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Articles of 2010

TAKE THAT, VEGAS: Last Week, NYC Was FIGHT CITY

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Last week was quite the busy one for boxing in NYC. Thursday, the legendary promoter Bob Arum got honored, ie roasted by the Friars Club in NYC. Then Friday night, NYC was the site of the 85th Boxing Writers Association Dinner. And earlier in the day, me, Tom Hauser, Steve Farhood and Michael Rosenthal all tucked Derringers into our boots, and met members of the Boxing Promoters Association for an exchange of ideas. Then, Saturday night at Yankee Stadium, Miguel Cotto showed that his tank isnt on E, against rabbi-in-training Yuri Foreman, in a fight that ended in a bizarre manner.

The roast was billed as a tribute; if yall ever get together and do a tribute for me in this fashion, can I at least get blindfolded first? LOL. Comedian Freddie Roman started things off with a joke that I wont repeat, because of my comprehension that political correctness is so prevalent, that a segment of our readership might well not understand the time and the place and the context, and call for my head for repeating it. It had to do with a certain ethnicity, their high numbers in the function room, and how Romans lunch will get spit on when he eats at the club next week. Fill in the blanks yourself….

Arum was introduced as being synonomous as Everlast. The promoter, who did his first fight back in 1966 (Ali-Chuvalo in Toronto) after being introduced to Ali by footballer Jim Brown, grinned good-naturedly as he was lovingly paid tribute to by emcee Jim Lampley, Manny Pacquiao, Ross Greenburg, Lou Dibella, George Foreman, Boom Boom Mancini and son Richard. The highlight for me was a clip of Arums IMDB offering: the 1975 film The Marijuana Affair. Arum played the part of a good guy-bad guy who was trafficking coke from Jamaica. He had been brought in by the films producer, Jamaican betting magnate/boxing promoter/racehorse owner Lucien Chen. The clip featured no sound, but the 400 in attendance can all attest that it is best Arum didnt get too infected with the acting bug, and stuck to what he does best. His overacting is simply Shatneresque in its exuberance.

Son Richard, a sociology prof at NYU, relayed a funny tale about going with pop to Jamaica. They went to the track, and the kid was pumped when he saw one horse was named Bob Arum. As post time beckoned, one horse, then another, then another then still another was scratched, leaving Arum to run solo. Arum won the race, for the record.

Manny Pacquiao then gave Arum ample credit for helping to build his iconic status.

Finally, Arum spoke. He talked about how his legacy should include his commitment to not straying from his heart, how he stood with Ali as most of the nation branded him a traitor for refusing acceptance into the US military. You got to do what you believe, said Arum, even if it means screwing up a potentially bountiful business deal down the line.

After the roast, Arum told me hed give me the lowdown on The Marijuana Affair one day. I will be on Ebay trying to hunt down a copy in the meantime…

I chatted with Andre Berto after. He laughed when I asked if an HBO Facebook rumor about him going down to 140 was true. He said for now hes sticking to 147, but Im not ruling it out totally. He would like to fight Shane Mosley, if Mosley wants to keep active. A title consolidation match against IBF champ Jan Zaveck, he said, is also a possibility. Hed like to glove up in December. Berto is staying ultra busy raising money for his charity. Hes on the board of the Carma Foundation. From their website: The Carma Foundation Mission—The Carma Foundations is a non-profit organization classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The mission of Carma is to measurably improve the health of poor and vulnerable women and children in Haiti. Carma effectively utilizes media and pop culture to create a platform of awareness, dialogue, and then action. Carma, an urban spin on karma, embodies the belief of cause and effect behavior or practices to affect the lives of others. It is with this belief that Carma mobilizes others to not only care, but to become involved. Since its inception in 2007, Carma has already impacted the lives of tens of thousands of Haitian women and children and plans to extend its reach to the millions of Haitian citizens. Haiti leads the western hemisphere with the highest poverty level amongst any of its hemisphere’s neighbors. The Carma Foundation has chosen to spearhead several small projects addressing the needs of education, skill development and job creation of women and children in Haiti. In addition, the future goals of Carma are to reform Haiti’s infrastructural needs in the areas of reproductive health, proper nourishment, health care, and STDs. By the way, he liked Cotto going in to the Foreman fight, so he gets a thumbs up for his power of prediction.

The meeting with the promoters, which included president of the group Joe DeGuardia, Jimmy Burchfield, Alex Camponovo, Lou Dibella, Nick Garone, Bobby Hitz, Mills Lanes son Terrance and Thomas, Arthur Pelullo, Gary Shaw, and Terry Trekas, went well. We touched on matters which affected the promoters and the writers, and tried as much as possible to keep it real. We trafficked in the tendency of writers to go negative, and tear down the sport excessively; the fear of retribution, or a freezeout if we write too truthfully about certain big-name outfits; arbitrary or worse seating arrangements at live fights; the sad state of pay per view undercards, and the widespread feeling that bad fights wreck the boxing brand; the movement of coverage away from the papers to the internet; how to lure more papers into covering more boxing; and the need to play up positive stories more often. The meeting ran more than two hours, and then we broke for a nice lunch, and more informal chatting. All in all, its great to see promoters band together, and recognize their common goals and interests. I told all of them that they are always free to reach out to me, suggest stories, and vent if they think we did something wrong. I stand by that.

Friday night, we had our dinner. My wife, 30 weeks pregs, gamely got gussied up. Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty/
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City. Our neighbor Kim took Annabelle, 3, for the night, so we could par-tay. OK, I quit the sauce back in 1995…you didnt know they raised my number to the rafter and retired my number?…and shes pregs, so we didnt tie one on. Rather, we enjoyed the convivial atmosphere, and seeing some of the guys we see so rarely. We both chatted with BBM, Big Bob Mladinich, who is psyched about his business which is really taking off, REM Private Investigations and Security. Go to remprivateinvestigators.com to learn more if you are in the market for such services, or know someone who is. Theres no one with the decency and credibility who I would trust more in this arena than BBM, for the record…We shot the breeze with Zach Levin, and the ladies who ran the silent auction. They were impressed with Jessicas appearance, and her gameness in coming out for the affair with a basketball in her belly. They, and I were wowed by her stunning dress. Jess was sad Pete Hamill wasnt there this year, but she always loves listening to the classy Manny Pacquiao, who earned his 17th consecutive fighter of the year award. He always leaves us feeling that much more upbeat about being associated with the sport, which is often refereed to as the red light district of the sporting scene. Heres his speech.

Good evening everybody.. Good evening everyone. Thank you. Poverty confronted our family; poverty challenged my youth. In my journey, I was pressed but was not crushed. In my struggles, I was knocked down but not destroyed. I gained experience and learned from my mistakes. At the start of the 21st century, I was convinced that I could excel in boxing. The ring became the breeding ground of my dreams. Boxing became the platform of my victories. To the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, Mr. Jack Hirsch, to the vice president Ron Borges, . . . to Don Steinberg, . . . to the officers, board of directors, and members of the Boxing Writers Association of America, representing almost every state, thank you very much for this distinct honor and recognition. Tonight, I overflow with joy and gratitude. I appreciate this distinct honor and recognition of being awarded as the Fighter of the Decade. Once more you affirm that my destiny is to be a boxer. An excellent professional boxer. I am thankful that just like [Muhammad] Ali and Joe Frazier and other fighters, I decided to get into boxing. I decided to not give up; to never give up. I decided to sacrifice. But not only that, I decided to trust God. I will never stop thinking God. He formed my destiny. He formed me in my mothers womb. He formed me from nothing into something. He knows everything about me. I am so blessed to be surrounded by people who believe in me. My wife, of course Jinkee. And to our children: Princess, my daughter. Youre my inspiration. My promoter and friend, Bob Arum. Thank you for everything. Youre my firm believer and defender. My trainer Freddie Roach, you are my trainer inside and outside the ring. I applaud your victory as Trainer of the Year. Coach, youre the man. To my countrymen, the countless Filipinos around the world, you are my strength. With you, the long and painful seasons of training, and the discipline and sacrifices have become beneficial and rewarding. It is great to be living in the 21st century. We come from different backgrounds to represent different races, but we are all connected. We all desire to have a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose, a sense of contribution. We all desire to be both great and good. We all desire to leave a legacy. I am Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao. I am proud to be a Filipino. And I want to remind all of you tonight, we are all destined for greatness. As one author said: Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. Tonight I recognize the contributions of those who use their strength to make a difference: world class boxers, boxing promoters, managers, trainers, fans, and of course, all the boxing writers . . . come on, give some noise. To the Boxing Writers Association of America, and to all of you who believe in boxing, in the ideals it upholds, thank you very much for the honor and recognition. Please accept my gratitude and let it resound throughout the 21st century. Goodnight and God bless everyone. Thank you.

Too often religion and worship are used as a truncheon, for leverage. This guy is the real deal…when he talks about God, I can handle it, because it feels authentic.

Broadcaster Nick Charles and former heavyweight contender George Chuvalo shared the top vote for the Bill Crawford Perseverance in Overcoming Adversity award. Chuvalos acceptance speech, which touched on his losing a son and his wife to suicide, and two sons to drug overdose, was a kick in the emotional gut. The man faced sad challenge after sad challenge, and it is to his credit he didnt throw in the towel. The ex heavyweight contender gives anti drug speeches to at risk youth these days.

TSSs George Kimball gave a ballsy and amusing speech when he introed trainer of the year Freddie Roach. Kimball read Freddies speech for him, and touched on some of the spicier aspects of Dedham Freddies existence. In Freddies voice, he talked about how a certain trusted aide cashed a check meant for him, and made off with memorabilia. I had to check Freddies face as George spoke, but judging by Freddies grin, Kimball was in cahoots with the trainer of the decade on this one. Always good to have someone stirring the pot and tossing in some subversion at an affair when everyones overdressed. But not oversauced..Word is that the site of the dinner, the Roosevelt, wanted $10,000 just to keep the bars open during the dinner. Cash bars. The BWAA quite rightly nixed that extortionate demand. That seemed like a greed-based request on the part of the hotel.

As we filed out, I told Jess, who is an immense Kennedy fan, to ask Arum about his dealing with the first family back in the 1960s, when he worked with Bobby at the Justice Department. Bob told her about his piercing blue eyes, and battles with lawyer Roy Cohn, and left her with teary eyes. He chuckled after I pointed that out….and LOL Bob blasted me the next night for asking a stupid question during the Cotto-Foreman press conference (See that here, compliments of the Fabulous Mady, at the 7:50 mark www.youtube.com/watch….LOL…No one like Bob, is there?

All in all, BWAA president Jack Hirsch and planner extraordinaire Gina Andriolo, who received a surprise MVP award, did a bangup job. This dinner is a annual highlight for me and my wife. Thanks guys.

On Saturday, boxing was back in the Bronx, in a big way. Cotto fought Foreman at Yankee Stadium. The event was a success, if for no other reason than the rain stayed away, and the 20,000 plus who showed up stayed dry. The main event got screwy, when Foreman trainer Joe Grier used a method of surrender that isnt the preferred way, lobbing in a white towel, instead of asking a commission member to alert ref Arthur Mercante to stop Foreman, on a bum knee, from absorbing more punishment.
Yall read my take on that a couple days ago…The brouhaha hasnt been quelled, as people are still sparring on whether Mercante did the right thing. Foremans manager and Foreman himself say they have no beef with the way it went down, for what its worth. Mercante, it must be said, might want to choose his words more carefully, or offer no comments. Telling the NY daily News Tim Smith that Bee Scottlands injuries came largely from being jostled around in the elevator going from the USS Intrepid to the hospital after his fight against George Khalid Jones does his credibility less than no good…

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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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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