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Articles of 2010

THE TSS TAKEAWAY: Readers' Cleanest, Hardest Shots Post Mosley-Mora

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We try, try like the dickens, to look on the bright side. So what say we start with the positive..a few days have passed, and we havent had any installments in the Boxers Behaving Badly soap opera.

But boxers fighting badly..or in a less than fan friendly manner? Thats another matter. The reviews for Mosley-Mora were less than kind. Hate to say I told ya so. I wrote this in the prediction page piece:

((We saw, us dispassionate viewers who dont have any skin in the game, that Mosley looked his age on May 1 against Floyd. And I speak for myself, I think it is a distinct possibility that Mosley will be cursing the cake and candles, feeling every second of those 39 years on Saturday night against the 29-year-old Sergio Mora, who I expect to jab, stick, and move move move his way to a tight decision win at the Staples Center. Mora, with only six KOs in 22 wins, to go with a lone loss, to Vernon Forrest in their rematch, wont run away with it. Those who said Mosley (46-6 with 39 KOs) should hang em up when they saw how much trouble he had with Floyd didnt give Money enough credit for being a maestro. I see the rounds being tight, tough to score. Really, this ones a coin flip for me.)))

Along the same lines, it seems like the vast majority are opposed to the Hopkins-Pascal fight being on PPV. To the bright side again…Hopkins should be lauded for signing on to scrap with an in-his-physical prime hitter, as opposed to lobbying for, say, a Calzaghe rematch.

Interestingly, there wasnt a groundswell call for Mosley to hang em up. I wonder if thats because so many folks gave this one a pass. If someone else is doing a writeup, I will often, like so many of you, waffle, and waver, and ponder whether or not I should buy the PPV. I gave this fight a pass. But that wont stop me from tossing in another cents worth after you give your two cents, inn the comment section.

Read on, for the lucky 13 top comments from over the weekend on TSS.

13) The Fight Doctor: Mosley needs a REAL TRAINER if he wants to continue fighting! Richardson is a yes man picking up a paycheck. To fight Mayweather and Mora back to back without implementing a strong jab as a weapon is absurd. Mosley used to have a tremendous jab until he abandoned it for the quick KO. Golden Boy has shown no business acumen on behalf of Shane Mosley pitting him against a difficult fighter. The job of management and promotion is to set up your fighter for the best payday and the best possible style for the win. Golden Boy has been a poor choice for Mosley he should have gone with Arum or King years ago. What a waste of talent. Despite that Mosley should been given the nod, clearly landing more punches.
EM-Age age age. Its all about age. Mosley said he had pulling the trigger after the Mayweather fight, he said the same thing after this Mora bout. Have to side with you on the GB argument…bad style matchup for Shane. GB kept it in the family, another intrafraternity fight, and that benefitted them in the short run, but I dont think so in the long run.

12) The Saint: I bet Mayweather was dying to see Mosley look spectacular against Mora to make his victory over Mosley back in May be more meaningful. Of course Mayweathers Mindless Minions would credit Mayweather for how bad Mosley looked against Mora, but who cares what MMMs think? Saul Alvarez, on the other hand, is showing true promise and a real potential to become a real fighter. Hes still only 19 or 20 and has over 30 fights. Baldomir was a good measuring stick. Hes beatable but almost always gives a good account of himself, and always comes to fight, the perfect stepping stone for a very young prospect (as opposed to a multi-divisional champ who claims to be better than Ali and Robinson). What impresses me about Saul Alvarez as opposed to previous next big things that have come and gone in the last several years, is that he doesnt come across as spectacular. A lot of the hot prospects burst onto the scene with flashy KOs against jobbers. These prospects usually have explosive flurries and are hyper aggressive, fully convinced of their own hype. But once they step up in competition they get shut down, and their careers go spiraling the second they face an opponent who refuses to fall during the staredown. Alvarez is calm and poised, picks his shots, studies his opponents and doesnt try to overwhelm them from the opening bell to try to impress everyone.

11) The Saint: Blame the folks who paid to watch Hopkins vs Jones 2. If that PPV was a flop, it wasnt a big enough flop to stop the Hopkins-Pascal fiasco. Hopkins vs Pascal involves at least one live fighter not on life support, and theres always the intrigue of Hopkins dismantling a much younger foe, or Father Time catching up with Hopkins. That should make it 10x more interesting than Hopkins-Jones II. However, people should boycott this PPV. Dawson has been calling out Hopkins for a couple of years and fans have been begging Hopkins to step up to the challenge, to no avail. Then Hopkins sees in his estimation a more beatable style in Pascal and jumps on the opportunity. I hope things backfire on Hopkins in a major way.
EM-But maybe Hopkins would have challenged Dawson if Dawson had beaten Pascal? Agreed–the old dog vs young gun dynamic does at least lend some drama to the scrap. Is it PPV worthy? Not in my eyes. Maybe Ill reach out to Richard Schaefer, and ask him if he wants to defend the old dogs on PPV hes been pushing.

10) In Touch:Golden Boy has not done anything to help Mosley, not in the purest sense. He would have been better off with Bob Arum. But as far as the jab goes, I doubt if Mosley would ever be using that jab. Ive never seen him consistently use it. He has a great jab… WHEN HE USES IT. And he doesnt use it enough. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. Mosley to me is a waste of potential. Hes a guy thats got all the skill but feels hes too tough to use those skills. As I said before this fight, hes not the smartest man in that ring when he fights. He tries too hard to show his physical strength, his ability to push people around. His bragging rights about 8 years ago was that he could squat over 400 lbs and bench 300. Sure, its impressive for a man his size. But whats the purpose? Youre not in the ring to bench press your opponent, youre there to outpunch him.

9) DaveB: I thought Mosley won the fight by a large margin. Mora did nothing except for in only a few rounds, but try to avoid contact. There was nothing but a lot of running around the ring which was not effective. He really stunk out the place by doing that. Mosley looked horrible too with his shuffling feet and that pawing jab, if you want to call it that. But Mosley did try to make a fight of it whereas Mora did not. Mora could have won the fight legitimately if he had of engaged Mosley once in a while. Every time someone does that and it is not up against the ropes Mosley freezes. There was no drama to the fight. Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley were totally bored along with Harold Lederman who all had Mosley winning by a large margin. Dave Bontempo for some strange reason had Mora winning. How people can have a guy winning that doesnt do anything is beyond me. Im afraid both Mosley and Mora will be back for title fights somewhere along the line. Mora should have made more of a statement on the big stage instead of just being happy to be there.

8) Bedbug Eddie Grant: Hopkins deserves credit as a fantastic salesman. As a fighter, hes not been enjoyable to watch for more than a dozen years. Hes an immensely safety-first, low-output feather-fisted guy that is a wily boxer. Calzaghe had him wincing and looking to quit. He beat a green and roly-poly Pavlik that was competing at an ill-advised catchweight of 170. What Hopkins will do is race-bait and create controversy in the build up to this charade, and then when he gets in the ring he employs his God-awful-to-watch style. Hopkins makes Derrick Gainer look like Jerry Quarry. Bottom line, Hopkins will snow some people into buying this thing, but I sure as hell wont be one of them. This guy is a part of the old guard that has wrecked the sport. Time for him to go, and when he does, I hope the door doesnt hit him in the a$s.
EM-Next time speak from the heart, tell us how you really feel, please.

7) Jerry: Not a great main event by any stretch but a solid undercard and three great KOs, Ill take last nights PPV over Mayweather vs Marquez, which is a solid main event and three terrible 1 sided undercard bouts. Golden Boy is the only promoter who gets it, puts on a solid top to bottom PPV instead of putting all the money into a big main event and having s–t and no names on the undercard. I thought the Marquez vs Diaz 2 entire PPV card was good and worth it as well, they have Marquez vs Katsidis coming up which is a barnburner and hopefully theyll stack the undercard like last night. Even Top Rank is using Kelley Pavlik and Mike Jones on the Pac vs Rito undercard. PPVs are far more fun when you have big names in interesting fights on the undercard, hats off to Golden Boy.
EM-Just to prove we are fair and balanced here, here was a comment from someone with a minority take…No, I will check this IP address to see if a GB employee sent this in, LOL. My take–Ill get onboard with you when the undercard bouts are pick ems. Ortiz and Canelo were both matched smart (read: they were heavy favorites against faded vets.)

6) In Touch: Hopkins was never an entertaining fighter even in his prime. He is skilled, sure, not a fan favorite. I enjoy watching talented fighters doing their thing. Little shifty moves and giving angles and rolling with the punches. But the way Hopkins fights… its to put the fans to sleep, then put his opponent to sleep (not by knocking him out, but by boring him to death). The Hopkins of current day is even more of a clutch and grab type of fighter than the Hopkins of, say, ten years ago. This fight is a pass for me. And is it good for the sports longterm growth? No! We MUST get the young bloods going. We need a young rising star. Manny Pacquiao only has a few fights left in him. After that we need a boxer to step up, to entertain and wow the crowds. Guys like Mosley and Hopkins need to call it a day.
EM-They will call it a day when the young uns force them out, violently. Mora didnt do that. Can Pascal?

5) Anony: I dont know if people notice it but the only thing impressive about Hopkins is the way he grabs and hold his opponents. So Im not willing to pay to watch him massage Pascal all night long. Sorry but Hopkins should not be asking money from us. It is time he pay us for watch him fight.
EM-The man is beyond frugal. My guess is he will not sending you a check.

4) Brownsugar: Shane always sets high (and sometimes unreasonable) expectations for himself. Otherwise why would he pick a fighter whos 10 years younger and naturally 10-15 pounds larger than himself? Moras not anything like the cement- footed Margarito who places a throw your punches here sign on his chin before every bout. Mora got legs, lots of em. Our continuous family b-day celebration nearly came to a screeching halt when the two combatants entered the ring because one of them didnt want to engage. The pineapple juice in my perfectly blended pina colada began to seperate from the coconut and rose to room temperature before I would sip from the cup again. The chorus of boos sounded like chin music being played to a broken romance. Shane reminded me more of Jake Lamotta than Sugar as he shoe-shined Moras body along the ropes. I give Shane an E for effort for digging down deep to prevent another loss on his record, but Mora could have won outright had he not been so tentative. Shane will continue to get major fights in the waning years of his career, but only as a highly decorated stepping stone like his spiritual blood-brother Holyfield. Telling himself over and over in the deep recesses of his mind, in a place that dwells next door to denial….. I can do it!

3) The Saint: Blame the folks who paid to watch Hopkins vs Jones 2. If that PPV was a flop, it wasnt a big enough flop to stop this fiasco. Hopkins vs Pascal involves at least one live fighter not on life support, and theres always the intrigue of Hopkins dismantling a much younger foe, or Father Time catching up with Hopkins. That should make it 10x more interesting than Hopkins-Jones II. However, people should boycott this PPV. Dawson has been calling out Hopkins for a couple of years and fans have been begging Hopkins to step up to the challenge to no avail. Then Hopkins sees in his estimation a more beatable style in Pascal and jumps on the opportunity. I hope things backfire on Hopkins in a major way.

2) Howard Cosell: This outcome is another farce! The most boring fight since Randall Tex Cobbs fiasco against Larry Holmes. Boring, boring, boring. Mora did not press any action so how could any judge give the fight to him? Pure highway robbery, and what about the political aspects of the nature of this bouts outcome. Mosley is a supposed Executive at GPB, Mora is just a recent signee, how in the devil does Mora receive the same clout as Mosley who is a future hall of famer? GBP shot themselves in the foot by matching up Mosley vs Mora; their greed is inexcusable. They picked up a mediocre payday in exchange for a huge payday by wasting Mosley in an ill-advised match against a slick boxer whos style made Mosley look bad….The whole promotion was utterly disgusting!…I always tell it like it is!
EM-And here I thought Mr Cosell had passed in 1995.

1) FeRoz: Shane is finished as the elite fighter we once knew. Nothing he does is even remotely close to how he fought in his glory years. He was exhausted half way through last nights fight; the gym rat in him still going through the motions to the very end. His hand speed is gone. His reflects all but shot. He is taking far too many shots. The man has dedicated his life to entertaining us in the ring. But this is a young mans game. There is only one Bernard Hopkins and even he has hit the wall. Shane has been training and fighting since before we knew him. I think I speak for all of us here when I say that I both respect and love this elegant warrior. He won that fight last night. Nevertheless, I do not want to see him fight again…and be further diminished. I wish he would stop. I know he wont. I dont think he knows how. For that, I am sorry.

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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PacquiaoClottey_Booth_6

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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