We’ll talk more about that fight right there above in a moment (video, as usual, stays up as long as YouTube allows it), as well as other weekend results, like Tomasz Adamek-Eddie Chambers — and even some non-results, like what went down on the latest episode of HBO’s Fight Game.
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- Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.’s quality win and the show. One thing I left out of my post-fight reaction was a recognition that Chavez’ win over Lee was the best of his career. Andy Lee was better than anyone Chavez had faced to date; I would’ve had Lee beating Marco Antonio Rubio, Sebastian Zbik, anyone. And Lee was very competitive, befitting the step up in class. Chavez’ resume is one of the better at middleweight now, oddly enough, with a series of “C” and “B” victories — there aren’t that many people who can match his string of wins. The Lee fight was witnessed by an estimated 13,500 fans, a really nice number for a U.S. boxing match these days, but less than Chavez did in his last fight against Rubio; Top Rank’s Bob Arum, the promoter of the fight, expected 40,000, probably typical boxing hyperbole, and blamed the lack of beer sales (which was weird, btw) on the deficit. I doubt 26,500 fans stayed at home over beer, but whatever. That Chavez engenders such lofty expectations still speaks well of his marketability.
- Chavez’ drug test. HBO’s Larry Merchant said during the broadcast that Chavez didn’t provide a urine sample pre-fight. Gabriel Montoya cited anonymous sources who said Chavez left the arena without providing a sample. Lee’s trainer Emanuel Steward said in a statement that he wanted clarification from Texas about whether Chavez gave a sample. But Kevin Iole said he was told Chavez did give a sample; so did ESPN’s Dan Rafael, both specifically pre-fight, neither of them citing a source originally, although Iole subsequently quoted Chavez trainer Freddie Roach (and Montoya later deferred to Iole). Arum also claimed Chavez did provide a sample. I left three messages Monday with Susan Stanford, the spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, seeking clarification, but none of the messages were returned. Would that someone could get this nailed down on the record from more than just Arum and Roach — not that they’re necessarily lying, it’s just that they’re one side and Lee’s side is another, there are a bunch of anonymous people in between on both sides and there’s no third side saying definitively, “Yes, a sample was provided.” [UPDATED: Randy Nesbitt, a spokesman for the Texas department, contacted me Tuesday morning on behalf of Stanford. Nesbitt told me, “Both Chavez and Lee submitted urine samples.” He didn’t know if it was before or after the fight, but said, “Whenever they were supposed to collect them, they did, as is required by our statute.” He added that results would be available soonish. “The labs don’t get back to us for 7-14 days.”(P.S. Also on the drug testing beat, what’s up with the “private sponsorship” of Nonito Donaire’s year-round VADA regime? Fonky. Wonder what’s behind that. That’s no innuendo. I genuinely wonder)
- Dueling dates. Also, Arum says that they’ve had Sept. 15 reserved since FEBRUARY for Chavez’ next pay-per-view, probably against middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, which could duel with fellow popular Mexican Canelo Alvarez’ junior middleweight fight against, if all goes as planned, Victor Ortiz. If Top Rank has had the date reserved for a while, my read is that Golden Boy Promotions went public with the date first, so who knows who actually had it when. Just last week I thought this would be resolved somehow, some way. Now, with the rhetoric what it is, I have my doubts. This Top Rank/GBP feud is poisoning boxing.
- Tomasz Adamek-Eddie Chambers, reviewed. I ended up scoring this heavyweight bout 115-113 for Chambers, and if anything, I could see it slightly wider for Chambers. The ridiculous 119-109 scorecard got all the attention, but I thought the 116-112 scorecards for Adamek weren’t the greatest, either — you really have to give the benefit of the doubt to Adamek in a lot of those close rounds. If somebody had Adamek winning by one point, maybe. And Adamek did better than NBC Sports’ B.J. Flores’ gave him credit for. He was all up in Chambers’ jock early, and really only ever noticed Chambers’ punches overall. He’d watch a replay where Adamek threw four punches, three were blocked and one got through really cleanly (he especially didn’t notice any body punches) and say “all of those were blocked.” Chambers’ defense was superior, but Adamek’s defense wasn’t half bad, either. Anyway, it was a nice scrap in the most significant NBC Sports/Main Events card to date, and it was worth it just to see an injured Chambers do so well with one hand, since he injured his left at some point in the 1st and never threw it again, instead switching back and forth from southpaw to orthodox stance and throwing his right as a jab at times. I’d dig a rematch, but don’t count on it, since a two-armed Chambers would be even more of a style problem for Adamek, assuming Chambers didn’t get injured again, since he pulled out of two consecutive fights before this one and got injured again during. The only complaint is that fans had to pick between the NBC Sports main event and the HBO main event. Maybe this was, as our Mark Ortega speculated, a challenge from one network to another; maybe it was a simple time slot thing; but it wasn’t the most fan-friendly maneuver, and it left a lot of people bitching.
- Odds and ends. There was another episode of Fight Game on HBO Saturday, all devoted to the disputed Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight. The second edition of the HBO boxing studio show was a great improvement over the first edition, with no embarrassed “What(s)?” coming out of me this time, short of Bradley’s manager Cameron Dunkin’s name being misspelled. They tried some interesting things, like showing the 7th round without commentary, noting afterward that all three judges scored it for Bradley over Pacquiao. (I had it for Pacquiao — Bradley had the first 1:30, but Pacquiao landed a lot of hard, eye-catching shots over the second half that made it a relatively clear round for Pacquiao, in my book.) They also had on judge Duane Ford, who’s been commendably available for interviews explaining his decision, however bad that decision was… Based on the reviews I’d read, I expected worse from the performance of heavyweight Bryant Jennings on NBC Sports; it’s not that he wowed me, but he did what he had to do and won clearly… In some other results, all from here: Lightweight Carlos Molina is getting back on track from a surprise draw against Juan Montiel, and featherweight Robert Marroquin is getting back on track after a surprise loss to Frankie Leal. I wouldn’t count out either man based on what went wrong for them recently. Sometimes young fighters have these setbacks… Welterweight Thomas Dulorme got a win this weekend, too, and could be on HBO in the fall. Good. In all but one bout I’ve seen him in, he’s been captivating in the ring… You gotta love super middleweight Will Rosinsky winning this weekend to set up a bigger fight with Kelly Pavlik. I’m not saying I’m thrilled about that fight as an HBO bout — it’s a replacement, so these things happen — but as I talked about in a little-seen Round And Round column (that’s what I get for posting it late on a Saturday), he’s a guy who deserved another good payday.