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Articles of 2010

THE KIMBALL CHRONICLES: Malignaggi Couldve Used McGirt On This Night



NEW YORK — According to my friend Roy Blount, Jr., the musician Jerry Jeff Walker, back in his drinking days, had a predilection for getting himself into mismatches so hopeless they would have embarrassed a Golden Boy matchmaker. The upshot of one such episode outside a Texas roadhouse one night was that Jerry Jeff got himself stomped silly by several members of a motorcycle gang, who beat him to a bloody pulp and then stuffed him in a dumpster for good measure.

The victors were headed back into the saloon when they heard Jerry Jeff calling after them from amidst the garbage, “You guys ain’t half as tough as rodeo cowboys!

Listening to Paulie Malignaggi’s version of what had just transpired in the ring at the Madison Square Garden Theatre Saturday night called that to mind. In as lefthanded a compliment as you’re apt to hear coming from a righthanded boxer, Malignaggi said of Amir Khan “he knows how to win rounds, man.

With Union Jacks and Pakistani ensigns scattered through the building, the Bolton wunderkind made an triumphant American debut in successfully defending his WBA junior welterweight title. Khan not only won each of the ten rounds completed before referee Steve Smoger could no longer bear to watch, he won every minute of every round.

That he dominated by utilizing dazzling hand speed, superior quickness, and an almost magically elusive defense against a man whose entire career has relied on his advantages in precisely those skills made it all the more impressive.

“I won it with my speed and with my jab, said Khan, who credited trainer Freddie Roach with the improvement he evinced with the latter weapon. “I think with my speed I can beat any fighter.

Of course, for most of his life Paulie Malignaggi thought the same thing. “It was like being in against a clone of myself when I was younger, said Malignaggi, who can be forgiven for fantasizing in this instance. Not in his wildest dreams could Paulie at the top of his game have matched the quickness Khan put on display Saturday night.

If there’s one relic from his earlier career Malignaggi could have used, it was former trainer Buddy McGirt. It’s not that Buddy could have taught him any new tricks to use against Khan, but, wise and compassionate man that he is, McGirt would almost certainly have thrown in the towel and stopped the one-sided mismatch a good five or six rounds earlier.

Malignaggi’s eye was already beginning to swell before the first round was over, and by the middle rounds his entire face had turned into a grotesque caricature. According to CompuBox’s calculations, Khan landed slightly more than two punches for every one he took in return; in the jab department his advantage was even more pronounced, as he outlanded the challenger 151 to 57. Khan, in fact, landed more jabs than Malignaggi did total punches — and anyone who sat through it would tell you that the surprise is that Paulie landed that many.

From the sixth round on it had become a pointless exercise. God knows what Malignaggi’s current trainer Sharif Younan was thinking when he kept sending him out for more of the same. That Khan’s hands were going to get sore if he hit Malignaggi a hundred more times in the head?

Of course anyone who tried to stop this one would have faced a battle from Malignaggi himself. If his courageous performance in a losing cause against Miguel Cotto won him legions of admirers, this one was equally gritty, if wrong-headed.

After the eighth, ninth, and tenth rounds Smoger had invited the ringside physicians to Malignaggi’s corner. The last visit had produced what appeared to be a spirited discussion between the fighter and Dr. Osric King, the NYSAC’s chief physician, and Paulie somehow talking his way into another round. At this point Smoger had come to recognize that since he wasn’t going to get any help from the doctors or from Malignaggi’s corner he was going to have to do it himself. Midway through the eleventh, Khan slammed Malignaggi with a left hook that drove him across the ring and against the ropes, and when the champion landed another blinding flurry of unanswered punches, the referee collared Malignaggi and waved the fight to a halt at 1:25 of the round.

Despite the bad blood that had bubbled up as recently as Friday, when a gang of punks wearing t-shirts identifying them as members of “Khan’s Army overran the weigh-in, Malignaggi was quick to salute the winner (whom he pronounced “much tougher than Ricky Hatton) and Khan expressed grudging admiration for Malignaggis resolve as well.

The scorecards of all three judges – Steve Weisfeld, Glenn Feldman, and Terry O’Connor — read 100-90 after ten, as did ours. It was the second successful defense of the title he won from Andreas Kotelnik last July for Khan, who is now 23-1. Malignaggi is now 27-4.

We can hardly wait to see how the boys from Fleet Street play this one back in London. A couple of days earlier one British paper had sniffed about the fact that Khan-Malignaggi was taking place in the Theatre instead of the Garden’s main arena, where it really belonged, and even told its readers that the smaller venue was being used only because the big room was booked for a prior event.

Of course there was nobody playing in the main arena save a few rats Saturday night, and the fight drew 4,412 in the 5,800-seat Theatre. How many of those were representatives of Khan’s boisterous Army remains unlearned, but there were a lot fewer of them when the fight ended than had been there when it began. Garden security personnel had a busy night of it, as brush-fire skirmishes broke out in the crowd throughout the evening, and while many of them were a good deal more competitive than the main event, most of them ended with a another handful of Brits being frog-marched out of the building.

Like Khan-Malignaggi, the Victor Ortiz-Nate Campbell co-feature appeared a good deal more intriguing on paper than it turned out to be. In a bout every bit as one-sided as the title fight that followed it, the 23 year-old Ortiz routed former lightweight champion Nate Campbell over ten rounds.

Two years ago Campbell rose to a career-best performance when he upset Juan Diaz to win three of the four recognized 135-pound titles, but it has been more or less downhill since then. A scheduled defense against Joan Guzman fell apart at the scale when the challenger failed to make weight. Then in his next outing Campbell not only lost his titles when he came in overweight, but barely squeaked by Ali Funeka in the non-title bout. In his last outing he had lost all three rounds to Timothy Bradley in a fight halted by what proved to be a head-butt, and the result was changed to no decision.

At least in theory, then, Campbell hadn’t lost in more than four years, but he looked every one of his 38 years against the younger and quicker Ortiz, who led him around the ring by the nose throughout the evening. Not only was Campbell unable to cut off the ring against Ortiz, who peppered him with jabs and right hooks even in retreat, but on those occasions when Ortiz chose to stand and fight, the old-timer was no match for him in the slugging department, either.

Campbell said a hip injury incurred in the third round had hampered his performance, but he was already well down the road to defeat even then. Ortiz was credited with a knockdown in the first — although he appeared to have pushed Campbell, he did land a glancing right hook. Campbell hit the deck in lockstep with the bell ending the round, and was surprised to see referee giving him a count.

Ortiz, in winning his third straight since last summer’s surprise loss to Marcos Maidana, improved to 27-2-1, while Campbell, in what may have been his last important fight, dropped to 33-6-1. Judges Don Trella and Julie Lederman gave Ortiz all ten rounds in returning 100-89 verdicts, while Tom Schreck (as did The Sweet Science) scored it 99-90.

Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez wasn’t taking many chances when he dredged up Juan Astorga as the opponent for unbeaten Brooklyn middleweight Daniel Jacobs. In a performance that might have been worthy of a suspension at the Theatre back in January Astorga (14-5-1) fell over and was counted out the first time John Duddy breathed on him. Not only did Astorga collect a paycheck that night, but earned himself another one for serving as a prop for Jacobs on this card. To make it even more ridiculous, after both the NABA and the NABF sanctioned it as a “title fight. Astorga rewarded their largesse by coming in four and a half pounds over the limit, and did nothing to diminish the disgrace over the three minutes and 51 seconds he lasted in the ring.

The extra heft didn’t help him against Jacobs, who floored him four times on the way to a second-round TKO.

Astorga took a knee in response to a right dig to the body and went down from another right with 30 seconds left in the first, but managed to stay away and survived the first stanza.

Jacobs (now 20-0) opened the second by putting Astorga down with a left to the body. The Mexican appeared to be mulling over his options, and nearly stayed down, and almost as soon as he regained his feet seemed to think better of it. He was already on his way down before Jacobs even landed the left that led referee Steve Willis to stop it at 51 seconds of the second.

Since Jacobs was safely within the middleweight limit, he retained his NABO belt and added the NABF version. It is probably a safe bet that New York has seen the last of Juan Astorga for awhile.

In a deft bit of gamesmanship, co-promoter Lou DiBella brought in Colombian Breidis Prescottt, the author of a 54-second first-round kayo that represented the lone loss on Khan’s record. The best that can be said of Prescott’s opponent Jason Davis (11-7-1) is that he lasted six minutes longer than Khan did. A hard right to the body caused Davis to take a knee in the third, and no sooner had action resumed than the process repeated itself, this time leading referee Benjy Esteves to stop it at 1:11. Although it was announced that Davis had retired with a hip injury, he appeared to be clutching his lower left rib cage. Prescott moved to 22-2 with the win.

Two of DiBella’s undefeated Broadway Boxing staples, heavyweight Tor Hamer and middleweight Denis Douglin also saw action. Hamer (11-1) dropped a split decision to former UNC-Charlotte basketball player Kelvin Price (7-0), while Douglin (9-0) floored Ugandan journeyman Joshua Onyango (13-19-1) twice in the second round on the way to a second-round TKO. Sparkle Lee’s intervention came at 1:10 of the round.

The clash between the two unbeaten heavyweights acquired a potential touch of controversy in the second round when Hamer, who had just unloaded a two-punch combination near a neutral corner, appeared to slip on a beer logo painted on the mat and fell heavily against the ropes. Esteves ruled it a knockdown. (The mat was shipped in from California by Golden Boy; earlier in the evening Prescott had slipped on the same spot and fallen into the ropes, but no knockdown was recorded in that instance.)

“My feet did slip on the mat, but then (Price) landed a punch as I was falling sideways, shrugged Hamer. “If I’d been scoring I might have called it a knockdown, too.

The referee’s interpretation was in the end immaterial, since it would have affected none of the scorecards: Ron McNair and Waleska Roldan both scored it 58-55 for Price, while Matt Ruggero had it 57-56 Hamer. The TSS card agreed with Ruggero’s.

Jamie Kavanaugh, a Freddie Roach-trained junior welter from Dublin, made an impressive professional debut, though he wasn’t in with much. Late in the first round he put his Georgia opponent William Ware down with a left to the body and a right to the head. A hard left to the body caused Ware (1-3) to go tumbling again in the second, and there should have been a third knockdown before it ended. A glancing right sent Ware to one knee, but after a moment’s hesitation, Lee allowed action to continue before, in what was apparently a make-up call, the referee moved in to stop it at 1:39 of the second.?
• * *

• Madison Square Garden Theatre
• New York City
• May 15, 2010?
• JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHTS: Amir Khan, 139 ½, Bolton, England TKO’d Paulie Malignaggi,139, Brooklyn, N.Y. (11) (Retains WBA title)?
• Victor Ortiz,140, Garden City, Kansas dec. Nate Campbell, 139, Jacksonville, Fla. (10)?
• Jamie Kavanagh, 139 ½, Dublin, Ireland TKO’d William Ware, 141, Augusta, Ga. (2)?
• HEAVYWEIGHTS: Kelvin Price,243, New Iberia, La. dec. Tor Hamer,230, New York (6)?
• MIDDLEWEIGHTS: Daniel Jacobs, 160, Brooklyn, N.Y. TKO’d Juan Astorga, 164 ½, Chihuahua, Mexico (2) (Retains NABO title; wins vacant NABF title)?
• Denis Douglin, 156, Morganville, N.J. TKO’d Joshua Onyango, 157, Nairobi, Kenya (2)?
• WELTERWEIGHTS: Breidis Prescott, 140 ½, Baranquilla, Colombia TKO’d Jason Davis, 144 ½, Vancouver, Wash. (3)

Articles of 2010

Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ




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



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




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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