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Articles of 2005

Tyson-McBride Fight Predictions

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He’s back! – Which is quite a feat, since he’s hardly been away. Mike Tyson returns to the ring Saturday night in Washington, DC against a big slow Irishman named Kevin McBride. Discussion about Mike returning to form is, at this point, less than beside the point. This bout has nothing to do with boxing and everything to do with spectacle and wishful thinking. Tyson has been on the downside of his career forever, yet he might still have enough to put away The Clones Colossus. How do The Sweet Science writers see it?

Tyson against McBride? If I'm not mistaken, a fighter named Luis Monaco beat McBride and Monaco is the same fighter who lost to Butterbean. Tyson by second round knockout.
Mitch Abramson

They say Peter McNeeley once substituted for McBride against Tyson. I see the fight the same way, no matter which guy is in there.Tyson KO 1.
Robert Cassidy Jr.

I have little interest in this fight, and even less interest in breaking it down. People are saying the point of this fight is if Mike loses, he should retire – I thought that was the point of the Danny Williams fight. So I will say this – if McBride makes it out of the FIRST ROUND, Mike should call it a career. The one prediction I will make is this: after this fight, Tyson will no longer be able to claim Peter McNeeley as the worst Irish heavyweight he's ever faced.
Jake Donovan

Despite his recent history, it's tough to make Tyson the underdog in this fight. Though he might not admit it, this is Tyson's last hurrah if he loses to McBride, and for some crazy reason, I still keep expecting to see flashes of the old Tyson. He wins by KO in the middle rounds.
Rick Folstad

I can't believe a commission actually approved a rematch with Peter McNeeley. The only part of this prediction that goes out on a limb is that I see Tyson being somewhat cautious in the first round. Tyson KO-3.
Tim Graham

Some care went into the opponent selection for Mike Tyson's return to active fighting. Kevin McBride is big, ultra-slow and is willing to run into Iron Mike’s still-powerful punches. One thing that was instrumental to Tyson’s success early in his career was his management’s recognition that the more often he fights the more focused and sharp he gets. Much of Mike’s game is his mental state. Fighting often will boost his confidence and allow him to advance in the rankings – just in time to take another beating against one of the young stallions currently at the top of the heavyweight charts. But, at least fighting often will get him into another big fight. McBride will likely be the first in a string of low-level opponents for Tyson. Should Iron Mike prevail, as expected, he will energize the considerable crowd he can still bring to the arena. Tyson by KO in 2.
JE Grant

I'm going to go with Tyson and hope old age and cunning overcome youth.
Amy Green

Everyone knows how this one is supposed to end, and if Tyson doesn't beat McBride I don't know what “Team Tyson” can do next. Mountain Rivera (played by Anthony Quinn many years ago in the classic boxing movie: “Requiem for a Heavyweight”) is obviously no longer available, so it's now or never for Mr. Tyson. Showing how much his once-potentially unlimited skills have eroded it will still take Tyson four or five rounds before he dispatches of the super-sized, yet super-slow, really nice Irish fella. Mike Tyson TKO winner over Kevin McBride.
Mike Indri

The variables here are McBride's chin and Tyson's conditioning — and if the former doesn't hold up, the latter won't come into play. I don't think I've ever covered a fight whose principals didn't declare themselves to be in the best shape of their lives, but in McBride's case it's probably true, just because he's never trained this extensively for any fight. You don't need a crystal ball to see how this one will go: Tyson will try to knock him out early, and he'll probably do it, but if McBride is still on his feet when the bell rings to start the fourth, all bets are off.
George Kimball

I think Tyson is not much more than a 6 round fighter these days, but that should be enuff based on who he is facing here. I'll admit I haven't seen McBride throw a punch and while being the super heavyweight Olympic representative for your country may mean something, it likely means less when that country is boxing bare Ireland. McBride has been KO'd in each of his 4 losses and 3 of those 4 saw him going out in 5 rounds or less. Tyson can still crack but I'm not sure he reacts with the same fire when he gets hit back. If McBride can punch then all bets are off, but let's not discount the legitimacy of Iron Mike's injury in losing to Danny Williams. Tyson is no threat in the heavyweight division, but neither is McBride. Tyson by stoppage in the 3rd or 4th as he finally connects against his 6'6″ foe.
Joey Knish

No matter how much he might have fallen as a fighter, I can't imagine Tyson finding a way to lose this one. Tyson KO 1.
Bob Mladinich

Last year I made a strong case for Williams beating Tyson; in fact, I insisted that this was a fight Williams SHOULD win rather than just could. That prediction obviously had as much to do with Tyson's regression as Williams' prowess, but now a year on I'd love to find some reasoning for why the big Irish lump can add his name to the growing list of men who've smashed the former champ. But in McBride, the Tyson camp have finally gone low enough on the food chain to find an easy victory for Rusty Mike. Slow, clumsy, with average stamina and little head or foot movement, the giant may as well be wrapped in shiny paper and adorned with a pretty bow. In summary, he's made for Tyson – even the forlorn, peripheral curiosity that masquerades as the Tyson of 1980s we're left with in 2005. I'm not going to question McBride's guts or heart, but the guy was ripped to shreds by DaVarryl Williamson. Tyson is likely to find his customary 3 minutes of stamina is more than sufficient this weekend. Tyson KO1.
David Payne

Saints preserve us, and with apologies to my seven and two-thirds Irish great grandparents, but there is no way I can forecast a victory for The Clones Colossus, even if he is 9-feet-4 and weighs 459 stones. (How would you like to go through life called The Clones Colossus?) The last time Tyson fought a Boston Strongboy it was McNeeley, who failed to make it out of the first round, and while the former champion has fallen on hard times, it is his turn to win on his once-a-year schedule. It will be a horror movie, but Tyson will play the lead role.
Pat Putnam

I only feel sadness about Tyson-McBride…to see Tyson come to this — the most exciting heavyweight since Dempsey… nothing in the balance, just a buck for his name on the marquee. I don't know about McBride (he keeps conjuring up McNeeley) except seeing his name connected to this promotion. He's probably large enough to be impressive when he falls. He's been knocked out four times by lesser punchers than Tyson. If Tyson's knee doesn't give out — and McBride become a track star — Mike should end it with one punch before the end of the first round.
Joe Rein

As for Tyson, I am going to pick an upset. I think Tyson will win on cuts in 5 or 6 rounds. If the Irishman does not cut, it could be another loss for Iron Mike, whose recent form has made his opponents brave.
Ed Schuyler

In a meaningless fight, Tyson wins early.
Greg Smith

The comeback starts again. Mike Tyson was supposed to begin his return last July against Danny Williams but ended up on the canvas in the fourth round. Tyson blew his knee out in the first round of that fight and I think that led to his loss. I predict the knee will hold. Tyson by 1st round KO.
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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