of vicious head shots. Fitzpatrick clearly had no answer for the former title challenger and spent most of the night in a defensive posture.
Jacobs got a very warm reception from the hometown crowd before his second fight following a hiatus due to a much-publicized battle with cancer. He will return to action on the undercard of Danny Garcia vs. Zab Judah on February 9th at the Barclays Arena. Let’s hope the next time he fights it’s against someone with a fighting chance.