Monday Morning Cornermen (Nov. 27 edition)

In this new section of The Sweet Science, we step back and take a critical look at the fights that took place on the previous weekend, we compare our own previews with the way the actual fights went on, and we take your opinions and questions (along with those of special guests) to create a final analysis to another weekend of boxing. Follow us every Monday at #MMCatTSS and @TSSboxingnews , and send us your thoughts at diegomorillabox@hotmail.com

Area 51: Enter At Your Own Risk

Floyd Mayweather has been known for retiring and unretiring with a frankly wearying predictability. He has cried wolf so many times that his comments about a possible comeback or un-retirement usually go unnoticed or under-reported, for the simple reason that the word “comeback” has lost its meaning to him. But after collecting the biggest paycheck ever for a non-lethal, non-illegal act of human aggression after his fight against boxing debutant Conor McGregor back in August, Mayweather surely feels that he needs a real challenge to vindicate himself and finally retire with a fight in which he can give testimony of his grit in a blood-and-guts curtain call in what could become his 51st professional victory.

Just kidding, of course. He’s going for the lowest-hanging fruit again, probably with a rematch against the blatantly incapable but enormously profitable McGregor, a dream dancing partner if there ever was one, a perfect Washington General for his increasingly exasperating Harlem Globetrotter act.

Is it official? No. Is he training seriously? Kinda, since he is always in shape and now making appearances to promote his Mayweather Boxing + Fitness gym franchises. Is Showtime confirming it? No. Is Showtime denying it? No. Should we care? Only if you enjoy paying $100 for a show that is guaranteed to be a bad copy of the previous one, with bad costumes, shouting matches full of thinly-veiled racial undertones and new additions to the boxing repertoire such as McGregor’s already classic “rabbit slap” or “dry humps.” Stay tuned! . – Diego M. Morilla

Lewkowicz Unleashes Melian From the Wolf’s Lair

On Monday, Nov. 27, a press conference was held in Buenos Aires to kick off the professional career of Alberto Melian, two-time Olympian for Argentina and currently training to make his pro debut against Diego Santillan, a fighter with more than 25 professional appearances, in an 8-round bout, a rather unusual and highly risky proposition for a debutant.

But Melian is not exactly an amateur testing the professional waters. As a member of the Condors, Argentina’s five-men squad competing in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing, and as a veteran of AIBA’s now-defunct APB pro circuit, Melian has accumulated over 100 fights in different formats, ranging from the usual three-round amateur fights to the five-rounders of the APB, and all of them against top international opposition. During those years, in an already long career that saw him beat former and future medalists and champions, Melian apparently has summoned the strength and the audacity to make such a daunting debut. And his promoter Sampson Lewkowicz has signed off on it not only as a way to please Melian, who has expressed his desire to be fighting for a world title as soon as possible, but also in furtherance of the general principle that has guided his career in boxing.

“I like to pit the wolves against the wolves”, said Lewkowicz during a press conference in the Argentinos Juniors Stadium where soccer players like Diego Maradona and Juan Roman Riquelme made their debut one day and in which long-time fan Melian soaks up the mojo of its legendary field during his training sessions in the club’s boxing gym. “With me, the best fight the best, all the time. And if they don’t accept the challenges that I get for them, they’re released from the contract. It’s always been that way,” said the veteran Uruguayan promoter, who then pondered his ability to secure title fights in the shortest possible amount of time since taking charge of a fighter, mentioning his former protégé Sergio Martinez (who was at his side, helping him promote the event) as an example along with others.

But recently, on Saturday, Nov. 25 in a fight that took place in the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este, Melian’s teammate Alberto Palmetta, another former Olympian and bright prospect under the Lewkowicz promotional banner, suffered a stunning upset in his seventh professional fight, losing by stoppage against an unheralded opponent and unleashing a barrage of criticism from fans and press alike regarding Palmetta’s style but also what some perceived as a rushed upbringing that led to his career-threatening setback.

When consulted about his role in Palmetta’s career, Lewkowicz jumped at the opportunity to vindicate his aggressive matchmaking style once again.

“Palmetta lost like a man and a warrior, and he will have his chance to avenge his defeat,” said Lewkowicz, going as far as accepting the possibility that a similar situation may transpire on Dec. 16th on Melian’s debut. “What happened to Palmetta can happen to Melian also, but with the experience that he has I believe he will become victorious.”

Soon enough, Lewkowicz’s wolf-eat-wolf matchmaking idiosyncrasy will be put to the test once again, and only time will tell if Melian-Santillan was a cannibalistic confrontation among equal members of one same species or a baby wolf biting more than what he could chew against a pack-leading alpha male. In the meantime, and while I maintain my own doubts, I do hope to see Lewkowicz’s boxing philosophy triumph over the established practice of feeding one tender sheep after another to hungry young contenders who later fail to replicate their voracity in bigger challenges.

Because wolves facing wolves is, after all, what boxing is all about. – Diego M. Morilla

 A Monday Night of Fisticuffs in Moscow

The weekend boxing activity continued into Monday with a 10-fight card at the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow. The main event between heavyweights Amir Mansour and Sergey Kuzmin was stopped in the third round when both fighters suffered bad cuts as a result of an accidental clash of heads. It goes into the books as a technical draw.

The 45-year-old Mansour (23-2-2) dominated his 30-year-old Russian opponent during the brief scuffle. A southpaw who has spent a large chunk of his adult life in prison, Mansour is one tough cookie. Despite his advanced age, the various heavyweight champs want no part of him. Kuzmin was exposed but remains undefeated (11-0-1).

In the semi-main, former IBF 140-pound champion Eduard Troyanovsky improved to 27-1 (24 KOs) with a first-round knockout of Paraguay’s Carlos Manuel Portillo (21-2).  This was Troyanovsky’s second start since being starched by Julius Indongo in a fight that lasted 40 seconds. Don’t blink when he fights. His last 18 bouts have ended inside the distance, most within the early rounds. . – Arne K. Lang

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