Under a small tent, Rosales (14-1, 12 KOs) seems to have recovered from the brutal knockout loss he suffered a year ago and disposed of Esalas (30-11, 25 KOs) in the second round in front of a small crowd of 600 who withstood the pouring rain at the Alameda Swap Meet in Los Angeles.
The fight was promoted by Top Rank, and shown by Telefutura and Tecate.
It was interesting to see if Rosales, a resident of San Luis Potosi, had fully recovered from the brutal loss he suffered against Jesus Soto Karass in Illinois back on October 2006. Though he had his moments too, the sight of Rosales bludgeoned in the 11th round was not a good sign for his future.
A first round knockout of Americo Santos several months ago was a good start to recovery but not too revealing. Fighting last-minute replacement Esalas could have been disastrous.
In the first round Rosales didn’t seem to realize he could slip or block a punch as the hard-hitting Esalas landed several blows. But that was just a warm up.
Rosales, 24, began blocking shots and slipping punches in the second round and caught Esalas with a counter left hook that floored him immediately. Though he beat the count, it was clear his legs had not recovered as Rosales charged him firing punches at will. A right hand snuck through Esala’s guard and several more punches were fired and down went the Colombian at 2:06 of the second round.
Maybe Rosales is back?
Former junior flyweight world titleholder Brian “Hawaiian Punch” Viloria returned to the ring as a junior bantamweight and found the heavier weight division a little tougher in beating Jose Bernal.
Now trained by Oxnard’s Robert Garcia, it was apparent that Viloria’s timing wasn’t quite down as he tried to fire power combinations against Bernal. Often, he smothered his own punches when attacking the veteran Colombian.
Around the fifth round Viloria, a former U.S. Olympian, began to find his groove and land combinations without taking much in return. But it was frustrating to see Viloria concentrate to the head instead of the 37-year-old body of Bernal. Finally, in the eighth and final round, a well-placed right hand to the body dropped the Colombian. He beat the count and held on tight in survival mode for the remainder of the final round as Viloria targeted the body
Viloria was the unanimous winner.
It’s a good mix with Garcia in Viloria’s corner. Expect Garcia’s boxing philosophy to sink in after at least one more fight. Viloria has had several trainers since leaving Freddie Roach more than a year ago. He’ll also be fighting at a lower weight division. He looked heavy.
Fellow US Olympian Vanes Martirosyan (18-0, 12 KOs) experienced six rugged rounds with Clarence Taylor (12-13, 6 KOs) in a junior middleweight fight. Though he won every round, he never dominated Taylor.
A six round bout between undefeated junior lightweights turned out to be especially well-matched between Mexico’s Juanito Garcia and Puerto Rico’s Gamalier Rodriguez (5-1-2).
After a tepid first round, the Puerto Rican struck first with a vicious right hand that nearly dropped Garcia. He landed on the ropes and managed to evade the killing blow for the next 30 seconds. Then he fought his way out of trouble.
The third round saw Garcia (14-0, 5 KOs) return to his strong left jab and dictate the pace against the clever Puerto Rican fighter. The momentum changed for good from then on as Garcia managed to catch Rodriguez with more punches the remainder of the six-round bout and walked away with a decision win.
Two fighters who found a home in the ring, and are easy to root for, are the Peterson brothers. They were homeless in DC, with their dad in jail and their mom unable to care for them, and managed to steer clear of an inevitable early grave. Instead, boxing took them in, and on Friday night both continued to march towards a more optimistic inevitability: a title shot.
Lamont Peterson (24-0, 11 KOs), ranked No. 3 in the WBO and No. 6 in the WBA at 140 pounds, took on fellow unbeaten Antonio Mesquita (entering at 34-0, 27 KOs), a Brazilian now residing in Las Vegas, in the ShoBox feature from Biloxi, Mississippi.
The junior welterweight scrap was scheduled for ten rounds or less. But Lamont could not close the show against Mesquita, who entered with an inflated record, and inferior skills. Unlike his brother, he's more of a line drive singles hitter, and at the end of the affair, Lamont exited with a 98-93, 99-90, 10-89 UD victory.
The loser, a free swinger, toggled back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stance, and that seemed only to confuse him. He yapped at Lamont, yelling, 'C'mon, c'mon,' after the eighth came to a close.
Twenty-three-year-old Lamont holds his guard a little tighter than his bro, and punches in straighter lines, as well. Anthony (age 22) sat in the crowd, in his gear, to check out his bro's gig after he finished up.
The loser finally got amped up, and pursued Lamont heartily late in the tenth. Where was the fire before, we wondered?
The crowd was blase at the close.
Younger brother Anthony Peterson (26-0, 19 KOs), a lightweight who is ranked No. 1 in the WBO, No. 4 in the WBC and No. 12 in the IBF, disposed of Jose Antonio Izquierdo (16-2-1, 13 KOs) of Chihuahua, Mexico via TKO in the eighth of a scheduled ten rounds in the ShoBox opener.
The end came on the third knockdown of the Cuban born Mexican Izzy, as the loser stayed on the mat, looking up at the ref, unwilling to eat any more shots. You couldn't blame him.
The loser went down in the seventh (a massive left hook), then twice in the eighth (the first from a left and followups, the finisher from a left hook to the body and two crackerjack right follows). He had been in the fight, but things went downhill fast. The official time: 2:54 of the eighth. This Peterson is active, a cardio wonder. Is he ready for a Juan Diaz or a Katsidis? Time will tell.
Who's better? As a fan, I prefer the little bro. He sets down on his shots better.
Over on ESPN2, hometowner Allan Green (entering at 25-1) won the headline bout, taking a unanimous decision (98-91, 99-89, 99-90) from Detroit's Rubin Williams (entering at 29-2-1) in a super middleweight scrap taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Friday evening.
The crowd was into the ten rounder, as Green looked in good form, and got some rounds in against a capable, but somewhat hesitant Williams.
Green took control early on, and hurt Williams in the fourth, but backed off some, looking to be patient.
Teddy Atlas noted that Green has a habit of looking down at his feet periodically, an odd tic he may want to address before his next bout, lest some wise scout passes that info on to somebody who takes advantage.
Things slowed down in the eighth, as both men looked for a second wind. Green perked up to kick off the ninth, looking for a strong close for his homies. Not sure what the out of towner was thinking; he obviously needed a KO to go home with a win, and there was a distinct lack of urgency in Williams' game.
Again, in the tenth, Williams hung back, waited for the perfect opening, postured, and floundered, ultimately. Not being a wiseass, but maybe Williams should try hypnosis or something. His temperment doesn't really suit his vocation, it looks like.
Zahir Raheem (29-2) kicked things off with a quickie KO of Ricardo Dominguez (23-2-2) of Mexico in a junior welterweight faceoff. Raheem has promised no more stinkers, and he came out firin.' A left hook on the button was all it took for a stoppage, as Dominguez sat on his behind, and declined an invitation to stand up by ref Steve Smoger. The time was 1:18.
SPEEDBAG Welcome back, FNF. Maybe you missed Teddy's opening remarks last week, when he apologized, not for a "soft" commission, but for a "soft" opening card.
"Quite honestly, we're going to have good fights for you people in the coming months for this new season," he told viewers, "but tonight, I'm sorry to say, a little coal in the stockings, because I think we should have done a little bit better job of putting together this show."
Welcome back Atlas, no company man you...Love it.
This is the tenth anniversary of the series. 'Member Max's leather jacket? That was a long time ago, eh?
After 12 rounds of action, the call came: 115-113 from Steve Weisfeld, 116-113 from Ken Chevalier, and Al Bennett saw it 117-111, all for the New Yorker, the mouthy Malignaggi.
TSS scored it 6-6, as Paulie looked to be the busier; he won the jab war, but Herman landed the harder shots, and pressed the action. Certainly, no one in attendance would've been too surprised if Ngoudjo had a two point edge at the end of the night.
That said, there will be no calls for mandatory eye testing from the judges, or calls for a federal probe. Neither man pulled away, and thus, it was left to the eye of the three important beholders to call a winner.
The Bennett card, however, looks to be far too generous to Malignaggi, perhaps even Paulie would agree on that. Al Bennett, you are on the TSS Watch List...
The bout, the first "name" broadcast of 2008, was featured on Showtime.
The Brooklyn resident Malignaggi entered with a 23-1 (5 KOs) record. The 26-year-old from Brooklyn weighed in at 139 pounds, while the Cameroon-born challenger Ngoudjo (16-1, with 9 KOs coming in), now living in Canada, weighed 140 pounds on the dot.
"I felt I won the fight, it wasn't one of my better performances," Malignaggi said. He expected Ngoudjo to lead more, instead of counter, he said, and thus had more trouble than he expected from the awkward challenger. He said seven months off didn't help his reflexes. "In one round he did buzz me a little bit," he conceded.
"I feel I won the fight, but I know he's the champ, I appreciate that," Ngoudjo said. He agreed with questioner Jim Gray, who wondered if the all-American judging crew worked against the loser. "It's OK, I got to come back," he said.
Paulie said he'd do a rematch, if the money made sense. "I want to get the money fights," he said, citing his injury history.
In the 12th round, Ngou was throwing with ill intent. He landed a sharp jab, and he kept in Paulie's face. He basically told the judges that he wanted the fight, and the belt, that much more. It was one and done repeatedly for Paulie, who certainly didn't resolve to start the new year off in this fashion. The 6 to 1 favorite then waited for the judges' call with some concern in his eyes, as Ngou grinned, certain he'd done enough to take the belt.
In the 11th round, both main came out with energy. Paulie's right shoelace needed re-tieing, and the action re-started. Paulie looked to land a right upper, a late-fight fave for him, but came up short. Ngou got close, and tapped his foe. He looked to be the more active of the two men, even if no bombs landed.
In the tenth round, a Ngoudjo fan had to be worried, that their man was letting a semi-sure thing slip away. He basically stopped throwing, and simply spent too much time pursuing fruitlessly. In the last third of the round, he upped the ante, but maybe not enough for an out of towner coming into the champ's turf.
In the ninth, Paulie posed more than pumped that jab, and we wondered if there was a hand injury affecting the New Yorker. Ngou's own work rated receded here, but the round was still tight, and up for grabs.
In the eighth, Paulie came out looking fresher than his foe, perhaps realizing things were slipping away. He looked more alert, and vibrant, but still ate a couple of left hooks. There was a mean unintentional clash of heads, but luckily no slice or swelling resulted.
In the seventh, Ngou came out with a right hand bomb, which scored, and looked flashy, as Paulie's sweat and water beaded on his head flew off furiously. Another right send liquid spraying, and Paulie fans had to be worried. Ngou's muscle edge came to a head, as inside, he was able to exert his will. He threw punches in pairs, and then added another one or two for good measure. Still another lead right landed, and then another, in a wide Ngou round.
In the sixth, the action started out with a pro Ngoudjo flavor--there were clinches, and the challenger did well in close. The crowd chanted "Paulie, Paulie" but that lasted for about five seconds. Where was the excessive work rate, the jab-athon one expects from the light-fisted Brooklyner, they had to wonder.
In the fifth, Paulie pumped the jab with renewed vigor. A break occured with a minute to go so Paulie could get his shoelace tied. Could he get his strategy tuned up, too, we wondered? Ngou answered with another hard right, over Paulie's waist level left. His trainer told him not to listen to the crowd after the round ended, and suggested he look out for Ngo's right hand.
In the fourth, Ngou, trained by Howard Grant, brother of the more famed Otis, sent Malignaggi to the floor, but it was from a push. The challenger pressed the pace. and surely the judges had to give him credit for his aggressiveness. Also, his defense seemed better than advertised. He slipped well, and tied up when need be. Paulie's cutman worked on a little slice over his left eye after the round.
In the third round, some swelling appeared on Paulie's left eye, signaling that Ngou's tosses weren't all errant. The Canuck landed a solid right to the chin, and Paulie had to be surprised by the handspeed possessed by the challenger.
In the second round, Malignaggi, cornered by Buddy McGirt, the distanced tightened some. Ngou tried to lead, and found it hard to hit his target, as Paulie jabbed profusely.
In the first round, Paulie came out pumping the jab. He took advantage of the 20x20 ring, as well as the drum-tight canvas, to move and stick, move and stick. The ultra-elusive New Yorker cracked a sneaky hook to the head to change the pace two minutes in. He flurried Ngoudjo on the ropes, and the pro Paulie crowd roared.
Paulie may need to come back with a more impressive outing next time out, if he's to land a fight with Hatton, or some other bright light, and get the dough and spotlight he desires.
Or, perhaps, this outing may have helped Team Paulie in the long run. Cause you got to believe Team Hatton, seeing this, would think they have zero to fear.
But first things first, in a fair and equitable world, Ngou should get a rematch. This one was close and controversial enough to warrant that.
OK, there is nothing I can do to make this resolution a reality, but hopefully Showtime will hear my New Year's request, and offer up an upset special on ShoBox tonight, or in the Malignaggi-Ngoudjo fight on Saturday evening.
I asked Showtime's analyst extraordinaire, Steve Farhood, who never has to resolve to strip even a spare ounce from his frame, that mutt, which Showtime fight holds the greatest likelihood for an upset.
Farhood tells TSS that Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi's defending his IBF junior welterweight title against top-ranked Herman Ngoudjo holds the most prominent possibility for an upset.
Ngoudjo, at 16-1, nine KOs, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) No. 1 junior welterweight contender challenges IBF champion Paulie Malignaggi (23-1, five KOs), and Farhood says there is a 30% chance he will dethrone Paulie.
"He's a quality fighter, does he have the speed to deal with Paulie, not sure, that's the reason he's the underdog," Farhood said. "He showed good boxing ability against Randall Bailey, and the fight will be more competitive than Paulie's fight against Ndou. Is Paulie looking past Herman, I don't think he's the type to do that. He's overcome so much in his career, especially with his hands. I think it will be a pleasing fight."
Lamont Peterson(23-0, 11 KOs), who is ranked No. 3 in the WBO and No. 6 in the WBA at 140 pounds, will face fellow unbeaten Antonio Mesquita (34-0, 27 KOs), a Brazilian now residing in Las Vegas. Farhood gives the 'dog a 15% chance at toppling Lamont.
"Antonio's a rare animal, he's 34-0 and he's stepping up," Farhood said. "The quality of his opposition has been poor. He does have a legit right hand, and that's the drama here. He's a lower case Mayorga."
Anthony (25-0, 18 KOs), a lightweight who is ranked No. 1 in the WBO, No. 4 in the WBC and No. 12 in the IBF, will meet Jose Antonio Izquierdo (16-1-1, 13 KOs) of Chihuahua, Mexico, by way of Pinar Del Rio, Cuba. Izquierdo, who defeated Nick Casal in his last ShoBox appearance, is a replacement for Guadalupe Rosales, who withdrew due to illness. Farhood gives the late replacement a 10% chance of winning.
"Jose needs to rough him up, and he can get pretty nasty in there. He wants to get Anthony with his gloves and anything else at his disposal," the analyst said.
Overall, for those still unsure which bro is which, Farhood tells TSS is the "slightly better boxer" and a better defender than his bro, and has the edge, potential wise, moving forward.
Please, let my resolution for more upsets in 2008 have more success than my weight loss efforts!
In the past year or two we’ve heard Floyd Mayweather drop the word MMA and others have dabbled in exhibitions, but it was the current IFBA and WIBA flyweight titleholder to become the first boxing world champion to battle inside an MMA cage.
And she won.
For the estimated 2,000 fans or more who arrived at the Riviera Hotel and Casino on Friday, Dec. 28, it was a curiosity factor that drew the large crowd to see Reid become the first world champion boxer to clash in an official MMA bout when she fought Tammie Schneider at 115 pounds.
“It was exciting,” Reid, 26, said after winning by technical knockout.
The popular Reid entered the cage with a huge applause. She waved and pirouetted blowing kisses and smiling the entire jog to the fighting area. For those who have never seen Reid fight, it’s a typical entrance from a person who looks more cheerleader than prizefighter.
But that’s how she beats people: they’re surprised at her 180-degree change once the fight starts.
She’s a regular Jeckyl and Hyde.
Reid had decided more than a year ago to try MMA after repeated attempts to receive a boxing fights went down the drain. It’s a common dilemma for female boxers to find promoters willing to make female bouts.
After fighting only once in 2007, Reid decided to give MMA a chance.
Her trainer Chris Benn works with Randy Couture so it was easy to bring Reid to Xtreme Couture Gym where the perky Filipina-American 26-year-old can prepare for takedowns, wrestling holds, kicks and all that entails in a basic MMA rumble.
“She’s real dedicated,” said Dennis Davis, an MMA fighter who assists Reid with takedown defense.
During the last month Reid knew that she was going to be appearing on Steelecage Promotions card in Las Vegas. She just didn’t know whom she would be fighting.
“I had five opponents drop out,” said Reid.
Ironically, for a brief two days, there was a chance that fellow boxing world champion Wendy Rodriguez, the former IFBA, IBA junior flyweight titleholder, was going to be opposite Reid in the cage. Rodriguez has been training for MMA the past year too.
“It just wasn’t enough time,” said Rodriguez who captured world titles in the junior flyweight level and last fought against Germany’s Regina Halmich last July.
Eventually, Schneider accepted the fight.
Schneider, a former boxer herself, came into the fight with two MMA fights in her resume and about six pro boxing matches too. The Kansas City fighter knew what to expect from Reid.
When the lights turned low it was clear that Schneider had a specific plan and was trying to lure Reid into her ground game. Immediately the Kansas City fighter fired kicks that annoyingly landed to Reid’s legs. Then a quick dive for Reid’s legs unfolded but she couldn’t bring the boxing champion down.
Schneider repeatedly tried to trip Reid and turn the fight into a grappling match, but Reid’s strength was evident as she simply pushed her opponent’s head down or pushed her opponent to the fence.
Reid is strong.
“Her takedown defense is really good,” said Chris Benn, who trains Reid in both boxing and MMA. “She pushes me around like nothing during our drills.”
But the first round also displayed a bit of confusion from Reid whose normal boxing footwork doesn’t apply in MMA. Her stance is different and her normal business-as-usual attitude in boxing is not present in MMA.
“There are so many variables to worry about; there’s kicking, holding, elbows and takedowns,” said Benn who yelled instructions to Reid. “There’s more to worry about than in boxing and Elena wasn’t used to that, but she adjusted.”
The second round saw Reid immediately find the proper distance to maintain the fight as Schneider once again attempted unsuccessfully to land kicks and reverse backhand punches.
“I saw those punches a mile away,” said Reid, who landed a few of her own kicks with thudding results. “Once I let my hands go it was all over.”
A left to the body of Schneider made her wince and knees buckle, a succession of six rapid punches by Reid forced the referee to stop the fight at 2:05 of the second round.
“I was trying to make her fight my kind of fight,” said Reid. “Once I did that, then it became easier.”
Reid says she learned some key things during the fight that she can take to her next battle in an MMA cage:
“I have to have confidence in what I’m doing,” said Reid. “And do what I do best, that’s punch.”
Post fight reaction
Wendy Rodriguez, who has been training in jujitsu and kickboxing for the past year, said the lack of kicking by Reid in her fight with Schneider was surprising.
“She only did a few kicks and those she tried landed real good,” said Rodriguez of Reid’s work in the cage. “Of course when she did her punching that’s where she did the best.”
Watching Reid was also nerve-wracking for fellow boxing champion Rodriguez.
“I was really nervous watching Elena,” said Rodriguez who like Reid simply enjoys combat sports and its challenges. “It was the same way I feel whenever I step into the ring for one of my own fights.”
Reid, content that she won her first MMA fight by knockout, doesn’t intend to rest for a minute. She’s looking to fight as soon as Jan. 19.
“I could be fighting on a boxing card in New York,” said Reid, while munching on Japanese food in a fine dining restaurant in Las Vegas. “Boxing is what I love, but I just love to fight so I’ll fight in MMA too.”
Other boxers in MMA
Rumors of boxing’s Floyd Mayweather, who’s considered the best boxer pound for pound, have surfaced that he’s in talks with Mark Cuban the billionaire to jump into MMA.
Cuban has an interest in MMA and recently started his own organization called HDNet Fights and is said to be involved with M-1Global that signed Russia’s superstar fighter Fedor Emelianenko.
Both Cuban and Mayweather participated in the television reality show Dancing With the Stars. Can the billionaire convince Mayweather to enter a cage?
Other boxers have tried MMA such as Jeremy Williams. But it’s the women who have more zeal for the sport because of the lack of promoters willing to stage female boxing cards.
One male fighter KJ Noons recently captured an MMA title in EliteXC as a lightweight and is looking to add a world title in boxing.
“Look out Oscar De La Hoya,” said Noons who crosses into both fighting sports easily with his quickness and one-punch knockout power.
“Noons is further ahead in MMA than he is in boxing,” said Don Leonard, a writer for a MMA magazine in Southern California. “He’s not bad in boxing, but far from being a world champion right now.”
Photo by Raymond Spencer
Other Boxing Chatter:
Downtown LA fight card
Mexico’s Michel Rosales faces Cuba’s Antonio Izquierdo in a 10-round lightweight bout at the Alameda Swap Meet near downtown Los Angeles on Friday Jan. 4, 2008.
Rosales (13-1, 11 KOs) is remembered for his back and forth battle in a losing cause against Jesus Karass Soto a year ago. Izquierdo (16-1-1, 13 KOs) handed Nick Casals his first defeat but lost to former champion Cesar Soto.
Also on the fight card that begins at 4:30 p.m. is former junior flyweight world champion Brian Viloria and former U.S. Olympian Vanes Martirosyan. For tickets and information call (323) 603-9005.
Mora at Morongo Casino
Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora makes his first appearance in the Inland area when he faces Mexico’s Rito Ruvalcaba (32-8, 28 KOs) in a 10-round middleweight bout at the Morongo Casino on Friday Jan. 11, 2008.
Mora (19-0-1, 4 KOs) took a draw against light tapping Elvin Ayala in his last fight, but that may have been a good thing. He was in line to meet Kelly Pavlik. Now that the Youngstown fighter has the middleweight crown, Mora can draw interest for a match with the slender sledgehammer punching Pavlik who meets Jermain Taylor in a rematch next month. The fight card begins at 4:30 p.m. For information call (951) 755-5391.
Navarro vs. Mijares
Former U.S. Olympian Jose Navarro (26-3, 12 KOs) makes his fourth attempt at capturing a junior bantamweight world title when he meets Mexico’s dazzling Cristian Mijares (33-3-2, 14 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Feb. 16.
Navarro lost close decisions against Japan’s Katsushige Kawashima, Masamori Tokuyama and Russia’s Dimitri Kirilov all in those fighter’s countries. Now he faces Mijares on home turf, but it won’t be easy. Mijares embarrassed fellow Mexican Jorge Arce when they met last year.
Both Navarro, 26, and Mijares, 26, are slick boxing southpaws. It should prove an interesting match.
De La Hoya
Oscar De La Hoya and his wife Millie Corretjer welcomed their second baby, this time a girl, on Saturday Dec. 29, 2008 at 4:36 p.m. The baby girl’s name is Nina Lauren Nenitte De La Hoya. She weighed nearly eight pounds and is 20 and a one-half inches long.
I can’t even get my girlfriend to watch a decent movie but Oscar De la Hoya could make $50 million on one nights work. Where is the fairness in that?
The man has lost 3 of his last 5 fights but still has the muscle to choose when, where, and who he elects to stand in the ring with. Any name he mentions is more than willing to take the challenge. This means that Oscar De la Hoya is in a position of power.
He is the Al Gore of boxing. Gore lost the 2000 Presidential election but still has the influence to control the Democratic Party. If Gore decides to run for the Presidency, there is a very good chance that he wins. When Oscar fights again, there is a very good possibility that he and his opponent will win, at least financially.
When Oscar chooses his opponent for his fight on Cinco de Mayo weekend, he should hold a national press conference.
At the time of the announcement, boxing fans and writers would gather around their television sets much like a Top 50 college basketball team watching the television screen to see if they make it to the March Madness NCAA Tournament. De la Hoya’s possible opponents would attend the press conference looking their best, sitting next to their family, promoters, trainers, and cut men.
The fighter DLH chooses should be placed in an envelope and opened up, to create more anticipation.
“And Oscar De la Hoya’s next opponent will be…. “
The Obvious Choice: Ricky Hatton
Ricky Hatton has outrageous fan support, which makes him the leading candidate to become Oscar’s next opponent. De la Hoya was seen at times standing up and cheering for Hatton during the Mayweather fight. That was probably because both fighters had an agreement, in principle, to create a Hatton/De la Hoya showdown that was set to take place in England. The agreement made sense because of the star power both fighters possess. All Ricky Hatton had to do is look good against Mayweather, win or lose. “The Hitman” did his part. He fought a good fight against PBF. But there is a problem. De la Hoya is a tall and naturally strong welterweight. Even though this event will be easy to sell, it might be a mismatch. Hatton has fought two times at welterweight. He was the smaller man, and got hit hard in both fights.
The Risky Choice: Miguel Cotto
Miguel Cotto has evolved into an intelligent bruiser. In 2007, Cotto’s performances against Zab Judah and Shane Mosley have proven that he could box and brawl with anybody. A possible De la Hoya vs. Miguel Cotto fight would be (for lack of a better word) amazing. This is probably the best match up for De la Hoya. It is a good risk, and a great fight.
The Money Choice: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
This fight has “Cha Ching,” written all over it. If Hatton brings the fans then PBF brings the money. Out of fairness to fight fans, De la Hoya must know that another PBF fight would probably have the same outcome as the first one. But 2.4 million PPV buys for their first fight makes De la Hoya vs. Mayweather II a very strong possibility. Mr. Money himself has made it clear that he would be happy to come out of his supposedly planned two year hiatus to fight Oscar again. And who knows, maybe they will go duke it out more often this time. De la Hoya and Mayweather II make dollars and sense.
The Underdog choice – Winky Wright
De la Hoya is a promoter first and a boxer second. De la Hoya the promoter would not approve of this fight. Recently Winky Wright has called out De la Hoya’s name. But it has fallen on deaf ears. Winky might have the “Wright stuff” to beat De la Hoya but styles make fights and these styles just do not mesh well.
The “I should win, but I could still lose” choice – Zab Judah
Zab Judah is arguably the best pure athlete in boxing. It just too bad he falls into the same trap with every big fight. Judah’s formula has been to fight hard to win for the first five rounds then forget to throw punches towards the end of the fight. Despite his supposed lack of focus, Zab Judah still packs a punch. Judah vs. De la Hoya would be interesting and Judah has a good chance to win because of his speed and athleticism.
The “Safe, but I won’t make any money” choice – Vernon Forrest
Let’s face it, Golden Boy Promotions would have a tough time selling this fight to a bunch of drunken mud wrestlers watching the Spelling Bee. Watching Martha Stewart run the Boston Marathon would probably be more exciting than watching Vernon Forrest fight Oscar De la Hoya. Forrest might have a chance to beat Oscar. But the fight would be difficult to watch.
The “Lets give this young fighter a chance” choice – Paul Williams
The new kid on the block has flirted with becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing. In July, Williams beat the world's most avoided fighter at the time, Antonio Margarito. But nothing has happened since then. If Oscar gives Paul Williams an opportunity then kudos, but that is a very big IF. There are not many boxers running to fight this elite welterweight. They are running away from him.
The “Attract Mexican fans” choice – Antonio Margarito
God bless Hispanic fighters. Men like Israel Vasquez, and the Marquez brothers have followed the footsteps of Barrera, Morales, and J.C. Chavez to give us wonderful boxing memories over the years. It seems like every Hispanic fighter has it in their blood to create good fights. De la Hoya vs. Margarito would be a slugfest. Margarito comes to fight and applies pressure. Therefore it is possible that De la Hoya would be forced into a give and take war that he is looking for. If this were 5 or 6 years ago, Margarito would have a very good chance to fight De la Hoya. Unfortunately for Margarito fans, at this point in his career, De la Hoya is looking to create world events. Margarito just does not fit in that category yet.
The “Very intriguing” choice: Manny Pacquiao
A possible Pacquiao vs. De la Hoya fight is probably the only fight in boxing that could be held in a neutral location like Zimbabwe and still create a $10 million gate. Manny Pacquiao is the Michael Jordan of the Philippines; Oscar De la Hoya is the face of boxing. If the fighters were not so far away in weight, this fight would be a no brainier. According to Bob Arum, there have been rumors floating around about a possible De la Hoya/Pacquiao face-off. It just probably won’t happen in May 2008.
And the winner is…. ????
Weigh in, TSS Universe. Who should Oscar fight in May?
Just a few boxing fans west of Missouri know about Malignaggi.
It’s about time New York shares its best fighter with the rest of the world.
Once again Lou DiBella, who promotes the Italian-American, has Malignaggi fighting in Atlantic City when he meets Canada’s Herman Ngoudjo (16-1, 9 KOs) on Saturday Jan. 5, at Bally’s Hotel and Casino. The title fight will be televised by Showtime.
Despite being one of the slickest, flashiest and bravest prizefighters on the planet, Malignaggi has never fought in Las Vegas or Los Angeles. He deserves to be up in the neon lights and known on both sides of the country.
“Everybody knows Paulie Malignaggi,” said Malignaggi, 27, during a conference call.
Everybody on the eastern side knows Malignaggi, but outside of hardcore boxing fans, few in the Southwest - where boxing still remains strong - realize that this junior welterweight champion exists.
It’s a boxing travesty.
Debuting in July 2001, the spiky-haired boxer known as the “Magic Man” has blown through all but one fighter in his six-year career. Using his cat-like quickness he has that uncanny ability to hit and not get hit. But don’t call him a runner.
The only opponent that was able to decipher the anti-Malignaggi formula was Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto who truly is a welterweight and used that strength advantage to the maximum.
Though Malignaggi took more punches in that fight than all of his others combined, especially to the body, the Brooklyn fighter gained a lot of fans with his refusal to submit.
The kid has plenty of heart.
It’s that fortitude that fans, especially those high rollers in Las Vegas, love to see. Malignaggi creates that kind of zeal that would make people plop down $3,000 a ticket to watch him work.
And he does it with style.
Perhaps after this fight with Ngoudjo the Brooklyn fighter will venture west.
Ngoudjo, a tough pressure fighter originally from Cameroon, has never faced a quick-footed boxer like Malignaggi. But you never know about fighters from Africa. They tend to get obscured because of the language barrier.
During a press conference featuring Malignaggi and Ngoudjo, that language barrier was crashed with taunts and promises from both pugilists.
It was a year ago that Ngoudjo lost a split-decision to Mexico’s famous Jose Luis Castillo who was moving up from the lightweight division. Many felt Ngoudjo won the fight that showed the African fighter’s strength and ability to fight chin to chin with Mexico’s former juggernaut.
When the decision was announced, Ngoudjo looked in shock.
“Everybody told me I won the fight so I was okay,” said Ngoudjo, who then beat former junior welterweight champion Randall Bailey by split-decision last June. “I felt better very quickly.”
The pressure fighting Ngoudjo likes fighting the odds.
Ngoudjo bucked the odds a first time when he was part of Cameroon’s Olympic boxing team and jumped ship to stay in Canada. He didn’t like his former country’s system and spoke out.
Speaking out is what Ngoudjo likes to do.
“I will make him dance, and I’m going to put him down,” Ngoudjo says of Malignaggi. “He thinks he’s the best fighter in the world.”
Those are tough words.
Ngoudjo hopes he can bore through Malignaggi’s defense like he has against all of his opponents. But it’s tough to hit a moving target.
Fighting a super strong pressure fighter like Ngoudjo is par for the course, says Malignaggi who will be fighting his second fighter known as the “Black Panther.” He just doesn’t care.
“I was surprised how difficult it was to solidify my first defense,” said Malignaggi, who beat Lovemore N’Dou for the title last June in Connecticut. “Right now my only focus is Herman Ngoudjo on Jan. 5.”
If Malignaggi wins, then hopefully, the Italian-American comes west to the town that was basically made by Italian-Americans: Las Vegas.
A lot of magicians have worked Las Vegas.
After knocking out the great Roy Jones Jr. life should have been easier.
Former light heavyweight champion Glencofe Johnson meets Colombia’s Hugo Pineda in a 10-round semi main event at Bally’s Hotel and Casino.
Johnson, a rugged no nonsense fighter, has experienced problems finding opponents in his weight class. This past summer a potential clash with Huntington Beach’s Julio Gonzalez fell through. Meteoric collision is the best I could describe that rematch of a fight that took place five years ago. Gonzalez barely won that fight.
It was in 2004 that Johnson captured the IBF title against Clinton Woods in Great Britain, then, seven months later, accepted a fight with Jones. He would knock out the former pound for pound champion emphatically.
Three months later, he would meet another Jones conqueror Antonio Tarver at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. With his battering attack Johnson won a split-decision.
All those wins came in 2004.
Since then he’s only fought six times and can’t seem to land a mega fight that his talent deserves.
Johnson fights Pineda, a hard-hitting Colombian who was fighting at nearly 20 pounds lighter just two years ago. It doesn’t mean he can’t fight, but it should be a tune up for Johnson who hopes a win scores him a date with WBC light heavyweight titleholder Chad Dawson.
For Johnson, it means not beating up Pineda too much. Don’t want to scare away the competition.
It’s only an eight-round bout but the South African boxer who lost by unanimous decision to Paul Malignaggi last June needs a win to keep a possible date with the champion intact.
N’Dou (45-9-1, 30 KOs) faces Mexico’s Rafael Ortiz (14-11-2, 13 KOs) who likes to give everyone fits with his punching power. It might not be a good idea against N’Dou who would rather punch than duck.
The junior welterweight bout takes place at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Saturday Jan. 5.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN, 6 p.m., Allan Green (25-1) vs. Rubin Williams (29-2-1).
Fri. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Michel Rosales (13-1) vs. Dario Esalas (30-10, 24 KOs).
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Lamont Peterson (23-0) vs. Antonio Mesquita (34-0).
Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Paul Malignaggi (23-1) vs. Herman Ngoudjo (16-1).
As the mandatory challenger for the immensely popular WBC featherweight champion Jelana Mrdjenovich, Fiorentino is all but guaranteed a bout with the Canadian superstar by the spring of 2008.
Still the 30-year-old Fiorentino, 16-1 (6 KOs), of Cranston, Rhode Island, has opted to take on the always tough Ela “Bam Bam” Nunez, 5-2 (1 KO), of Jamestown, New York, in a fight being billed as “The Ultimate Showdown II” on January 26 at the Mansfield Sportsplex in Mansfield, Massachusetts.
At stake will be the vacant IWBF super featherweight title. Fiorentino, whose only loss was a disputed 10 round decision to Emiko Raika for the WIBA featherweight title in Raika’s home country of Japan, has won the IWBF lightweight title from local rival Jaime Clampitt, as well as the NABF super featherweight crown from previously undefeated Cindy Serrano in her very last fight this past summer.
“Missy is one of New England’s most exciting fighters – male or female – because of the way she attacks her opponents,” said Peter Manfredo Sr., who is promoting the January affair. “Nothing can stop her from coming forward. She’s going to get hit and probably will get cut and bruised, but nobody’s going to stop her. She always gives fans what they want – real fights. Ela Nunez is tough too, so it’s going to be an all out brawl.”
Just about all of Fiorentino’s fights are action-packed. Because she is only 5’1” tall, she likes to mix it up on the inside. She gives no quarter and expects none in return, so it is not easy for even the slickest and tallest of boxers to escape her onslaught.
She has already beaten four previously undefeated fighters, including Serrano, who was 15-0-1, and one of the most lauded females in the game.
“I love to train and I love to fight,” said Fiorentino. “The best part of it all is when I win and see that all of my hard training paid off. That is very gratifying.”
One aspect of the sport that is not so gratifying is the difficulty so many American female fighters encounter on the road. Because female boxing is much more appreciated in countries like Germany and Japan, Americans are often forced to go on the road where they wind up on the wrong end of bad decisions.
“There’s no way I lost the Raika fight,” said Fiorentino. “They didn’t even give the score at the end. A lot of Japanese people told me afterwards that I won the fight. [The promoters] don’t want to see the titles taken out of their country, so it’s always tough to go overseas.”
Fiorentino is the only woman who trains at Manfredo’s Gym, so she regularly spars with men, most of whom are amateurs. Although super middleweight contender Peter Manfredo Jr. is much heavier than she is, she has even sparred with him on a few occasions.
Like so many other women boxers, the level of dedication Fiorentino displays on a daily basis is awe inspiring. A graduate of Roger Williams College, where she earned a degree in criminal justice, Fiorentino is employed as a Rhode Island sheriff.
She regularly transports prisoners from jail to court, and has also done many extraditions in locations as far away as Florida and California.
She regularly squeezes in a three to five mile run during her lunch hour, and then heads to the gym after clocking off duty at about 5:30 P.M. She normally trains until about 8:30 at night.
“I’m always in great shape because I throw punches from bell to bell,” said Fiorentino, who is known by her stalwart fans as “The Fury” because of her relentless offensive style. “Everyone is taller than me, so I really can’t box with them. I have to work inside by applying constant pressure. And when I get inside, I have to stay there or they will just use their reach to keep me at a distance.”
For that reason, Fiorentino says her style is fairly predictable. She will utilize the same method of attack against the relatively inexperienced Nunez that she will against the much more experienced and battle-tested champion Mrdjenovich. Because of her diminutive stature, Fiorentino really can’t fight any other way.
For much of her career, Fiorentino fought under the banner of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports. She was unceremoniously dumped from his stable when she carried out Mia St. John’s belt during St. John’s ring walk for a fight against Jaime Clampitt.
Fiorentino had already beaten Clampitt in a 10 round title world lightweight title fight when both were promoted by Burchfield. The promoter felt that Fiorentino’s actions were treasonous, so he released her from her contract. Fiorentino is now managed by her mother, Shirley Ouellette.
While initially saddened about the release, she is now happy to be able to fight anywhere in the world.
She still doesn’t understand what all the hoopla was about. She said that she had met St. John at the weigh-in for her fight, and was honored to carry her belt because she felt that St. John had been responsible for bringing female boxing such a long way forward.
Right now Fiorentino is only focused on the future, not the past. And her future begins in late January against Nunez, who has never been stopped and has shown plenty of mettle of her own.
“If I beat Nunez, I will have won three world titles,” said Fiorentino, who has also participated in karate, kickboxing and track and field. “Knowing I am one of the best female boxers in the world means a lot to me. It feels great when people say I am one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the sport.”
The January 26th show is being presented by Manfredo Sr., in association with Bash for Cash. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists men and women of the armed forces who have been severely injured during conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world.
Also scheduled to appear on the card are three of New England’s top pro prospects: New Hampshire cruiserweight Rich Gingras, 7-0 (4 KOs); undefeated super middleweight Mark “The Italian Bazooka” DeLuca, 3-0 (2 KOs), of Whitman, MA; and Worcester, MA, middleweight Edwin Rodriguez, who will be making his pro debut.
Rodriguez, who won 89 of 93 amateur bouts, earned gold medals at the 2005 U.S Championships and the 2006 National Golden Gloves Championships.
Seven amateur matches will round out the card, including one between Foxboro, MA, police officer David Fascaldo and Eric Flaherty, who is an officer with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections.
Also scheduled to appear is Tony “The Tiger” O’Brien, a retired Navy Seals captain, and another Foxboro police officer named Frank Acevedo.
Tickets range from $175 to $25. To purchase tickets or get more information, call 401-723-1359 or go online to: www.bashforcashllc.com.