Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hitman Hatton unifies belts, looks toward mega bouts

SHEFFIELD, England (Hallam FM Arena) – Junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton, 40-0 (30 KOs), England, 139½, stormed through Colombian Carlos Maussa, 20-3 (18 KOs), 140, to unify the IBF and WBA belts, scoring a resounding ninth-round knockout. Hatton charged from the opening bell toward the awkward Maussa. His bull rushes allowed him to land solidly to the body of the twisting and turning Colombian. Unfortunately for Hatton, the tactic also permitted a clash of heads that opened a gaping rip over his left eye. In some boxing jurisdictions the bout would have been stopped at that point due to the severity of the cut and the fact that it was pouring blood. Nonetheless, Hatton crowded Maussa and never pulled back from the fight. Maussa engaged in his usual free-swinging style and was able to land some to the body, but it did not slow Hatton. In round two, a less serious cut developed over Hatton’s right eye, again appearing as a result of a clash of heads. Hatton punished Maussa to the body and slowed him considerably with each succeeding round. Maussa, who had captured his belt in an upset of Vivian Harris in June, had no answers to any tactic Hatton tried.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

WBC makes Toney mandatory in bizarre ruling

Do you want to know how much the WBC's heavyweight ratings are worth? Just take a gander at their latest stunt that pushes James Toney up to the next mandatory position. Toney, who in the latest ratings listed on the WBC’s website (Sept. 2005), is the number five contender, suddenly, without having lifted a finger, moved from that position to number one and mandatory as a challenger to newly crowned Hasim Rahman. Consider that in the same ratings Sinan Samil Sam was number one and Oleg Maskaev was number two. Maskaev won a decision over Sam on November 12th, in what should have made him the next mandatory as it was billed an eliminator. (Of course we all realize that neither Sam nor Maskaev should have held such lofty ratings – but that’s what the WBC listed). Further consider, that number four-ranked Oliver McCall lost a decision to number eight-ranked Juan Carlos Gomez on October 15th in a bout that may have also been billed as some type of eliminator. Finally consider that number-three ranked Wladimir Klitschko defeated the tough and undefeated and number seven-ranked Samuel Peter on September 24th.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mayweather powers past Mitchell, wants the big names next

PORTLAND, Oregon – Floyd Mayweather continued his campaign along the way to greatness with a sixth round stoppage of Sharmba Mitchell in the odd setting of non-boxing town of Portland Saturday night in a non-title welterweight bout scheduled for 12. Mayweather, 35-0 (24 KOs), Las Vegas, Nev., 147, ripped Mitchell, 56-5 (30 KOs), Washington, D.C., 145, from the opening bell, setting a pace that Mitchell could not match and landing punches that he could not answer. Landing straight rights to the head and body of Mitchell, Mayweather patiently stalked the aging southpaw. It was clear from the outset that Mitchell could not settle into his usual outside fight plan. He also did not have the ability to wage the necessary punching war that it would take to pull Mayweather out of his routine of sizing up his prey before seizing and destroying it.

“Bad” Chad Dawson cuts down The Cobra

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (Greater New Haven Athletic Center) – “Bad” Chad Dawson, 19-0, 1 NC, (14 KOs), New Haven, 166¼, scored an 11th round knockout over the usually difficult Ian “The Cobra” Gardner, 19-3 (7 KOs), Brockton, Mass. 163, to win the vacant NABO super middleweight title, in a scheduled 12 Friday night. Each round from opening bell through round seven was a virtual repeat as the focused Dawson beat Gardner to the punch consistently. His stalking style never allowed the wild-swinging Gardner to put together a single string of effective punches.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mayweather-Mitchell: Pretty Boy seeks to put his mastery on display

“Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, 34-0 (23 KOs), widely seen as one of the best pound-for-pound figures in boxing, will engage the willing and able Sharmba Mitchell, 56-4 (30 KOs) Saturday night without his title on the line. Their bout, in the way-off-the strip location of Portland, Oregon, is a prelude either to Mayweather’s move to supplant Zab Judah as the undisputed welterweight champion, or upcoming defenses of his WBC super-lightweight belt. No one can know the real plans of the undefeated superstar. Given Mitchell’s age, 35, and his recent ventures in title matches, it would seem that his fight with Mayweather puts him at the final crossroads that leads to either a major title shot or permanent relegation to the club circuit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Prediction: Mayweather will stop Mitchell

Floyd Mayweather is an elite fighter at the peak of his abilities. His hand speed is as good or better than anyone’s in the game. He also punches with authority (despite critics’ claims about his so-called lack of power), can throw every punch in the book with precision, and has a rock solid chin. However, what sets him apart is his thorough knowledge of the game combined with the physical equipment and conditioning to execute the toughest of fight plans. Sharmba Mitchell is an outstanding fighter in his own right. Blessed with tremendous hand speed and an ability to pull punchers out of position, he has found a way to win 56 out of 60 fights and capture a belt along the way. He’s no pushover. What he does not have, however, is solid power. He has never stopped a top fighter. Indeed in winning and defending his WBA junior welterweight belt four times he went the distance each time. A fighter who cannot hurt “Pretty Boy” Floyd cannot beat him. It’s just that simple. Don’t look for Mitchell to lie down; that’s not his character. He will give it his all but it won’t be enough. Mayweather by KO in 10.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hasim Rahman: Twice to the pinnacle

No one can say that Hasim Rahman has ever been a reluctant warrior. Having faced Lennox Lewis, David Tua (twice each), Evander Holyfield, Corrie Sanders and John Ruiz – Rahman has won some and lost more at the top. As a champion and challenger, Rahman is a throwback in the sense that his initial climb to the heavyweight title, and his subsequent climb back into contention have come through fighting all the notable contenders, winning some and losing some along the way. It is odd then that Hasim Rahman’s odyssey to regain the heavyweight title has him being fitted for a belt without a punch being thrown. On November 12th, he was to have faced Vitali Klitschko, the best of the lot of four alphabet titlists. With Klitschko’s retirement, Rahman ascends based on his win in an “interim” title fight with Monte Barrett.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Vitali Klitschko: A titlist cut short

It has been nearly a year since we last witnessed WBC heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko entering a boxing ring to wage fistic combat and now of course we learn that we may never see him in the ring again. His opponent in his last match was Danny Williams, who was coming off a stoppage of the now-defunct franchise named Mike Tyson. Unbeknownst to all those present that night in Las Vegas, it was also the last hurrah for boxing’s first Ukrainian heavyweight titlist. His truncated title reign has some quirks that are unlikely to be replicated. Oddly – if we eliminate the thought that his WBO days were real title fights – he did not fight for or defend his title against an American.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Maskaev vs. Sam: The other heavyweight fight

In a place far away, another WBC-related fight will take place on the same day the now-cancelled Vitali Klitschko – Hasim Rahman bout was supposed to occur. This fight, between one-time top contender Oleg Maskaev (31-5) and always-on-the-fringe contender Sinan Samil Sam (24-2) will take place in Germany in what is being billed as an eliminator that will eventually lead to a WBC title opportunity. The winner is expected to face former cruiserweight titlist Juan Carlos Gomez (40-1), who recently cruised past former a WBC heavyweight titlist, the 40-year-old, Oliver McCall, in another eliminator.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Lacy crushes Pemberton, calls out Calzaghe

LAKE TAHOE, Nev. (Caesars) – Budding superstar Jeff Lacy, 21-0, 1 NC, (16 KOs ), St. Petersburg, Fla., 168, successfully defended his IBF super middleweight title with a brutal second round knockout over outgunned Scott Pemberton, 29-4-1 (24 KOs), New Bedford, Mass., 168, Saturday night.
Rafael Marquez, 35-3 (31 KOs), Mexico, 118, scored a sizzling fourth round cut stoppage of Silence Mabuza, 18-1 (15 KOs), South Africa, 118 , to successfully defend his IBF title for the sixth time and add the IBO belt to his quiver.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Powell outlasts Ter-Meliksetian; Green scores stunning KO

MIAMI, Oklahoma (Buffalo Run Casino) – Sechew Powell, 18-0 (11 KOs), Brooklyn, New York, 154, captured a ten-round unanimous decision over a tough and able Archak Ter-Meliksetian, 15-2 (12 KOs), Armenia, 153 in the main event Friday night. Scoring of the bout was 97-93; 97-93; and 100-90. The Sweet Science scored the bout 96-94, Powell.
Allan Green, 18-0 (12 KOs), Tulsa, Okla., 167, scored a stunning knockout at 18 seconds of the first round over formerly undefeated Jaidon Codrington, 9-1 (9 KOs), Queens, New York, 167, in a scheduled eight.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Top 25 Heavyweights for November

The JE Grant Top 25 Heavyweights list is now on-line. Please send your comments.

Prediction: Lacy will power to victory over a game Pemberton

One of the usual laments among boxing writers and fans is that we have no superstar to save the sport. As usual, the answer is under our collective noses in the form of Jeff Lacy. His unique, power-based constant attack in the ring coupled with his engaging personality outside of it is a combination that could vault him to fame beyond the confines of the boxing world. However, while he awaits the fights that will serve as the platform for his jump to glory, he will have to meet and beat solid contenders such as Scott Pemberton and do so convincingly. Pemberton is no stranger to meeting so-called name fighters, though with mixed results. Two victories over perennial title-challenger Omar Sheika, and a loss to former titlist Charles Brewer is the extent of his resume with the division’s established contenders. He’s proven that he’s resilient, willing and has some kick. He’s also not especially difficult to hit – an ominous attribute when facing the swarming Lacy. Pemberton is well-respected and deservedly so – but he’s a significant notch below the ever-improving “Left Hook.” Combine that with the fact that he’s been off for a year and he’s 38 years old, we should look for this to be a one-sided affair. Lacy by KO in 5.
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