Weekend Afterthoughts, Featuring Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Vs. Sergio Martinez, Scoring Disputes, The Trainer Of The Year So Far And More

(Carl Froch celebrates his victory Saturday night. Via Showtime)

It’s Tuesday night, so naturally you’re wondering, “Geez, what did Tim think of all the stuff that happened almost four days ago?” Wonder no longer, friends.

(Let me correct that. I’m not going to go into any details about how I most likely got robbed by an “exotic dancer” in Atlantic City Saturday night. So here are my thoughts on “some of the stuff that happened almost four days ago.” Things like the things in the headline, or sweaty referees, or the Showtime and HBO undercards, etc.)


  • The Super Six. I mentioned at the end of my post-fight write-up that Carl Froch-Glen Johnson is yet one more reason we should be grateful that Showtime never abandoned its super middleweight tournament. And David P. Greisman and I chatted through some of the things that ended up in his column this week on the way back from Atlantic City, so I recommend reading his take because I agree with much of it. Just to elaborate on my end, here are some of the things that the Super Six has given us: two Fight of the Year-style battles (Froch-Johnson, Froch-Mikkel Kessler); several dramatic reversals (Arthur Abraham’s decline, rebound wins by Froch, Kessler and Andre Dirrell); lots of controversies (Abraham’s disqualification, the Froch-Dirrell decision, Dirrell’s suspect high jinks in pulling out of the tournament); the maturation of the man poised to become the best American boxer (Andre Ward); two pound-for-pound top-10-worthy fighters (Ward, Froch); and a finale that stacks up as one of the best possible fights in the sport (Ward-Froch). I hope the round robin tournament format is something Showtime will consider again some day. Many of the developments I mentioned above, like the rebound wins and the development of Froch, almost certainly wouldn’t have happened without that format. And I try to be mature, really I do, but all the people who inexplicably rooted against this tournament or shat upon it, they should all go suck it. They should suck it until their teeth fall out.
  • Scoring Froch-Johnson and why. While most people had Froch winning on their scorecards, including two of the three judges and our Mike Coppinger scoring at ringside for Showtime, I still don’t think scoring the fight a draw was crazy; hell, any number of journalists sitting next to me on press row scored it for Johnson. This isn’t me pulling a Dan Rafael, where I criticize anybody who has a different score than me when the majority of people had it differently than me. It was a fight with a ton of close rounds and I still think it could have gone either way, even if Johnson and his team agreed with the decision. (I’d promised Coppinger I would diss him hard in this space if he had a goofy scorecard. Obviously I disagree with how he scored it, but there’s nothing to diss. Press row scoring was all over the damn place.)
  • Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.-Sebastian Zbik scoring. Speaking of scoring controversies, I had Zbik winning this middleweight fight seven rounds to five on HBO, which I didn’t catch until Monday evening. But it was a bout where there were four rounds that really had me on the fence. The result doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I know it was controversial for some folk, but it was a really close fight. And a good one, too. Which brings me to something.
  • Good vs. exciting. Our Alex McClintock asked of Chavez, “What more do you want from a prizefighter?” Well, I could want him to be good. But you know, there’s this “good vs. exciting” debate that usually has me rebuffing people who find some fighter or the other whose skills are sublime to be “boring.” Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense for a fighter with lesser power to try to be “exciting,” because he’ll get knocked out by someone with better power. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to make a living in the sport. So, on the other side of the coin, I don’t need every fighter to be all that damn good. If they’re exciting, they can make up for it. Chavez hasn’t always been exciting, and actively was boring in several of his fights I’d seen, which is why I had no interest in him; to me, he wasn’t exciting OR good. But if he can be exciting, I’ll watch. He was against Zbik. The ideal situation, what I want most, is “exciting AND good,” but you can’t get it every time, and I need one of the above.
  • Sergio Martinez and Chavez’ belt. Chavez has an alphabet strap now that he got because Martinez was stripped and Martinez was later promised a shot at the winner of Chavez-Zbik, apparently, so some are clamoring for Martinez-Chavez. I myself have no interest in it, as it would be an inhumane slaughter, and anyone expecting the WBC to adhere to its word or some concept of justice are living in a fantasy world. All I care about is that Martinez is the real, lineal, Ring Magazine champion, and I want to see him fight the best, not some paper title holder with ill-gotten gains whom he would squash like a bug. I mean yeah, it would be great to see Martinez make a little money, but that’s the only value of that fight for me. There’s been some loud back and forth between Bob Arum, Chavez’ promoter, and Lou DiBella, Martinez’ promoter, about the reason the fight isn’t likely to happen. Basically I side with DiBella on this one. I wish Arum would have just told the truth, but that wish is usually a fool’s errand. He could have spun it well, I think; rather than saying, “I don’t want a meal ticket to get murdered,” he could say something like, “We don’t think Chavez, who is young and had no amateur career and hasn’t been with new trainer Freddie Roach for very long, is ready yet, plus we are entitled to optional defenses. Let’s see about making Chavez-Martinez a few fights from now.”
  • Mikey Garcia and Robert Garcia. I’ve become very pro-Garcia, who knocked out easy opponent Rafael Guzman on the HBO undercard but looked as good as possible doing so. He and his team thinks he’s ready for the world’s clear #1 featherweight, YURIORKIS GAMBOA!, and while I’m not sure anyone can deal with that firestorm, is there anybody better out there for Gamboa right now who’s willing? It’s true that stylistically, Garcia theoretically could counter Gamboa’s charges, even if I don’t think it’s likely, so there’s some potential for a competitive fight there. And with trainer Robert in his corner, who with every fight in 2011 featuring his best guys (Mikey, Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios) looks more and more like the Trainer of the Year, you know he’d be as prepared as possible. 
  • Kessler. Kessler, who dropped out of the Super Six with either an injury or “injury,” looked something like his old self on the Showtime undercard in stopping Mehdi Bouadla, who gave it a solid go but was brought in for the purpose of making Kessler look like his old self. But if Kessler moves on not to Lucian Bute but to Robert Stieglitz, then all Showtime did was broadcast a mismatch. I guess when Kessler does flat-out insane ratings in Denmark, he’s thinking he doesn’t need to fool around with “real challenges” and stuff.
  • Miscellaneous. The Froch-Johnson ref, Earl Brown, was drenched in sweat and has encountered some cruel remarks about it, but I say he should embrace it, a la the advice from the first episode of “Game of Thrones,” and “wear it like armor.” He could make himself into a novelty act, an attraction! “Come see the world’s sweatiest ref!” Overlooked in all that perspiration is that he did a good job officiating Froch-Johnson… While promoting his junior welterweight fight with Amir Khan in an interview, I loved that Zab Judah quipped about how he hasn’t badmouthed Khan, only retweeting others’ remarks, and suggested changing his nickname to Zab “Retweet” Judah. Judah has somehow made himself a likable character… It’ll be very interesting to see what the ratings are for Chavez-Zbik. One of the whole ideas of HBO putting on such an under-talented fighter is that he would generate a big audience. Time will tell; if it does good ratings, we should be hearing about it in a day or two at most… Ward was pretty good behind the mic for Showtime, but that’s not remotely surprising… If Ring Magazine doesn’t rank Froch #1 or #2 in its updated super middleweight rankings, I’ll flip my lid. Froch’s record against competition obliterates that of Bute, the current #2. It’s not even close. Good for Froch for dissing Bute’s record in his post-fight news conference.

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.