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Articles of 2010

After Second Round Scare, Mayweather Wakes Up, Dominates Mosley

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In the first round, it looked like we had the makings of a tight scrap in the main event at the MGM Grand on Saturday night. In the second, it looked like the 4-to-1 underdog Shane Mosley was fixing to violently remove the 0 from Mayweathers record. But Mosley made a mistake: he pissed Mayweather off. After he got stung in the second round, Floyd got down to business, and started letting his hands go. His superior hand speed made Mosley look 48, let alone 38, as he touched Mosley, who looked more than a bit gunshy and bewildered quite often and sharply. After twelve rounds, ten of them lacking much in the way of competition, Mayweather got the unanimous decision, via scores of 119-110, 119-110, 118-110.

The former junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champion Mayweather (age 33; 40-0 with 25 KOs entering; from Michigan, living in Las Vegas) weighed 146 pounds, while the ex lightweight, junior middleweight, and current welterweight champion Mosley (age 38; 46-5-1 ND with 36 KOs; from California) was 147 pounds on Friday at the weigh in.

Adelaide Byrd, Robert Hoyle and Dave Moretti were entrusted to judge the scrap, while Kenny Bayless earned the ref slot.

In the first, Mosley came out jabbing to the body. They clinched several times early on. A right counter from Floyd told the crowd that his hand speed was superior. Mosleys glove hit the mat, on a slip at the 1:25 mark. Mosley was busier in the frame.

In the second, a hard right landed on Floyd. The right cross buzzed the crowd; did it buzz Floyd? Another right, thrown over a hook, buckled Floyds knees, and he grabbed on to clear his head. A Mosley chant ripped thru the building. Go back to boxing, his corner told Floyd after the round.

In the third, Floyd came out surly. Was he embarassed from the second round? Mosley moved laterally in the third, and made Floyd stalk him early. The right hand was getting in on Mosley now. Floyd grabbed hold of his destiny in this round.

In the fourth, Floyds jab stung. Shane didnt jab much at all. He ate another clean right, and it looked like Floyd was punching harder, earlier, than we typically see.

In the fifth, Mosley seemed a bit more comfortable. He slipped a bit better. But hed need to come up with offensive sets to win rounds. Trainer Naazim Richardson told Mosley to pile up punches, not look for the home run ball.

In the sixth, Mosley started out more active. But Floyds jabbing picked up, and then he mixed in the right follow. Shanes low left hand didnt pick off many, if any, rights. He pawed the jab, for the most part, and still looked like he hadnt decided on his gameplan. Mayweather-level hand speed will do that to a boxer. Floyd was up 4-2 at this juncture on the TSS-EM card.

In the seventh, Mayweather stung Shane with rights. He had the elder backing up, but late in the round, Mosley tried to press forward. Didnt work, Floyd just countered with ease. Gotta wake up for me, Shane, gotta wake up for me. Cant depend on one big shot, Richardson told Mosley after the round.

In the eighth, Mosley was warned hard for manhandling Floyd. Floyd smacked Shane while Mosley jawed at him, and the crowd lapped that up. Shane is looking his age, Manny Steward said. You got to force the exchange now, Richardson said. We gotta get him out of there.

In the ninth, Floyd reserved energy, but then impressed the judges with a counter right on a flat-footed Mosley.

In the 10th, Mosley flinched from feints. But he had his head snapped back a few times, and ref Bayless started taking a hard look at the 38-year-old. Im not gonna stand here and watch you take a beating, Richardson said, and then threatened to pull the plug. You gonna have to give me something.

In the 11th, Mosley pushed a weak jab. His left hook to the body appeared, finally, but it lacked the snap to bother Floyd. The only drama left–would Floyd go for a KO? He gotta go, Richardson commanded after the round.

In the 12th, Mayweather did more, Mosley looked slow and sort of weak. The story of the night. Wed go to the cards.

The stats favored Mayweather: he went 208-477, Mosley 92-452 .

After, Mayweather told Larry Merchant that if Manny Pacquiao wants to fight him, he knows how to find him. If Manny takes the blood and urine test, we can make the fight, if not, we got no fight, Floyd said.

Mosley said he started loading up too much after his buckling shot. He said he got tight, because he was looking for the kayo.

Check back for David Avilas ringside report, and Ron Borges take on Sunday.

SPEEDBAG Controversial singer Chris Brown sang the National Anthem, and drew some boos before he started, because was found guilty of felony assault on then girlfriend Rihanna in July 2009. His rendition was so-so.

—Merchant offered an interesting assessment Floyd righthand-man Leonard Ellerbe, calling him one of those self made men who worships his creator. Hmm. Mull that, will you? This comment came after the camera lingered on Floyd in his dressing room, and Jim Lampley told viewers that Floyd was making everyone wait, even though producers asked him to go to the ring. Was he trying to make Mosley edgy? Or just waiting to hear his entrance music? That was the OJays, the real live band, singing from center ring.

–Interesting that Floyd chooses to have Ellerbe, and his soothing encouragement, rather than dad Floyd Sr, and his boxing knowledge, alongside Uncle Roger in his corner…

MAYWEATHER VS. MOSLEY POST-FIGHT QUOTES

FLOYD MAYWEATHER

If Manny Pacquaio wants to fight, it is not hard to find me. We were going to make the fight a couple of months back but it didnt happen. I take my hat off to Mosley. He had problems in the past but hes a warrior. He took the blood and urine tests. I just want everyone to be on an even playing field. If every athlete is clean in the sport of boxing, take the test. If Manny Pacquaio takes the blood and urine tests, we can fight. If he doesnt, we wont make the fight.

Here was another tremendous fight, another tremendous turn out.

There was a point to prove; to see who was the best welterweight out there.

Do I have to fight? No I dont have to fight, absolutely not. I truly believe the numbers we did are unbelievable.

I always say, put them in front of me, Ill beat them.

My dad, Roger and I have chemistry. The game plan was unbelievable. I looked back at my dad and hes telling me something. I looked back at Roger and hes telling me the same thing.

Ive got the will to win under the lights, but we all dont form under the lights the same.

After a while I think Mosley went into survival mode. All he was trying to do was survive.

Every fight is different, every fighter is different. Everyone was talking about how Mosley is stronger, how Mosley is faster. I rocked him more than he rocked me.

At one point I thought he was going to cough it up, but he held on valiantly.

Ive been dominating fighters since the 90s, but I always say Im closer to 40 than I am to 21. Im not chasing fighters.

Even with the second round, I knew I was the strongest guy form the beginning. Every fighter is totally different.

Mentally in the fight I was talking to him. Telling him Your jab isnt faster than mine; if it is let me see.

Over the years, when Im at home, I never study an opponent. They are going to be totally different in the ring.

I believe that its not bragging or boasting if you can back it up.

The ultimate goal it to try to find a fighter than can beat me. Theres a lot of young tough fighters out there that I take my hat off to, that I want to see do well.

As of right now we just want to go home, reevaluate a few things, and see what we come up with. As of right now I just want to spend some time with my family.

Im here to just fight the best thats out there and be the best you can be.

Zab Judah hit me with a better shot and DeMarcus Chop Chop Corley hit me with a better shot.

I think he tried, but its just me being able to show my versatility to adapt and adjust. My game plan was going to work, break him down in every way.

I think a lot of people are surprised. I just believe in myself, these types of things happen in big fights.

SUGAR SHANE MOSLEY

I tried, it was a good fight, it was that close. Hes a hell of a fighter. Hes a great fighter. He did what he needed to do to win the fight.

I tip my hat to him. I thank him for taking the challenge.

He was hurt real bad when I hit him with that shot.

I think after I caught him with that big right hand I opened up to much and played into his hands. I was too tight. When I hit him with the big right hand, I thought I was going to get the knockout.

He started to avoid the punches. He did surprise me. Once I tried to get my timing back, I couldnt adjust and he did. I am happy I took the fight. He is a true champion. Now you will see him and Manny, if Manny takes the blood test.

I will go back home and look at the tape, take it slow when I get home and well see what happens.

ROGER MAYWEATHER, Mayweathers Trainer

Mosley has very fast hands, but he doesnt have a jab. He had tremendous hand speed, but it means nothing if you cant hit the target. Youve got to be able to hit the target. Mosley is fast if he fights somebody slow, but its different if its somebody faster.

He (Mayweather) boxed his ass off, and the fight wasnt even close.

NAAZIM RICHARDSON, Mosleys Trainer

It was a great ride the outcome wasnt what we anticipated.

I just got back from cursing out Shane. He was mad, saying that he didnt listen to his trainer and that he didnt follow his training. I had to tell him no one talks badly about my fighter, not even him.

Floyd Mayweather is special. Hes trained by special people.

Nothing I saw surprised me.

That fireball hit us, when that fireball hit us, our heads got kind of hot in there.

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, President of Golden Boy Promotions

We have to really respect what we have just witnessed. The best boxer on the planet is Mayweather, in my mind, in Mosleys mind, in everybodys mind. He is the best. Tonight convinced me that he is the best

He has the talent, he has the work ethic and people all over the world are become fans.

He fought Shane Mosely, which was supposed to be the most dangerous fight of his career, and he showed us why he is the best.

Mayweather can decide who he wants to fight now. He can decide who, when and where.

Mayweather is on he is on a different level because he a student of the game he will dissect you outside the ring and finish you inside the ring

Special boxers like Mayweather, we talk about them forever.

He showed me true greatness because I felt that he was going to go down. That he was not going to be able handle Mosleys punch. It just shows you Mayweather is the real deal. I am a firm believer Mayweather is the best we have.

RICHARD SCHAEFER, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions

Great crowd, it really is Las Vegas and many stars showed up. That is what Las Vegas brings, the glitz and the glamour.

When the fight started people were yelling Mosley because there were a lot of haters, in the end, they were yelling Money Mayweather.

It was certainly a big night for Money Mayweather. Its going to be big, big pay-per-view numbers, that I can assure you.

Articles of 2010

Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ

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Totowa, NJ – Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, announced their promotional firm won the purse bid held at IBF headquarters in East Orange, NJ, Thursday. The bid was for the right to hold the IBF's junior welterweight title fight between Zab Judah of Brooklyn, NY and Las Vegas, and South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza.

IBF Championships Chairman, Lindsay Tucker explained, “It is a 50-50 split of the earnings between the two fighters. Kaizer is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, and Judah is No. 2. Where the fight will be held is up to the winning bidder.”

Judah (39-6, 26 KOs) is promoted by Main Events and his own firm Super Judah Promotions, and Branco Milenkovic, of South Africa, promotes Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs).

Kathy Duva confirmed the fight will take place at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, late February or early March this year as part of Main Events' Brick City Boxing Series.  (Saturday Update: the fight is March 5th, in NJ at the Pru Center. The bout will be part of a PPV card.)

“We are very happy that Zab has the opportunity to fight for the IBF Junior Welterweight title right here in New Jersey.  Winning this fight will put Zab right in the mix with the winner of Bradley-Alexander and Amir Khan.” Duva elaborated, ” Zab will work very hard to win this fight so that he will be one step closer to his ultimate goal of unifying all of the Junior Welterweight titles by the end of 2011!”

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Articles of 2010

UFC 125 Preview: Frankie Edgar Vs. Gray Maynard

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UFC_Edgar_and_Maynard_Dec._2010
Few predicted Frankie Edgar would grab the UFC lightweight championship last year but he did. Most felt he would eventually win it but Edgar not only took the title, he beat one of the best mixed martial artists in history to do it.

Edgar (13-1) has emerged from the milieu of nondescript MMA fighters to become one of the more brilliant performers for Ultimate Fighting Championship. Next comes a rematch with Gray “The Bully” Maynard (11-0) tomorrow at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. UFC 125 will be televised on pay-per-view.

All it took was not one, but two victories over BJ Penn.

If you’re not familiar with Penn, he’s one of the most versatile fighters in MMA history and had been nearly unbeatable in the 155-pound lightweight division. That is until he clashed with Edgar. Until he met New Jersey’s Edgar, the Hawaiian fighter chopped down lightweight opponents with ease. It was only the heavier welterweights he had problems against. Namely: Canada’s Georges St. Pierre.

Edgar showed poise, speed and grit in defeating Penn in back-to-back fights. The world took notice.

“You know, if I keep winning fights, the respect will come eventually,” said Edgar during a conference call.

Now Edgar will find out if he can avenge the only loss on his record.

“I just think I grew as a fighter. You know, mentally, you know, physically I, you know, possess differently skills, increased – you know, I think I boxed and got better, my Jiu-Jitsu got better and, you know, just have much more experience now,” Edgar says.

Maynard seeks to find out if Edgar has added any more fighting tools to his repertoire. Back in April 2008, the artillery shelled out was not enough to beat the Las Vegas fighter.

“It’s a perfect time. He had the chance and, you know, he took it and the time is now for me and I’m prepared,” said Maynard (11-0). “Any time you’re going up against the top in the world, you evolve and change and so I’m prepared for a new fight, so it will be good. I’m pumped for it.”

Though Maynard’s record indicates he is unbeaten that’s not entirely true. He did suffer a defeat to Nate Diaz during The Ultimate Fighter series and subsequently avenged that loss last January.

The UFC lightweight title is in Maynard’s bull’s eye.

“Looking to take the belt for sure,” said Maynard. “We’ll see on January 1.”

Edgar versus Maynard should be a good one.

Other bouts:

Nate Diaz (13-5) faces Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1) in another welterweight tussle. Diaz is the only fighter with a win over Maynard. Anyone watching TUF remembers Maynard tapping out from a Diaz guillotine choke. The Modesto fighter has a tough fight against South Korea’s Kim.

Chris Leben (21-6) fights Brian Stann (9-3) in a middleweight fight. Leben is a veteran of MMA and if an opponent is not ready for a rough and tumble fight, well, that fighter is not going to win. Stann dropped down from light heavyweight and we’ll see if the cut in weight benefits the Marine.

Brandon Vera (11-5) meets Thiago Silva (14-2) in a light heavyweight match up. Vera is trying to rally back to the promising fighter he was tabbed several years back. Silva is a very tough customer and eager to crash the elite. A victory by either fighter could mean a ticket to the big time.

Clay Guida (27-8) versus Takanori Gomi (32-6) in a lightweight bout. Guida has become one of the most feared fighters without a title. No one has an easy time with the long-haired fighter. Gomi lost to Kenny Florian but knocked out Tyson Griffin. Can he survive Guida?

Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-8) clashes with Jeremy Stephens (18-6) in another lightweight fight. Davis is a go-for-broke kind of fighter and is looking to get back in the win column after a tumultuous battle with Nate Diaz last August. Stephens needs a win too. In his last bout he lost to Melvin Guillard.

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Articles of 2010

Borges Looks Back, And Forward With Hope

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As the end of another year approaches, there’s no need to invoke Charles Dickens to describe what went on in boxing. It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was just too much time spent on The Fight That Never Took Place.

For the second straight year the sport could not deliver The Fight, the only one fans universally wanted and even casual fans craved – the mix between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao.  No one has to be singled out for blame for that failure because this time there’s plenty to go around on both sides. The larger issue is what does it say about a sport when it cannot deliver its top event?

What would the NFL be without the Super Bowl? Where would major league baseball be without the World Series? Golf without the Masters? College basketball without March Madness?

They would all be less than they could be and so it was with boxing this year. Having said that, the sport was not without its signature moments. It was not bereft of nights that left those of us with an abiding (and often unrequited) love for prize fighting with good reason to hope for the future.

Three times promoter Bob Arum took the sport into massive stadium venues just like the good (very) old days and each time boxing drew a far larger crowd than its many critics expected. Twice those fights involved the sport’s leading ambassador, Pacquiao, who brought in crowds of 40,000 to 50,000 fans into Cowboys Stadium against inferior opponents Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Imagine what he might have done had Mayweather been in the opposite corner?

While both fights were, as expected, lopsided affairs, they showcased the one boxer who has transcended his sport’s confining walls to become a cultural icon and world celebrity. Pacquiao alone put boxing (or at least one boxer) on the cover of TIME and into the pages of such varied publications as Esquire, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, the American Airlines in-flight magazine and even Atlantic Monthly.

As history has proven time and again, that is what happens when boxing has a compelling personality to sell it and Pacquiao is that. Mayweather is such a person as well,  but for different reasons.

The one night he appeared in a boxing ring, he set the year’s pay-per-view standard against Shane Mosley while also leaving a first hint of dark mystery when he was staggered by two stinging right hands in the second round.

Mayweather was momentarily in trouble for the first time in his career but the moment passed quickly and Mosley never had another. By the end he had been made to look old and futile, a faded athlete who’d had his chance and was unable to do anything with it. So it goes in this harsh sport when the sands are running out of the hour glass.

As always there were some surprising upsets, most notably Jason Litzau’s domination of an uninterested and out of shape Celestino Caballero and Sergio Martinez’s one-punch demolishment of Paul Williams. The latter was not so much an upset as it was a stunning reminder that when someone makes a mistake against a highly skilled opponent in this sport they don’t end up embarrassed. They end up unconscious.

SHOWTIME did all it could to further the future of the sport, offering up a continuation of its interminably long but still bold Super Six super middleweight tournament as well as the launching of a short form bantamweight tournament which already gave fans to two stirring and surprising finishes with Joseph Agbeko decisioning Jhonny Perez and Abner Mares upsetting Victor Darchinyan in a battle of contusions.

While the Super Six has had its problems – including several of the original six pulling out – it also lifted the profile of former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward from nearly unknown to the cusp of universal recognized as the best super middleweight in the world this side of Lucian Bute. If Ward continues winning he’ll get to Bute soon enough because that’s why SHOWTIME signed a TV deal with the Canadian and America may get its next boxing star if Ward proves to be what I think he is – which is still underrated and underappreciated.

HBO and HBO pay-per-view put on 23 shows, few of them compelling and many of them paying big money to the wrong people while doing little or nothing to grow the sport that has helped make their network rich. But they did have the knockout of the year – Martinez’s second round destruction of Williams – and some fights in the lower weight classes that were left you wanting more.

Two new names popped up who are causing the kind of fan reaction that also gives us hope for 2011 – American Brandon Rios and Mexican Saul Alvarez. They are two of the sport’s brightest young prospects because each comes to the arena the old-fashioned way – carrying nothing but bad intentions.
Aggression and knockouts still sell boxing faster than anything else and each exhibited plenty of both this year and left fans wanting to see more. Alvarez is already a star in Mexico without having yet won a world title and Rios is the definition of “promise.’’ Whether the star will continue to shine and promise will be fulfilled may be answered next year and so we wait anxiously to find out.

Backed by Golden Boy Promotions, there is no reason 2011 shouldn’t be Alvarez’s year and if it is people will notice and remember him because he has a crowd-pleasing style that is all about what sells most.

That is what boxing needs more of – fresh faces and new stars… so as fans we should root for guys like Alvarez, Ward, Rios and young Brit Amir Khan, who is a star in England but still a question mark with a questionable chin but a fighter’s heart here in the U.S.

Those guys and others not yet as well known are the future of boxing, a sport that for too long has been recycling the likes of Mosley (as it will again in May for one last beating against Pacquiao in a fight that's a joke), Bernard Hopkins (who can still fight although it is unclear why he bothers or where it’s all headed), Roy Jones and, sadly, even 48-year-old Evander Holyfield, who continues to delude himself but not many other people into believing he will soon unify the heavyweight title again.
If fighters like Ward, Alvarez, Rios, Khan, WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and middleweight king Sergio Martinez continue their rise they could be the antidote for the art of the retread that Arum and Golden Boy have been forcing fans to buy the past few years at the expense of what boxing needs most – fresh faces.

The heavyweight division, which many believe determines the relevancy of boxing to the larger world, remains a vast desert of disinterest here in the US. The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, hold 75 per cent of the title belts but few peoples’ imaginations in the US, although to be fair they are European superstars and don’t really need U.S. cable TV money to thrive economically.

Each defended their titles twice this year, Vitali against lame competition (Albert Sosnowski and Shannon Briggs) and Wladimir against better fighters (Sam Peter and Eddie Chambers) but not competitive ones. Sadly, there is no American on the horizon to challenge them, a comment on the division and on our country, where the athletes who used to be Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali now opt for the easier and frankly safer road of the NFL or the NBA. Who can blame them considering all the nonsense a fighter has to go through to just make a living these days?

The one heavyweight match that would be compelling and might lift the sport up for at least a night would be either of the Klitschkos facing lippy WBA champion David Haye. The fast-talking Brit claims to not be ducking them but he’s had more maladies befall him after shouting from the rooftops how much he wants to challenge them that you have to wonder if Haye is simply a case of big hat no cattle syndrome.

For the sake of the sport, we should all be lighting candles each night in hopes our prayers will be answered and Haye will finally agree to meet one of them. It may not prove to be much of a fight but at least it will give us something to talk about for a few months.

Whatever Haye and the Klitschkos decide the fighter with the most upside at the moment however seems to be Sergio Martinez.  He has matinee idol looks, a big enough punch to put Paul Williams to sleep with one shot and a work ethic second to none. The Argentine fighter had a year for himself, starting with a drubbing of Kelly Pavlik followed by his demolishment of Williams. Those kinds of victories, coupled with his Oscar De La Hoya-like looks, are the type of things that if HBO or SHOWTIME would get behind him could allow Martinez to capture the attention of both fight fans and more casual ones.

In general, Hispanics fighters continued to dominate much of the sport’s front pages with Juan Manuel Marquez’s two victories in lightweight title fights leading that storyline. His war with Michael Katsidis is a strong candidate for Fight of the Year and his technical skill and calm demeanor make him the uncrowned challenger to Pacquiao. The two have unfinished business that should be settled this year if Arum stops standing in the way.

Two other fighters who gave us moments to remember in 2010 were Juan Manuel Lopez, who knocked out three solid opponents including highly respected Mexican warrior Rafael Marquez, and Giovani Segura, who won four times (that’s three years work for Mayweather) in 2010, all by knockout. Along the way, Segura defeated one of the great minimum weight fighters in history, slick Ivan Calderon, to win the belt on Aug. 28.

Lastly, boxing gave us another magical cinematic moment as well with the release of “The Fighter,’’ a film based on the life and hard times of junior welterweight scrapper Micky Ward. The film has won rave reviews and many awards and seems likely to have several of its actors nominated for Academy Awards, most notable Christian Bale for his sadly humorous portrayal of Ward’s troubled half brother, former fighter Dickie Ecklund.

Boxing has a long history of providing the framework for memorable movies and it did it again with “The Fighter,’’ a film that did more for boxing than any promoter did all year.

All in all, it wasn’t the best of years for boxing but it was a good year that picked up speed in the final months and, like that great golf shot you finally hit out of the rough on the 18th, left us with reasons to hope for a better year in 2011. If somehow it gives us Mayweather-Pacquiao, the emergence of Alvarez and Rios, the ascension of Martinez and Haye vs. the best available Klitschko in addition to the kind of solid performances that always come along, it could be a year to remember.

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