Observe the final round of a pretty intense junior bantamweight fight from the weekend. Making the fight even better, the two men are nicknamed respectively after a Disney character and a dish where seafood is marinated in citrus juice. Actually, Juan Jose Montes, the victor of the bout, has a second nickname, too: “Buffy.” Even better. Set aside the silly nicknames, though, and you have a stirring battle worth checking out in full on the ol’ YouTubes.
It was a pretty strong weekend of fisticuffs overall, in fact.
- Is Devon Alexander that good, or is Marcos Maidana that bad? Rarely is boxing, or, hell, anything, an either/or proposition. Alexander was, to my view, quite strong at the new weight of 147 pounds, and fought better than in recent fights. Maidana has always been outboxable, but he was weak at the weight to boot. There are mitigators to both views. Alexander was good, and those who say he beat a caveman still have to acknowledge he beat Maidana more easily than anyone else. It’s not that Alexander took advantage of a hitherto unknown weakness in Maidana’s game; he just did it better than anyone else, and that says something. Yet, Maidana seemingly not carrying his power up to 147 helped with that, since Maidana’s power often compensates for his lack of skill. Alexander surely showed he still has flaws — that clinching has got to go, for starters — and it’ll be interesting to see whether a real welterweight can hurt him the way Maidana couldn’t.
- Next for Alexander and Maidana. Alexander’s guys want the winner of Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II. I think it’s perfect. These are three men who have their talents, but are for one reason or the other suffering from an accumulation of criticism, and the person who comes out of the pile could be sitting a little prettier. Maidana’s gonna return to 140, where he belongs. There are some who are concerned that he’s peaked, that all the punishment he’s taken has finally exacted its toll, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see him at 140 pounds again, because the lethargy he showed against Alexander very well might just be weight-based.
- Adrien Broner’s schtick and Eloy Perez’ esteem. There is a segment of the boxing public that finds the rehearsed nature of Adrien Broner’s schtick to be a turn-off, and while I understand that, I also would point out that Muhammad Ali probably wasn’t always going all extemporaneous. All I care about is that Broner keeps it fresh and I’ll be down. A lot of folk have also said, “Hey, don’t get carried away with this guy, remember how he almost lost to Daniel Ponce De Leon?” But I don’t see the same fighter, one year later, who struggled with PDL. He’s more aggressive and sharper than a year ago, the kind of improvement you might expect for someone who’s only 22. Perez is no PDL, of course. And there’s a different sentiment out there that Perez came in a bit overhyped by the West Coast media. That might be true, but my take on Perez from Washington, D.C. was that he was pretty good, someone who could trouble Broner even if he was unlikely to beat him. By that standard, I still think this win said something about Broner’s progress.
- Next for Broner and Perez. Both men already have plans to be back in action and if they’re staying busy, you can live with a slightly lesser opponent next time out. Broner will most likely be back in May, and Perez will most likely be back in July. And by the way, it’s not that Broner can’t do better that Perez — it’s just that his junior lightweight division really is, truly, thin. About the best match-up might be Roman Martinez, who theoretically has the chin, power and determination to give Broner, a Floyd Mayweather, Jr. wannabe, his Jose Luis Castillo-like test. But there are problems making any of these match-ups, like promoter feuds or the fact that the division’s #1 man, Takashi Uchiyama, is more likely to fight in Japan than the United States.
- Deontay Wilder’s matchmaking. Our U.S. Olympic bronze medalist at heavyweight sure has been slumming it with the opposition level. Wilder is so raw that he reportedly struggled even with a 40-year-old career super middleweight coming off a four-year-plus layoff. There are so many mismatches in boxing on a daily level that you could spend your whole life condemning each of them, but this one stands out. And if you’re wondering why it’s happening with Wilder, well, he’d probably move up his level of opposition if he did anything impressive with the crappy level of opposition he’s been facing. As to why the fight was allowed at all: Thomas Hauser had a good catch on that front.
- Scoring for Alexander Povetkin vs. Marco Huck, and next for them. I wrote up this card on BoxingScene, but I failed to include my score, which was wider for Huck than most — nine rounds to three. A few of those rounds were admittedly very close, but when in doubt I usually went with the man who landed the harder punches, and that was Huck. I could see a draw, but no better, so the 116-112 card for Povetkin made zero sense to me. Povetkin visibly didn’t look to be in good shape, and as a smallish heavyweight who needs to thrive on combination punching, being in bad condition is going to get him a loss one of these days. Huck, meanwhile, showed that he could make some waves above cruiserweight. I did think it was a pretty good heavyweight bout, but it was marred by some mauling and by referee Luis Pabon’s excessive breaking of both men. I’d love a rematch. Instead, Povetkin is going to be fighting Hasim Rahman because sanctioning organizations are WONDERFUL. (J/K. About sanctioning organizations being wonderful. Not joking about Povetkin-Rahman being next, sadly.)
- Epix’ technical difficulties. I did manage to at least get the stream working at all this time, but it cut out at key moments in the fight, including several times in the 12th round. I get it: Boxing in general is having trouble with reliable streams. Epix’ problems are so relentless that you wonder why they even try. And it’s not just one problem. Last week, Epix wasn’t available at all on my XBox 360 after I downloaded the app. This week, it was, but it told me I needed a six-digit access code at the website to watch. I went to the website and spent forever looking for a six-digit access code that never came up where I was told it would. I tend not to use pirated streams unless I absolutely have to — I want boxers to get paid for their services, and I want networks that support boxing to get ratings from it. But next time, I don’t even know if I’ll go to Epix, because I can’t count on their stream at all.
- The rest. Our man Patrick Connor covered the Friday Night Fights card, which similarly underwhelmed me. For the rest of the stuff I left out, here’s a summary of other weekend action.