Good not great; UFC vs. Boxing

There were two championship fights last night; A welterweight fight between


Manny Pacquiao and Juan Marquez, and a Heavyweight MMA (UFC) fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. While both fights were exciting, the discrepancy showed why boxing has had time to mature into the sweet science and MMA is that uber talented, younger sibling who has potential but still has a ways to go to reach the athletic caliber of professional boxing.

Let’s start with the younger, talented sibling MMA. The Velasquez-dos Santos fight ended 64 seconds into the first found of UFC’s major television network debut on Fox. The number one contender Junior dos Santos knocked out champion Velasquez via a right to the temple and is now the 3rd title holder in a little over a year. Recent UFC Heavyweight champs include former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar (7 professional fights), Frank Mir, Shane Carwin, and Cain Velasquez who has had a total of 10 professional fights. The lack of a great Heavyweight champ exemplifies a lack of depth and is a testament to the future growth of the division and the sport.

Pacquiao-MarquezHow about the older, more mature brother; boxing? Professional boxing has been around for a century and looks it. If anything, it’s too refined and polished. If fights like Pacquiao-Marquez III were common place, the UFC would not be in business. Regardless, seeing two great champions with 120 professional fights between them, trade leather for twelve rounds shows just how good great is; how nuanced and skilled professional boxing is (in its highest form). Pacquiao won via majority decision.

Even though boxing is not where or what it used to be, the talent pool is deep. Fighters often put in at least 50 amateur fights (if not 100) before turning pro, only to put in another 20-30 pro fights just for a shot at the title. Compare that depth of talent to MMA in general, the UFC in particular, and the heavyweight division specifically where fighters with no amateur MMA fights and 3 or 10 professional MMA fights can win the UFC promotion’s belt. Some may call that hating on the UFC; I don’t. Compare the UFC today to professional boxing 20 years into its existence and the comparison looks very favorable to the UFC  As fight purses and endorsement deals continue to grow, so will the depth of talent in the UFC.

The UFC will become the most successful promotion on earth.

Photo: Dos Santos – LA Times; Pacquiao – Miami Herald

Straight Ghetto But True

Straight Ghetto But True

Watching Floyd Mayweather‘s 4th round KO of Victor Ortiz, and the champ’s behavior leading up to the fight, during the fight, and following the fight; all this fan can say is that Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather may have traded inner city of Grand Rapids, Michigan for an estate in Las Vegas but he is still straight ghetto. His KO of Ortiz was Ortiz’s fault. You can’t leave yourself unprotected against Mayweather. Mayweather pulled a similar move on Arturo Gatti (RIP) when they fought. Which is why I am not a fan of hugging and kissing in the middle of a fight. After a head butt or a low blow the ref either warns the fighter or deducts a point at which time the two fighters touch gloves, hands up , and get back to banging (this is a world championship fight not a sparring session between training partners). The KO was also referee Joe Cortez fault (to a lesser degree) for not stepping in and physically separating the two fighters before signaling both to fight on.

Mayweather Ortiz KO

The ghetto aspect was not that Ortiz left himself open trying to be “nice”, but rather when Mayweather reminded Ortiz that there is no nice; especially after a head butt and a belt on the line. My grandfather may he rest in peace would have called that KO a beat. That is, Mayweather cheap shot Ortiz which is exactly why you don’t hug and kiss a guy you are looking to knock out.

On a related note, as inappropriate as it was, I must admit, I did enjoylarry-merchant-floyd-mayweather Mayweather going after Larry Merchant. I have been perpetually aggravated by Larry Merchant‘s pre and post fight pontificating for years, nor have I ever agreed with Merchant’s views. As much as I don’t like seeing an 80 year old man spoken to in that manner, I must agree with Floyd Mayweather; Larry “don’t know Sh#t about boxing”.

Like the rest of the boxing world, now more than ever, I would love to see Mayweather and Pacquiao fight and see if Mayweather is really as good as his record.

We shall see…

Mazal Tov B-Hop: Bernard Hopkins Oldest Champion

Mazal Tov B-Hop: Bernard Hopkins Oldest Champion

Bernard Hopkins (46) made history last night by becoming the oldest man to ever win a major boxing title.

Hopkins beat French-Canadian Jean Pascal via Unanimous Decision in Montreal. For an American challenger to defeat a French-Canadian champion, in Montreal means that Hopkins dominated the fight.

Bernard Hopkins is a great fighter. I don’t know where he is ranked on the all-time list. Regardless, he is that prototype Philadelphia fighter; Tough as nails, slick as grease.

Hopkins came to boxing in prison where he spent 5 years for armed robbery. While serving time, Bernard Hopkins discovered two things that turned his life around; Boxing and religion. While learning how to box in prison, Hopkins also became a devout Muslim. When Hopkins was released from prison, he was one of a few that was indeed rehabilitated.

What makes Bernard Hopkins great?

His work ethic and boxing IQ. Hopkins is in shape year round, he loves to train, and he is a smart fighter who not only studies his opponents prior to the fight, out of the ring, but has the ability to adjust to his opponents inside the ring, during a fight (which compliments his counter-punching style). This has enabled Hopkins to avoid the cumulative damage of a prize fighter and allowed him to have a 20 year career. How many wars have you seen Hopkins fight? His design is not to exchange punches but to expose and exploit his opponents weaknesses. Next time you watch a Hopkins fight look at all of the subtle movement (head, shoulder, legs) and the limited numbers of punches by Hopkins (it is a thing of beauty and is one of the reasons that boxing is truly the “Sweet Science”).

Congratulations Bernard Hopkins.

UFC 128 Recap: Impressed with Jones, but not Faber

UFC 128 Recap

Jon-JonesPhoto: 5th Round

Watching the 23-year old Jon Jones dominate Shogun Rua, I was actually reminded of George St. Pierre. In short, as GSP was that next step forward in the Welterweight division, Jon Jones reign as champ is that next step in the Light Heavyweight Division.

True, we did not see Shogun Rua in top form. The year layoff due to a busted knee showed. He was out of shape and out of his league. Regardless, Jon Jones looked that good. Perhaps because I was a boxing fan before I was an MMA fan, I believe that in order to maximize endurance, speed and power; cardio is king and fighters ought to be lean. Jon Jones is built like a 205 pound champ that can go 5 rounds, if need be. Matter of fact, I would not be surprised to see the kid fight as a Heavyweight after he cleans out the light heavyweight division. The questions with Jon Jones is; will he be able to keep his head in the game and focused?

The California Kid, Urijah Faber defeated Eddie Wineland via unanimous decision in his first fight as a UFC bantamweight. I was not too impressed. He did enough to win, but did not look like a champion caliber fighter. Faber had the hair and the swagger of a champ, but was not busy enough. I would have loved to see more everything; more punches, more kicks, more takedowns and more wrestling. I am curious to see how Faber goes as a Bantamweight.

UFC 125 Recap

UFC 125 RecapUFC 125

UFC Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) had his long awaited rematch with Gray Maynard (11-0-1), the only fighter to defeat the current champ. Edgar is not a largelightweight, and Maynard’s size and power advantage almost ended the champion’s reignearly in the first round. Maynard connected with multiple shots that sent the champ downon numerous occasions in the first round. Edgar’s conditioning and heart were evidentby not only surviving a brutal 10-8 round, but rallying to win the 2nd round as well as themajority of the later rounds. The fight was called a draw, which I disagree with. The firstround was a 10-8 round for Maynard. Regardless, I thought Edgar’s boxing, take downs,and over all control for the majority of the fight was enough to give Edgar the victory. Asimpressive as Gray Maynard looked in the first round, I don’t think he did enough overthe entire fight to merit a draw against the champ. Good fight regardless.

UFC 121 Post Op

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Cain Velasquez

Cain Velasquez

Cain Velasquez‘s 1st round TKO of Brock Lesnar, to become the new UFC Heavyweight champ is indicative of the evolution and progression of the Heavyweight division.
Lesnar had Two or Three professional MMA fights (in total) before winning the Heavyweight title. A fact that speaks to the weakness of the division. Lesnar’s limitations were showcased last fight against Shane Carwin. Luckily for Lesnar, Carwin was gassed out by the end of the 1st round, which allowed the younger Lesnar to finish Carwin off in the second. In losing to Cain Velasquez this fight, Lesnar’s defeat is reminiscent of Matt Hughes loss to Georges St Pierre. MMA in general, and UFC in particular are evolving. Velasquez is the new standard for the Heavyweight division; a big (not massive) guy that can punch, dirty box, kick, wrestle, and has the conditioning (and lacks the mass) to take it in to the later rounds if need be. Congrats
In the Co main event, Jake Shields looked lethargic. He looked like a guy who dropped too much weight too fast to make 170 lbs limit. He fought and via decision, defeated Martin Kampmann, Based on this performance, George St Pierre should not have too much difficulty retaining his welterweight belt.
And of course, Tito Ortiz lost…again via unanimous decision, this time to Matt Hamill. Ortiz has not won a fight in the UFC since 2006. In SincityTrifecta years, that was before Dukes ever landed here on Plymouth…I mean Big Sin Rock.

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Photo: Bleacher Report

Ricky Hatton to enter rehab

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I caught a bit of the Klitschko-Peter rematch, and must say that I found the news outside the ring far more exciting.

Klitschko won a boring fight via late round stoppage, but elsewhere in the boxing world, things were “All Lit Up…again” to quote Buckcherry.

Ricky Hatton, former 140 lbs titlist and undefeated, great white hype (before being KO’d by Mayweather and Pacquiao) was filmed doing a line in the midst of a 10 hour drink and drug binge…good living kids. Talk about multitasking, I heard that Ricky was also in the midst of a comeback (he’s only 31).

I guess those Brit fighters like their coke almost as much as the drink. The former super middle weight champ Joe Calzaghe got busted not too long ago as well…sniffing the night away.

Although it is a bit of a let down, it is no surprise that a tough, hard drinking, blue collar brit from Manchester (think detroit with an English accent), with fame and fortune to burn, would fall in to this, as a boxing fan, I love redemption. I was fortunate enough to see Ricky Hatton knockout Jose Luis Castillo in the 4th round, when they fought here at the Thomas and Mack center back in 2007.  I would love to see Ricky Hatton make one more run at a 140 lbs title (unlike the heavyweight division, 140 lbs is one of the most talented weight classes in boxing).

Good luck and to better days Ricky.

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