Goodnight, Samuel Peter. Outta nowhere, heavyweight prospect — and now, arguably, contender — Robert Helenius put you to sleep and maybe tucked your career into bed, wrapped it up like a burrito, kissed it on the forehead and turned off the lights. Helenius… I don’t know what to make of him. RingTV’s Doug Fischer is into him, and he’s got a good eye for young talent. I know that Ulli Wegner-trained fighters are beyond frustrating, increasingly some of my least favorite fighters, because they always have such power but are so strangely passive.
“Weekend Afterthoughts” is a plural phrase. I bet you can figure out what kind of thing awaits below.
- Next for Giovani Segura. The junior flyweight champion improved on his previous win over Ivan Calderon, with his knockout going almost exactly as I expected, and I’d be really surprised if he stayed in the division for a mouth-watering match-up with fellow power-punching little man Roman Gonzalez. He’s been talking about moving up for a while because he’s having trouble making weight. The aforementioned Fischer thinks a fight with the next division king up, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, is unlikely due to broadcast conflicts, which is another bit of “too bad.” However, think about this for half a mo: This past weekend, Hernan Marquez and Luis Concepcion waged quite a flyweight war. Gonzalez and Wonjongkam are both better fights for Segura from the standpoint of his resume, but wouldn’t fighting Marquez or Concepcion be nearly as appealing an entertainment spectacle as fighting Gonzalez?
- Ivan Calderon will go on. I’m not one of these “so and so has to retire, he’s hurting his legacy” guys. I’m in favor of fighters being able to fight on so long as they aren’t risking their health so far as we know. That doesn’t mean it isn’t disappointing when a boxer is well past his prime and insists on continuing. That’s where Calderon is. Calderon is likely to move back to 105 pounds, which makes sense if he’s going to keep fighting. I just don’t see him doing much going forward, no matter what division. He has no power and the reflexes and speed that kept him safe have faded badly, to the point that even merely decent fighters can test him where once they’d be punching air all night long. At this point, all I can do is root for Calderon to get out at a moment before he gets hurt.
- Fight Camp 360 impact. The documentary series debut for Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley was a nice piece of work, as expected. On the positive side, we got to see Mosley’s hot new gf; learn about “Pacquiao time”; hear entertaining questions from a press conference crowd, and entertaining answers; discover that Oprah is on Mosley’s side; and wonder if Mosley has given coppers bait to arrest him for speeding like a maniac. On the negative side we got to hear Gus Johnson retroactively calling fights for both men as though he was there at the time; listen to Arum hype the fight and the men disingenously, and sadly not get to see much behind-the-scenes Top Rank material; witness no real footage of what Mosley has been up to his past couple fights; and take forever to get to the point of why Pacquiao is such a transcendent figure outside boxing, i.e., he’s a congressman in the Philippines who also meets with President Obama. I have one concern, though. I was of the mind when talking about how revolutionary this CBS/Showtime deal could be for boxing that this episode of Fight Camp 360 would have aired closer to actual NCAA tournament programming. Instead a tennis match was wedged between the show and the tourney, making it dubious that any of the big tournament audience would have caught this show. This was a pretty poor time slot, in other words, especially considering the competition. It’ll be very interesting to learn the ratings. I’m not totally confident it can equal what Top Rank would have gotten via HBO’s 24/7. It’s a different audience, though, so maybe it still ends up expanding boxing’s base. Still, what once felt like an earth-shattering development more and more feels like an important development but maybe not a significant shake-up. What comes next will be very important to deciding how much revolution there is left in this move — will this inspire CBS to air live boxing, or not?
- The boxing in Marquez vs. Concepcion. Concepcion’s team wasn’t happy with his performance, and it shouldn’t be. He hardly could have been more one dimensional: come forward, throw 1-2s, drop his hands, get popped back. I probably didn’t emphasize it enough because it was such a crazy fight that Concepcion’s poor performance was a footnote. By the same token, Marquez was better than he’d looked in the past — sharper with his punches and counters. Concepcion helped Marquez look good, but Marquez had a part in it, too.
- Close calls for Marco Huck and Krzystof Wlodarczyk. These two top-5 cruiserweights got tested over the weekend. I scored Huck’s fight with Ran Nakash a draw, and some had Nakash winning. Two judges scored it 118-110 for Huck, which smacks of extreme German bias and suggests that maybe it’s overdue for us to institute a worldwide United Nations program of kicking homer judges in the genitals. Huck, playing the typical Wegner fighter, did nothing early while Nakash bulled him to the ropes and worked him. I gave Nakash six of the first seven rounds but no others; Huck eventually started working and Nakash slowed down. Of the two, Huck was clearly the bigger puncher, with some evidence coming in the fact that Nakash’s face was all lumped up and Huck (who can’t take much of a punch, having once been KO’d by Steve Cunningham) looking like he’d recently stepped out of the German equivalent of The Grooming Lounge. I don’t think I was influenced unduly by the hot woman cheering for Nakash at ringside, whoever she was. Forgive me for passing on the Wlodarczyk fight; I heard everywhere that it was atrocious, and I just don’t know how much I want to sacrifice to find out for myself if he got a gift decision against Francisco Palacios. I’d be doing it for you, really. And how much do you care? Don’t lie.
- Hank Lundy and other results. On Friday Night Fights, lightweight Hank Lundy showed his limitations — so fast, but oddly hittable and prone to fading down the stretch — and also demonstrated that he can be the rare kind of speedy boxing technician-type who can make for entertaining fights. Kudos as well to Patrick Lopez for coming back from a knockdown to make things interesting late. Other stuff? Try the usual.