Weekend Afterthoughts On Gatti, Adamek-Cunningham II, Henry-George, Vazquez-Marquez IV, Klitschko-Haye And More

You know what probably wouldn’t feel very good? Seventeen unanswered punches from cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek. I’m just guessing, though. Bobby Gunn apparently wanted a few more laser-guided bricks to the face, so maybe I’m wrong. He may have been overmatched, but you can’t say he wasn’t a hard-ass. The fight was stopped, wisely, against Gunn’s wishes.

It was a busy weekend, in terms of fights that happened and developments in the news. Besides the stuff in the headline, we got some news about the plans of Shane Mosley, Kelly Pavlik, Felix Sturm and more.

In no particular order.
  • So Shaun George may have broken his right hand in the 1st round of his light heavyweight Friday Night Fights headliner against Chris Henry, perhaps explaining his mystifying fade en route to a knockout loss of a fight it originally looked like he’d win by KO in the opening stanza. Thing is, you’d think he might have thrown some left hands, or at least tried to, yeah? He didn’t. Something still sounds weird about that whole thing.
  • If you’re not caught up on the Arturo Gatti death news, his wife was arrested for his murder. Accounts vary on whether she allegedly stabbed him in the back of the head or bludgeoned him before she strangled him to death. Reports that they’d gotten physical with each other before play into this, and Gatti once was arrested for assaulting her, an unjustifiable behavior that also doesn’t necessarily justify anything she may have done in retaliation. Ugly as all of this is, I think it’s crucial to be able to separate the man from the artist, be it musicians or boxers, and I can only speak to Gatti the artist; I may or may not like a fighter’s behavior outside the ring, and it may or may not shape to which degree I’m a fan of his. My thoughts on Gatti as an artist remain unchanged.
  • I only mentioned this at the tail end of my Saturday evening review, so I think it warrants revisiting: In one weekend, WBC welterweight titlist Andre Berto acquired two new mandatory challengers, bringing his total pending to three — Luis Collazo, and now Selchuk Aydin and Ivan Kirpa. Kirpa beat Miki Rodriguez to win his mandatory title shot, that being the same Rodriguez who is one of the more undeserving men to fight for a vacant title in recent years and one Berto disposed of to win the belt with less difficulty than it took to tape his hands and lace up his gloves. So we could have ended up with Berto-Rodgriguez II, but as it stands, the WBC has lined up the next three years of mandatory challengers for its welterweight titlist and only one of them could credibly be considered a top-10 fighter in the division. I know that there are still holdouts in the world who think the alphabet sanctioning organizations are the lesser of two evils compared to the lineal Ring championship, but consider that this fiasco I just described really only stands out because of the innovative way in which it has chosen to be a fiasco — things as bad and worse happen regularly with the sanctioning organizations. Why would anyone, anyone at all, from Showtime this past weekend to the casual fan, take them seriously?
  • After Adamek’s win, and the win this weekend by his divisional rival Steve Cunningham, Adamek’s team is talking about HBO airing the rematch in late September or early October. I hope HBO sees the value in such a fight. Their first meeting was so extraordinary, and whoever wins the bout, HBO would have a hot property on its hands. Adamek is selling out shows left and right that have a rock and roll concert atmosphere thanks to his Polish fan base and could probably headline in Madison Square Garden right now, while Cunningham is a likable American with a patriotic back story that the network would be able to rehash every time he appeared. Adamek’s team is also still looking at Bernard Hopkins, a fight that is also interesting, but Adamek owes Cunningham a rematch in my opinion, and in the opinion of the IBF. (Again: broken clock right twice a day.)
  • Discussions are ongoing for Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez IV, and the current idea is to make it a pay-per-view for Oct. 17. Given that Showtime is on the record saying it is less interested in that rematch because the beatings both men took from the last fight, the pay-per-view route may be the only way for either man to get the kind of paycheck they deserve. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I’m not comfortable with them fighting again until I see Vazquez, who hasn’t fought since March of last year after multiple eye surgeries, is anything like his old self. I’d be much more interested in Vazquez-Marquez IV if Vazquez, like Marquez did, would take a featherweight tune-up fight first.
  • Ring’s website reported that Mosley promoter Golden Boy Promotions had been in discussions with Berto’s management about a fight but not yet with Berto promoter Lou DiBella yet. Boxingscene then wrote that “contrary to reports,” Golden Boy and DiBella had not spoken. Maybe I’m missing something, like some other reports that Boxingscene read and I didn’t…? If not, “Duh.” Anyway, I thought all along this was the route Mosley would take, even though I’d prefer Mosley to fight Paul Williams. And it’s not like Mosley-Berto isn’t a good one.  
  • Vitali Klitschko-David Haye is a done deal for Sept. 12 on HBO. I want to see it. It’s an interesting fight still, despite Vitali’s turn toward the Klitshcko family Dark Side of snooze-inducing performances that his brother Wladimir honed when Vitali had a lengthy period of retirement. Haye still has potential — and that’s all it is until he proves otherwise — to be the star the heavyweight division needs. But I don’t like his chances of beating Vitali at all. He’d have been much better off against Wladimir, who doesn’t have Vitali’s ability to take a punch.
  • I’m also intrigued by the potential fight pitting middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik against Sergio Martinez. I’m not sure either man could do much better right now. I’m not intrigued because I think it would be a good fight, particularly. Pavlik showed against Bernard Hopkins that he’s not as much fun to watch versus slicksters, and Martinez showed against Kermit Cintron that he’s not as much fun to watch versus lanky knockout punchers. But it would be a meaningful fight, and interesting from the standpoint that I can’t immediately say I know who would win. 
  • Next for Joseph Agbeko after his excellent win over Vic Darchinyan looks to be a defense of his bantamweight belt against Yonnhy Perez. That’s a fun fight and one Showtime hopefully would air.
  • With top middleweight Felix Sturm coming off a win this past weekend and the Pavlik fight apparently not in the cards, talk has turned to Sturm fighting Winky Wright in Germany later this year or early next. Talent-wise, we’re talking about two of the top five 160-pounders, and with Sturm’s popularity in Germany, a good paycheck I’m guessing for Wright, but this is the kind of fight that would not do well in America. Both are boxers without much pop, but it’s another meaningful pick ’em fight and I’d probably try to find a stream to watch it whichever Saturday afternoon it aired.
  • Featherweight Billy Dib has offered a rematch to his wronged opponent from a few days ago, Kenichi Yamaguchi, a classy move after his own classless behavior in pushing Yamaguchi. Another classy move: firing some of the thugs in his corner. Obviously, the biggest way Yamaguchi got jobbed had more to do with the referee, but it’s nice to see Dib taking some steps to control the things he can, and given that Yamaguchi was giving him a stiff challenge early, it’s brave of him to offer the rematch. If only more fighters had that instinct.

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.