Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hank Lundy Hits The Deck Early, Decisions Dannie Williams; Elvin Ayala Outpoints Eric Mitchell

Photo: Ray Bailey

It's a wonder what even just a few minutes of nice, crisp action can do for boxing fans thirsting for something more than controversy and letdowns. 

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, as that Sound of Music lady said. 

The normal course of "whine for months, delight for days" should hold true for fans, as in just about any other boxing year. But this is the time of year where we expect a little more bang for our bucks. And bucks. And bucks. 

In what hopes to be the rev-up to this summer's peel out on ESPN's Friday Night Fights, "Hammerin'" Hank Lundy rebounded from an early knockdown to seize a unanimous decision from Dannie Williams, who got his face near caved inward with jabs in the process. 

But somewhere in there were some terrific exchanges and top shelf mixing. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Roberto Garcia Takes A Step Forward, And So Does Friday Night Fights

Photo: Rey Leal

It was a grinding type of night on Friday Night Fights. That's not to say it was anything you'd keep on your DVR for any extended period of time, but then quality is but a piece in the unexceptional pie we've been fed by ESPN this season. It's one thing to settle into a boxing broadcast knowing that it's unlikely to be special, but something else to expect a little more from a card, only be lulled to sleep halfway through one of the copious Cialis or Just For Men commercials. 

Last night's action at the Convention Center in Pharr, Texas was a case of the former -- it was a middle-of-the road card that promised little in terms of gore or brutality, and it lived up to that promise in a watchable way. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kendall Holt Gets Rid Of Tim Coleman Early In Another ESPN2 Disappointment

Photo: Marlene Marquez

We ought to start calling these weekly Friday Night Fights recaps "The Broken Record Column" -- at least until ESPN begins to deliver with some entertaining match-ups on Fridays. This year hasn't been a particularly stellar one for the show, to say the least. 

They should be thrown a partial bone this week though, as the Kendall Holt vs. Tim Coleman main event was competitive on paper. It's only fair to note that a solid effort was made to stage a halfway-enticing main event. It just didn't travel down the expected path, and, good or bad, these things happen in boxing. 

One of the more troubling aspects of the broadcast though, was a large patch of vacant seats at the Morongo Casino venue, just beyond the far side of the ring. If only it were the first time promoter Gary Shaw insisted on staging a potentially meaningful fight for one of his guys at a half-empty desert casino...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Orlando Salido Solifies His Standing In A Thrilling Rematch Win Over Juan Manuel Lopez

Photo: Amanda Kwok/Showtime

We powered through one of those cyclical lulls over the past month or so, where the best we could do is make sense of mismatches and canceled fights. Heading into this Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez rematch, we really were due for something tasty, weren't we? 

Whether we were or not, some fulfilling action is what we got, even if most of the entertainment was supplied by the main event scrappers despite digesting a few dozen round of fighting in a few hours. 

Based on their first meeting, most fans and pundits expected another memorable clash between Orlando "Siri" Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez that would show the best of both men once again, and weren't disappointed. 

Even the brain-numbingly annoying soccer horns that cut through the crowd noise at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico like a piercing scream couldn't put a damper on what we'd just seen.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Joan Guzman Upends Jesus Pabon With Little Difficulty, Ed Paredes Stops Manuel Leyva

Photo: Reynaldo Sanchez/

ESPN's boxing department rolled the dice a bit in plugging undefeated junior welterweight Joan Guzman into one of their main event slots -- a subject that has been liberally covered. 

If some guys bring outside baggage into fights, one can only assume the posse surrounding Guzman in the Hollywood, Fla. ring was there to tow his matched luggage of weight-making mishaps, layoffs and style thinning. 

But neither the series of weight issues nor ring rust prevented Joan "Little Tyson" Guzman from dominating and stopping Jesus Pabon on Friday Night Fights' main event last night. So dominant was the 7th round KO win, that it bordered on aggravating by the time he was able to finally land the big shot he'd been looking for all night. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Victoria aut Mors - Mickey Walker

The gritty mythology of boxing is the type of stuff that makes the modern "badasses" of sports look like wimpy dullards. 

Flipping off fans? 19th century answer: alpha heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan, who apparently never could hold his liquor, drunkenly stumbling to the ring to have a title defense against Charlie Mitchell in 1884 canceled before 6,000 heckling fans. 

Dog fighting? One better: Roberto "Manos de Piedra" Duran has claimed in many interviews to have punched and leveled a horse back in Panama for $150 when he was 18-years old. 

From Tony Galento, a bar-owner who slugged suds between rounds in his Detroit triple-header in 1931; to Kennedy McKinney entering rehab over and over, while fighting; to Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe getting caught in coke-binge stupors...this is not a game of saints. Even the seemingly straight-laced Manny Pacquiao was reported to have been staying out late to play pool and drink while in training camps in the Philippines not more than a few years ago. 

Perhaps it's what makes boxing all the more visceral and lovely for its hardcore fans. The truth is far more entertaining than any of the fiction - especially outside of the ring. 

In the ring, though, truth was and is measured in blood given and taken. 

And Mickey Walker was one ridiculously honest guy. 

Joan Guzman, Who Once Battled The Scale, Now Battles Father Time

In the wake of Adrian Broner's blistering stoppage of Eloy Perez last week on HBO, plenty of speculation has been tossed about as to who will take over the role of boxing's next big star. Comparisons have been made, respected figures have offered their opinions, and round and round we go. 

It seems a couple of times a year boxing fans get the "next best thing" hard sell by some network or promoter. We know the pitch: this guy has handspeed, punching power and skills, and his career is pointed in the right direction. 

The reality is that, more often than not, these fighters simply cannot live up to the hype -- even if that's not necessarily a terrible thing.