It as quite fitting that on Thanksgiving weekend, as so many fortunate souls in the US added another inch on to their waistline, as they tucked into a plethora of leftover goodies from the holiday, us boxing fans enjoyed an embarrassment of riches on the tube.
The premium cablers offered up dueling cards, with HBO getting the nod, with their presentation of the masterful Mexican, Juan Manuel Marquez, who had to work his tail off to shoot down the challenge of the inspired Aussie, Michael Katsidis. They got an extra couple of points for showing Jason Litzaus shocker UD over Celestino Caballero, while fans of the brutal KO had their mouths watering at Andre Bertos perfect putdown of overmatched Freddy Hernandez.
No offense to Showtime...its not like they served up a bone dry turkey, lumpy gravy and burned crescent rolls. You had to admire Carl Frochs precise work against Arthur Abraham, who looked like he was in a tryptophan coma in the Super Six showdown. Andre Ward didnt leap up the P4P ladder with his win over mauling brawler Sakio Bika, but the revelation that his left index finger was busted going in to the bout helps us understand why he didnt use his jab to keep the Cameroonian from mugging him, round after round.
TSS Universe weighed in, with their typical salient points, offering the take of the average ultra informed Joe, and shared their thoughts on JMMs outing, the prospects for a third tangle with Pacquiao and much, much more. With a month to go in the year 2010, its looking like reader Brownsugar is out in front of the pack for TSS Reader of the Year, by the way. This is the top 12, in honor of the number of pieces of pecan and apple pie Ive eaten since Thursday.
12) Isaiah: I know one thing. Just because Andre Berto destroys a bum with a pretty record does not mean he beats Manny Pacquiao, but I still want to see that fight. Bertos youth, speed and slick style just may give Manny enough problems to wake him up out of this trance of beating on slow moving, coming forward giants. To be noted though, Miguel Cotto was and still is a good win no matter how you slice it and the size difference between Manny and Clottey or Margarito was unreal, but now its time for a whole new set of problems that Mannys not used to from Berto. Of course, only an idiot would say Juan Manuel Marquez isnt worthy for a 3rd fight, especially after that throwdown with Katsidis, but if that happens, it better be at 140 pounds and not a pound higher or Manny would be a COWARD for doing that to Juan. Dont listen to Freddie Roach, Manny! Dont pull a Floyd Mayweather! If you fight Marquez again, you fight him like a man at junior welterweight where there wouldnt be a big advantage for either one of you! Manhoods on the line! Shut Juan up in a FAIR fight, Juan more time! LOL!
11) Leo: Seriously, I dont want to see Marquez fighting Pacquiao at this stage. Pacquiao will seriously hurt JMM and force him into retirement just like ODLH and Hatton. And may even cause irreparable damage to JMM because Im pretty sure the fight will end in a brutal KO. So for the love of God, If you are a true fan of JMM, who really cares about his future and well being, stop this murder-to-be.
10) Brownsugar: So Freddy Hernandez was 29-1?? Against who???. Something is very suspect but it was still a beautiful knock out....if Hernandez had a bigger name I would even call it the KO of the Year. The announcer painted Berto into a corner, making him half-heartedly call out Pacman. But you can tell that Berto really wants Cotto or Mosley first. I dont think Berto is afraid of Pac, but he clearly knows his limitations and wants time to develop and raise his level of confidence. However, Bertos time to step up is overdue. He needs to beat a Mike Jones, or at least a Shane Mosley before he even thinks about Pacman. I think Berto would make an interesting fight against Pac but if they rush it too soon based on the results of the Hernandez fight, then his braintrust is just compromising Bertos best career options for an opportunity to cash out.
9) Oraclem: I think the only reason most people want the third fight is for Pacquiao to put an exclamation point to their rivalry. Marquez is a warrior and skilled gladiator, no doubt about it, but the probability of pulling out a convincing win is on Pacquiao. He has better legs. He has better footwork now as evinced from fighting larger and stronger opponents. Marquez seems flat-footed in his recent fights. I will bet on Pacquiao to seal it off. Yet if the victory happens people will say Marquez is old and it would be different if they are in their primes. Jesus! Pacquiao fought Barrera, Marquez, Morales, twice and thrice, Hatton, Cotto and Margarito in near succession. Compare that to Marquez opponents. In the last analysis, Manny could sleep soundly without thinking about Juan while Marquez can never sleep soundly if Pacquiao is still alive. Nonetheless, I want the fight to happen for lack of better options and drama.
8) #1 PacFan: What amazes me is that many experts can scrutinize Mannys victories by saying he has faced nothing but hard charging guys who lack skills. But when a guy like Marquez faces the same kind of fighter he gets the full praise. Lets be clear here folks, an aggressor is more tailor made for a counter puncher. Aggression vs aggression, one must have to get away from his gameplan and box the aggressor if the other man is stronger. Counterpuncher vs aggression, moreso than often the counterpuncher wins, especially when he is very skilled. Counterpuncher vs counterpuncher, one has to get away from his gameplan as one has to engage. For example, Marquez was force to be the aggressor against Mayweather. The point Im trying to make is that Marquez also has been carefully matched against guys who lack skills boxing wise who just come forward. Has he been scrutinized for it? Absolutely not. Why was he not matched with Soto or Guzman who are the legit #1 contenders in the division?
7) El Maromero@ #1 Pacfan: Im going to disagree with you on this one (partially). I do not feel like Marquez has been carefully matched because he is pretty old now and he is still taking on young strong fighters. Manny is a different story cause he still in his prime and no one could really give him a decent scrap except for Mayweather. The catchweights just give us something to talk about cause he doesnt seem to need it but its like a insurance plan. One thing you must agree on is that JMM has been in better fights since 08.
6) Isaiah: I cant deny that Marquez has earned a 3rd fight with Manny Pacquiao, but if Andre Berto wants to finally step his game up and get whooped, I wont argue with that. Anyway, great performance by the future Hall of Famer, urine gulping, counter punching supreme, light weight champion of the world, Juan Manuel Marquez! If Pacman fights him again, it better be at 140 or bust! Otherwise, I heard a prediction from Nostradumba$$ that Manny would be a cowardly chump to fight Juan at welterweight. You heard it here first!
5) Radam G - HUM! : Who will it be for da Manny sweepstakes? Marquez or Berto - neither! Martinez is FINE for NINE. Let Marquez continue to canvas kiss and whine. Berto is talking about fighting Sugar Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto first, Obviously for a Pac-thrashing, Berto has no thirst. Holla!
4) The Roast: How am I supposed to sleep at night in a world where not only does Christy Martin get shot and stabbed by her husband, she then has her house broken into while she is in the hospital recovering from said injuries? I have to breathe into a paper bag right now or I will fall on my face like LTP. Get well soon CMD.
3) Mortcola: First, no one is ducking anyone here. A third Pac-JMM fight wasnt gonna fit anyones schedule in the last few years. Sorry you havent gotten the rubber match when you wanted it. Second, Pacs defense has improved dramatically. All aspects of his game have improved. Whatever happens in a rematch, fact is that Pac is a much evolved fighter compared to their first two, not to mention physically at a peak. JMM is a brilliant technician, but he managed to fight on an even level, with moments of domination, against a Pac who is half the fighter, and smaller, compared to what he is now. I wouldnt mind the rematch, but I see it as being a bad whupping for JMM, which the great warrior doesnt need.
2) Brownsugar: MMA, STRIKEFORCE, and OCTAGON fans.... rejoice... you have a reason to come back to boxing, and his name is Andre Ward. Ward channelled the spirit of heavyweight John Ruiz with his jab and grab style of fighting. He also possesses one of the sneakiest elbows in the sport. Ward is widely known for his SOG monicker. But he fought more like an SOB last night in one of the roughest, dirtiest, and grimiest fights Ive ever witnessed on Showtime. It was rougher than a shank fight in Folsom prison. My son and his fiancee literally got up and went into another room to watch Marquez vs Katsidis. But I like the hard ugly fights; they tend to tell you more about a boxers character. Ward demonstrated amazing reflexes and athleticism, while Bika made the most of his title shot opportunity. Theres no doubt that Bika left it all in the ring and his phone will continue to ring when promoters need a solid opponent to flesh out a card. I thought Ward was too tentative in the early going. It seemed like he could have let his hands go a bit more and fought Bika from a distance (like he did with Kessler). But this was excellent preparation for the always dangerous Arthur Abraham. Abraham may have been exposed(again), but all he needs is one clean shot to end a fight. Ward vs AA and Froch vs Johnson... wouldnt miss either for the world.
1) Brownsugar:What an incredible conclusion to a full night of boxing. The best fight was saved for last. From an entertainment standpoint Marquez /Katsidis is contender for FOTY. Both men left a piece of themselves in the ring last night. Katsidis went down like a true Spartan, no complaints, no excuses. I think Larry Merchants unnecessarily invasive question about what Katsidiss recently deceased brother hurt Michael more than all the punches he absorbed from Marquez. Marquez is boxings most accomplished counterpuncher, going after him is like diving into a wood chipper. Not many boxers can thrive under aggression and pressure the way that he does. Marquez should give some thought about his exit plan from boxing, these type of fights do tend to catch up to a fighter in their later years. Pacman has outgrown Marquez and has declared that if the two were to meet, it would have to be at 147. That would be an unnecessary and unfortunate fight for a proud warrior like Marquez.