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Articles of 2005

Heavyweights McCline and Brock Discuss Pay Per View Showdown

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Calvin Brock vs. Jameel McCline takes place April 23, 2005 at Caesars Palace. The fight is available Live on Pay-Per-View.

CALVIN BROCK:  Yes, I spent a week in Jameel McCline’s camp.  I really thank Jameel for having me in.  It was a good experience.  I got to help Jameel out for his bout against Chris Byrd – a lefty.  I hadn’t had my lefty gloves on in six years, since 1999.  I am a totally different boxer as a right-handed boxer.  I have fought all 24 fights and all 20 knockouts as a right-handed fighter.  I am much better and much stronger and I have much more control over myself.  Some of the things that I tried to do against Jameel I couldn’t do because I am a right-handed fighter.  It’s going to be a totally different fight against a totally different boxer than he saw.  It will be the same face but a totally different fight.

JAMEEL McCLINE:  This is going to be a great show.  ESPN and Main Events—who I have some history with.  I never worked for them, but I have some history with them.  Calvin Brock was in camp with us for a while and he was probably our top guy.  He turned it around for us [went southpaw].  So if he was our top guy and still turning it around and hadn’t done it for some time…he’s going to present some challenges for us.  The kid’s undefeated and he knows what he has to do.  I think it makes for a great evening of boxing.

Calvin, why are you taking the tough fight?

CALVIN BROCK:I look at myself as being the real heavyweight champion of the world.  I said it on television and I said it in interviews that I feel that I’m the real heavyweight champion of the world.  If I say that I am and feel that I am, then I can’t back down from anyone in the world.  I’m ready to take on all comers and perform like I’m the heavyweight champion of the world.  Jameel will be the toughest opponent that I will have been in the ring with.  I though he won the title shot he had against Chris Byrd and I was pulling for him.  I didn’t call Jameel out.  It was just a business move that my promoter, Main Events, made.  They chose him and Jameel took the fight.  It’s all love, but it will be all business in the ring and I look forward to it and to extending my career.

What will it mean for you if you beat McCline?

CALVIN BROCK:It will mean that I am definitely deserving of a title shot from one of the major title-holders. 

Jameel, what is in it for you if you win?

Jameel McCline:  The first thing is that people make a mistake with these guys.  I wasn’t in with anybody until I stepped in with [Michael] Grant and Goofy [Whitaker].  These guys are serious contenders.  They are the young guys in the division – the young lions.  Just because they are not old lions like myself doesn’t mean they are not able to compete at this level.  What it means to me is that I never turn down fights.  It was presented to us so I took it.  I never turn down fights like most guys in this division.  They sit around and jockey for position.  My position is, I got a fight and I’m going to take it regardless.  I feel that confident in my ability.  I don’t care how young, how undefeated…I’ve beaten undefeated guys in my career.  It doesn’t really matter who I get in there with, I’m just going to take it from there and move on.

Jameel, you said this fight was going to be a knockout.  Can you explain?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  I don’t really remember saying that but maybe you read my mind.  Listen, I’m one of the better heavyweights in the division.  There’s no doubt about it.  Main Events know that and Calvin Brock knows that.  The writers know that.  This is my job.  It is my job to get my opponent out of there as early and as fast as I can.  If I do, that’s great and if I don’t, then that’s great too.  I’m looking to put a lot of pressure on Calvin Brock and make sure that he understands that he’s definitely in with one of the old lions and we’ll take it from there. 

Because the two of you sparred together – is that how this fight was made.  Did they think they saw something?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  Listen, I definitely think that they saw something.  I don’t know what they saw.  I don’t know and it’s not my business.  I really don’t care.  The only reason I think they would put a talented fighter like this into this fight is because I think they saw something in sparring and in the fight with Chris Byrd.  You know, that’s just the way the game works.  They saw something and they want to exploit it.

Do you feel the winner will get a title shot?

CALVIN BROCK:  I think whoever wins this fight will definitely get a title shot with Klitschko or whoever has a title.

JAMEEL McCLINE:  My thoughts are that I’m on my last road to the title.  This is why I’m taking the fight against Calvin Brock.  If there are no fights out there I’m going to take what’s out there.  If Rahman has a $1.5M out there and he doesn’t want to take the fight – that is the most idiotic thing.  You always take fights.  I signed the Chris Byrd fight for $100,000.  So that’s where I stand.  I am a very confident man.  People walk away from $1.5M because they think they deserve 2 million.  So this is where I’m at.  It is a once in a lifetime chance so I would never walk away from that.  I’m not going to walk away from a fight like this with a young talented guy like Calvin Brock.  If I knock-off Brock, people will still understand that I’m one of the most talented guys in the division.  He’s no walk in the park – he’s an undefeated heavyweight, Olympic winner and the whole bit.  That’s my opinion on how the whole thing works.

Comment on your sparring.

JAMEEL McCLINE:  First, I would like to thank Brock for turning around for me.  Most guys would not put themselves at a disadvantage, which is what he did.  I would also appreciate if you didn’t refer to him as a sparring partner because we [McCline’s camp] didn’t.  We were grateful to have him in camp to get ready for that job.  All I know is that I am going to see something different, but that doesn’t really matter to me.  It’s all about doing what you have to do to move on.

CALVIN BROCK:  The thing is I really look at the sparring session as pretty irrelevant.  I would have never gone to camp to spar with Jameel McCline if Main Events had offered me the fight.  I am still confident that I would go in and win the fight even if I had never sparred with him.  Coming out of the sparring session, there wasn’t anything that we would look at and say “this is how we are going to beat Jameel McCline”.  I didn’t go into sparring to see how I could beat Jameel.  I went in there to help him and it [beating McCline] wasn’t my mindset.  My mindset now is that I am the real heavyweight champion of the world and that I have the ability, the strength, and the talent to beat anybody in the world.  He [McCline] is going to be my next opponent and I’m going into the ring on April 23rd and prove what I just said.

Do you want to make a prediction?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  I’m here to take care of business.  I’m not a big talker and a lot of people know that I’m not a big talker.  I don’t really run my mouth too much.  I’m just here to do what I have to do for my career and myself.

CALVIN BROCK:  I’m an undefeated fighter, I’m 24-0 and I’m going to come out of the ring against whoever I go in with, with a win.  Rightfully so, I want to be the champion that I am.  I went to the Olympics, I was a five-time national champion against guys in the amateurs, and now as a professional I’m undefeated.  If I didn’t think I was going to win I wouldn’t be taking these fights.

Calvin, what do you is your strength and how it will help you?

CALVIN BROCK:  One of the things that I am blessed with is a great trainer, Tom Yankello. I also have my experience of 108 amateur matches against top-level competition.  I know how to adjust to any style there is.  I’ve had all size boxers, guys bigger than McCline and as tall as he is.  I came up through the weight classes starting at 139-pounds to the heavyweight that I am now.  My major asset is being able to adjust.  I train very hard and I have tremendous power to go along with my ability.

Jameel, how about you?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  I do have at least a third less fights than Calvin.  I had one amateur bout and I did win that fight.  My advantage is that I’m big and strong and deceptively fast for my size.  Another advantage is that I’ve been in the big show before.  I’ve been in with big strong guys and I’ve been in with medium guys.  I could say it over and over.  I’m just here to do my job.  I’m going to take it to Calvin Brock and make him show me that he can adjust to the big boys.  I know he turned it around for me in camp but we still got it on in there.  I remember the first day in camp, Calvin through a hook at me and I though “Holy shit, we’re working in here today.”  I’m going to make him show me that he can adjust to my style and my size.

How many days did you work together and was that the only time?

CALVIN BROCK:  That was the only time we worked together.  I think it was three times.  Three or four, I was only there for one week.  We sparred nine or ten rounds.

JAMEEL McCLINE:  Really?  That little?  I though it was at least ten or twelve rounds.  You see, Calvin, it just felt like that.

Carl, how did you go about making this fight?

CARL MORETTI (Main Events VP):  You can always make heavyweight fights, but you want it to be a significant heavyweight fight where there is something on the line.  I will give credit to both guys.  I give credit to Jameel.  He just lost by a razor’s edge to Chris Byrd.  A lot of heavyweights would have fought someone a lot easier than Brock in their comeback fight.  We offered him the fight and he said yes.  There was no hesitation on his part.  Brock has been itching for this chance to step up on a big show with TV behind it and take a shot, if you will.  It’s only because he is confident in his ability, as are we.  When you get that mix of those two things, it’s an easy fight to make.  It should be a good heavyweight fight, which is great for both guys.  At the end of the day you have a good, significant, heavyweight fight.  It’s good for the card and for both guys’ careers . . .  and for the fans.

JAMEEL McCLINE:  I’ve got to watch Carl because he was responsible for my first loss.  A lot of people don’t know that.

CARL MORETTI:  Gary Bell.  And look where you are today  . . . and look where he is.

Calvin, you fought primarily as a southpaw in the amateurs?

CALVIN BROCK:  I’ve always been a right-handed boxer.  I started out right-handed in 1987.  Then in 1994, I lost to Antonio Tarver in a regional championship as a light heavyweight and he fought me at southpaw and I figured I would give it a try.  I boxed southpaw from ’94 to ’99 and switched back and forth.  Naturally I am right-handed.  I fought right-handed in the Olympic Games.  February of ’99 I went back to right.  I don’t like to do it [switch] anymore.

How long did it take you to get over the loss [against Byrd]? Were you upset?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  It took a week or so to get over the loss [to Byrd].  I don’t know if I was upset about it. I mean don’t get me wrong.  I just couldn’t believe it was so close.  The reason I didn’t get the decision was because 270-pounds was too much to carry.  I was in great shape, but 270 was just too big.  Too much muscle, so in the later rounds I couldn’t get my combinations off like I should have and that’s why I didn’t get the decision.

Did you talk to Chris about the fight?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  Absolutely.  As a matter of fact we were on the phone Wednesday and Friday of that very next week.

Can you talk about being in the final run [of your career]?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  When I talk about being an “old lion”, I mean that my dream is to make millions.  A heavyweight’s career isn’t over until he says so.  I can always make a few hundred here and there.  But I’m here to make millions.  That’s what I mean about my last shot.  Let’s face it.  We all know how the business works.  A third title shot is unprecedented in recent history.  Andrew Golota is getting one now and I’ll get another one.  That’s what I mean about the “old lion” making my last run.  You know how the business works . . . and I’ll leave it there before I put my foot in my mouth.

Did you talk to Chris about a rematch?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  I spoke to Chris about it and he said, “No way, it’s never going to happen”.  I’m not taking anything away from him.  He’s a great fighter and a great champion.  But he understands that if I did a little more cardio, he wouldn’t be there.  He knows that.  It’s way too risky.  I’m happy for him and next time around – better luck next time.

What weight will you fight at?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  250 – 260. That’s my best weight. That’s the weight I usually fight at. That’s just who I am.  I get on the scale periodically.  In fact, every week I get on the scale.  270 was too much.  I didn’t look that heavy during camp but I carried just too much muscle.

Does it bother you fighting against people that you know?

JAMEEL McCLINE:  Everybody understands it is just business.  It doesn’t matter because once you step into the ring it’s all about paying mortgages.  How cool we are . . . all that can wait.  I want to knock everybody out.  I go in there with the intentions of knocking everybody out.  That way I can make my $60M and go home.

CALVIN BROCK:  I would like to fight again before the first of July.  I’m getting married on July 23rd so I want to get into a boxing match before that.  I don’t mind working that hard.  I would like to have a title shot before then.

Articles of 2005

In Boxing News: Floyd Mayweather An All-Time Great, Valuev & More

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A Shot of Boxing on the Last Day of the Year

The Guardian reports that talks have already taken place between Nicolay Valuev‘s co-promoters – Don King and Wilfried Sauerland – and Danny Williams‘ promoter Frank Warren for Nicolay Valuev to face Danny Williams. I’d suggest Danny Williams needs to worry about Matt Skelton (who Williams is reportedly scheduled to fight in February) before he entertains notions of facing the Beast From The East.

The Mirror in the UK looks forward to a big year in boxing for 2006. The Mirror considers what the future might bring for Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton, among others.

The Parksville Qualicum News has an interesting column on the travails of former Canadian Super Middleweight title holder Mark Woolnough. Woolnough’s career turned controversial – as widely reported in the Canadian press – at the beginning of this year when Woolnough and four other men were charged with manslaughter and assault after a fight outside a Parksville nightclub. The case returns to court next month. It’s an interesting read, as Woolnough is still looking to the future with hope.

Our own Marc Lichtenfeld provides plenty of food for thought with his Top Ten Wish List for boxing in the New Year. There’s plenty of good stuff here, but what really jumped out for me is Lichtenfeld’s opinion that a win over Zab Judah could have Floyd Mayweather knocking on the door of all-time great status. Seems to me this might be jumping the gun a little. Or is Marc right? Will it soon be time to call Floyd Mayweather Jr. an all-time great?

(More Boxing News Links at TheSweetScience.com)

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Articles of 2005

ShoBox Friday Night Fights

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Hot bantamweight prospect Raul “The Cobra” Martinez heads back to Chicago next Friday night as he is featured in the co-main event of SHOBOX “THE NEW GENERATION,” an action packed evening of professional boxing presented by Dominic Pesoli’s 8 Count Productions,’ HOME OF THE BEST IN CHICAGO BOXING, Kathy Duva’s Main Events Inc., along with Miller Lite and TCF Bank.

The two-time national amateur champion sporting a perfect 12-0 record with 9 knockouts, six of which have come in the first round,  will take on Colombian Andres “Andy Boy” Ledesma, 13-1 (8 KOs) in a scheduled eight round bout.

Speaking after a training session at his home gym in Georgetown, Texas, Martinez said, “I’m truly looking forward to returning to Chicago. The fans were terrific in September, they were very supportive from the start of the fight,” an internationally televised first round knockout of Miguel Martinez on September 16th at the Aragon Ballroom.

Regarding his upcoming fight with Ledesma, “The Cobra” said, “I haven’t seen him fight, although I understand he’s fought at higher weights and will be naturally bigger than me. I’ve had great training for this fight and feel very confident. I really haven’t left the gym in months, just taking off Sunday’s and even then I get my running in. My thinking is that fights are won in the gym and complete preparation is the key.”

When asked about his being mentioned by Dan Rafael, ESPN’s boxing writer as one of the top prospect’s in the boxing world the 23-year-old San Antonio native said, ‘It’s a great compliment, but I still have much work to do. I want to be a champion for Main Events like Fernando Vargas and Arturo Gatti. But like Fernando said while he was in town, ‘be patient, work hard and your time will come.’”

Finishing the conversation, Martinez said, “I’m looking forward to starting out this year with a bang. I might have a couple less fights than the seven I had in 2005, but I’m looking to stepping up the competition, move up to ten-rounders and climb in the rankings.”

Headlining the evening is a ten-round welterweight showdown between boxing’s hottest prospect, unbeaten Joel Julio of Monteria, Columbia, and Ugandan native Roberto “The Doctor” Kamya. Julio, turning 21 years old the day before the fight, is 25-0 with 22 knockouts, twelve of which have come in the first two rounds. Kamya, now fighting out of West Palm Beach, Florida is 15-5 with four knockouts.

Tickets, starting at $30, are on sale in advance by calling 312-226-5800. Cicero Stadium is located at 1909 S. Laramie, at the corner of 19th and Laramie, just ten minutes south of the Eisenhower Expressway and ten minutes north of the Stevenson Expressway. Doors for this evening will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

The full bout lineup for the evening is:

Joel Julio vs. Roberto Kamya, ten rounds, welterweights

Raul Martinez vs. Andres Ledesma, eight rounds, bantamweights

Miguel Hernandez vs. Butch Hajicek, eight rounds, middleweights

David Pareja vs. Derek Andrews, eight rounds, light heavyweights

Mike Gonzales vs. Tony Kinney, four rounds, lightweights

Omar Reyes vs. Luis Navarro, five rounds, featherweights

Reynaldo Reyes vs. Ricardo Swift, four rounds, middleweights

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Articles of 2005

Pick ‘Em: Plenty of Big Upcoming Fights in ’06

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Here’s the early call on many top matches scheduled for the first half of 2006: Happy New Year!

As the new calendar dawns, there are already a considerable amount of premium bouts on the horizon. Things don’t look to be bogged down by undetermined championships next year. In many cases the scheduled face-offs involve the best fighters in the division, or at least close enough for general bragging rights. If anybody else with proper qualifications signs up to force the issue, all the better.

It can be argued that some pairings could have taken place within a more optimal timeframe, or that some headliners carry distracting baggage, but there are certainly enough heavy hitters on deck. That nobody can deny.

It doesn’t matter whether one considers the proverbial glass half empty or half full; there’s still the same amount of juice in the vessel. It’s nice to know that even with a high number of cancellations, there will still be plenty of important contenders on tap.

With elite fighters in weight divisions from top to bottom on the agenda, it’s an equivalent to what fans in more mainstream sports expect in a consistent championship format.

Baseball fans can almost always count on a World Series. Some hoops fanatics say too much attention to playoffs distracts unmotivated NBA teams during their regular season. In college, they project Sweet Sixteens. Football fans know there’s always a Super Bowl ahead to raise advertising dollars and test the USA’s halftime morals.

So too, there is method in boxing’s current madness.

The midnight crystal ball hasn’t even been unveiled in Times Square and there are already a number of potential thrillers scheduled. Most feature contrasting personalities that almost guarantee going along for the ride will be worthwhile. Any subsequent drops will probably be cheered.

Don King jumps right out of the auld lang gate with a January 7th Showtime card featuring Zab Judah against Carlos Baldomir and Jean-Marc Mormeck in a cruiserweight unification against O’Neil Bell.

It will be the upset of the year, bar none, if Baldomir can tip the applecart before Judah gets to his scheduled super-showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Meanwhile, Mormeck is emerging and should keep on rolling against Bell, who can expose him if he’s not for real.

The proverbial Big Bang starts with a January 21st rematch of one of the finest fights of ‘05, when Erik Morales goes against Manny Pacquaio for the second time on HBO pay per view. The fact that Morales was upset by Zahir Raheem after beating Pacquaio was no real loss in box-office luster. Artful Raheem will get a spot on the undercard and hope his patience is rewarded.

Everyone figures Morales and Pacquaio will pick up where they left off. Like the first time, the rematch is a pick’em contest. Management distractions and glove restrictions cited as Pacquaio’s previous problems won’t matter this time. The two are very evenly matched and their styles will make for another whapathon. It could come down to corners, where Freddie Roach gets the edge since Morales will have a new trainer for the first time since replacing his father after the Raheem lesson.

February features four of the game’s most enduring attractions, in a pair of crucial matchups.

First up, Showtime presents the Jose Luis Castillo – Diego Corrales tiebreaker from El Paso on Feb 4th. This is another pick ‘em pair, barring any sideshow. In boxing that disclaimer may be a stretch, since the sideshow is part of the act and the charm.

As far as action inside the strands goes, every round these guys have fought has been great. There’s no reason to think that pattern won’t continue. Regarding the result, Castillo keeps the pressure on as he did in the second fight, but he’ll walk into trouble from a more reserved Corrales. We still don’t know which coin to flip.

February also holds a better late than never affair between two perennial favorites as Shane Mosley collides with Fernando Vargas on the 25th.  This fight could lead to a winning ticket in the Golden Boy sweepstakes for a fall bonanza against Oscar De La Hoya.

Vargas has been in tougher recently, based on comparable strength of opposition stats, but he’s seen little action. What weight they enter the ring at may have a lot to do with the result. If Vargas has to struggle at the scale, Mosley might have the battle in the bag after round nine.

It’s hard to imagine Mosley getting stopped early, but Vargas doesn’t have to hurt him, he just has to knock him down three times. With natural size, he may be able to do just that, but Mosley would have to box uncharacteristically flat.

Unless Mosley decides to heed the crowd, the most likely scenario is that Shane plays it safe, picks a few shots, and stays away enough to capture a comfortable, dull decision. An unbowed Vargas maintains his fan base but not his bettors.

March both comes in and goes out as a lion.

On March 4th Joe Calzaghe welcomes Jeff Lacy to Manchester UK for what may be the biggest blowout of the headlining bunch. Calzaghe gets the chance to prove his considerable home-based reputation once and for all, but if Lacy creams him as we expect, that glossy record will be severely tarnished.

All Calzaghe has to do is make a respectable stand, but that’s no small task against the rising Lacy. A motivated Calzaghe, songs of England ringing in his ears, could pull a big surprise if he can exploit Lacy’s relatively limited technical development, but that’s a longshot indeed.

It looks like Lacy can get by on power alone. He could soon emerge as a pound-for-pound leader. Old Joe’s hometown advantage will last about two left hooks.

March 11th has the Ides of history to beware for at least one old lion, with farewell (we’ll see) fireworks featuring Roy Jones Jr. against Bernard Hopkins. Less than two years ago they were considered untouchable all time greats. Now between them they’ve lost five in a row.

This goodbye fight is contracted at light heavyweight, for what seems like an oldies night. Hopkins is the senior at age 41 to Jones’s 37, but Roy seems more the grandpa figure, last seen hanging on against Antonio Tarver. Youth, as it were here, will prevail.

This bout was signed quickly as each principal, usually sticklers for favorable contract clauses, agreed to parity in a demonstration of businessman first and fighter second. They may both expect easy marks. How much the boys have left by the time they get down to business remains to be seen. The history books will show this as a climactic career bout between Hall of Famers.

At 175 pounds, Hopkins may be in for rude awakening. Jones may have been more thoroughly outfought recently, but he was rumbling with bigger, tougher men than Jermain Taylor or Howard Eastman. Respectable as he is, Taylor still falls short of the level of Tarver, at least for now. The difference is still fifteen pounds less pop.

It will be quite a feat if Hopkins can stay in the fight, even at Jones’s advanced age. Our stars point to Jones winning in overwhelming fashion.

On March 18th, James Toney meets Hasim Rahman in another pairing of seasoned war-horses.

Toney and Rahman already had their introductions, when they brawled in Mexico during a WBC gathering to bestow Rahman’s new belt. Between formalities, Toney got married, which could bring up the old questions about carnal training.

Let’s hope when they meet in the ring, they restore some of the fire missing from the heavyweights in ‘05.  Toney might have an edge in recent form, but Rahman shows fine tuning he previously lacked. The winner might get newly “crowned’ Nicolai Valuev, an easy payday outside Germany.

Rahman could be the heavyweight that finally makes Toney look like a blown up middleweight. But anything less than a top effort will probably lead to embarrassing night for the Rock and give Toney solid claim to being the true heavyweight champ.

This might not be the most artful fight of the new season, but it could well be the most grueling, and the closest. He who’s faced the better big boys gets the nod. Advantage Rahman.

March 25 features Marco Antonio Barrera, probably the strongest overall claimant to 130 pound honors. The likely opponent is said to be always tough Jesus Chavez.

Chavez seemed rejuvenated when he met Leavander Johnson, but Johnson’s tragic death may have taken some of the steam out of thoughtful Chavez, said to have received Johnson’s family blessing to continue in Leavander’s name. That could mean a lot of inspiration. Either way, if he does meet Chavez, who hung tough with one arm against Erik Morales, Barrera won’t get any slack. The Fates say Chavez, whose wife recently served in Iraq, is a live, live underdog.

Another clash to be King of the Hill finds Floyd Mayweather Jr, arguably the game’s finest practitioner, bumping heads with Zab Judah, one of very few boxers who rivals Mayweather in speed, skills, and brashness.

Their hoedown, scheduled for April 8th, is one of the top pound-for-pound pairings in recent years. Judah will need a career best performance to have a chance of victory. That’s not to say he can’t pull it off, but currently Mayweather is in a different galaxy in terms of punching power. Slow-motion replays may be the only way to follow the flying fists once these two whirlwinds unload.

Mayweather should be around a 4-1 favorite. Judah is good enough to make taking the odds an attractive proposition, since that’s probably as good of odds as one is likely to see on Floyd for a while. Mayweather will stop Judah in his tracks.

The first half of next year is set to conclude with the star power of Oscar De La Hoya, probably against noteworthy foil Ricardo Mayorga on May 6. There could be some snags before a contract is finalized, but if it comes off count on Mayorga for promotional sound bite nastiness. One of the questions is whether or not he’ll be able to get under Oscar’s skin, and it might actually be entertaining to see the classy, model perfect De La Hoya show he’s human and freak out against the Nicaraguan maniac.

Mayorga may have burnt his best bridges already. De La Hoya has not only the boxing skill to negate Mayorga’s offense, but enough power to end it early. If Mayorga rushes in and causes a cut, De La Hoya might get ruffled enough to duck into defense and Mayorga could get a decision that goes to the cards after six rounds or so. It will be wild for as long as it lasts.

Pro boxing, like many sports, had its share of problems during 2005, but there were also many positives. Most notably, as usual, was superior and inspiring action inside the strands. Unless there’s a mass freeze-up at the top, early 2006 figures to see decisive interaction among many well-known fighters.

If even fifty per cent of the aforementioned pairings come to fruition, it’s a strong likelihood the upcoming year has at least one very positive half. Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Brian Viloria, and Shannon Briggs, to name a few, are also on deck. No matter how you chose to look at or measure mass qualities, there’s still just as much good to be seen.

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