Weekend Afterthoughts, Featuring Glen Johnson’s Place In History, The Upset Of Omar Nino Romero, ShoBox In Review And More

Sometimes the first snapshot ain’t the best one. That’s what this Weekend Afterthoughts thing is for. There are some thoughts that recaps like this one fail to express, some thoughts others have expressed that warrant further consideration and sometimes there’s video to share like the one above.

Besides the headline, we’ll discuss the 60 Minutes and HBO 24/7 attention to Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito; a quirky marriage proposal that followed one of the weekend’s fights; what’s next for some of the men who did battle this weekend; and more.

Once these Weeekend Afterthoughts are of the way, the site will soon jump right into our marathon coverage of Pacquiao-Margarito.

  • Rafael Marquez’ “excuse.” The featherweight retired in his corner against Juan Manuel Lopez, citing a right shoulder injury, and it didn’t take long for people to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the injury. If you amass the collective wisdom of boxing fans and writers, NO injury in the history of the sport has ever been legitimate. Look, nobody can ever know these things unless they’re a doctor or a boxer confesses to several whistleblowers that he was faking. Maybe you’re suspicious that Marquez faked it to get out of the massive pounding he was taking, and that’s your right. But think about how many quality right hands Marquez threw all night (answer: not very many) and then consider at least the possibility that an honest-to-God injured shoulder was to blame. There’s a separate debate about whether he should have quit, or explained why he quit. My philosophy on this is, if somebody wants to take a full-on ass-kicking with one arm, they’re pretty brave and deserve love for it; but if somebody doesn’t want such an ass-kicking — especially if they have the track record of bravery that Marquez has accumulated — I’ll give ‘em one pass. Michael Rosenthal makes the case that Marquez shouldn’t have blamed the injury because it stole some of Lopez’ glory, but what should he have done instead, refused to explain why he quit or lied? That would’ve brought a whole new storm of criticism.
  • Lopez-Marquez II? Marquez said he wanted a rematch and Lopez said he would give him one. Whether you are interested in this probably is contigent at least in part on whether you buy the Marquez injury. A two-armed Marquez probably fares better. Don’t be surprised if you see it, either way. The idea appears to keep Lopez in the safest possible fights for the most possible money, so Lopez is talking about fighting Marquez and Chris John, the latter of which could be hard to do given that Lopez is promoted by Top Rank and John is promoted by Top Rank’s mortal enemy Golden Boy. Then there’s the threat of the man who advises both John and Caballero. As much as I adore Lopez’ action star qualities, I have nothing but contempt for how long he and his handlers have stayed away from the two fights that make the most boxing sense (and would be huge financially, btw), Yuriorkis Gamboa or Celestino Caballero, and Lopez and Top Rank don’t take near enough heat for this.
  • Lopez deduction. Rosenthal also takes exception to Lopez being deducted a point for his fouling in the 4th, since he argues it gave Lopez a chance to recover. It certainly did help Lopez, but I think it was the right move by referee Tony Weeks. If you don’t deduct Lopez a point there, and he doesn’t get enough breathing room for his tastes, guaranteed he fouls until he DOES get docked a point. And if you watch in the background at the moment Weeks docked Lopez, you’ll notice Marquez promoter Gary Shaw screaming and holding up his a solitary finger in an apparent bid to see Lopez docked a point. If it hurt the victim of the fouling for Marquez to be docked, then it’s something the victim’s promoter wanted, anyway.
  • Johnson’s place. Friend of the site PJ brought up the question in the night-of recap of whether Glen Johnson now has a Hall of Fame spot after beating Allan Green. And Rosenthal (I’m not just looking for an excuse to agree with him here) is appropriately awed by Johnson, at age 41, moving DOWN in weight to 168 lbs. to score a win. Johnson was the betting favorite, and perhaps that made me overlook the monumental nature of the achievement. It’s a big deal. I’m not 100 percent on his Hall of Fame credentials here, but with wins over Roy Jones, Jr., Antonio Tarver, any number of top 10 contenders, any number of disputed losses against names like Sven Ottke and now this rare feat of a voyage downward in weight, I think Johnson is getting close. If he beats his next opponent in the Super Six, I think he’s on the precipice. If he wins the whole tourney… game over. He’s in, or he should be. As I said, I like Johhnson’s chances against anyone in the tourney but Andre Ward, so “game over” might be a difficult scenario to reach, but it’s within his grasp.
  • Green’s ex-trainer. John David Jackson took an opportunity to slag his ex-charge right before Green’s fight, which is informative but also suspect. Jackson might not be happy after getting jettisoned, and it’s not the classiest move to diss a boxer like that right before he goes into a career do-or-die fight. But if it’s true, it explains some things. Read all his remarks, but the gist is that Green isn’t doesn’t listen and loves making excuses. It doesn’t sound unlikely, anyway, given what we know about Green.
  • Next for Zab Judah. After re-debuting at 140 lbs. in a less-than-spectacular fashion, the plan for Judah apparently is to pick up an alphabet belt against Kaiser Mabuza. OK. Some have advanced the notion of Judah fighting Victor Ortiz, and I like it. Overall, Judah doesn’t interest me at this point as anything other than a stepping stone opponent. If he beats Ortiz, then he gets into the discussion about the top tier junior welters, and then I’m interested. As for the notion that Walter Mattysse was to blame for his close loss in some way, I can see it. But my thinking wasn’t that he didn’t work hard enough early, as some have said, as much as it was that he had trouble finding the target. He wasn’t able to hit Judah until Judah slowed down late.
  • An unconventional marriage proposal. Imagine you’re the girlfriend of a boxer. He takes a 10-round pounding and one-sided loss despite showing tremendous guts, but ends up bleeding rivers of blood from cuts all over his head. At the end of the fight, in the ring, he proposes marriage to you. Because this is the most romantic thing you’ve ever experienced, to receive an engagement ring from a bloody, sweaty, swollen, beaten man, you accept. Congratulations: You are the new fiancee of lightweight Vicente Escobedo. And although I’m joking about it, it is kind of romantic in a way. Maybe it’s more romantic to me as a guy. The kind of girl who’d accept a marriage proposal from me after watching me suffer through that, fall short (however bravely) like that, looking at me all f#$%ed up like that? That’s the kind of woman I’d want in my life forever.
  • ShoBox. The two most promising super middleweight prospects on Showtime Friday had nights like Marcus Johnson often does and Edwin Rodriguez sometimes does, but fight-to-fight instead of within the span of one fight: They looked like quality contenders in some spots, fringe contenders at best in others. Johnson was smooth as hell at times in scoring a knockout of Kevin Engel, but he got hit too much by the gritty but limited former kickboxer at other times. And Rodriguez for the first seven rounds struggled a bit, throwing wide, long punches against the defensively astute James McGirt, Jr., only to change into a conquering hero in the last two rounds of the fight before stopping McGirt. It’s harder to explain the Johnson performance than the Rodriguez one, since you can chalk some of Rodriguez’ struggles up to the career-best quality of his opponent. As for Aaron Pryor, Jr., I didn’t see anything of note there. Doug Fischer suggested Pryor could do a son-vs.-son battle between Ron Hearns, which would be fun to behold as much for the son-vs.-son angle as for the fact that both men are taller and skinnier than two supermodels stacked on top of one another.
  • HBO 24/7. This was a fine episode. Nothing special, nothing terrible. Mainly, it’s good to see the show provide some good moments after a season opener that was so awful. I damn near wrote the series off forever. It’s funny how frequently Pacquiao’s team vacillates between “everything’s just fine” and “ohmigod this is scary we’re not training hard enogh and we’re going to lose.” Michael Woods has a recap.
  • 60 Minutes. There was some of that “we’re scared” material in the 60 Minutes feature on Pacquiao, too. The segment (which you can watch here) was decent – nothing exceptional. If I were them, I wouldn’t have buried the lede on Pacquiao by not mentioning until deep into the segment that he was a congressman. Also, George Kimball has an entertainingly grumpy take on the segment, and I agree with some of it. Bob Arum got away with some doozies (Pacquiao’s the greatest ever because… he can fight with two hands???!!!) and there is no 148-pound weight class, for instance.
  • Ring Life. The digital documentary series Ring Life is supposed to return as of today for Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez II, but I haven’t seen it up on HBO’s website yet as promised in a news release. Once it begins, I’ll confine a review to Twitter, I imagine, if there’s anything to review. But mainly I wanted y’all to be aware.
  • Omar Nino Romero upset. Beyond matches already discussed, this is the headline. The highly-ranked junior flyweight got knocked off by a super-serious journeyman, and it’ll be a real player in any Upset of the Year sweepstakes. For the other results, go here.

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.