Punch Drunk Ramblings – Making The Grade

It was quite a busy weekend in terms of meaningful boxing matches on almost every network.¬† I will confess to skipping both PPV offerings from Mexico as I just didn’t see the necessity given HBO’s excellent card on the same night.¬† For detailed accounts of the past weekend fights I implore you to check out Tim’s previous posts as they feature excellent insight and analysis with a hint of flair that truly makes them special.¬† So allow me to take out me red marker and doll out some grades¬†for the warriors¬†who were in action.¬† ¬† Chris Byrd – F+.¬† I am inclined to agree with my compadre Tim’ assessment of Byrd’s disastrous performance Friday night in his new svelte 175 lbs frame.¬† While I like a good portion of fans out there where intrigued to see what Byrd had left in his tank after battling the giants of the heavyweight division it was clear that Byrd was a shell of himself against Shaun George.¬† Of course I am not discounting George’s talents but an elite fighter would have gotten the shopworn Byrd out in less then four rounds.¬† In fact the only good that came out of this fight is the announcement from Byrd’s camp that he will be retiring.¬† This is welcome news indeed considering that Byrd is financially well off and such a great guy.¬† It would be disastrous if he were allowed to continue fighting.¬† I know that Byrd has a deeply rooted love for the sport and he would make a very credible trainer of commentator.¬† I wish him well in all future endeavors.¬† Ji-Hoon Kim – A.¬† You have to be impressed with the 21 year-old Korean Kim who wage an exciting one round war with the tough Koba Gogoladze.¬† The unheralded Kim came out the aggressor and brought the fight to the veteran Gogoladze who looked a bit surprised by his challenger’s antics.¬† Kim overcame some rocky moments when it appeared that Gogoladze had him hurt only to respond with a counter hook that dropped Gogoladze and then a flurry to cause a halt to the action.¬† is Kim the future of the super featherweight division?¬† Not by a long shot but if he continues this aggressive style of fighting he is sure to build a fan base.¬† Jhonny Gonzalez – B+.¬† So count me among the many who feared that Gonzalez future as a contender was over after his brutal war with Israel Vasquez.¬† I still think that fight took more out of the Mexico City native then he wants to believe but he has rebounded nicely in his last couple of outings punctuated by his knockout of the always tough Mauricio Pastrana.¬† It is good to see Gonzalez return to his more aggressive mentality as he has noticeably boxed more in recent fights.¬† Pastrana was simply no match for the bigger stronger Gonzalez who dropped the Colombian in the fourth before letting loose a salvo that stopped the contest.¬† A very good performance from the man named Jhonny.¬† Yuriorkis Gamboa – B.¬† Forgive me Tim but I think that Gamboa failed to impress in his showcase.¬† Sure he is so fast he makes the Road Runner seem lethargic but his supreme confidence and amateur trappings are going to do him in when he faces the upper echelon fighters.¬† In Darling Jiminez I will concede that Gamboa had a tough assignment in front of him but as he peppered Jiminez with shots at will it was clear that the fight could have been easier for the young Cuban.¬† Just imagine how great Gamboa would have looked without being dropped in the fourth and without eating so much leather?¬† Fighters with that much talent who don’t keep their hands up grate my nerves.¬† Sure Gamboa is like greased lightning but what happens as his career progresses and he looses that advantage?¬† Is Gamboa must see TV?¬† Sure, he is a young talented prospect who will have a great career if he just keeps those damn hands up!¬† Alfredo Angulo – A-.¬† Angulo looked good in dismantling the experienced Richard Gutierrez and his creepy chest hair.¬† Sure Angulo resembles a less charismatic Antonio Margarito but the kid makes for good action.¬† I like Gutierrez and his toughness but I was surprised at how he managed to land so many shots against Angulo who appeared to be rocked on some occasions.¬† Still credit has to be given to Angulo for bringing the pain to Gutierrez that eventually led to the stoppage.¬† A good showing for the Mexican badass on his biggest stage to date.¬† James Kirkland – A.¬† So Kirkland really didn’t give us much to evaluate given his brief appearance before knocking Eromosele Albert silly (by the way, that lump on Albert’s head needs to be checked out).¬† It was arguably the greatest display of contained rage since Tyson was knocking fools silly in the 80s.¬† I’m really high on Kirkland but I’m not sure how he will do when forced to fight in the later rounds as he keeps knocking his opponents out in speedy fashion.¬† I think it’s cool that he is trained by the great Ann Wolfe (who legitimately scares me) and would love to drop in and witness some of their more unorthodox training techniques.¬† Seems that an eventual showdown between Kirkland and Angulo is being nurtured and they do share some history having sparred against each other in the past.¬† It’s the type of fight that almost guarantees excitement but I agree with some that there is no hurry in making the fight.¬† A fight of such magnitude should be built up and when the time comes I will be watching with giddy anticipation.¬†

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.