Short weekend, few afterthoughts to reflect upon:
- Tony Thompson vs. Odlanier Solis. Maybe I was being a Washington, D.C., homer, but I didn’t see much of a case for Solis winning this heavyweight clash, as one of the three judges did. I didn’t have Solis winning that many rounds overall, although I did not score it closely. Four, maybe? Thompson was just busier, which is no surprise even though he’s 42 years old, because Solis is chronically lazy. And Thompson fought smartly, pivoting his body slightly to dodge what rare return fire he encountered. He’s eager to beat up another tall young U.K. heavyweight, Tyson Fury, after doing a number on David Price twice. It’s a fight I can get behind, although I expect Fury, should he make it past Dereck Chisora in their rematch, will be shouting (anew) for the lineal champion, Wladimir Klitschko.
- Face-Off. While the format of HBO’s backward chair/spooky music series has gotten tired, it still has its moments. For the upcoming pay-per-view rematch between welterweights Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao, it was the magnetic confidence of Bradley that carried the show. That said, maybe it wasn’t wise to poke at Pacquiao over whether he has lost his fire, other than to give the rematch some promotional heat, because Pacquiao losing his fire is a potentially big boon for Bradley this go-round, and maybe he doesn’t want to give Pacquiao motivation to rediscover it. It was good for Pacquiao’s chances for him to acknowledge he’ll need to be more aggressive this time, as he coasted a little bit in the first bout and gave an opening to the judges to score it for Bradley. The closing line from Manny was pretty good, too. Check it out.
- Vivian Harris’ return. There’s very little I can say about Vivian Harris and whether he should be licensed that David P. Greisman didn’t already say here. It’s a pretty simple case for me: Harris failed a physical in the U.K. — a country that licenses people like Jason Nesbitt, 10-171-4, so it’s fair to say they’re not squeamish — and he was denied a license there. Mexico — the place where Frankie Leal fought to his death last year despite his own worrisome health history — licensed Harris. Even if a country with higher standards than Mexico cleared Harris, there’d still be plenty of cause for doubt about whether he should be fighting; Dr. Margaret Goodman told Greisman he should not be. When multiple doctors and regulators — people who are trained to ascertain the health of boxers — are saying Harris shouldn’t be fighting, and the people who allowed him to fight anyway have fresh blood on their hands from a boxer who went jurisdiction shopping, I’m going to side with the first set of medical experts in saying he shouldn’t be fighting. Sam Geraci of Fight News went so far as to say this position was “unethical,” which is an offensive overreaction to a difference of opinion, and raises the question of whether he knows the meaning of the term. There’s nothing unethical about advocating for commissions to protect the health of fighters; it’s in their job description. I thought our Alex McClintock (and others) rebutted him well.
- Francisco Rodriguez, Jr. vs. Merlito Sabillo. This was just a straight-up beat down of a top-10 strawweight on Azteca America, with mercy finally intervening in the 10th round as Sabillo’s corner called it off. Rodriguez was not viewed as much of a threat prior, but perhaps the writing was on the wall for Sabillo in his split draw the fight before against Carlos Buitrago. Strawweight is no country for old men, which in the case of the punishing 105-pound limit includes 30-year-olds.
- Friday Night Fights. I’ll concur with our man Matthew Swain on how junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan and lightweight Anthony Peterson performed on ESPN2 over the weekend. Peterson, another D.C. guy, needs to get busier in his schedule if he’s to hang on to even fringe contender status; he wasn’t terribly sharp. His interest in boxing is a question mark, to be candid — his inactivity probably can’t be blamed entirely on bad luck. As for Swain’s remarks on the topic of Magomed Abdusalamov, I left a comment in opposition at the end of his piece. Give it a look: It, too, goes to the role of commissions and others in protecting fighters from themselves.