Saturday, July 29, 2006

Top 25 Heavyweights (As of August, 2006)

By JE Grant

August brings a title matchup between Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev. A win by Maskaev --- something we don’t expect --- would have reverberations throughout the sports world. It would represent a complete sweep of alphabet belts by fighters from the former Soviet Union. Many bloggers and posters to boxing websites are in denial about the not-so-subtle power shift. A Rahman win will give hope to those who think it is just a matter of time before Americans once again reclaim the mantle with him serving as the bridge.

Speaking of slowing the eastern European tide, Cleveland’s Ray Austin curtailed the win streak of hard-punching Russian Sultan Ibragimov by scoring what has to be considered a surprise draw. Austin was clever and rugged, climbing off the canvas early to score a later round knockdown of his own. A rematch would be welcomed.

With Wladimir Klitschko presumably lined up for a November defense against Shannon Briggs – a fighter who is better than his critics would suggest – and Rahman against Maskaev, we’re left with disappointments in titlists Serguei Liakhovich and Nicolay Valuev.

Liakhovich is reportedly going to face Kevin McBride. Of course McBride is remembered for stopping a shell of Mike Tyson, but he did nothing before or since that bout to be considered for a world title match. This is not a personal knock on him – he’s a decent journeyman – but he is not an elite fighter and there are many other opponents who have done far more to deserve a shot.

Valuev will again meet an opponent whose recent record does not inspire confidence. At one time Monte Barrett was indeed near the top of the division but he has not won a bout in a long time and his last outing was a loss. It makes us wonder what his promoters really think about his chances against the bigger names of the division.

Shifts below occurred for a few reasons: Danny Williams’ major drop due to his loss to Matt Skelton headlined. Williams appeared to literally eat his way out of a sure-bet title bout. He weighed a whopping 288 and just couldn’t keep up the pace. The strong effort of Ray Austin against Sultan Ibragimov also caused some restructuring. An active David Tua and surging Vladimir Virchis replace Dominick Guinn and Audley Harrison who haven't impressed lately.

A special thanks goes out this month to heavyweight experts Brian Bizzack and Troy Ondrizek who move slyly behind the scenes to give key intelligence reports for this compilation.

* * *

1. Wladimir Klitschko, Ukraine – IBF Champion (Last month #1) The premier heavyweight’s first IBF defense is close to being set. Shannon Briggs will get what is probably his last shot at a heavyweight title. He’s been busy against much lesser opposition and this bout is likely to demonstrate the talent disparity. Still, Briggs can hit and, well, we’ve seen stranger things happen haven’t we?

2. Hasim Rahman, USA – WBC Champion (Last Month #2) Rock’s defense against Oleg Maskaev could very well turn out to be the pivotal heavyweight match of the year. A second loss to the Big “O” means the entire makeup of the division is outside of the American grip with no dominating youngster in the wings. A Rahman victory will require the world community to still come to America’s shores for a chance at the true gold.

3. Serguei Liakhovich, Belarus – WBO Champion (Last month #3) I’m already looking past his August date with Kevin McBride. Once this embarrassment is over maybe we can start thinking about serious opposition.

4. Lamon Brewster, USA (Last month #4) Still in recovery following retinal surgery. We wish the most exciting fighter in the division the best.

5. Calvin Brock, USA (Last month #5) Now a promotional free agent, the “Boxing Banker” is looking for a big money deal. Perhaps he should take a look at his long-time promoter Main Events and realize that the organization was likely as vital to his current success as any move he has made to date. Why mess with a winning formula?

6. Chris Byrd, USA (Last month #6) In the last two editions of this column we suggested Chris should have a go at the cruiserweight belt. Unbelieveably it is now under serious consideration. I, for one, would pay to see Chris against O’Neil Bell.

7. Samuel Peter, Nigeria (Last month #7) His September date with James Toney will prove to be the breakthrough chance he has sought since his loss to Klitschko. A win means an almost certain title shot.

8. James Toney, USA (Last month #8) JT will get his chance to finally secure a win against a legitimately top 10 ranked heavyweight --- something he has yet to accomplish. Don’t bet the house that he’ll slip and counter his way through the powerhouse Sam Peter.

9. Nicolay Valuev, Russia – WBA Champion (Last month #10) The giant Russian is continuing to disappoint in the “champion” department. In October he’ll engage in yet another defense against someone who has recent, clear setbacks when he steps in against Monte Barrett. Sure Barrett has had modest success but he hasn’t captured a victory since February 2005 and he lost his last bout (against Rahman). How does that qualify as title-fight material? Oh, by the way, HBO will air it. Aren’t we all proud?

10. Sultan Ibragimov, Russia (Last month #12) Sultan was fortunate to escape with a draw over the clever and underrated Ray Austin in July. Although we scored the bout in favor of Ibragimov, it literally could have gone either way. One thing that needs to change fast is that Ibragimov must get in better shape. He appeared absolutely pudgy. This isn’t the time to let yourself go Sultan. Tighten up.

11. Ray Austin, USA (Last month #16) So close and yet so far. His draw with Ibragimov at least means he gets another chance and he deserves it. His smart use of his physical attributes makes him a difficult opponent for anyone. His heart makes him a cut above most of the competitors in the game today.

12. John Ruiz, USA (Last month #11) The “Quiet Man” is still ranked number 1 by the WBA. Consider this, he has not won a fight since November 2004 and has done nothing since his December 2005 loss to Nicolay Valuev. You tell me why he rates a “mandatory” title shot.

13. Oleg Maskaev, Uzbekistan (Last month #13) The big chance is finally here. Maskaev seeks to gain a title and, historically, become the fourth current belt-holder from the former Soviet Union. It will prove no small task in taking the measure of an older and wiser Hasim Rahman.

14. Shannon Briggs, USA (Last month #14) The former lineal champion says he will be completely focused in his preparations for Wladimir Klitschko. He was an extra-thick 273 in his last bout. Such a recurrence against Klitschko will spell doom. He has a chance because of his power but he’ll have to be at his best or he’ll get blasted by the faster and sharper hitting Ukrainian.

15. Ruslan Chagaev, Uzbekistan (Last month #15) A credible win over Michael Sprott in July should push “White Tyson” into a meaningful contest soon.

16. DaVarryl Williamson, USA (Last month #17) Nothing on the boards for the 37 year-old. A recent return victory won’t mean much if he doesn’t follow with a win against a ranked contender.

17. Fres Oquendo, USA (Last month #18) Although he fought in May – and didn’t look all that impressive – he has nothing scheduled (as far as we can find). His latest comeback is curiously inconspicuous.

18. Matt Skelton, England (Last month #19) Who would’ve thought the 39 year-old Skelton would be the one headed for a title shot? Just a few months ago he appeared to be on the way to the club show circuit. With his clear win over Danny Williams he will likely be fodder for Valuev. Don’t expect him to win, but at least he’s getting his chance.

19. Jameel McCline, USA (Last month #21) A solid decision win over a tough and able Terry Smith in July showed some juice. He showed good conditioning, but it is still baffling that a 270 pound man can’t hit harder. Nonetheless, with six wins in a row, he rates a top ten shot.

20. Danny Williams, England (Last month #9) So, you’re Danny Williams and you’re a single fight away from Nicolay Valuev and his belt. So, of course you come into your Commonwealth title fight with Matt Skelton at 288 – about 30 pounds overweight – and you huff and puff your way to a decision loss. What were you thinking Danny? Chances at world belts are rare. Don’t expect a call. (Then again, given the WBA titlist’s recent track record, the loss may just jettison Williams into a title shot).

21. Luan Krasniqi, Germany (Last month #20) Lots of talk about a possible bout but nothing is scheduled. He needs to take a page from the Jameel McCline book of staying active.

22. Tony Thompson, USA (Last month #22) At age 34 he’ll have to capitalize on his win over Dominick Guinn in a short period. He does not have the luxury of time.

23. David Tua, New Zealand (Last month unranked) – Tuaman returned in July from a 9-month hiatus to stop Edward Guitierrez. The bout marked Tua’s third bout in the last three years. He’ll to really turn up the volume if he wants another title crack.

24. Vladimir Virchis, Ukraine (Last month unranked) In beating Paolo Vidoz he gained the European title and a bit of redemption since losing to Chagaev.

25. Monte Barrett, USA (Last month #25) When he meets Nicolay Valuev in October he will have gone 20 long months since his last win. Indeed his last bout was a clear loss to Hasim Rahman. It is starting to seem that the fast track to Big Nick is to demonstrate a great deal of inactivity and some key recent losses. First Owen Beck and now this. What’s next a rematch with John Ruiz? Oops, someone may have heard that.

Prospects, fringe contenders, and others who need mentioning listed in no particular order. Don’t read the fact that they are listed here as an indication a ranking is imminent. Regular readers should also note that I’ve taken off some names that were here in months past but who still rate attention. We're highlighting activity and when potentially top fighters have bouts scheduled you’ll likely see them reappear:

Dominick Guinn, USA (Last month #23) How does he pickup the pieces? Perhaps a club circuit tour like that of Jameel McCline could restore some confidence. We’re very close to running out of possibilities.

Audley Harrison, England (Last month #24) “A Force” moved back into the win column in June and will have to be very active if he is to ever challenge for a title.

Paolo Vidoz, Italy – For those persistent emailers who pined for the “Titanium Jaw” to be included not only in the top 25 but the top 10 of this list, the once-beaten Vladimir Virchis demonstrated the difference between an above-average journeyman and a potential title contender. Vidoz folded against Virchis in six rounds. This rating business can’t be left to amateurs --- that’s why you won’t see Vidoz in this column next month.

Alexander Dimitrenko, Ukraine –The big youngster moved to 22-0 (13 KOs) with an unsurprising two round stoppage of the usually cruiserweight journeyman Chad Van Sickle. He recently stepped up a notch by defeating Vaughn Bean; we have to wonder why his handlers have gone backward in opponent selection.

Tye Fields, USA – The big man moved to 37-1 with a July stoppage over the hot-and-cold Maurice Harris. It’s time for him to make a move on the top 15 heavyweights.

Joe Mesi, USA – “Baby Joe” was scheduled for an August contest in South Africa but that bout was canceled, according to Mesi’s website, when “the promoter of the event…failed to fulfill his financial obligations.” Hopefully he uses the extra time to get in better shape.

Eddie Chambers, USA – The 24 year-old “Fast” Eddie, now 26-0, is set for a September bout in Philadelphia’s fabled Blue Horizon. No name yet on the opponent. We need to start seeing him on TV.

Chazz Witherspoon, USA – Chazz’ June win over Michael Alexander on Showtime didn’t make anyone tingle. He was clearly overweight, slow, and not all that hard to hit. The smallish Alexander didn’t have the pop to test Witherspoon’s chin. He did show resolve and a willingness to fight hard in the late rounds, but all-round improvement and fitness are required before he moves forward.

Alexander Povetkin, Russia – After only eight bouts, he has audiences buzzing. The former Olympic gold medallist may just be the real thing. Rumors are swirling that he may face ex-Euro champ Paolo Vidoz. This would represent an uptick in competition and any upward movement is good.

Gonzalo Omar Basile, Argentina – The big fella has won 10 fights in 2006 including an eight round decision in July over Mariano Ramon Ocampo (you know him don’t you?). How many fighters stay that busy nowdays? He is 24-1 – with 24 straight wins. We can only hope that he ventures into the land of well-known heavyweights --- soon.

J.D. Chapman, USA – The 23 year-old is now 24-0 (21 KOs) after stopping hapless Chris Lewallen in two rounds in July, his fifth bout of 2006. He’s already scheduled for a September date. Such a determined campaign, coupled with the able corner work of Jeff Mayweather, may smooth off his very rough edges.

Malik Scott, USA – Weighing a career high 255 (19 pounds heavier than his previous outing) Scott moved to 25-0 (10 KOs) with a points victory over Marcus McGhee. The win marks his ninth decision in his last 10 bouts. Perhaps the added weight may have an effect on his power --- but it hasn't so far.

Kevin McBride, Ireland – Look for this to be the last month you see his name on this list. He meets belt-holder Serguei Liakhovich in August. End of story.

Denis Boytsov, Russia – The 20 year-old Russian prodigy picked up an eight-round decision win in July over unknown Edson Caesar Antonio in Germany. It marked the first time in the youngster’s now 16-0 career that he was extended the distance.

Sinan Samil Sam, Germany (via Turkey) – Though consistently overrated by the WBC, Sam is a fairly competent heavyweight. He’s proven rugged but underpowered. Nonetheless he remains a tough trial-horse and a worthy notch on the belt of any aspiring contender.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ibragimov and Austin in thriller, bout ends in draw

By JE Grant

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. --- Powerhouse prospect Sultan Ibragimov, 19-0-1 (17 KOs), Russia, 231 ½, and veteran Ray Austin, 24-3-4 (16 KOs), Cleveland, 245 ½, settled for a hard fought 12-round draw in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Hard Rock Café Friday night.

The highly touted southpaw Ibragimov was expected to use the title eliminator as his ticket to current division king Wladimir Klitschko. Apparently he also saw the bout as a tune-up based on his fleshy appearence.

The 35 year-old Ray Austin had a vision of another outcome and would not settle for being a mere speed bump.

In the opening round it momentarily appeared the night would be short when Ibragimov caught Austin crisply, wobbling his much taller opponent early in the stanza.

The fight turned out very differently than that moment would suggest.

Ibragimov, throwing wide but hard punches, had early success to the body and occasionally to the head of the crafty Austin but missed often and met well-place counters more often than he expected.

In round four Ibragimov jumped in with a sweeping left hand that missed wildly but his follow-up right hook didn’t and sent Austin to the seat of his pants hard. To his credit, Austin effectively fought back and was able to tie up Ibragimov who seemed in no real hurry to finish the job.

Austin’s cleverness and size began to frustrate the pudgy Ibragimov, allowing him to land counter rights. He continued to move, tie up, and counter repeatedly as throughout the middle rounds.

Round 10 was Austin’s shining moments as Ibragimov rushed in once more only to get clipped by a stinging counter than sent him to the canvas for the first time in his career. Ibragimov was up quickly but the shot negated the point advantage he gained with his earlier knockdown of the “Rain Man.”

Unfortunately for Austin he was unable to capitalize on the knockdown and the tough Ibragimov was able to close strong, winning the last two rounds, and seriously hurting his exhausted foe in the closing round.

Scoring was admittedly difficult. Ringside judges scored the bout 114-112, Austin, 115-111 Ibragimov, and 113-113. JEBoxing scored the bout 114-112 Ibragimov.

Given the exciting nature of the contest a rematch is clearly in order. The bout was sanctioned by the IBF as an eliminator and a rematch may be ordered.


In an exciting bout held earlier on the card, Samuel Miller, 16-0 (13 KOs), Colombia, 162, won a near-shutout 8-round decision over tough and willing Jason Naugler, 15-6-1 (10 KOs), Canada, 161.

Miller landed numerous winging right hands to the head of the charging Naugler throughout the contest.

Naugler was competitive throughout despite failing to win a single round on the JEBoxing scorecard.

Scoring of the bout was 79-72, 79-72, and 78-73. JEBoxing scored the bout 79-72 (one point was deducted from Miller in round 8 for holding).

Friday, July 21, 2006

“Big Time” McCline continues win streak

By JE Grant

TULSA, Okla. --- Jameel McCline, 38-6-3 (23 KOs), West Palm Beach, Fla., 270, won his sixth consecutive bout with a clear 10-round decision over tough and willing Terry Smith, 28-2-1 (18 KOs), Little Rock, Ark., 225, Friday night.

From the opening bell, the two-time heavyweight title challenger McCline proved fit and focused on the task at hand. Such focus was clearly necessary against Smith who proved competitive in each of the 10 rounds.

McCline started on the outside showing faster hands than his smaller opponent. Smith appeared willing to fall inside but rarely worked for extended periods allowing McCline to out-hustle him from all distances and land the sharper shots.

The ever-charging Smith was able to gain an edge in rounds 3, 4, and 8, with a high punch volume but never effectively landed combinations or forced McCline out of position.

In all other rounds it was the 36 year-old McCline who proved more effective and efficient with his punches often landing left-hooks and speedy jabs as Smith fell inside in an attempt to land lead right hands.

Scoring of the bout was 97-94, 97-93, and 98-92 all for McCline. JEBoxing scored the contest 97-93.

Neither fighter appeared hurt at any point and there were no knockdowns.

Smith, exhibited some of the traits of a sparring partner, which he is on a regular basis for James “Lights Out” Toney. He delivered enough punches make McCline work hard for the win, but he did not show evidence of enough power or output to take the measure of the elite of the division.

The win was by far the most important of McCline’s six fights since his loss to the light-punching Zuri Lawrence. The win allows him to remain a viable consideration for a fight with any of the top 10 heavyweights.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Baldomir – Gatti: A blue collar battle on the Boardwalk

By JE Grant

As the true welterweight world champion Argentinean Carlos Baldomir climbs into the ring to face Arturo Gatti, several of the thousands in attendance will have only one idea in mind: His dominant win over Zab Judah was a fluke and he is ripe for a Gatti return to prominence.

Charitably speaking, Baldomir entered his bout with Judah an underdog. In reality he was given almost no chance at victory and was to serve only as a tune-up for a Judah – Floyd Mayweather megafight.

At first blush, his 41-9-6 (12 KOs) record indicated possible journeyman status. Add to his low knockout percentage the fact that many of his losses were in Argentina and almost no one expected his 42nd victory would come over a super-skilled “Super” Zab.

A more detailed look at his record reveals that he is undefeated in his last 20 bouts and he has won in not only in Argentina, but the in the United States, Italy, Denmark, Germany, and England, and a scored a draw in Mexico. Winning internationally is especially difficult – promoters don’t bring foreign fighters in to beat hometown heroes.

Baldomir has also demonstrated a solid chin, having been stopped only once in 57 bouts (in his 7th fight). Judah had proven power and he did not dent Baldomir’s stiff chin.

Many in attendance in Boardwalk Hall will not have delved too deeply into Baldomir’s full record. Many won’t see his win over Judah as anything more than a win over an under-prepared champion. Many will see this as Gatti’s best chance at gaining a belt once more.

Always the crowd favorite in Atlantic City, Gatti is likely to enter the ring a betting favorite despite his recent record. His fans, and many of the boxing media, are seemingly so relieved that he is able to get a title shot avoiding a second sure disaster against Floyd Mayweather (the world’s best welterweight – but not the true champion), that they see Baldomir as easy pickings.

Gatti did in fact perform well in his last bout, in his most recent venture into the welterweight division against the previously undefeated, but clearly limited, Thomas Damgaard. He dominated the bout before stopping the Dane in the 11th round.

Indeed, since his trilogy with Mickey Ward, he decisioned the previously undefeated Gianluca Branco and knocked out undefeated Leonard Dorin as well as veteran Jesse James Leija in defense of his junior welterweight title.

Unfortunately that series of fights led to his meeting with Mayweather. Gatti did not win one second of one round as the great Mayweather pounded him without mercy. The veteran of many ring wars appeared as if he was fighting underwater against the fighter now widely seen as the world’s best pound-for-pound.

Many questions remain from that bout: Was Gatti’s loss indicative of an overall decline in his abilities? Was the struggle to make the 140 pound limit a possible culprit? Is Mayweather simply so good that we cannot make an assessment of Gatti’s remaining skills?

Of course the prime question is obvious: Have Gatti’s handlers found a golden opportunity to have their cash cow reap a title that was gained by Baldomir when an unfocused Zab Judah was looking forward to the riches of a bout with Mayweather?

PREDICTION: Gatti is always prepared and he will not overlook Baldomir, despite the fact that many of his followers think it will be an easy night. Gatti’s boxing ability against the plodding Baldomir will play a greater role in his game plan than punching power, which he has never proven at 147 pounds. Baldomir, though not especially fast or hard-hitting is a solid body-puncher and will press from the opening bell. He will be hit early and often but he will continue to apply pressure throughout. The scar tissue over Gatti’s eyes may prove vulnerable to Baldomir’s constant attack and there will be no let up if cuts develop. Expect a fast start by Gatti and a fade starting in the middle rounds as the naturally bigger and stronger Baldomir begins to land the harder, and more plentiful shots down the stretch. After this fight, American fight fans will know Baldomir, who like Gatti is a well-traveled blue-collar veteran, has finally come into his own at the end of a once-obscure career.

Baldomir by decision.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Other weekend boxing notes

By JE Grant

Half a world away from the Shane Mosely dismantling of Fernando Vargas, results from two European cities produced some fireworks that may have rippling effects on the boxing scene.

In a Saturday night fight card in Hamburg, Germany former junior middleweight belt-holder Javier Castillejo from Spain upset German Felix Sturm to win the so-called “world” WBA middleweight title. (This is obviously a cynical arrangement by the WBA that allows fee collections for two “world” champions in the same weight class. You’ll remember that Jermain Taylor is the one true middleweight champion – including recognition by the WBA as a “super” champion. Don’t try to figure it out).

The bout was stopped in round 10 with reports that Sturm may have suffered a broken jaw.

The result was all the more stunning given that many thought Sturm outworked Oscar De La Hoya before coming out on the short end of a decision in 2004.

Despite the name of the title, it is clear that Sturm was in the hunt for a shot at the champion Taylor. The loss to the shopworn 38 year-old Castillejo destroyed any chance of gaining a near-term title shot for Sturm. Indeed it puts him in the back of a very long line to the potential riches a fight with Taylor would mean.

As for Castillejo, Fernando Vargas, American fans may recall, trounced him less than a year ago in a junior middleweight contest. If nothing else, the win puts him in line for a signficant payday.

On the Hamburg undercard, unbeaten Uzbekistani Ruslan Chagaev, now 21-0-1 (17 KOs), stopped veteran British heavyweight Michael Sprott. The southpaw, nicknamed “White Tyson” recently edged out Vladimir Virchis (see below) in a battle of unbeatens and will likely move on to rated competition.

In another heavyweight bout on the same card, Ukrainian Vladimir Virchis stopped Italian Paolo Vidoz, in six rounds to gain the European Boxing Union heavyweight title. Virchis is now 21-1 (18 KOs).


In another European bout of note, WBA light-heavyweight titlist Fabrice Tiozzo returned to the ring after an 18-month layoff to stop someone named Henry Saenz in five rounds in a non-title affair in Le Cannet Cote d'Azur, France.

What is noteworthy, besides the fact that the WBA has allowed him to retain his title for 18 months without having defended it, is that he weighed a whopping 195. Of course a few years ago he held a cruiserweight belt (at the old limit of 190) before returning to the light-heavyweight division where he had briefly held a title.

We just have to wonder if he plans to ever return to the light-heavyweight division.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mosely: One more taste of sweetness

By JE Grant

Shane Mosely enters the ring July 15th in Las Vegas against Fernando Vargas in perhaps his last venture as a great fighter.

As a 34 year-old one-time wunderkind, Mosely relies now on guile and determination where super-sonic speed once swept him past opponents. He ruled as a lightweight between 1997 and 1999 defending his belt eight times before moving up from the weight class to welterweight, skipping junior welterweight altogether. He never lost – indeed he never came close to losing – as a lightweight.

The move to welterweight produced some predictable results. While he was a devastating hitter as lightweight, scoring knockouts in each of his eight defenses, he was merely above average as a puncher at welterweight. His speed remained formidable but it was ever-so-slightly diminished as well.

Although his punching power was not what it had been as a lightweight, only three bouts into his welterweight venture he decisioned all-time great Oscar de la Hoya in 2000. The all-California affair solidified his name as an elite of the game and moved him from being famous in boxing circles to being world-famous.

Three title defenses later, and boasting a 38-0 record, he faced fellow unbeaten Vernon Forrest in a bout that would prove pivotal in his career. Forrest caught Mosely early and nearly knocked him out with devastating, pinpoint punches, the kind that Mosely avoided categorically as a lightweight. He survived the near-stoppage and even fought well in spots enroute to a decision loss. He proved his heart despite the clear drubbing.

What followed was a series of questionable business decisions. A decision to accept an instant rematch with Forrest was seemingly made from emotion rather than fact. Nothing in the first match left big questions. It wasn’t close in almost any respect. Forrest clearly had Mosely’s number. The rematch bore that fact out.

From the second Forrest fight, Mosely moved to junior middleweight. One the one hand he did move resoundingly into the forefront of the money end of the sport with a second win over De la Hoya and with it another belt.

Mosely took on a fellow belt holder in the form of the cagey and super-skilled Ronald “Winky” Wright. In his lightweight days Mosely used power and speed to overcome skilled foes. As a junior middleweight, his speed was and is decisively sub-sonic and his power is nearly non-existent. A bad combination against the steel-chinned and naturally bigger Winky.

Wright boxed behind his high guard and peppered Mosely repeatedly. In round after round Mosely ran head long toward the taller Wright and launched his quick shots only to be met with swift counters. The decision was never in doubt.

Proving he learned nothing from his ventures against Vernon Forrest, Mosely once again accepted an instant rematch. Although on the scorecards he performed a bit better in the rematch, there was really nothing to indicate that he could overcome the advantages Wright would always bring.

Ostensibly deciding to return to the welterweight division following the losses to Wright, the former three-division titlist appeared to be making the type of calculated business decision that he shunned in the earlier part of his career.

Or maybe not.

After two solid decision wins as a welterweight, Mosely smelled the money and accepted a junior middleweight weight date with the enigmatic Vargas.

The bout brought significant risk. Vargas had proven himself a strong and willing puncher at 154. In his six fights post-Forrest, Mosely had yet to score a stoppage.

Loud whispers suggested that Mosely was at age 34, to Vargas’ 28, perhaps slipping into the grip of the ravaging fist of Father Time. Such a decline would mean slower hands and maybe a more available chin. More importantly, the high volume attack, so necessary for a fighter who isn’t overpowering anyone anymore would, perhaps, just not appear ever again.

When the two met in February, it was Mosely who actually appeared the fresher of the two. He snapped jabs and bounced right hands off the head of the slower-than-usual Vargas.

Although Vargas will claim that the grapefruit sized swelling over his eye that led to a 10th round stoppage was merely a minor hurdle that he could have cleared, it was indicative of the sharp punching of Mosely. Not incidentally, Mosely was ahead on two of the three cards at the time of the halt. For this one bout at least, Father Time was kept at bay.

On July 15th both fighters will again realize enormous paychecks from their pay-per-view rematch. For Mosely it may mean another title chance soon or it may be a last great hurrah. For now, however, it is sufficient that he concentrates on this bout leaving other decisions to be made another day.

PREDICTION: The younger Vargas may be more shopworn than his older opponent. Following devastating losses to Trinidad and De la Hoya, Vargas has abandoned his go-for-broke attack to a pedestrian pace in which he seemingly considers each punch before throwing it. Mosely retains enough of his speed and unpredictability to make such a fight plan fizzle. As Vargas ambles forward, he will continue to be caught with lead right hands and odd-angle shots. The super swollen eye may also reemerge as problem for Vargas. Such injuries have a way of leaving a permanent propensity for recurrence due to underlying damage. Just as Mosely could not figure out Forrest or Wright, Vargas won’t solve the puzzle of “Sugar” Shane.

Mosely by decision.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ellis body shot stops Sinclair

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Jerome Ellis, 11-4-1 (10 KOs), Bahamas, 150 ½, came from behind to stop one-time title challenger Neil Sinclair, 28-5 (21 KOs), Northern Ireland, 148 ¼, with a single body shot in the 6th round of a scheduled 10 round main event.

A steady, conventional Sinclair pulled ahead of Ellis after 5 rounds, scoring with crisp left hooks and jabs at the in-and-out Bahamian.

Sinclair clearly won the opener with a basic attack, but Ellis showed in round two that his speedy hands and willingness to throw with abandon would spell trouble later in the bout for the Irishman.

In rounds 3 and 4, Sinclair appeared to pull away in the lead as Ellis slowed his attack. As Ellis jumped in, he was met with a mix of hooks and right hands from Sinclair.

Ellis began landing more consistently in round 5 with fast hooks of his own, though Sinclair continued to have success, catching Ellis as he charged forward.

JEBoxing had Sinclair ahead 48-47 after 5 rounds.

The 6th round began with more even trading until a sharp Ellis left-hook to the right side of Sinclair’s body crumpled his opponent to the canvas for a full count. Sinclair was in obvious pain and he made no attempt to beat the count.

Now trained by former Olympic gold medal winner Howard Davis Jr., Ellis showed enough flashes of talent to move on to tougher opposition. Some defensive gaps will require the 27 year-old to sharpen his game if he is to survive the upper tier of the junior middleweight division.

Time of the knockout was 1:49.
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Purchase Professional Boxing tickets from Coast to Coast Tickets. We have your sports needs covered with New York Yankees tickets, Boston Red Sox tickets and premium Bengals tickets. Check out our Black Eyed Peas tickets and Broadway show tickets.
  • Boxing Trend
  • Boxing Scene
  • Boxing Society
  • KO Corner
  • SJC Boxing
  • Blog and Weave
  • The Eight Count
  • World Boxing Chat
  • Boxing Fan
  • Boxing Along the Beltway
  • The Boxing Blog
  • East Coast Boxing
  • Knocked Out
  • Blogwise
  • Eastside Boxing
  • Late Rounds: A Boxing Blog
  • Irish Boxing
  • Boxing Craze
  • Ringside Report
  • Champions Boxing Gym
  • Boxing Help
  • National Boxing Association
  • Tyson Talk
  • Saddo Boxing
  • Boxing.Net.Au
  • Boxing News.De
  • Boxing Fever
  • Fired Up
  • Boxingranks.Com

    Powered by Blogger

  • Site Feed
    free web counters
    ISP Access Providers