Monday, June 27, 2005

Another weekend, Another fight

The big fight this weekend was brought to us by PPV, Arturo "Thunder" Gatti vs. "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather. If you're a boxing fan you've been waiting for this one. Thunder vs Lightning! If you saw any of the pre-fight you found out these 2 don't like each other. They'd get the chance to settle it face to face.

In the opening fight we say the minimum weight class, yes, the littlest guys out there. Ivan Calderon, the champ, came into the ring at 5 ft tall (no typo) and 104. The challenger, 103 pound Gerard Verde (?). It was actually a really good fight but it is always funny to see people that small fighting. These to looked like some of the fights I break up between my 6 year old daughter and her friends that come over to swim in the pool. Calderon easily controlled the fight showing just how much better he was than anyone else in that weight class. He was faster, stronger and better on this night dominating all the rounds he choose to. He did coast a couple rounds at the end, most of them I still gave to him. All in all he won an easy unanimous victory.

Next brought the son of a legend trying to follow in his fathers footsteps. Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr, 19-0-0 w/ 14 KO's in 20 months of a professional career is well on his way to being as active as his father. Unlike his father he is tall and lanky. I've seen Julio Jr. fight about 7 times now, his handlers have him active in a controlled way. They are doing a good job of giving him experience with low talent with specific skills for him to work on. Ruben Galvan, his oponent this evening, brought a toughness to the ring Julio hasn't fought. Galvan, who has never been knocked down or out in his 29 proffesional fights (21-6-2 w/ 9 KO's), knows how to take a punch and keep coming forward. Although this appeared to be Julio's toughest fight it was still a boxing clinic put on by the youngster. Galvan lasted 4 rounds taking 148 punches from Julio who was landing at 53% according to punch stat numbers. Julio is young, 19 years old, but brings to the ring a multitude of skills, he can throw any punch in the book with power and accuracy. If his handlers keep him going at this rate he has the potential to become as good as his father, he's got a LONG way to go. Good old dad is probably on most boxing writers top 25 or 50 of all time. Not a bad list to be on. Jr has yet to show anything against a top, or even mediocre for that matter, opponent but if he has 1/2 the toughness his dad had we may be watching a great one grow up in front of our very eyes.

Vivian Harris (25-1-1-17ko's) vs. Carlos Maussa (18-2-0-17kos) 140lb
Harris came into the fight holding one of the many 140 lb championship belts. He brought with him a chip on his shoulder as he feels he's been overlooked in the division and not getting the big paydays that some of the other 140 punders have recieved. Maussa is a big puncher who always looks off balance and can take a punch. Harris should have come out and boxed Maussa for 12 rounds, retained his title and lived to fight another day. Instead, he came out swinging for the fences looking to prove a point and impress the boxing writers. He did land some incredible bombs through the 1st couple of rounds. 1st problem. Maussa was still standing. 2nd problem. Harris was out of gas. Maussa, starting in the 3rd round began dropping bombs of his own, standing toe to toe with the tired and weary Harris. After 2 rounds of getting bashed Harris decided to listen to his corner and box, stick and move, fight his fight and not turn this into a war he could not win. In the 6th round he landed a big hook that stunned Maussa, went back to the war like style and took more punishment than he gave by the end of the round. In between the 6th and 7th he could be seen argueing with his corner. This is particularly ridiculous when you cornerman is Emanual Stewart, about as good as you can get in the boxing biz. It woul only take another 43 seconds for Emanuals point to be brought to life when Maussa landed a HUGE left hook sending Harris to the ground, taking his belt and teaching him to listen to his corner. Some of us learn the hard way!

The main event. Arturo "Thunder" Gatti (39-6-0-30ko's) vs "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather (33-0-0-22ko's)
On paper it would appear that Mayweather would easily defeat Gatti. Most boxing experts, including myself (not that I'm an expert, just that I happen to agree with them on this) felt that it would be Mayweather's speed dominating the fight. But, also including myself, most fans wanted to see some Gatti magic. Gatti has won many fights he shouldn't be out-hearting, if such a word does not exist it should - you could put it next to Gatti in the dictionary, his opponents. Gatti is the Rocky of real life, winning fights with both eyes swollen almost shut and blood dripping out of every part of his face. You really can't not like Gatti if you're a fan. That is unless you are Mayweather. He showed absolutely no respect before the fight. 1st round action saw a lot of feeling out, Floyd jumped in with some quick combos to get his range, Gatti couldn't really deal with his speed. Late in the 1st round they got tied up, I watched the fight again later and you can hear the ref say "stop punching", as they backed away from each other Mayweather threw a big hook that popped Gatti. Gatti looked at the ref in disgust and Mayweather popped him again, this time sending him to the canvas.
The commentators argued about this for a couple of rounds. I do think the ref made a mistake, he said stop punching but was well out of position to make that command. After the commend stop punching the ref should be close enough to get in between the fighters to ensure everyone heard the command. In this instance he was behind Mayweather circling the action. Having said that Gatti, having 45 fights under his belt should ALWAYS remember the golden rule of boxing. Protect yourself at ALL times.
All in all I don't believe this knock down mattered, at the time it happened I was hoping for Gatti magic and a close war but I would not get it. The 2nd round saw Mayweather gain confidence, throw more combos with his blistering speed and dominate the fight. As the fight continued Mayweathers confidence grew and grew as he threw more and more punches with 63% accuracy, unbelievable! Buddy McGirt, Gatti's cornerman threw in the towel before the 6th round as Gatti's eyes were both closed due to swelling. As Mayweather predicted he put on a clinic in the most lob sided PPV fight, possible in the history of PPV fights. Gatti showed his heart once again, showed some signs of life in the 5th round but never landed that big left hook to the body that maybe could have slowed Mayweather down. In the end Mayweather landed 168 of 295 punches (57%) with 115 of 183 (63%) being power shots. A lot of punishment in 5 rounds, Gatti only managed to land 10 power shots in the same amount of time. Mayweather has many people believing he is the best pound fo pound fight around right now, he may be right.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Saturday Night Fights

This past seekend I enjoyed playing with my daughter, having a 6 year old pool party with all of her friends and having them all fall asleep so I could watch boxing all to myself!! The card started out with Verno Phillips, 38-10-1 against Ike Quartey, 35-2-1. On my scorecard Phillips won the 1st to rounds by controlling the pace and action in the fight, Quartey came one in the late 2nd and took over in the 3rd. Quartey controlled the action from then on and looked to be heading into the late rounds with a somewhat easy victory. Phillips appeared outmatched and he was definately out boxed. In the 9th round Phillips landed a huge left hook that sent Quartey to the ground. Quartey was able to weather the storm of Phillips and win on my card 96-93. The judges scored the fight 95-94, 95-94 and 96-93 all for Quartey.
In the main event it was the rematch between the only to boxers to knock out Roy Jones Jr. Glenn Johnson and Antonio Tarver. Johnson won the decision in the first fight, although I had Tarver ahead like most sports writers!

I will stop to say that I watched the fight again after hearing the decision and watched as Johnson just came forward while Tarver backed up. The classic question....Is he backing up AND controlling the fight with counterpunches or is he running away. The match was alot like Haggler vs. Leonard, the only thing that Johnson didn't do that Haggler did was say "fight me like a man you bitch!" to Tarver. Although I didn't view Tarver's backing up as I did Leonard's in that fight many years ago, I can see how the judges gave it to Johnson.

These to fighters make a classic match up. Tarver, a boxer who moves well and has all the skills and speed, vs. Johnson, a fighter/puncher who comes forward and then comes forward some more. I think I scored this fight a little different after watching their first fight a couple of times. Tarver definately outboxed Johnson, he just seemed to take a couple rounds off from time to time and his backing up and counter punching dominance turned to just backing up. All in all i scored the fight 115-114 (with 1 round even) for Tarver. The judges saw the fight 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113, all of them giving my even round (the 1st) to Tarver.

It was a good fight with a lot of action and as much as I want to see someone knock Tarvers head off it didn't happen on this night. Maybe he'll step into a cage someday and my wish will come true.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Are you a geek

OK, take the geek test. I recieve a 32%, I have some geek in me (actually thought it would be higher)

and...uh...yes, I believe in the force!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Guess who's back???

Friday morning I got up at 3am, drove to the airport and flew to Denver only to sit in the airport for 3 hours and come right back. Why? You ask. I had to pick up my daughter back there. That's right, for a couple of months stories of drinking and partying until dawn will be replaced with cartoon movies and playing my little ponies til the midnight hours! That's right, a 240 pound guy who spends his time at jui juitsu class and kickboxing in his garage plays my little pony. I am not ashamed. I spent this weekend with 3-5 neighborhood kids running in and out of the house leaving a path of destruction which childless adults can't fathom. how can something so small create such a mess? After hearing stories at work about how the brown recluse (sp?) spider enjoys hanging out in extra unused bedrooms I cleaned McKenna's room from top to bottom before her return. It took a whole day. It took her about 13.7 seconds to completely destroy that room. You can't even see the floor. Today I took her and two of her friends to go see Madagascar. Great movie! Don't take 3 children!!! That's the definition of insanity. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

American Fighters Undefeated at PRIDE vol 7

At the recent PRIDE - Bushido, Vol 7 there were 5 American fighters and they did outstanding. In a great night of fighting the Americans were not only undefeated, they were convincing in their victories.

Yoshido Maeda (JAP) vs Charles "Crazy Horse" Bennet (USA)

The longest part of this fight was the intro. Crazy Horse was his normal self, crazy! He came out with his usual antics, getting the crowd riled up and posing for the camera's. When the bell rang he was all business ending the fight early in the 1st round with a devestating knock out.

Jens Pulver (USA) vs Taisho (JAP)

Another quick one here. Jens came out all business following Bennet's lead. This fight didn't make it to the 2 minute mark. Pulver looked stronger and faster as they cirlced and just like the 1st fight we had our second big knock out of the evening.

Yves Edwards (USA) vs Dokonjyonosuke Mishima (JAP)

This appeared to be the works of a major slug fest on paper. Edwards is, in my opinion, one of the best knock out artist of the 155 pound weight class. He's the creator of "Thug-jitsu" which is his own brand of fighting. Although both are known for their stand up game this match ended up on the mat which should have favored Mishima, however when these 2 started to grapple and roll Edwards was able to come away with a very crafty arm-lock to end the match. This match like the others ended early in the 1st round.

Omigawa Michihiro (JAP) vs Aaron Riley (USA)

In the 4th USA vs JAP match of the evening it was more of the same. This fight did get out of the 1st couple of minutes and provide a little bit for the Japanese crowd to cheer about. It appeared as though Michihiro would be able to control this fight after the 1st couple of minutes but like the others Riley was able to end the fight in the 1st round.

Phil "The N.Y. Badass" Baroni (USA) vs Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa (JAP)

In the one fight I wish the USA would have lost I was dissapointed. Phil Baroni is about the only MMA fighter I can say I don't like. He is an obnoxious ass in my opinion. Having said that I will also give credit where credit is due. There aren't many, if any, fighters that can stand toe to toe with Baroni and trade punches. He is incredibly explosive and has knock out power in both hands. Minowa stood with him for a while in the 1st round before deciding it would be better to take the fight to the ground. After 10 minutes of 1st round action I don't know that anyone would have Baroni ahead. He clearly landed the bigger harder punches when they stood but most o fthe fight was on the ground where Minowa controlled the action. At the begining of the 2nd round Minowa landed a big blow and seemed to get some confidence in his ability to stand with Baroni. That would prove to be a bad move as they traded blow for blow for quite some time Baroni seemed to get stronger and stronger until he finally knocked Minowa out.

I'd like to see Baroni and Franklin (see UFC review) fight. If someone can stand with Baroni it will be Franklin.

There were several other fights on the evening, one of the major reasons I like PRIDE over the UFC. In the main event Takanori Gomi (JAP), who has knocked out virtually everyone in the 155 class including 3 of the 5 American's who I've listed above, fought Luiz Azeredo (BRA). Everyone figured this fight to be a classic Brazilian taking the fight to the ground but Azeredo caught everyone off guard by coming out and landing big blows on Gomi. Azeredo controlled most of the 1st round while remaining on his feet and trading blows with Gomi. In the end Gomi did land a huge combination which sent Azeredo somewhere in the middle of next year, we may not have caught up with him yet!

(This review is late, this actually happened before the UFC I wrote about!!!)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

UFC 53 - Great Fight Night!

What a great night of fighting. Overall I was 4-4 on my picks but I am happy to say that 2 of those losses were people I wanted to win but didn't pick (some fan I am huh?). At any rate it breaks down like this....

Paul Buentello vs. Kevin Jordan (I picked Jordan)

I saw Kevin jordan at a tournament in February, he wasn't fighting but he looked shredded and in great condition. Unfortunately he looked to be in better shape back then, not that he looked terribly out of shape. They came out both swinging for the fences and rocked each other with a couple of big blows. I thought Jordan had it for a minute but he couldn't hold out, Buentello was just to much for him and took the victory.

Nate "rock" Quarry vs. Shonie Carter (Picked Carter)

I picked Carter on experience although Quarry fights out of Team Quest which I typically route for. It's amazing that Carter has been in a ton of fights and I've never seen him win, should have learned something by now. Quarry looked bigger and stronger than normal, came out swinging and didn't take long until he landed the big one. He was able to knock Carter out early.

David Loiseau vs. Charles McCarthy (Loiseau)

Finally one of my picks wins, I was getting worried. This was actually kind of an easy pick. Loiseau fights with a group of Canadians who have been very impressive as of late. He trains a lot with George St Pierre who should be up for a title fight soon. Loiseau easily controlled the fight.

Koji Oishe vs. Nick Diaz (Diaz)

Diaz looked like he was fighting a little kid in this one, Koji shouldn't have shown up to this one.

Alright!!!! Enough of the undercard lets get to the good stuff.

Karo Parisyan vs. Matt Serra (Serra)

Should have stuck with who I wanted to win in this one. Karo came out, took a big punch and the fight was almost called. He was able to protect himself and shake out the cobb webs. He showed incredible recovery skills and the pretty much dominated the fight. Serra really couldn't seem to get anything going which was surprizing to me. Parisyan won the fight.

Evan Tanner (Middle weight champ) vs. Rich Franklin (Tanner)

Evan Tanner has looked unstoppable lately. He came out slow in the first round but landed a big right hand late in the 1st to win that round and almost the fight, Franklin was barely able to get his guard so the ref could allow him to continue. Rich Franklin, who is coming of an impressive victory against superstar Ken Shamrock, was winning the 1st in my opinioin before the near knockout punch. After the punch it was as if Franklin was a new man, or maybe just woke up. For the next 3 rounds he demolished Tanner's face, swelling up both eyes and opening up cut after cut, it was messy. The doctors called a stop to the fight making Franklin the new Champ. My hats off to him. Shamrock had slipped in their fight and I thought maybe he landed a "lucky punch". Although I will say that all lucky punches come from relfex and opportunity so that's a bit of a false statement. He showed what a great fighter he was and stopped the one who looked unstopable. Franklin also had the quote of the night when Joe Rogan interviewed him and asked if he was hurt from the big punch in the first round. He replied by saying that he didn't remember the punch so he didn't know!

Forrest Griffin vs. Bill Mahood (Forrest)

Forrest is one of the most recognizable faces in MMA after winning "The Ultimate Fighter", Spike TV and UFC's collabiration on a reality show. He is known to be a stiker and came into the ring looking for a brawl like he did in the reality show finals. An opportunity arose for a little grappling and he took it, something we're not used to seeing from Forrest. He gained Mahood's back and finished him with a rear naked choke.

Andre "the pit bull" Arlovsky vs. Justin Eilers (Arlovsky)

Arlovsky is another one of my favorite fighters, at 6 foot 4 and 235 (245?) he is a monster. Eilers was coming off a dissapointing loss but still has knock out power in both hands and is no one to wrestle with either. He's a touch Iowa boy who ran into a frieght train named Andre. Arlovsky controlled every moment of the fight, took some pretty big punches with ease and landed bomb after bomb rocking Eilers and hurting him early and often. Just as I was thinking the big one was coming Justin's right knee blew out, looked incredibly nasty on the replay. What an unfortunate event. I don't think anyone would say that Eilers would have made it out of the 1st round without getting knocked out but I know that had to hurt losing a championship match like that!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

UFC 53 - Heavy Hitters

Here we go....Another UFC tonight and I'm pumped up. Last nights PRIDE - Bushido was unbelievable. I'll talk more about that later. On to the predictions....

Paul Buentello vs Kevin Jordan - I'm going to go with Jordan. These guys both should be keyed up, a big win here could put them in with some of the well known heavyweights next time around. I saw Kevin Jordan at the FFC event I attended in February, he was looking pretty cut up and ready to go and that was 4 months ago.

Nate Quarry vs Shonie Carter - Nate has earned a lot of fans from his quick appearance on the UFC's "The Ultimate Fighter". An unfortunate injury kept him from competed throughout the show although they did keep him on as a guest judge. He is also a Team Quest representative so you know I'm routing for him. Shonie has been around a long time and fougth a lot of tough fights, I look for him to win the fight over Nate. Although I hope I'm wrong!

David Loiseau vs Charles McCarthey - David Loiseau should win this fight!

Koji Oishe vs Nick Diaz - I think Diaz will have a real break out performance tonight and put Koji down, hopefully quick.

Karo Parisyan vs Matt Serra - This is another fight where I hope I'm wrong. I belive Matt will take out Karo. I've always liked the way Karo fights and I hope he does well.

Forrest Griffin vs Bill Mahood - Forrest, "The Ultimate Fighter" winner looks to be in his 1st UFC fight tonight. I wish him well as he was a great fighter, and character, on the show. I believe he will win and continue his growth in the UFC.

Evan Tanner vs Rich Franklin - Middleweight Championship
Evan is a great champion and has taken on and defeated a who's who of the middleweight division. Rich Franklin has also worked his way through the middlewight division with much success. He's coming off a lightheavyweight victory over Ken Shamrock on the 1st nationally televised MMA fights on Spike TV. Although Franklin is on the rise and Tanner must lose sometime I don't think tonight is the night, I pick Tanner.

Andrei Arlovsky vs Justin Eilers - Heavyweight Championship
I look for Arlovsky to win this one big and early. Eilers is no pushover, don't get me wrong, I just haven't seen anything from any heavyweight which leads me to believe Arolovsky will lose anytime soon. That includes when the former (current) champion Frank Muir returns from injury. (side note -- Frank Muir is the champion, he was in a motor cycle accident and out of the game for the past year so Arlovsky is technically the interum champion).

All in all I'm just hoping for a great fight night!!!!!