This or That? A Boxing Dilemma

BY Steve Kim ON July 26, 2004
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If you want to watch both of the pay-per-view cards being offered this weekend, you'll need to pony up about 85 of your hard earned bones. On Friday night, Mike Tyson makes his latest comeback against hand-picked Brit, Danny Williams in Louisville, Kentucky. That'll cost you $44.95.

Then the next night in Las Vegas, at the MGM Grand, a jr. lightweight unification bout takes place when Erik Morales takes on Carlos Hernandez. Cost: $39.95.

Now, I know some of you boxing junkies are so sick that you'll get both cards. God bless you fortunate - and a bit deranged - souls. Not only are you true fanatics of the sport, but even more importantly, you have some disposable income.

But the reality is most of you won't be getting both - if any - of the shows that take place on back-to-back nights at the tail end of July.

So the question is: if you could only choose one show, which would it be?

OK, let's break this down:

THE MAIN EVENT

In Louisville, Tyson makes his return after a 17-month hiatus against Danny Williams. Williams is a heavyweight with a decent record at 31-3, but one of those losses came at the hands of Julius Francis. Yes, the same Francis who when he faced Tyson actually sold advertising on the soles of his shoes. Advertising that was displayed within a few quick rounds.

This fight is really for the Tyson die-hards who still believe that their man has something left. And for the general sports fan who doesn't really know any better. For them, Tyson represents their knowledge of the sport. Of course, you'll have those who actually enjoy the circus aspect that Tyson brings to the table. It'll be like poking their heads into the tent to see the three legged women or the man with no lips.

But it really shouldn't be much of a fight. Think about it. If Williams was really a threat, would he have even been given consideration for this assignment? Of course not. Williams has been imported from England to be cannon fodder.

On the other hand, Morales-Hernandez is a high-stakes dogfight between two of the game's elite 130-pounders. Morales has now won titles at 122, 126 and with his most recent win over Jesus Chavez earlier this year, captured the WBC Jr. Lightweight crown. 'El Terrible' is universally respected as one of the game's best pound-for-pound.

Hernandez is a tough, rugged, hard-nosed brawler, who solidified his claim to the IBF belt by downing Stevie Forbes in October. Two of his three losses came against accomplished fighters like Genaro Hernandez and Floyd Mayweather, where he fought gamely.

This fight could be a slug-fest. Both men have a habit of getting into action packed fights and nothing should change here. Morales, while the superior fighter, is now coming up to Hernandez's natural weight. 'Famoso' may not have the sharp, technical acumen of Hernandez, but he is the stronger fighter.

Either way, it has the makings of a memorable scrap.

EDGE: Morales-Hernandez

THE UNDERCARD

OK, here's the thing. Most of the time when it comes to pay-per-view shows, the undercard is inconsequential. Have you noticed that more in more in recent years the undercards have been downsized and downgraded like an internet stock? That's because promoters have found that most of the fans who purchase the big, marquee events, could really care less about who or what comes on before the main event.

But I figured for these shows, it is important to mention them. After all, those of you buying these shows are boxing aficionados. You guys are the type that will care to watch the whole show.

In Louisville, underneath Tyson-Williams, is a jr. flyweight bout between Nelson Dieppa and Ulisis Solis. Both guys are ranked in the top ten by Ring Magazine, but seriously, is this fight meaningful at all? Laila Ali, is also on the undercard and she's fighting another one of her over-matched and underwhelming opponents. Also, Randy Griffin, a pretty decent middleweight prospect faces Julio Garcia, who's been KO'd in his last two meaningful fights.

In Las Vegas, before Morales and Hernandez butt heads, we have a very interesting bantamweight bout between Rafael Marquez and Heriberto Ruiz. Marquez, the brother of featherweight standout Juan Manuel, has a pair of victories over Tim Austin and Mark Johnson under his belt. The consensus is that he is the game's best 118-pounder and some have him listed in their pound-for-pound listings. Ruiz comes in with a record of 31-2-2, and is on a strong run that has been punctuated with wins over Clarence Vinson and Ricardo Vargas.

This is a toss-up in my book. Marquez is the superior puncher, but he has been chinny in the past and Ruiz - unlike most Marquez foes - is not a guy who will be so small in stature compared to Marquez that he makes him look like a featherweight.

Also on that card, WBO straweight king, Ivan Calderon defends his title against the respected Roberto Leyva, who is former titlist and has consistently battled the division's best the past few years. Calderon isn't particularly exciting, but if you love the art and the craft of boxing, he's your guy.

These two title bouts have a chance to be very interesting. I think a title could change hands here before Morales and Hernandez unify.

EDGE: Morales- Hernandez

THE PRICE

Well, this one's a no-brainer in my book (of course, some of you will say everything's a no-brainer with me, but that's besides the point). Not only is Morales-Hernandez a superior fight, but it also has a far superior undercard - and it's cheaper to boot.

EDGE:  Morales-Hernandez

Well, there you have it, the scorecards are in, and it's unanimous. If you're going to get only one card this weekend, it's gotta be Morales-Hernandez.

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