Saturday, November 11, 2006

Holyfield Upsets Oquendo

Evander Holyfield won a twelve round unanimous decision over Fres Oquendo last night. Holyfield dropped Oquendo in the first round and hurt him down the stretch of the fight. I consider this an upset. Oquendo losing to Holyfield in 2006 says a lot more about him than it does about Holyfield being anything close to a fighter who's deserving of a title shot in his next fight.
Look for Holyfield to fight Nikolay Valuev for the WBA heavyweight title in his next fight, probably in Germany. Valuev is a gimmick, and Holyfield is now a fraud with a big name. A combination that works perfectly in boxing, and the only reason the fight will happen. Holyfield won't get hurt fighting Valuev, but there'll be a faction out there suggesting it, just to spark interest and debate about the fight. On the other hand, Holyfield isn't a risk to beat or hurt Valuev, he's just there to help make it a little easier for Don King to sell Valuev as a real fighter and an emerging force in the heavyweight division.

Seeing that Mayweather-Baldomir did 325,000 PPV buys last week, it's not like he doesn't have a target market.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Contemporary Standards

I can’t get worked up about Floyd Mayweather. He’s very good, and worthy of respect--maybe even of admiration. If he’s not the best fighter in the world, he’s comfortably ensconced among the top three or four.

But I can’t help but think that in a tougher era Mayweather would be nothing other than a solid performer—very much in the title mix, but certainly not regarded as unbeatable.

If Floyd were fighting in the early 1960’s, for example, he’d be rated below both Emile Griffith and Luis Rodriguez in the welterweight ratings. Frankly, I think Beny Paret would have been a problem for him too.

In the early 1980’s Mayweather would be behind Leonard, Hearns, and Duran. Could he have beaten Wilfred Benitez? They seem pretty close skill-wise.

I’m not even confident that—circa 1984—he wouldn’t have found Donald Curry and Marlon Starling a little too difficult.

It’s not worth talking about him in the same sentence as Ray Robinson, of course. And Kid Gavilan, Carmen Basilio, or even Billy Graham and fighters of that ilk would have already seen everything that Mayweather could have shown them—which is not to necessarily say that they would have beaten him.

This isn’t meant to denigrate Floyd Mayweather, who really is an excellent professional prizefighter. But the quality of contemporary boxing may have slipped to the point where a consummate pro is now mistaken for an all-time great.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


“I didn’t fight my fight.”

Sergei Lyakhovich proved to be nothing more than another fucking mirage in the Arizona desert. We imagined a smart, crafty, durable, culturally adaptable champion--a canny strategist who could become pit-bull when he had to be.

It turns out that he was just a sluggish, petulant guy who learned colloquial English faster than most Eastern Europeans, had a pretty and quick-witted wife, and whose expressionless visage signaled only obtuseness.

Didn’t fight his fight? Why not? There was absolutely nothing to stop Sergei Lyakhovich from fighting his fight--almost whatever style “his fight” turned out to be. There are a limitless number of fights you can fight that’ll get you by Shannon Briggs.

But there’s only one way to lose to him. And you have to be truly stupid to manage it.