Our Scott Kraus will be handling tonight’s coverage of the main event of the Showtime pay-per-view card headlined by the big fight between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, but I’ll be on top of the rest. We’ll start with the bouts that are allegedly airing on Top Rank Live Stream, but that site isn’t working for me. But, good news, they’re showing some things on Showtime Extreme, too.
Then we’ll get to the actual pay-per-view broadcast, with Kelly Pavlik-Alfonso Lopez, Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.-Jorge Arce and Mike Alvarado-Ray Nahr.
Keep coming back for regular updates.
In a dramatic, good, close fight, the corner of Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. threw in the towel in the 12th round of a junior featherweight bout, giving Jorge Arce a big victory in a bout where some — including myself — were worried about his health beforehand. This was another big upset in 2011. The 12th round was going to be decisive on my scorecard, as it was for most of press row and the judges themselves, but Arce backed Vazquez into the ropes and unleashed a furious assault that had Vazquez flopping around defenseless, although he was firing punches back enough to keep referee Joe Cortez from intervening. The corner of Vazquez, though, was worried, and threw a water bottle at Cortez then stepped into the ring to wave it off. Vazquez was disappointed, and maybe the stoppage was a tad premature, but it wasn’t at all crazy; Vazquez had been hurt in the final minute of the 11th and was hurt for the entire first minute of the 12th, too. Arce had started the fight strong, but Vazquez turned things around with a counter left hook knockdown in the 4th. Through the 4th to 8th round, I had Vazquez winning every round, with Arce seeming to slow down, Vazquez countering well and Arce battling a cut on the side of his nose that looked like it might split the whole thing in half. But Arce — one of the great warriors of the past decade — dug deep, and once more took over the fight as he had earlier. A stiff left in the 11th put Vazquez in trouble, and sheer energy and disdain for defense in lieu of offense kept him there. This was a terrific effort by both men, and a terrific win for Arce, who became the first Mexican to win some kind of title in four weight classes, but two one of those was interim, and besides, there are too many belts to make that very meaningful. What really was impressive about it is that a 31-year-old fighting at a weight class many thought was too high and at a time when he many believed he was done beat a young talent in a war.
Kelly Pavlik beat Alfonso Lopez by majority decision, but he probably didn’t win back many believers in the process. Fighting at 170 pounds for no good reason I can imagine for a man at his best at middleweight, Pavlik might also have been rusty due to his long layoff and a stint in alcohol rehab — a stint that came after his decline from the pound-for-pound top 10. But Pavlik’s power wasn’t impressive, and he wasn’t accurate — a bad mixture for a slow-handed fighter who used to make up for his lack of speed with sharp punching and dynamite in his fists. Lopez jumped on Pavlik early, moving well and scoring with combinations against Pavlik, who’s never had much in the way of defense. Lopez slowed down after the early rounds and Pavlik began dialing in his left hook, but Lopez surged in the later rounds again before nearly getting dropped in the 10th. I scored it a draw, like one of the judges. The other two judges only gave Lopez one round and two rounds, respectively, which is goofy. If this version of Pavlik is the version we’ll get going forward, it doesn’t look good for him. I can’t think of a use for a Pavlik who doesn’t punch hard and doesn’t land in big volumes.
I can’t imagine why Ray Narh quit between the 3rd and 4th rounds, because he wasn’t taking a bad beating from junior welterweight prospect Mike Alvarado and had some moments of competitiveness. Alvarado was pretty wild, even, seemingly gunning for the knockout rather than trying to be a boxer-puncher. Not a great performance by Alvarado, even though he was winning, but a pretty bad showing at the end by his opponent, unless Narh goes to the hospital for internal bleeding or something. Alvarado’s an old prospect at age 30, so he probably ought to get to stepping up real soon. He’s in a loaded division and could make for some good fights. UPDATE: Ringside reporters are being told that Narh was throwing up yesterday and had diarrhea. What is it with Ghanaian fighters and diarrhea? Clottey blamed it for his loss to Pacquiao, and now Nahr.
So junior flyweight Rodel Mayol got a majority decision win, but I wasn’t able to watch it all because Showtime Extreme cut to interviews, and I missed some rounds swithing over to Top Rank Live Stream, which started working for me all a sudden. Inez Sainz did some inane jabbering but we didn’t get to see her behind, which is what she’s there for, and I don’t mean that in any sexist way — it’s just patently the idea of her being on the broadcast. Not showing her booty in the frame is like filming Pacquiao-Mosley from the forehead up. Anyway, from what I saw Mayol was in control for most of the fight, although his tiny opponent, Javier Gallo, won some early rounds and made some of the middle ones competitive with his compact punches and work on the inside.
Super prospect Jose Benavidez, Jr. got a 5th round stoppage against James Hope, which is one round later than a less well-regarded prospect, Rances Bathelemy, put an end to Hope’s night. I’m not sure what to make of that. Benavidez still very much seemed like a heavy hitter in there, especially with a wicked body attack and his straight right to the head. Perhaps Benavidez’ patience, an asset, led him to stop Hope a little later than Barthelemy. Hope did give him some work, throwing awkward shots at him and hanging tough, even under a 3rd round assault that was pretty brutal. Eventually the referee pulled the plug at a fairly random moment, not that it was a bad stoppage — quite the contrary. Benavidez isn’t with Freddie Roach anymore, instead relying on his pop as a trainer. I wonder if that was a good switch, even with Roach being so busy with so many fighters. Time will tell, but Benavidez looked none the worse for the change.
In the very first bout of the night, junior welterweight Pier Olivier Cote stopped Aris Ambriz, who got dropped in the 3rd round on a left-right combo and was taking a whooping, prompting referee Tony Weeks to wave it off in the 4th round just on accumulation of punishment. You can’t always judge by bouts of this caliber, but Cote very well could be a nice prospect. He’s very fast, punches very sharply, and hardly took a punch in return. Between rounds, the MGM Grand played some Lady Gaga, which either was a wicked coincidence or Showtime and Top Rank have a sense of humor. HBO is airing a Lady Gaga show tonight, and Pacquiao rival Floyd Mayweather has said he’d be watching, which prompted the hilarious quip from Top Rank’s Bob Arum that Mayweather, currently facing domestic violence charges, must be scouting his next fight.