LAS VEGAS – Unloading the notebook after two weeks of observations in my old hometown …
I'm not sure what to think about the lopsided outcome of Winky Wright's victory over Felix Trinidad on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden. It either means Wright has been incredibly underrated or Trinidad has been remarkably overrated. I tend to believe the latter.
Trinidad has said he will retire because his father has decided to retire from his son's corner. I agree with Trinidad's decision. He has looked thoroughly overmatched each time he has fought elite competition. He was annihilated by Bernard Hopkins and was picked apart like a daisy against Wright. Yes, Trinidad beat Oscar De La Hoya, but the Golden Boy gave that fight away more than Trinidad won it. At this stage of Trinidad's career, with all of the money he has made, there's no reason to continue if he can't be the best.
What a pleasure it was to see Wright arrive with his entourage at the MGM Grand sports book a couple hours after his big victory. There's no telling how much money came over the counter after he showed up and an awaiting clerk quickly changed his post from “closed” to “open.” A fan, waiting in line to cash a winning ticket on the Winkster, shouted “How much did you bet on yourself, Winky?” The hero's response: “A lot!” Fans around the casino soon caught wind of Wright's presence, and he was more than happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs.
What was I doing in the sports book at that time? Take a guess.
One of the MGM's most surprising lines earlier in the day favored Zab Judah's bout with Cosme Rivera lasting longer than 10 rounds even though Rivera was an 11-to-1 underdog at the time. Sorry, folks, but if a guy is that much of a dog, there's a monster chance he's going out a lot earlier than 10 rounds.
By the way, I've seen all of the Judah brothers fight live, including Josiah Judah's lackluster four-round split decision victory over Dan Stanisavljevic on Saturday night's undercard. I'm fairly certain Zab got all the boxing genes.
It was wonderful to have Danny Romero Jr. back in the ring after a two-year layoff, and it was even more satisfying to see his father there on his feet. Romero Sr. wasn't in his son's corner for the first time because of a liver ailment. Romero Sr. looked gaunt and peaked, but youngest son Juan Romero will give him 60 percent of his liver in two weeks. Let's hope Albuquerque's first family of boxing comes back in full force very soon.
Romero's majority draw with Alex Baba was a letdown for the former two-division champ, but Baba is a sturdy foe and probably was too much for a fighter making his first appearance in two years. Romero deserved an easier test in his return, especially for an off-TV eight-rounder.
I'm no doctor, but at the Wright-Trinidad fight Diego Corrales looked as though he still hadn't recovered from his vicious war with Jose Luis Castillo seven nights before. The more I think about that brawl, the more I'm convinced I'll never see a more scintillating bout. Corrales, for as little as I think of him as a person, is one of the greatest warriors in boxing history.
I'm already looking forward to watching Corrales defend his WBC belt against new No. 1 contender Sirimongkol Singwangcha, who made old No. 1 contender Michael Clark give up in their eliminator bout on the Wright-Trinidad undercard. Singwangcha, the former WBC super featherweight champ from Thailand, has an entertaining style. His only losses in 50 pro fights were against champions: Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in 1997 and Jesus Chavez in 2003.
UH OH: Andrew Golota and stress go together about as well as a fat man and a Speedo. So it had to be disconcerting for his fans to hear what he had to say at a Monday news conference. Golota was asked about Saturday night's fight against WBO champ Lamon Brewster in Chicago, the Foul Pole's adopted hometown.
“There is extra pressure,” Golota said. “I have a lot of pressure on me fighting in front of my people in Chicago. The pressure is not comfortable but it is exciting.”
Golota's experiencing uncomfortable pressure? Let's hope the fight comes off.
If it does, I'm going with Golota by hard-fought decision. He acquitted himself in his past two fights with IBF champ Byrd (controversial draw) and then-WBA champ John Ruiz (controversial decision), and Brewster isn't as good as either of them.
“This is my last chance to win a world title,” Golota said. “I want this very bad my whole life. Right now, I think this is the right fight and the right fighter.”
ALONGSIDE THE GREATS: The great trilogies of Ali-Frazier, Leonard-Duran, Gatti-Ward, Barrera-Morales have been joined by another.
Kenny Craven derailed Butterbean's march toward the heavyweight title with a four-round majority decision Saturday in Mississippi. Butterbean had won their previous meetings in February and in 1999, both via TKOs.
I'm not sure what's more shocking, that Craven won or that people still watch that rubbish.
BURNING QUESTIONS: How bad is the state of the heavyweight division when, at the Wright-Trinidad fight, I see a champion (Chris Byrd) seated one row in front of a top contender and former champ (Hasim Rahman); and, don’t think twice, but a few minutes later I find myself gleefully asking a ringside colleague, “Hey, isn’t that Jennifer Harman from the World Poker Tour?”
Why doesn't every arena follow the MGM grand Garden's suit and implement a clock so fans in attendance know how much time is left in a round?
Can we write off Jose Celaya as a flash in the pan yet? The Emanuel Steward-trained 2000 Olympic alternate suffered his third defeat and second by TKO when James Webb stopped him in eight rounds Friday.
Is there a more underappreciated movie boxer than Butch Coolidge, the “Pulp Fiction” tough guy played by Bruce Willis?
QUOTEMARKS: “My father told me at Miami airport what he was going to do, and I reminded him that since I was a kid I told him that the day my father could not be at my side, I would not throw another blow.” — Felix Trinidad
“I want Ruiz. R-U-I-Z. I’ve never been robbed like that. I hope the judges (for Saturday night's fight against Lamon Brewster in Chicago) are not from New York. It was unbelievable for me. I still can’t imagine how I lost that fight. It’s so unbelievable. Ruiz has nine lives, like a cat. Nobody can destroy him.” — Andrew Golota
“I got in shape, lost weight, got ready (to come back) and my wife told me no.” — 56-year-old former heavyweight champ George Foreman to a Houston TV station.