Quick Jabs: The Pavlik Bump, Was Marquez Hitting Below The Belt, More

This week’s “Quick Jabs” visits with the presidential campaign, Israel Vazquez’ trunks, what happens when a fighter blows his big chance… and then dips into “The Heavy Bag” for some very quirky news release-y news. The Pavlik Bump? So Kelly Pavlik, the exciting middleweight (160 lbs.) champ and local Ohio hero, endorses Hillary Rodham Clinton over the weekend and the next thing you know, she wins the state in its Democratic primary Tuesday night. I greatly enjoy the work of Stephen Colbert, but I wonder if “The Pavlik Bump” is replacing “The Colbert Bump,” his phrase for the success of candidates who appear on his show. Where Were The Low Blows? I checked out Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez III on replay last night to examine a question I raised here, about where referee Pat Russell designated the low-blow line on Vazquez’ trunks. Russell deducted a point for low blows later in the fight, and it was the difference between a Vazquez win — the result — and a draw. Russell took his hand and drew it across the midway line of Vazquez’ belt, saying that anything below that line was a low blow. Every single time Marquez was asked to “keep them up,” Marquez’ blows were landing on that exact spot. Because of the nature of boxing gloves, part of his fist was on the line and part over — in other words, they were on the line. To call those low blows is the definition of “borderline,” and as I’ve said, when a fight is this important, you have to give some leeway. Interestingly, every time ringside commentator Al Bernstein saw the between-rounds replay of a shot he’d called “very low,” he came back and said, “well, that was very low.” Look, this is purely academic at this point, because California has refused to overturn the fight’s result. And you know what? I don’t think the result was overturned, because of the nature of California’s rules. But I watched specifically for whether there were any low blows, and not a single one I saw was definitive. This fight was decided by other things than the low blow, especially Vazquez’ heroic 12th round performance, which was even more awe-inspiring the second time around. But the ref shouldn’t have taken a point for low blows. I don’t think he even should have warned Marquez. Vazquez landed his share of punches in the exact same place, and as friend-of-the-site Bob noted, Vazquez’ trunks looked like they were up higher than Marquez’. That the ref made that call makes the fight more dramatic in a way, but it makes it less fair. The decision’s outcome is, basically, wrong because of it. It’s a shame that Marquez would have gotten the draw if only the referee had made the correct call. What Happens When A Boxer Comes Up Short? Michael Woods and Thomas Hauser are both among the creme-de-la-creme of boxing writers in our country, and in the past couple weeks, they’ve put their chops on display quite impressively. I found two of their pieces so compelling I wanted to flag them for Ring Report readers. Both deal with the same subject: What happens when a boxer lets an opportunity slip away. Woods got into the mind of Eddie Chambers, the heavyweight prospect-turning-contender who was winning his fight with Alexander Povetkin, with the winner about to get a title shot, but then, inexplicably, Chambers slowed down and in the end, lost. I say “inexplicably” in the past tense. Inasfar as it can be done, Woods has explained. He explores Chambers’ psyche in light of his self-created letdown. It’s great stuff. Hauser, in his own piece, gets into the head of John Duddy, the middleweight contender who was on the verge of a huge payday with Pavlik before Walid Smichet battered his brains out and made Duddy look bad even in victory. More great stuff. Read both pieces. The Heavy Bag (Disclaimer: The following releases contain claims I have not substantiated and for which I have not sought a response; I present them only for your consideration.) The manager of burgeoning star Juan Diaz and his big-name promoter Don King have butted heads continually, and today King fired back… Well, more like, he fired himself… “Don King Quits Juan Diaz!” reads the news release headline… The announcement comes just days before the lightweight (135 lbs.) titlist gets ready to fight Nate Campbell in Cancun… “Juan Diaz and Willie Savannah seem to be doing just fine,” King said of Diaz’ manager, and “Juan was lucky to make $100,000 for a fight before he came to me.  He made $2 million in his first year with me and I arranged for him to fight for two more world titles, which he won.  He’ll make another $800,000 on Saturday night”…. “It seems to me that Juan has been doing his job inside the ring and I’ve been doing my job as his promoter outside the ring.  I’m still trying to figure out what it is Willie’s not getting when looking back upon one of the best financed and most successful career progressions I have ever been part of”… He concluded: “I will no longer work with Juan’s manager Willie Savannah”… Interesting thing to do right before a fight. Also from the “peculiar” category for the Cancun card: Allegations that Jose Luis Castillo, who twice failed to make weight against Diego Corrales for a rematch of the best fight of all time against fellow former lightweight (135 lbs.), may be about to repeat his battle with the scale… “Could it be deja vu all over again?” asks the news release from the team of 140-pound up-and-and comer Tim Bradley…  The release said that at his seven-day weigh-in, Castillo “did not include his seven-day weight, a clear violation of WBC rules. Castillo, who has a history of not making weight for fights, reportedly weighed 151 lbs at his 30-day weigh-in, leading to speculation that he may be suffering from dietary inflation. The weight limit for their March 8 fight in Cancun, Mexico is 140 lbs”…    “The rules are explicit and we expect the WBC to enforce them,” said Gary Shaw, Bradley’s, co-promoter and the former promoter of Corrales; “I’ve been down this road too many times with Castillo and I will not tolerate it again.”

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.