Would-be star junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo, above left, was last seen getting “exposed,” as some like to say in the boxing world, by Kermit Cintron, above right (photo credit: Naoki Fukuda). Some boxers would take an extremely soft opponent after a loss like that, but not Angulo. On ESPN2′s Friday Night Fights this evening, he’s going at Gabriel Rosado, who’s played the spoiler in wins against James Moore and Kassim Ouma and almost did the same to Fernando Guerrero. Granted, that’s a step down in competition, but it’s not the kind of thing a little girl would do. Angulo boxes in the manliest of styles — he practices the Manly Art of No Defense, a subject we’ll return to in a moment — and I like the cojones shown by him and his team here. A loss is a loss. Angulo’s fun to watch. He’s just gonna fight and see what happens. No reason to lose confidence yet.
It’s a thin weekend otherwise, minus maybe the untelevised return of lightweight Jorge Barrios, so that leaves some of the subjects in the headline for this edition of Quick Jabs, plus others like: how to promote youngsters and some questions the new boxing promoters association might want to consider; a Ricky Hatton sparring partner wanting to get a sex change and box as a woman; upcoming fights, including one that might air on Versus; and much, much more.
I spend a lot of time thinking about how boxing can do better for itself, but if I had to pick just one thing — one and one only — it would be how to get the sport’s highest levels spotlighted outside of the premium channels. With that in mind, Matt Goldstein of Boxingtalk.com has directed a series of highly pertinent questions to the newly-formed association of boxing promoters, and I hope that association sees those questions and tries to answer them. I pass them along here
in the event that some boxing promoter who didn’t read them at Boxingtalk.com is reading this now. Seriously, boxing promoter to whom it may concern: Think about Goldstein’s questions hard. Harder than anything you spend time thinking about right now…
Another boxing figure who meant a good deal to me, Budd Schulberg, has passed away
. His book “Ringside” is one of the first books I bought when I first started getting into the sport, and if you’re a boxing fan, you should check it out — as well as the books or movie adaptations of “The Harder They Fall” and “On The Waterfront,” the first of which is a searing indictment of how boxing was run at the time and the latter of which was made into a film masterpiece that gave us the famous line, “I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody.” Schulberg wrote an essay in “Ringside” entitled “Arturo Gatti: The Manly Art of No Defense,” which is what Angulo, as I mentioned, practices. Sad to lose Schulberg so close to Gatti, the action hero for whom Schulberg employed the phrase. But if you haven’t gotten familiar with any of Schulberg’s work, no shame in taking the opportunity of his death to do so. Quite the contrary: It’s the exact way I’d encourage you to pay your respects…
Nevermind what I said this week about heavyweight Chris Arreola making it exciting against Vitali Klitschko. This photo
is shocking; we all know Arreola has a problem with his weight, but we keep being told he’s got a nutritionist now and you’d think he’d be using him for the hardest and most important fight of his life. Instead, he has fat rolls on the TOP
OF HIS HEAD.
Unless Arreola somehow loses 60 pounds in a month and a half and does it in a way that’s healthy, he is almost certainly going to get pancaked easily by Klitschko. And yes, his fat hasn’t hurt him yet, but being that jiggly just won’t work at the elite plane on which Klitschko operates. So much for the next great American heavyweight…
Junior welterweight Nate Campbell, who recently suffered a controversial TKO
loss to Timothy Bradley, saw the first couple rounds the same way I did, according to this interview
. Honestly, I really didn’t see Bradley “dominating” Campbell in those rounds the way some people did. Here’s what Campbell said for himself: “From where I was sitting he wasn’t ahead in the fight. If somebody thinks he was, that’s their opinion. I picked off everything he threw. He barely hit me with three shots, and the ones he hit me with were pitty-pat shots.” That’s precisely what I thought was happening. Bradley created the illusion that he was dominating by throwing out flurries that got the crowd excited, but not much was landing. I challenge everyone to watch the fight again — short as it is — and at least consider whether Nate and I are right. Ignore the 3rd round, where Nate basically covered up because he was blinded by that head butt. If you see Bradley “dominating” the first two rounds after viewing it through that prism, fine. Just consider…
Oh man, this one makes me laugh the way I do at comically over-the-top movie villains like Cruella Deville or William Hurt
in “History of Violence”: The WBC
ANOTHER belt, this one for catchweight fights between “elite” fighters, called “the diamond belt!” Could you make this up if you tried? A catchweight belt? Encrusted with diamonds? Is this for ANY
other reason than to try to capitalize on the proliferation of catchweight fights, and will ANYONE REALLY
act like this belt means anything? Please don’t answer
that last question…
Mayors are in love with boxers lately. First junior welterweight Devon Alexander, pictured below (photo credit: Bob Barton, via Don King news release), gets the key to the city of St. Louis after his alphabet title belt-winning effort over Junior Witter, and next week, light heavyweight Tavoris Cloud will be getting a proclamation from the mayor of Tallahassee, according to a Tweet from his publicist. It’s great to see boxers getting honored in their communities…
According to an interview
with trainer Nacho Beristain from May that Boxingtalk.com only published this week (I’ll give ’em a pass, they’ve given me a lot of material in this column), featherweight Rafael Marquez has gotten too big for his britches. “He’s not better because he is stubborn. Many fighters get to a certain point and they think of themselves the king of the world and they lose their footing, their humility. We are human beings and we are susceptible to anything we are susceptible to. But in the work he has done he has looked good. I was very happy because there were days where he had the same look he had when he began the bantamweight division, the speed and the tranquility to throw his jab. And I have begun to hope, to think I can convince him to skip super bantamweight and go to featherweight and present a version with the same speed he had at bantamweight. First he has to put his feet on the ground and thats what has me very worried. It’s like he lost his humility and he thinks too highly of himself. A fighter of his level, after reaching the heights he has, their image deteriorates, their technique deteriorates and then everything. And if he continues on this path it only goes toward retirement. I’ve talked to him two, three times already and told him that if he does not put his all it’s obvious he will have less time in boxing.” It’s unclear whether Beristain got through to Marquez. As a Marquez fan, I’d like it very much if Rafael remained dedicated and hung around a while longer…
Chad Dawson-Glen Johnson II will be on Dawson’s home turf
of Connecticut, which is as it should be. Before you protest, don’t forget, the first time these two light heavyweights met, Dawson got the nod in Johnson’s backyard of Florida. It’s only fair that Dawson, as the winner of the first fight — whether you agreed with the decision or not — should get to fight now in his backyard…
Kevin Iole has a nice piece
about steps Oscar De La Hoya is taking to help young boxers, both in the amateurs (almost as important for boxing in America as gett
ing the sport on TV) and via Fight Night Club. There are skeptics of said Fight Night Club, but I’m not one of them. Iole makes the best argument I’ve seen yet for the show…
ESPN Classic often times its schedule to upcoming fights, airing past bouts of boxers who will be in scraps that weekend. Lucky for us, according to a news release, all next week it’ll be airing classic Roy Jones, Jr. and Jeff Lacy fights in advance of the light heavyweight bout between both men next Saturday. I don’t care about Jones-Lacy, but I can’t get enough of Jones’ knockout of Glen Kelly, one of the most amazing, unique things I’ve ever seen happen in a boxing ring…
There have been a couple arrests
in the shooting death of Vernon Forrest. Nothing will bring him back, but bringing his killers to justice absolutely would be a satisfying development…
Ricky Hatton had a sparring partner. The sparring partner wants
to get a sex change and become a woman. Then he wants to box as a woman. I have no comment on this. I offer it as a curiosity and nothing more…
Top Rank has a YouTube channel
, and it has posted highlights from its recent pay-per-view main event between lightweight Miguel Acosta and Urbano Antillon. I like the idea of promoters more willingly sharing clips of its fights, per the “questions for boxing promoters” item we started off with here. I pass along the clip, which features a highlight reel KO.
Round And Round
We already covered some fights in the works this week here
, so here’s the rest floating around.
The last any number of top-notch boxing journalists heard, a fight between middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams was very much on course for Oct. 3. Nothing’s done in boxing until it’s done, but I like the direction this is moving.
Junior featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez’ team is saying Celestino Caballero needs to stop trying to negotiate through the media and call Bob Arum, Lopez’ promoter. But Lopez wants $1 million, an insane amount for a junior featherweight fight — so will Arum ask for less? Lopez’ people either need to put up and fight Caballero under reasonable terms or shut up and never mention Caballero again, ‘cuz they look like cowards every time they talk about him without fighting him.
Carlos Quintana and Verno Phillips are lined up for a Sept. 17 junior middleweight fight on Versus. If Quintana can make it to the night of the fight without getting injured — he hasn’t succeeded much at that lately — I will most certainly be interested in that bout, a notch above a Friday Night Fights event but a notch below, say, a ShoBox “special edition” main event. It’s a good an interesting fight against two mid-level contenders. That said, I echo Dan Rafael, who recently wrote that boxing on Versus may not continue beyond Quintana-Phillips: “Versus could have been a huge player in boxing but bungled it from the beginning with a misguided exclusive contract with Top Rank. If this is the way it’s going to end, what a shame.”
Too bad David Diaz-Jesus Chavez, Sept. 26, may not have a home on Versus or the like. That’s a good blue collar scrap between Diaz, a lightweight who hasn’t fought since getting KO’d last summer, and Chavez, who’s made good fights in the past even if his career has become an injury- and quit-riddled mystery.
The on-again/off-again Zab Judah-Matthew Hatton bout is off again, because, apparently, Judah suddenly wanted to make the fight at junior welterweight and Hatton has never fought below welterweight — a sudden turnaround for Zab, who’d earlier agreed to a welterweight fight before the bout was postponed and rescheduled. Judah may end up fighting Antonio Diaz — himself a welterweight of late (?) — on the Sept. 19 Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez. Meanwhile, Judah, hilariously, is partying
in Vegas and dreaming of making impossible fights. At least Judah has a funny career, if not a good one anymore. Hatton now will return to trying to make a bout with Lovemore Ndou. Not that you should care.
Cheers to featherweight Charles Huerta for wanting an immediate rematch with Derrick Wilson, who knocked him out in the 1st round of their bout on the most recent edition of Fight Night Club.
Light heavyweight Jean Pascal is taking a soft defense of his alphabet title belt against Silvio Branco Sept. 25. He’s entitled to one, I guess. Very much would like to see him in against top competition again soon, though. He’s a talented and exciting fighter.
Vasily Jirov plans to return to boxing, and to the cruiserweight division, on Sept. 17. Jirov will always have a warm place in my heart for his war with James Toney, a fight that is directly responsible for the acceleration of my boxing fandom. At 35, it’s not necessarily too late for him, and he was competitive in his two losses at heavyweight, so it’s not like he has the air of damaged goods.
This final spot in the Round And Round roundup is typically reserved for boxing matches in the works that are in the “Bad Idea Jeans
” category. Erik Morales’ return to boxing was already ill-conceived, but word that he is considering doing it at 144 pounds is cringe-inducing. Morales may be too plump to get much lower, but let’s not forget that the man never was very good even at 135. (Cringe.)
(Round And Round sourcing: News releases; RingTV; Maxboxing; BoxingScene; Fightnews; ESPN)