Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ruslan Provodnikov Drowns Jose Reynoso In 2, Chris Martin Eviscerates Roberto Castaneda

Photo: Dominic Serna/

On the latest installment of Friday Night Fights, ESPN2 opened up what most assume will be an underwhelming weekend of fights with a surprisingly entertaining card that featured a rare total of four bouts. 

Program mainstay Ruslan Provodnikov made quick two-round work of Jose Reynoso in the main event, effectively ending any hopes that a Riverside, CA product would score an upset in a boxing main event two weeks in a row. 

As action in the bout became interesting, what with Reynoso's tricky style and movement and all, Provodnikov concentrated on body work before trapping Reynoso near the ropes and finishing him with a series of right hands. 

In the co-headliner, hard-nosed and underrated Chris Martin snapped Roberto Castaneda in half with body shots after seeming stifled by the latter's busier style for a handful of rounds, stopping his man in the 6th of a satisfying outing in terms of action.

The support bouts came in the form of two 4-round scrapes between Roberto Crespo and Oscar Godoy, and Aaron Acevedo and Daniel Martinez, all of which accounted themselves without complete embarrassment.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Josesito Lopez Stun Victor Ortiz, Lucas Matthysse Conquers Humberto Soto on Showtime

Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

LOS ANGELES - Before a hot-and-cold Los Angeles crowd at the Staples Center, fighters in Showtime's main event tonight brought their own heating element in the form of nasty leather and solid action, steaming up spectators who came inside the air-conditioned arena to beat the 80-degree heat.

In a prelude to Victor Ortiz being lined up to face Saul Alvarez this coming September, the young man stepped in with sleeper Josesito Lopez and bit off more than he could chew, breaking all the eggs he'd put in his one solitary basket. Josesito Lopez powered through a number of hard shots and a badly-swelling face to outlast Ortiz and reportedly break his jaw in a generally fun bout. 

In a battle of junior welterweights looking to elevate status and climb into the 140 lb. mix, Humberto Soto and Lucas Matthysse traded gloves to the face and body as if they were that old Henry Akinwande boxing card nobody wanted in the 1990's. Both men played the give and take game, but it was the hard-hitting and free-swinging Matthysse who came out on top by way of 5th round TKO.  

It was an entertaining main card and delivered where it counted, and especially considering the fact that the winners didn't leave the result up to judges. 

Running Victor Ortiz vs. Josesito Lopez Undercard Results

Photo: Joe Miranda

LOS ANGELES - The first few bouts here at the Staples Center happened in front of a fairly sparse crowd that trickled in slowly. 

In the opening bout of the card, Randy Caballero stayed unbeaten at 15-0 (8 KO) with a 5th round TKO of Jamal Parram, 5-6-1 (4 KO). Shots to the body brought about the end, with Parram taking a knee twice before the end.

Up next, Omar Figueroa made quick work of Alain Hernandez with a TKO victory at 1:34 in Round 1. Figueroa also stayed unbeaten with a 18-0-1 (15 KO) ledger, while Hernandez fell to 18-11-2 (10 KO). Late in the round, Figueroa unloaded, which was apparently enough for the ref. 

In the third bout of the evening, Jermell Charlo kept his 0 intact with a 5th round stoppage of Denis Douglin after some solid action. Charlo, 18-0 (9 KO), weathered some nice countering from Douglin in the fist two rounds, though seeming to do most of the damage. Douglin had a nice final minute of the 1st. Round 3 saw Douglin do well inside when he could, but the 4th featured long right hands from Charlo that appeared to sting. In the 5th, Charlo lined Douglin up for a right hand that put him on his back. Rising on baby giraffe legs, Douglin was halted officially at 1:12 of the round. Douglin's record goes to 14-2 (8 KO). 

Before the main event, Michael Finney had some work cut out from him against Joel Vargas, who came out swinging in the 1st as if he knew time was limited one way or another. Finney fought at a measured pace, but nailed Vargas with longer, straighter shots as action warmed up. Vargas wasn't messing around in going to the body though, and the two traded hooks at a few points. Round 2 began with a more countering-friendly tip, but Finney cracked Vargas to the body with body hands and with right uppercuts, and for the most part didn't let up. A right hand from Vargas opened a cut on Finney's left eyebrow, though Vargas appeared winded, and likely from the downstairs business. 

Wider and wider came Vargas' punches, and he was meeting right hand counters head-on throughout much of Round 3. To begin the 4th, Finney's foot was tangled with the referee's causing him to stumble and subsequently eat a number of sloppy ones from Vargas. Finney righted things though, evening matters with his own body work, though he took a few firm rights before round's end. Vargas seemed to get the crowd behind him with some clowning, and admittedly he was hanging tough when he could. 

Finney scored a unanimous decision, climbing to 9-0 (7 KO), while Vargas falls to 3-7-1 (3 KO).


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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Random Classics - Mike Weaver vs. Gerrie Coetzee

Often attached to great fights is some type of tie-in to a larger social occurrence, event or aspect thereof, and it tends augment the overall meaning of a bout past what it would normally mean within the masochistic realm of boxing. 

Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling II will forever be conjoined with the "U.S. vs. Germany" aspect of WWII; Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali I to the American Civil Rights movement; Bernard Hopkins vs. Felix Trinidad to the September 11th Attacks; and so forth. 

A sort of greater philosophical meaning or implication isn't necessary to slingshot a fight beyond the normal "good fight" category, but it sure helps. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ave Atque Vale, Teofilo Stevenson

Photo: Bob Thomas

The winding and political history of boxing in Cuba is well acknowledged, as is the island's tendency to spill greatness into its boxing rings. Being even simply among the best that Cuba has produced is an honor unto itself, but to have a name surrounded by an aura of greatness that transcends the amateur ranks when the fighter himself doesn't is a rare feat. 

According to the Associated Press, Teofilo Stevenson Lawrence passed away, a heart attack accomplishing what future heavyweight title holders John Tate, Tony Tubbs and Michael Dokes, among others, couldn't do in the amateurs. 

Last month, Stevenson told CNN, "Cubans like to box because of out temperament. Because of our idiosyncrasies and because we have needed to know how to defend ourselves."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Weirding Ways of Boxing - Bradley vs. Pacquiao PPV Recap

Photo: AP/Julie Jacobson

Boxing is what happens when honest action just isn't enough. And the latest "Choose Your Own Adventure" edition of big stage boxing was Tim Bradley winning a highly controversial split decision (video) over Filipino fighting diva Manny Pacquiao Saturday night in Las Vegas. 

Though a response to the grotesque attention will likely be "At least they're talking about boxing," the end result is that controversy with the scent of corruption isn't good for the sport, status quo or not.

But the Pay Per View card itself was strangely satisfying at times, even though another undercard bout gave the conspiracy theorists and non-thinkers plenty of fodder in the months to come. 

On the undercard, Guillermo Rigondeaux played some fine jazz percussion on Teon Kennedy's face, downing him five times before stopping him in as many rounds; Jorge Arce was on the receiving end of the rare "four-foul combination" courtesy of Jesus Rojas that rendered him unable to continue in the 2nd; and Randall Bailey laid out Mike Jones with a right uppercut in the 11th that should have been the talking point of the evening, good or bad, but wasn't.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Kelly Pavlik Smacks Around Scott Sigmon, Mike Lee And Jesse Magdaleno Pick Up Wins

Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

This week's edition of Friday Night Fights, televised from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, served as a platform for Kelly Pavlik to peddle his comebacking wares against Scott Sigmon more than anything else. There was an appearance from that Subway guy, though. 

No, not Jared. And not Michael Strahan either. 

On the undercard, Notre Dame alumus and amateur standout Mike Lee walked away with another win on his ledger in decisioning Eliseo Durazo, and Jesse Magdaleno got to hit the slots early following a 1st round TKO of Carlos Valcarcel. 

It was actually fun for a showcase type of card though, even if ESPN got away from what made their last few broadcasts before this one entertaining, which is solid matchmaking. 

Kelly Pavlik in the main event was sure to turn a few heads -- even against an almost completely unknown foe that he basically had his way with. But the anonymous guy made a bit of a name for himself, as Scott Sigmon's corner saved him from himself between rounds, adding up to a 7th round TKO in favor of Pavlik. 


The Rhythm of the War Drums - Pacquiao vs. Bradley Preview

Photo: AP

The hard sell on big fight events is such these days that it's tough to discern between actual can't miss cards, and ones that have been packaged well enough to build a congregation. Even the weathered long-time fan falls victim to the ruse from time to time, as many of us who were around when Mike Tyson fought consistently can attest to.

Fanfare, Cracker Jacks, "Free Nachos" coupons -- a legitimate boxing event craves not these things, says Cliff Rold; real worthwhile fights sell themselves. 

But as the above piece points out, it doesn't stop the marketing and promotion folks in the sport from laying it on extra thick. Still, every so often a fight's call for a little bit of excitation deserves to be answered by fans.

The latest event demanding our attention is this weekend's Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley match, and it's one that has a chance to offer us a little bit of remuneration in light of our patience in recent weeks and months.