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Articles of 2005

Trinidad-Wright Fight Predictions

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Hot on the heels of the fight of a lifetime (Corrales-Castillo), expectations for Felix Trinidad vs. Winky Wright have been scaled back. But both men are among the best of the best the fight game has to offer, and in keeping with a great tradition, they’re getting it on with one another. This bout could go either way. Who do The Sweet Science writers like in Saturday’s middleweight fight?

Tito by late KO.
Mitch Abramson

It's a matter of time before Trinidad begins to fade. Mayorga made him look better than he is at this stage of his career. And why did he pick a smart southpaw anyway? He'll find out what Shane Mosley and Fernando Vargas found out: It's no picnic fighting Wright. Trinidad's power punches will hit shoulders, arms and elbows – but no chin. And Trinidad will be frustrated like never before in his career. Winky by unanimous decision.
Matt Aguilar

I like Winky Wright. I mean you have to respect him. This is a boxer who has paid his dues and then some. He toiled for years in the background, but two wins over Shane Mosley has thrust him in to the limelight. It also thrust him in to a fight with the murderous punching Felix “Tito” Trinidad. Winky is deceptively strong and he is effectively awkward. He has a style that could pose some real problems for Tito. What Winky is not is a great puncher. Without the big guns he will have difficulty keeping Felix away. If Felix feels comfortable coming in and unloading his heavy arsenal, I can't see Winky going the distance. Felix may even have to come from behind to pull it out. I like Tito by a late round kayo.
Jim Amato

I think Tito is perhaps the best fighter of his generation. He applies so much pressure in the ring, even, at times, just the subtle pressure of walking foward. I don't think Wright will be able to hurt Trinidad, thus, he will not be able to alleviate the pressure. Trinidad stalks and punches his way to a unanimous decision win.
Robert Cassidy Jr.

I see Tito taking a decision here. Winky knows every trick in the book, but is not quite the slickster everyone knew and loved (for those of us that even bothered to look his way). The present-day Winky is more willing to stay in the pocket, and therefore is easier to hit. He'll absorb plenty, but I don't see Tito blitzing through him as everyone insists will be the case. Winky will give a good account of himself, and show Tito some things in the ring he has yet to see. But ultimately, Tito will find a way to take over and control the fight down the stretch. Trinidad by UD.
Jake Donovan

Wright is a tough opponent for Trindidad, unlike the made to measure Ricardo Mayorga. Still, at 160 Trinidad may be a little too strong for Wright. Trinidad by decision.
Chris Gielty

The best way to train for a slick boxer such as Wright is not to have fought only once in the past three years. Trinidad's power is sublime, but he won't be able to catch this opponent. Winky Wright by unanimous decision.
Tim Graham

Perhaps the most important non-title fight of the year. Winky Wright has proven brilliant in applying an array of skills against a diverse set of contenders and champions. Of course, until his twin victories over Shane Mosley, he never received the acclaim that he was due him. Trinidad, long renowned for the power that carried him through 18 defenses of the welterweight crown, actually created the most attention of his career following his two-year hiatus with a stunning knockout of Ricardo Mayorga. It is still possible that too much is being read into that victory. After all, it was Mayorga’s first real fight as a middleweight and just two fights removed from his loss to Cory Spinks for the welterweight title. Winky will expose some flaws that Mayorga simply couldn’t. He will pick apart Trinidad from angles he hasn’t seen in years. Wright by decision.
JE Grant

I'm going out on a limb here and hope Winky Wright doesn't saw it off underneath me. I say Winky by decision. Winky has a style that puts fighters off their game completely and this should be no exception. He will render Tito ineffective.
Amy Green

Again, I'll go with the boxer over the puncher. “Winky” Wright is one of the finest, pure-boxers today and should be on everyone's pound-for-pound list. Trinidad is an awesome fighter, great puncher, and a deadly finisher when his opponent is hurt. I don't think Wright will give Trinidad too many opportunities to display all his power. Winky won't fight the perfect fight for Tito – as did Mayorga. Wright will use all his skills to gain advantage, frustrate Tito and eventually control this fight – which will not be the fight of the year-type fight that most fight fans are anticipating. Ronald “Winky” Wright unanimous decision win over Felix “Tito” Trinidad.
Mike Indri

One could make a very compelling case for either boxer in this fight, but if you're going to hold a gun to my head and make me pick somebody it has to be The Winkster by decision.
George Kimball

Despite being a slick boxer, Wright actually has a style that suits Trinidad well. While he likely won't drop his hands and stand in front of Tito to be hammered and say “thank you sir may I have another,” as was the case with the face-forward Mayorga, he will be in front of Trinidad and won't be hard to find. Wright uses angles and keeps his hands up as opposed to utilizing movement in order to stymie his opponent's attack. Against Trinidad he will be hit, and likely harder than he ever has in his long career. Wright doesn't hit hard enough to hurt Tito but is effective in countering. I see Trinidad wearing Wright down for a late round TKO stoppage as his accurate heavy punches take their toll.
Joey Knish

Tito Trinidad is the most overrated boxer in the past 20 years. He's good, even very good, but not great. He got whupped by Bernard Hopkins (which I predicted on Charles Jay's Total Action site) and was getting schooled by De La Hoya until Oscar got on his bicycle. So in the two biggest fights of his career, he was for the most part soundly beaten. He was good enough to beat Reid, Vargas, Joppy – none of those guys were slouches by any stretch. That's why I say Tito is very good. But along with his awesome power he has a glass jaw. To his credit he always gets up, but he does go down an awful lot. Wright will just be a little too fine for him. Wright does pretty much everything well. While he doesn't have a lot of pop, he might not need much. If he boxes the way he can, I think Winky wins a close decision, maybe decided by a knockdown when he catches Tito coming in.
Marc Lichtenfeld

Trinidad should be too big, too strong and too aggressive for Wright. Given my recent handicapping “success,” it's probably not a bad idea to bet the house on Winky. Trinidad W 12.
Bob Mladinich

I think Wright is cute enough to win this fight and lose the decision, which is a copout in terms of predicting, as I effectively back both protagonists. So, in the interests of clarity, I'll go with class over power and take Winky to close it out over 12. Wright SD12 in a squeaky one.
David Payne

This one's interesting. I don't see Trinidad being able to hurt Wright, but will himself be weary of taking blows. Wright will shade early rounds by controlling centre of the ring while Trinidad moves around and measures his man with crisp jabs. Second half of fight will see Wright march after Trinidad who will use his superior speed and continue hit and run tactics to pile on the points. Many will think Wright was robbed, but decision goes to Trinidad.
Deon Potgieter

Castillo’s and Corrales' styles were made for each other. Each felt he could take the other out and wasn't going to be the first one to back down — Explosion! Winky Wright won't let it be that. He's already told me he's not there to prove to anybody how good his chin is. He doesn't use his legs the way Hopkins did to frustrate and nullify Trinidad, but he can flummox him with jabs and a varied arsenal for 12 rounds to pile up enough points to win. A BIG anticlimax from Corrales-Castillo, but a W for Winky and Tito . . . Shaking his head wondering why he couldn't find the answer.
Joe Rein

From a styles perspective, I think Tito Trinidad is all wrong for Winky Wright. If Wright stands in the pocket, and attempts to pick, slip, and counter, he's in for a rude awakening. Tito is a very accurate puncher who will slam left hooks to the body, and then mix his attack to the head. Winky is a fine defensive specialist, but he's still quite hittable and he'll be surprised by Tito's power. If Winky stands in the pocket as we're accustomed to seeing, I like Trinidad on a stoppage or a fairly easy decision with Winky lumped up and busted up. If Winky switches up and applies smart lateral movement when necessary, this is a different fight. Tito needs to set his feet before he unloads, and lateral movement gives him fits. The smart way to fight Tito is to use just enough side-to-side movement so he can't get set, stab him with 3-4 punch combinations, and get out of the way. That style frustrates Tito, and he's likely to loop his shots more and become more susceptible to counters in the process. Winky shouldn't move all the time like De La Hoya did as that might result in gas tank problems down the stretch. As we all know, the only guy ever to have more in the tank down the stretch against Tito is Hopkins, and Hopkins is the best down the stretch fighter of the last decade. Use just enough movement, like Hopkins did, to keep Tito out of kilter. If Winky is able to do that, my hat’s off to him, because it's a substantial stylistic adjustment. I doubt he will.
Greg Smith

Felix Trinidad looked like he had not lost a step when he returned to the ring last October. However, the only certainty that can be pulled from his fight with the wide-open Ricardo Mayorga is that Tito has not lost any of his power. Winky Wright does not hit as hard as Trinidad, but he is harder to hit. The bout will boil down to which fighter can overcome these respective obstacles. My guess is that Wright will have his gloves up and his elbows tucked in when Trinidad throws powers shots. Wright by majority decision.
Aaron Tallent

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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