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Articles of 2005

Was James Toney Ever Young?

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James “Lights Out” Toney is a man on fire. Volatile, explosive, incendiary, and everything in-between, Toney is in New York in anticipation for this weekend’s showdown with two-time WBA heavyweight champion John “The Quietman” Ruiz at the Garden.

Toney (68-4-2 43 KOs) has won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight, and was named Fighter of the Year in 2003 for his performances against Evander Holyfield and Vassiliy Jirov. Destiny – and his fists – has led him to the doorstep of the heavyweight crown. All that stands in Toney’s way is a gentleman named John Ruiz.

“Other fighters haven’t been able to beat Ruiz and make him go away,” Toney says, “so that’s why I am promising to knock him out. I told people I’d knockout Holyfield and that’s exactly what I did. Now I’m telling you I’ll knockout Ruiz.”

Although he is only 36-years-old and has been fighting as a pro for 16 years, James Toney looks, feels and fights like a champ in an old black and white newsreel. He has that kind of style in the ring.

Toney was born on August 24, 1968 and raised on the mean streets of East Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has been raising hell – in one form or another – and with varying degrees of success – for quite a while. Toney was an outstanding all-around athlete and was offered a scholarship to play football at Michigan State and Western Michigan, but he tarnished his image in pigskin circles when he punched an unknown loudmouth named Deion Sanders at a training camp.

The writing was on the wall. Football was out. Boxing was in.

Toney turned professional at the age of 20. In his first 2½ years of active duty, he compiled a record of 25-0-1 (18 KOs) and earned a shot at the IBF middleweight belt worn by the undefeated Michael “Second To” Nunn. Toney was trailing on all three scorecards when he caught Nunn in the 11th round and dropped him down and out. The new champ was 22-year-old James “Lights Out” Toney.

Toney won the super middleweight crown less than two years later from Iran Barkley at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

For a while it looked at if James Toney could do no wrong. He was high on most people’s pound-for-pound lists, spoken of as a future all-time great, but then a deal was struck to fight undefeated Olympian Roy Jones Jr. on November 18, 1994 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Toney, who always battled with his weight, ballooned to 212 pounds – 44 pounds over the 168 pound weight limit – with six weeks to go until the fight. He trained hard and managed to get rid of most the flab, but with only four days to go he still had 18 pounds to lose. He somehow made weight, but there wasn’t much Toney left for his fight with Roy Jones.

“Everyone said, ‘James, pull out of the fight,’” Toney remembers. “I said it doesn't matter. I'll get this guy. Everyone said, ‘Postpone it. We ain't in shape.’ And as soon as the bell rang, it became a track meet. I wasn't in shape, but he couldn't knock me out. If he was the best fighter in the world, as people think, he should've knocked me out.”

Roy didn’t knock James out, but he boxed circles around him, and after the loss Toney went on a bender. He ate all day and drank all night. Both his professional and personal lives were on the skids. He split with manager Jackie Kallen. He found himself in the middle of a messy divorce. A civil suit filed against his mother capped off one of the worst periods in his life.

In the summer of 1997, Toney stepped away from the game, but not, alas, away from the dinner table or barstool, and he got fatter, with his weight peaking at 275 pounds.

“It got to the point that I didn't even look at a magazine,” Toney recalls. “I didn't care . . . I was enjoying life, having a jolly-good time.”

Then a television commentator inadvertently inspired him to give boxing another run for its money.

“One day I was watching some fight. A guy was talking about the best fighters, the fighters with the best skills, and they didn't mention my name,” Toney says. “They talked about Roy Jones like he was the greatest thing since sliced cheese.”

Toney got annoyed, put down the sliced cheese he was eating, returned to the gym and never left. He won the cruiserweight title from Jirov. He moved up to the heavyweight ranks and defeated Holyfield in 2003 and Rydell Booker the next year. He is 9-0 with 6 KOs since he returned to action.

According to Toney’s promoter Joe Goossen, “It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that if he got motivated, if he sacrificed, worked hard in the gym, he'd be able to reap the dividends. Obviously, he's still a very talented fighter and has that big name. And now, for whatever reason, James understands what it was that was preventing him from giving his heart and soul to the sport. He knows getting older for him only means getting better.”

Toney believes he’s at the top of his game and now is his time. “The stars are aligned perfectly, he says. “I'm gonna show some real boxing skills. I'm ready. I'm loving boxing. The maturity is there. It's like a new James Toney. I waited a long time for this. Now it's time to cause some hell – but in a good way.''

I admit to being fascinated with Toney. But I’ll be the first to admit he has some rough edges. But he’s such a talent in the ring, even now, a decade past his prime, and such a colorful character, albeit not to all tastes, outside it, that I had to ask Toney about his past, his present and future.

“I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Believe it or not, it was me, the Mayweather family, the Buster Mathis family,” Toney tells me. “We all stayed on the same damn block. I mean, that’s a big-time family down there. Know what I’m saying?”

I know what James Toney is saying.

“My mom went to University of Michigan and I stayed with my grandmother there in Grand Rapids for the first nine years of my life. And then when I was ten-years-old I moved to Ann Arbor. I stayed there, got in all kinds of trouble, was fighting every day, and then my mom took me to the gym to try to stop me from fighting. I love to fight. I was born to fight. I found out my father was a fighter. He was trained by Eddie Futch. I didn’t learn that until years later when I ran into Eddie. He said, ‘I trained your father.’ My mom never told me that. So boxing is in my blood.”

I wonder how old Toney was when he first entered the gym.

“I was 11½. I was like: I can just stay here. I said, ‘If I’m gonna box, what don’t I have anything to show for it?’’”

Toner started as a preteen. Now he’s a full-blown heavyweight.

“I’ve always been a fighter,” Toney says. “That’s me. What you see is what you get. I’m not putting on no front or nothing like that. I’ve been this way from day one. When I played football in high school, I felt whenever somebody was trying to challenge me – I’m gonna get him. I never got along with my coaches. I got along with one coach, Coach Wilson, but the other coaches I never got along with. Some players on our team I never got along with. I wasn’t taking too much slack from nobody. I didn’t want the coach to get in my face.”

Maybe that’s why James Toney is self-managed today.

“I ain’t got nobody to answer to but myself,” he says. “I’m gonna be manager of the year and fighter of the year. Back in the days when I was middleweight champion, just to let everybody know, I called all the shots. Jackie (Kallen), she got the credit for it. I was the one doing it in the meetings, saying how much I gonna want, where we gonna do this, when. You know she got credit for me. But I didn’t care, I just wanted to fight. I made her. If it wasn’t for me, she wouldn’t be where she is today. The other fighter she had was named, you know, Bobby Hitz. He’s a promoter now. He couldn’t spell fight. He fought George Foreman. He became part of the George Foreman grill – got flattened in the first round.”

Kallen wrote the story of her life, called “Against the Ropes,” and somehow or other failed to mention James Toney. They made a movie of the book starring Meg Ryan. There was a James Toney-like character in the film, but his name wasn’t James Toney. I forget what it was. Kallen parlayed her book and film deals into another high-profile gambit. She’s in the celebrity spotlight mode these days, appearing every week on NBC’s “The Contender,” as surrogate den mother to pack of hungry fighters.

“Let me tell you something,” says Toney. “If you’re gonna do a show about the reality of boxing, show the total ins and outs of the game. Don’t show them when they’re sleeping in the house and all that blasé blasé. Show when they get in a fight with each other. That’s what happens every day in and outside of boxing.”

I mention that “The Contender,” for all its faults, wasn’t created with boxing people in mind.

“But you can make boxing for everybody,” Toney claims. “Everybody wanna see violence. Everybody. The Pope wanna see violence. Everybody. They wanna see something happen on TV? I’m gonna make it happen for them.”

I’m not the only one who thinks James Toney is something else. His trainer Freddie Roach seconds that emotion.

“James is the most complete fighter I’ve ever worked with,” Roach says. “The things he does can’t really be taught: the way he measures people, his timing, his eyesight. He see everything coming. He throws combinations. He’s good offensively and defensively. He just does everything very well. I believe champions are born and not made. And James is one of those guys.”

I mention to Toney that I spoke with Freddie Roach, and James says, “That’s my dog right there. I love Freddie. Freddie’s like my little brother there, bro. He my little leprechaun brother right there. That my man. He challenges me when we’re in the ring. I give him full control. He’s my man. I love him. I respect him dearly.”

Toney and Roach make an intriguing team, so I ask James what they’re working on.

“I’m just being James Toney, man. I don’t watch films of fights. I don’t watch films of opponents, because that’s not my thing. Only a scared man watch films. Come April 30, Ruiz gonna wish he’s not in there. It’s gonna be easier than everyone think it is. Ruiz comes in and tries to hug, punch and grab – which is his style – it’s made for me. I’m gonna eat him up. I’m a people’s champion. I wanna fight the best opposition out there. If I have to go through Ruiz, Klitschko – I’ll fight anybody, anywhere, anytime, because this ain’t no game, man. This is real. I take the game serious. And the way the game is right now, the way these fighters is, they take this as a game. They deprive the people of real good fights. They don’t wanna fight you. They say: I’m world champion – and keep the belt for a year and go around parading as champion. You gotta title? Fight. Defend it. I wanna be an active champion. When I win the title in April, I’ll be back in the ring by June or July.”

It’s hard to remember the last time John Ruiz looked good in the ring, but he certainly looked bad the night he fought Roy Jones.

Toney snorts when he hears that name. “But you know I don’t run,” Lights Out points out. “I’ll stay there in front of him. I don’t run. That’s not my forte. Everybody says what they gonna do, what they gonna do when they get in the ring with me, but once they feel the heat, they back off. Holyfield did it. Everybody do it, no matter what. I’m a smart ace. I’m a small guy, but I hit like a super heavyweight. I spar with 24-ounce gloves on right now. When I put those tens on? They gonna be cryin’.”

Toney’s a great guy to interview. All one has to do is strike a match – and James Toney does the rest.

He tells me: “I’ve been like this since I was a kid. I’ve always aspired that if I put my mind on something I can make it happen. When I was an amateur boxer, I put everything I had into what I had to do. Even when there was some problem, I put everything into what I had to do; even when I had some problem. Lots of times – when I fought Roy Jones – I didn’t prepare myself properly for it and I paid a dear price. But now I’m back and ready to go.”

I think a Toney victory Saturday night will be the best thing that happened to boxing in a long time.

“I’m trying to make history,” declares Toney, “not just for the boxing public, but for the mainstream public, because the people want the heavyweight champion to be mainstream and I’m mainstream.”

Mainstream or not, I wonder what Toney does when John Ruiz tries to grab and hold him.

“I slip under it, throw and uppercut-right hand, under and over. Trust me. I’m telling you. As soon as he comes in, let him try to clutch me. It’s going to be under and over and he’s out of there. What’s he gonna do when he hits me with his best shot and I don’t go anywhere?” Toney asks. “He’s gonna sh** bricks. You know what I’m saying? I’m not against taking punches, I don’t like to, but I will to land my best shot.”

Expect fireworks Saturday night at the Garden. James Toney wouldn’t have it any other way.

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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