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Mayweather to take on Ortiz; Pacquiao tune-up? June 8, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing, Sport.
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Just when I thought we’d never see him in the boxing ring again, Floyd Mayweather Jr has suddenly announced that he will take on WBC Welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz on 17 September 2011.

Bogged down by various legal dramas, the last thing I expected was for Mayweather to declare that he was ready to step back in the ring.  He hasn’t fought since defeating Shane Mosley in May 2010, meaning it will be a 16 month lay off for him.

Two ways to look at this.  The first is that Mayweather is needs money but doesn’t want to take on the man everyone wants to see him fight: Manny Pacquiao.

(I won’t go into the history of it all, but essentially negotiations between the two fighters have broken down twice already over additional drug testing procedures, and may or may not have broken down a third or fourth time according to Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum when Mayweather allegedly tried to price himself out by asking for $100 million.  Mayweather’s camp denied further negotiations ever took place, though third parties contradict this denial.  There is also the additional issue of Pacquiao suing Mayweather and his family for defamation for suggesting that Pacquiao is on performance enhancing drugs.)

Mayweather’s decision to take on Ortiz is a curious one because Arum has stated all along that if Mayweather comes to the table, he will be Pacquiao’s number one choice.  No one else matters.  This means that if Mayweather really wanted to fight Pacquiao all he had to do was pick up the phone after Pacquiao’s win over Mosley last month, and the fight would have been made already.

Instead, Mayweather waited until Pacquiao signed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time on 12 November 2011 before announcing a fight of his own.

More interestingly, Mayweather has refused to fight Pacquiao allegedly because of completely unsubstantiated PED accusations, and yet the man he has chosen to fight, Victor Ortiz, was recently implicated in PEDs by the man he had just beaten, Andre Berto.  Of course, Berto’s assertions were also completely unsubstantiated, but if his suspicions of Pacquiao were sufficient to destroy the megafight, then why not Ortiz too?

The second and more optimistic view is that Mayweather is taking on Ortiz as a tune up for Manny Pacquiao in 2012.  Mayweather undoubtedly will want to shake off some rust after the long lay off, and Ortiz just happens to be a young, strong stud AND a southpaw, something which Pacquiao is also.

I sure hope the second view is the right one and the potentially biggest fight of all time will happen next year!

The Matchup

Apart from Pacquiao, everyone just assumes that Mayweather will win no matter who he fights.  But Ortiz is a dangerous opponent, coming off a solid but close decision win against previously undefeated Andre Berto in April.  He has a strong 29-2-2 (22KOs) record and as mentioned above, is a southpaw, and Mayweather has tended to struggle more against southpaws.

Furthermore, Mayweather is now 34 years old and might be slowing down.  We won’t really know for sure until we see him in the ring, given how long it’s been, but it is possible.  On the other hand, Ortiz is just 24 and appears to have hit his prime after the brutal battle against Berto.

I’d still say the risks are low because of the experience and skill factors, but just like Marquez has a chance of unseating Pacquiao, Ortiz could also shock the world against Mayweather.  For the sake of Mayweather-Pacquiao happening next year, I hope both men can win.

PS: I mentioned in an earlier post the Marquez was to take on David Diaz as a tune up before Pacquiao, but this fight has fallen through because of financial considerations.

Pacquiao punishes Margarito over 12 rounds November 14, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing.
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13/11/2010

I’ll expand on this when I get a chance to rewatch the fight, but Manny Pacquiao just shredded Antonio Margarito’s face for 12 rounds, winning a clear cut unanimous decision, 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110.

At times, Margarito seemed as though he might impose his formidable size on Pacquiao, but the smaller man continued to pepper him with rapid combinations and getting out of the way in time.  Pacquiao looked a little gassed in the latter stages of the fight (remember, Pacquiao had a 17 pound disadvantage), but Margarito just kept coming forward no matter how hopeless things had become.

By the end, Margarito’s face was a complete mess, his right eye gruesomely swollen and bruised, and his left eye not that much better.  Pacquiao looked relatively unmarked in comparison, but I’m sure the swelling and bruises will emerge over the next couple of hours.  Margarito did land some big body shots and upper cuts, but the punch numbers were staggeringly one sided.  I don’t have the exact numbers at hand at the moment, but I’m sure Pacquiao landed more than 400 punches, and probably more than 400 power shots.  Pacquiao probably could have killed a bear with those punches, but to Margarito’s credit, he lasted until the end.

Pacquaio was no doubt impressive against a much bigger opponent, but he wasn’t as insanely dominant as he was against his last few opponents.  Though they said Margarito was slow, Pacquiao did get tagged several times, and even admitted in the post-fight interview that he was hurt to the head and body when Margarito pinned him against the ropes.

Does this mean Pacquiao is slowing down?  Or should Margarito be given more credit?  And will Mayweather now have the balls to fight Pacquiao if he stays out of jail?

Update: 14/11/2010

Having watched the fight for the second time, I must say Pacquiao was even more dominant than I initially thought.  Even with a 17 pound weight and 4.5 inch height disadvantage, Pacquiao’s blinding hand speed, accurate combinations and tremendous footwork was more than enough to overcome the game but outclassed Margarito.

I think the way Pacquiao has beaten the likes of De la Hoya, Hatton, Cotto and Clottey make people forget that Pacquiao is still human and has his vulnerabilities — this is what makes him such an exciting boxer to watch because he’s not afraid to take risks to, as he says, give fans an exciting fight.  People forget that Pacquiao had a bit of trouble with Cotto in the first few rounds, and that Clottey hit him with a few good ones as well.  The same can be said for Margarito, a world class fighter in his own right.  Margarito landed some bombs on Pacquiao in the fifth and eighth rounds, for me the only rounds you could say he could have won, but it’s just that he came up short against a much better opponent.

For those who don’t know, Pacquiao’s camp vehemently protested Margarito’s use of a supposed weight-loss supplement before the fight, but the fight went ahead anyway.  If Margarito did use something banned we will find out after the post fight drug test.

Also, after the fight Margarito went straight to the hospital for a check-up.  Turns out Pacquiao fractured Margarito’s eye socket and he had to undergo surgery immediately.  Not surprising considering Pacquiao landed a whopping 474 punches (compared to 229 for Margarito), including an insane 411 power shots.

Fight recap

I think you could make a good argument that Pacquiao won every single round of the 12 round fight.  The first round pretty much went according to plan, with Margarito using a stiff jab and Pacquiao going in and out with solid combinations.  The punch numbers were pretty close, but since most of Margarito’s punches were jabs while Pacquiao’s were power shots, the round easily went to Pacquiao.

The second round, Pacquiao went toe-to-toe a little more, and Margarito landed a few decent shots.  However, while the punch stats were close again for the round, but for a short period when Margarito had Pacquiao on the ropes, Pacquiao had the better command of the round and landed the more telling punches.

Freddie Roach told Pacquiao that it was too early to exchange, so Pacquiao went back to what he does best in the third round, which is using his phenomenal footwork to pepper Margarito all over the ring.  More of the same in the fourth, except Pacquiao really started unloading some bombs that rocked and hurt Margarito, causing him to bend over with body shots and opening up a cut and a nasty welt under the bigger man’s eye.  A furious rally in the fifth by Margarito might have been enough to steal the round for people watching ringside, but on the replay it was clear that it was Pacquiao again that landed the bigger, better shots.

In the middle part of the fight, from about rounds 6 to 8, Pacquiao took his foot off the gas pedal a bit.  I’m not sure if he was really gassed or he was just taking a breather because he knew he didn’t have to take any big risks to win the fight.  Round Eight saw Margarito land his best shots, a few sold hooks and uppercuts when Pacquiao was against the ropes, but even then Pacquiao landed the better punches.

Round Nine onwards, the fight was pretty much meaningless because Pacquiao was just torturing Margarito, who just kept coming forward despite taking the beating of his life.  The doctor was called out a few times to make sure Margarito could continue, and even his corner kept asking him if he wanted to go on.  Of course, the Mexican warrior would never give up.  The fight probably should have been stopped but Margarito kept throwing, so it was hard to deny him the chance of finishing on his feet.

Pacquiao, for his part, looked to the referee a few times to see if the fight could be stopped because Margarito’s face was such a mess.  He admitted after the fight that he was taking it easy in the last round because there was no need to inflict permanent injury on his opponent.  “I told the referee, ‘Look at his eyes, look at his cuts,'” Pacquiao said. “I did not want to damage him permanently. That’s not what boxing is about.”

And rewatching that final round, I believe him — I think Pacquiao could have taken Margarito out if he really wanted to, but instead he danced aroud a lot and didn’t go for the kill.

A masterful performance by Pacquiao.  If Mayweather watched this fight, he might start thinking it’s a better option to go to prison than to face Pacquiao in the ring.

PS: the crowd attendance was poor — only 41,734 people attended the fight, much lower than the expected 60,000 that Bob Arum boldly proclaimed was possible.

Prediction: Mayweather vs Mosley May 1, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing.
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As a Manny Pacquiao fan, I am somewhat disappointed that Floyd Mayweather Jr will not be taking on the pound for pound king on May 1st.  However, as a boxing fan, I am ecstatic that Mayweather will be facing Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas instead.

Usually before a fight, I have an inkling as to who will win.  Of course, it’s not always correct in the end, but at least I can make up my mind.  In this case, I am truly stumped.  I’ve considered all the variables and the advantages and disadvantages of each boxer over the last couple of weeks, but I still can’t decide who will win.  Set out below are some thoughts I have of the matchup, which will hopefully lead to a conclusive prediction on who will be victorious this Saturday night.

(Click on ‘more’ to read the analysis and prediction!)

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Clottey Stinks It Up As Pacquiao Dominates March 14, 2010

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I just got back from watching the Manny Pacquiao – Joshua Clottey fight at a public venue with a mega screen.

The atmosphere was electric, and I think I am going a little deaf from the noise of the live crowd, who acted like they were there at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas along with the 51,000 other boxing fans.  Or should I say Manny Pacquiao fans.

Pacquiao cruises to unanimous victory in a virtual shut-out

Oh, the result.  As expected, Pacquiao dominated over 12 rounds to win an easy unanimous decision (120-108, 119-109, 119-109) against a bizarrely passive Clottey, who spent most of the night covering up.  Sure, he avoided getting knocked out like Pacquiao’s previous four opponents, but Clottey never really gave himself a chance out there.

On the rare occasions Clottey did decide to engage, he was very effective, landing some solid jabs and jolting uppercuts on Pacquiao’s jaw, creating a noticeable bruise under the Pacman’s right eye.  But Clottey never followed it up and Pacquiao was never in danger.  To be honest, Clottey stunk up the joint.  Pacquiao (and the fans) wanted a fight and tried to goad Clottey into trading, but for some inexplicable reason Clottey just stood there, covering up, and only threw a couple of punches here and there so that people won’t think Pacquiao’s just in the ring by himself punching a slab of black marble.

From the third round onwards, Clottey’s corner kept telling him to throw more punches and take chances, but Clottey refused to open up.  Even when they told him he was losing every round, Clottey was still going out there and doing the same thing.

On the other hand, Pacquiao was in and out all night, throwing stiff shots from all angles and every now and then a crazy barrage that kept Clottey covering up like a turtle.  Most of Pacquiao’s shots to the head were blocked or partially blocked by Clottey’s gloves and arms, but he did manage to land a fair few ripping body shots, especially at the start of the fight.  Towards the later rounds, the blows were starting to penetrate the defense, bloodying Clottey’s nose and driving him into the ropes a few times, but to Clottey’s credit he didn’t go down or look to be in serious trouble.

Pacquiao landed 246 of 1,231 punches (20%) while Clottey was limited to landing 108 of 399 punches (27%).

So yeah, the fight was still pretty exciting thanks to Pacquiao’s offense and multiple punch combinations (like seven or eight in a second), but Clottey prevented it from being a good fight.  He didn’t get knocked out, and he got a big payday, but that was about it.  After this performance, it’s no surprise Clottey isn’t a bigger star, and it’s unlikely he’ll ever be.

What the boxers said after the fight

Manny Pacquiao

“It was not an easy fight. He’s a good fighter. I threw a lot of jabs in the beginning to counter his hook and uppercut. I felt his power. He’s so strong. I could tell he was looking to land the big shot throughout the fight.”

“I was in control from the first round, but I never felt overconfident.”

“He took a lot of punches and never even seemed hurt.”

Re inability to get the KO: “I am not disappointed. I know he is a defensive fighter. I felt some of his punches. I was focussed on a strategy to dominate him.”

Joshua Clottey

“He has very good movement. He has great speed. It was very difficult for me to handle. I didn’t feel Manny’s power. It’s just that his speed was too much for me.”

“He has speed, I lost the fight. He’s fast, that’s why I was taking my time.”

“I won a couple of rounds. I don’t think I lost all the rounds.”

“I always accept defeat. I didn’t lose to (Miguel) Cotto or (Antonio) Margarito but I did lose to Manny Pacquiao.”

“I want to apologize to my fans. Next time, I’ll come back big.”

Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer)

“I thought we won every round. We pressured him. He had a good defense but good defense isn’t enough to win the fight.”

“He fought a defensive fight. When you fight for the world title it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I thought he would have thrown more punches. He was in survival mode and when guy is trying to survive it is hard to knock him out.”

Lenny de Jesus (Clottey’s trainer)

“Joshua had the power to knock him out, but was reluctant to punch. We clearly got beat. I don’t think we won a round.”

Bob Arum (promoter)

“What was he supposed to do? If he played offense he’d get knocked out. I can’t blame the kid for trying to wear him down.”

On the potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr (provided he beats Shane Mosley)

Pacquiao: “The people want that fight, they want to see that fight. It’s up to him. For me, it’s no problem to fight him. I will fight him any time. He should win against Mosley. If not, Mosley and I will fight. [Mayweather’s] style is not a difficult style. He needs to handle his business in his next fight.”

“I want that fight, the world wants that fight, but it’s up to him. I’m ready to fight any time.”

Roach: “It’s the fight the world wants to see. Me and Manny want to see it. Floyd, let the commission do their job. You don’t run the sport. Get in the ring and fight us.”

Arum: “Manny will break down any defense. He never gets tired. He throws a million punches. If Mayweather doesn’t come out of his shell Manny will pile up the points like he did tonight. When you’re in with a buzz saw, it’s very difficult to do anything. Manny prevented Clottey from throwing his punches by throwing his own punches, and he throws from so many angles.”

Undercard action

The undercard was a bit of a snore fest.  The match-ups suggested slug fests but they were all tactical fights, with a couple going the full distance.

Of the notable bouts: Humberto Soto dominated former Pacquiao victim David Diaz via unanimous decision.  Alfonso Gomez made Jose Luis Castillo quit after the fifth round.  John Duddy took a split decision from Michael Medina.

That’s about it.

Final thoughts

  • Great crowd, but seriously, most of the people there would have had no idea what was going on sitting so far away from the ring.  They would have had to watch the screens.  Watching the ring would have been like watching two ants in a matchbox.
  • What a bloody long walk to the ring for both fighters!  I was worried they’d be too tired to fight by the time they finally got there.
  • Clottey showed the best Prince Naseem Hamed impersonation with his hilarious dancing all the way to the ring.  Even his corner got into it.  Pacquiao should sing and Clottey should dance.
  • What was the deal with the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders singing the American national anthem?  Hilarious.  To be honest though, they were surprisingly good.
  • Good on Manny for using a double-handed head squeeze on Clottey just to try and wake him up.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
  • And if (and it’s a big if) Mayweather can down Mosley and if (an even bigger if) the fight with Pacquiao can be made, it’s hard to see Mayweather winning unless he takes some big risks or can somehow land a big counter to knock Manny out.  Otherwise, the most likely outcome is Pacquiao by unanimous decision.

Pacquiao-Clottey: Easy Win or Upset? March 11, 2010

Posted by pacejmiller in Boxing.
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[For the results of the fight and analysis, click here]

I know a lot of people are still up in arms over the failed Mayweather-Pacquiao fight which would have taken place on Saturday, 13 March 2010, had the two sides not lost the plot over drug testing procedures.

Instead, we now have pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao taking on Joshua Clottey at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas (capacity 45,000) on the same day, and undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr taking on Shane Mosley on 1 May 2010.

To be honest, the hype for the Pacquiao-Clottey fight has been relatively low.  And it’s perfectly understandable.

Fist of all, there is the disappointment over the Mayweather fallout.  Secondly, there is the related fury over Pacquiao’s refusal to accept blood testing.  Thirdly, many simply think Clottey is not a worthy opponent.  Clottey’s most recent bout (13 June 2009) was a split decision loss to Miguel Cotto, the man Pacquiao destroyed over 12 rounds on 14 November 2009.

However, there are plenty of factors at play in this bout, most of which have been ignored or downplayed.  Clottey is a much more dangerous opponent than most people give him credit for.

So is this going to be just another easy win for Pacquiao?  Or will Clottey pull off the stunning upset?

(Click on ‘more…’ for the analysis)

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