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Articles of 2005

Castillo Scale-Tips his Way to Victory

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There was no controversy this time inside the ring as Jose Luis Castillo dropped Diego “Chico” Corrales with a devastating left hook to the head in the fourth round of their lightweight non-title bout Saturday night in Las Vegas. Corrales crumbled to the canvas, yet gamely got to his feet at the count of ten, stumbling into the ropes as referee Joe Cortez waved off the contest. Despite his dominating victory, Castillo heads back to Mexico with a swirling of controversy and without the WBO and WBC lightweight titles.

The mega rematch between Corrales and Castillo took a dramatic turn at Friday’s weigh-in as Castillo was unable to make the lightweight limit of 135 pounds. Rumor had spread before the weigh-in that Castillo was overweight by a couple of pounds and that was validated when he first tipped the scales at 137 pounds. After being given a two hour reprieve by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to make the weight, Castillo returned to the scales, this time at 138½ pounds. Why would a fighter GAIN weight in those two hours when he needed to get down to 135 pounds in order to fight for the title?

We got our answer in the name of Dr. Armando Barak, Castillo’s doctor and confidant, who attempted to cheat the official weight by manipulating the scale. As Castillo weighed-in for the second time, Commissioner Marc Ratner noticed Dr. Barak putting his sneaker under the scale and lifting it up in order to make Castillo seem lighter. Dr. Barak was then banned from the corner and fined one thousand dollars for his illegal actions.

For his inability to make the 135-pound lightweight limit, Castillo was fined 10% of his purse, half of which went to Corrales with the other half going to the commission. What did Castillo himself have to do with Barak’s blatant attempt to cheat? Disturbingly, it’s hard to believe that a fighter who knew he wasn’t going to make the weight limit did not know that his camp had a plan to manipulate the scale.

Corrales himself had no doubt that Castillo was involved. “Of course he knew what was going on. He knew he wasn’t going to make the weight.” If that is the case, if Castillo knowingly cheated in the biggest fight of his life, then shame on him for dealing boxing another black eye.

At the post-fight press conference, despite Castillo and promoter Bob Arum’s disrespectful and unsportsmanlike decision to abruptly leave the dais while their opposition was speaking, Corrales offered no excuses for his performance and congratulated Castillo on his victory.

“I’m not going to muck up his win by entertaining the thought that he had an advantage. He landed a good shot. Congratulations to Castillo. Good job. I made a silly mistake, dropped my right hand and I paid for it.”

Still, even “Chico” couldn’t overlook the fact that Castillo’s attempt to cheat the scale dealt his beloved sport another unnecessary setback.

“This is really what deals boxing bad blows. I love my game, I love my sport, I love my job. I don’t break the rules, I don’t bend the rules or manipulate the rules.”

With Team Castillo and Bob Arum on their way off the stage, content with rubbing their victory in the face of their opponent, Corrales’ promoter, Gary Shaw, took the microphone to remind the press of the underlying controversy.

“They tried to cheat. They put their foot under the scale and tried to cheat. They played games with Marc Ratner and they got caught with their feet under the scale trying to cheat.”

Did Castillo purposely not make the weight in order to have an advantage over Corrales? Castillo’s manager, Fernando Beltran, offered no evidence of that but did admit that his fighter was at least six pounds overweight on the morning of the weigh-in. If Castillo was that many pounds over the limit, there’s no way he was even entertaining the thought of making weight for the fight.

Considering the magnitude of this rematch and its PPV value, and the fact that boxing fans were bubbling over with anticipation of crowning a lightweight king, it’s disheartening to know that a championship caliber fighter like Castillo didn’t honor the code of boxing.

Fernando Beltran, Castillo’s manager, couldn’t apologize enough for the disgraceful behavior of his corner. He made sure though that he was in no way involved with the scale-tipping incident. “His doctor’s name is Armando Barak. He’s the one who put his foot under the scale. I promise you that he will no longer be in Castillo’s corner.”

As for Castillo’s inability to make weight, Beltran replied, “Unfortunately this time in the biggest fight of his life, the kid (Castillo) was irresponsible. I’ve never had any problems like this with him before.”

Supposedly, Dr. Barak decided to fire Castillo’s trainer and nutritionist, Tiburcio Garcia, two weeks before the scheduled fight. Bob Arum reacted with outrage after Castillo weighed-in 3½ pounds over the lightweight limit. With his face turning a furious shade of red, Arum explained, “They said everything was fine with the weight this morning. Now I find out that he was 6 to 8 pounds overweight this morning. They (Castillo’s camp) lied to me.”

Getting to the bottom of this controversy is no easy task. How do we know Arum and the Castillo camp didn’t conspire together to have their fighter come in overweight in order to have a physical advantage over Corrales, who had to slim down to the 135-pound limit? What about Fernando Beltran? He knew Tiburcio Garcia, the man instrumental in controlling Castillo’s weight, had been fired by Dr. Barak, but still had no concern with checking his fighter’s weight in the two weeks leading up to the fight. Ironically, Garcia was still invited to Las Vegas even though he’d been fired two weeks earlier. As Beltran said, “He’s around, but he hasn’t been with the Castillo camp.”

You’d think enough subplots had already infiltrated this rematch by the eve of its commencement that it would be impossible to add to the complexity of the moment. The weigh-in fiasco at Caesar’s Palace Roman Plaza set off a frenzy among both camps, the promoters, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission in order to determine whether the fight would take place and under what terms.

Tempers flared under the blaring Las Vegas sun as rival promoters Arum and Shaw faced-off. Suddenly, Arum barked out, “Cancel the fight Gary, I don’t give a damn. Do whatever you want.” He was upset with Shaw because he refused the Castillo camp’s request to weigh-in one more time Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Instead, Shaw and the Corrales camp wanted a 5 p.m. weigh-in to insure that Castillo wouldn’t be able to gain too much more weight.

The shouting match continued between the two promoters. Shaw couldn’t believe Arum’s disrespect considering that Corrales held the key to making or breaking the fight, thus putting Shaw in the negotiating driver’s seat. “I can’t believe how sick Bob is. There’s something really wrong with him. He’s getting mad at the wrong guy.”

“Chico” Corrales never thought twice about canceling his rematch with Jose Luis Castillo. He worked too hard and he loves his job and his fans too much to walk away from any fight, let alone one of the biggest fights of his life. His $2 million purse was guaranteed, fight or not, but as “Chico” told me as he was relaxing up in his suite, “I’m not doing this for the money. I’m doing it because I love my job and I owe it to my fans to deliver. The sport of boxing needs this fight. This is about pride and my legacy.”

Corrales’ stipulation for taking the fight was that Castillo had to weigh-in on the day of the fight at 146 pounds, and for every pound over that he would be fined an additional $75,000. More importantly, the bout would be a non-title fight, and regardless of the outcome Corrales would keep his WBO and WBC lightweight titles.

As we sat with the defending champion on the eve of his fight, he seemed confident that Castillo’s inability to make weight and the “scale-tipping” controversy that surrounded it would damage him mentally. Furthermore, Corrales believed that he had the physical advantage because of the fact that Castillo had to watch what he ate in the twenty-four hours leading up to the fight in order to make the negotiated 146 pounds, whereas “Chico” could relax and enter the ring at whatever weight he felt comfortable with (he came in at around 150 pounds).

We know now that those supposed advantages didn’t come to fruition. Castillo was the stronger man, handling Corrales’ punches into the fourth round, and landing the harder shots throughout, culminating with the monster left hook that sent “Chico” down for good. Was Castillo’s domination due to his increased strength derived from not having to get down to 135 pounds? Corrales refused such a claim at the post-fight press conference, gracefully congratulating his opponent for his great performance.

The Corrales camp though weren’t as quick to overlook the facts of what happened on the scale. Joe Goossen explained, “Diego is extremely tall and to get down to 135 lbs. is very taxing on his body. He did it because he’s a champion and we signed the contract that said we’d be fighting for the lightweight championship. If we knew we’d be fighting at 138½ pounds, then we would’ve trained accordingly.”

After the fight, Gary Shaw was left to second-guess his decision to let Diego Corrales enter the ring against an opponent who weighed-in 3.5 pounds above the limit. “I’m seriously questioning whether I should’ve let this fight happen. I’ll tell you this, if we fight him again it will be for the lightweight championship at 135 pounds. If he (Castillo) can’t make the weight, we will walk. I’ll leave so fast that all you’ll see is the back of my head getting on that plane.”

By the way, one more strange sub-plot to report. After Castillo weighed-in at 146 pounds hours before the fight, he angrily predicted that he would knock Corrales out and then challenged Gary Shaw to a bet of $100,000. They shook on the bet and of course the rest is history.

With so many questions unanswered it seems inevitable that Corrales-Castillo III will be a prophecy soon to come true. Both fighters now have something to prove. Castillo was impressive in knocking out Corrales, but can he repeat that performance if he actually weighs-in at the lightweight limit?

“Chico” is upset with his performance but says he will be back to revenge this defeat and settle the score. “He caught me with a good shot. It’s disappointing that I didn’t learn anything from the first fight and dropped my right hand again. I won’t make that mistake next time. I’ll get him.”

The rematch clause in the contract states that Castillo is bound to fight Corrales before any other opponent. Gary Shaw, Corrales’ promoter, left no doubts as to his fighter’s intentions. “We will invoke the rematch clause. The next fight for Castillo has to be Diego Corrales.”

Corrales himself seems eager to get Castillo back in the ring. When asked how soon he’d like to revenge the loss, the response was a swift “immediately.” A third match with Showtime PPV will be a victory for all those involved and nobody who stands to profit from this event should complain about Castillo’s “scale-tipping incident” because it only adds to the intrigue of this matchup.

Yet, we can’t overlook the low blow that the Castillo camp dealt the sport of boxing. In trying to cheat their way to 135 pounds, Dr. Barak and Castillo himself broke a cardinal boxing rule that attempts to protect the integrity of our sport. Why not be a man and be honest rather than embarrass yourself and your sport on its biggest stage?

Unfortunately, we are now marred in yet another controversy and Castillo heads back to Mexico maybe a hero and champion to his own people, but a cheater to me. Boxing fans deserve to see their champions live up to their heroic status both in and out of the ring. Castillo goes home without the lightweight belts, which is exactly what he deserves, because his deceitful actions were not befitting of what a champion represents.

At the post-fight press conference, Castillo was visibly upset when he realized that the “-tipping controversy” would overshadow his victory. After refusing to answer questions about his weight and whether or not he purposely didn’t make the lightweight limit of 135 lbs., Castillo’s frustration finally emitted a response.

“It feels like a court in here. You guys are interrogating me.”

He seemed to believe that his performance inside the ring would overshadow what happened outside at Caesars Palace Roman Plaza the day before. He was wrong. Despite Castillo’s great talent, he’s left a permanent scar on our beloved sport and he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven for that just because he knocked out Diego Corrales.

Castillo says he “doesn’t know” if he can fight a third time at 135 pounds. Believe me, if the money’s right, he should have no problem making the weight and challenging Corrales in the highly anticipated rubber match.

Let’s hope Corrales-Castillo III will cement the trilogy as one of boxing’s greatest match-ups of all-time. It would be a travesty to see these battles wasted away by controversy considering how talented and made for each other these two fighters are. For the sake of our sport, may integrity and decency prevail. Stay tuned for World War III.

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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