If anybody was curious as to how the new pairing of Tim Bradley and trainer Teddy Atlas would go, they got an emphatic response in between rounds 7 and 8 last Saturday night. Bradley was cruising. His opponent, Brandon Rios, was merrily plodding face-first into pretty much every punch Bradley threw, and Bradley was well ahead on the scorecards.
Teddy wanted more. “Pick it up. PICK IT UP,” Atlas roared. Then he launched into a half-brilliant, half-deranged pep talk about fires, and being just the type of firemen to put out the flames. It was astounding, and hilarious, and effective. Just watch Bradley’s face as he rises from his stool to begin round 8. I expected him to start screaming “SPARTA!!!” while attacking Rios with the spit bucket. It was a stirring performance from Atlas. Was it necessary? Probably not. But hey, it was great television. There was some grousing on twitter about Atlas being too reckless with his fighter. Bradley was dominating the fight, why get him worked up to the point where he might possibly run into something? But I think Teddy saw what many of us did — Rios wanted out. Even he may not have realised it, but he was done.
Obviously, the Bradley/Atlas combo worked to perfection. But let’s see what happens if the opponent next time out is a guy like Terence Crawford…
Rios, who took a nasty beating from Bradley on HBO Saturday night, looked like a walking corpse at the weigh-in on Friday. This was nothing new; Rios usually looks like Patrick Dempsey after that monkey bit him in Outbreak before every fight. The problem was, this time it carried over. He never really regained his color. And he damn sure didn’t regain his energy, despite gaining about 243 pounds overnight. He looked like hell, and he fought even worse, only occasionally showing flashes of the Rios pressure we’ve grown accustomed to. He was a dead man walking, and he walked right into one tenacious motherfucker with an equally tenacious (if completely unhinged) cornerman.
Rios was near tears when he announced his retirement to Max Kellerman after the fight, and I hope he was serious about calling it a day. It’s not pleasant to watch a pressure fighter devolve into a human punching bag. Ask Alfredo Angulo.
The HBO crew were in an especially charitable mood Saturday, first swooning while Vasyl Lomachenko completely outclassed a guy he was supposed to completely outclass, then taking turns to ejaculate while Tim Bradley teed off on poor “Bam Bam.” Nevermind that Rios did little more than smile while Bradley battered his insides like Animal from The Muppets. Bradley is a very good fighter. Lomachenko is very good too, and he might be great. But the hyperbole wears thin after the first 45 minutes or so.
I have waffled in trying to pick a winner of the upcoming fight on HBO Pay-Per-View between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez so many times, and I’m now of the belief that they’ll fight to a draw. It will end up a draw because boxing could really use a clear victor, if only to work out who is the biggest star in the sport now that Floyd Mayweather is gone and Manny Pacquiao will shortly follow. They’ll draw, and then do it again and Gennady Golovkin’s head will explode.
Tyson Fury’s eventual descent into utter senility will be a smooth transition. Still, I think his fight with Wladimir Klitschko in a couple of weeks is going to be a fun one while it lasts…
It’s good to see that Kelly Pavlik is still enjoying retirement. If you are going to shoot somebody for funzies with a pellet gun, you’d better make sure the guy is cool with you shooting him with a pellet gun. Otherwise, trouble may find you. Also, make sure your name isn’t Kelly. Also, make sure there isn’t a recording of a guy basically yelling, “Stop shooting me with a pellet gun, Kelly.” We’re going to get a rubber match between Pavlik and Jermain Taylor soon, but I’m not sure if the prison they’ll both end up in will be able to broadcast it live.
Zab Judah’s comeback attempts keep getting postponed. He might want to consider this an omen.
I’ve never understood the bizarre, intense glee certain people derive from the sound of low pay-per-view figures being released, but I’m not too sure how Cotto vs. Canelo does next week. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao’s seedy undercurrent is still flowing strong. Boxing twitter reveled at the awful numbers for Golovkin vs. Lemieux. If the buys for this one are weak, expect drunken dancing in the streets. If so, it’ll be a good time to log off for a while.
Oscar De La Hoya absolutely went off on Floyd Mayweather in a letter published in Playboy. The enmity between these two is palpable, but this is weird, even for De La Hoya. It’s also pretty ballsy, considering the amount of ammunition that’s readily available, should Mayweather decide to reply. Let’s hope he replies. The exchange would be a lot more fun than his fights were.