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10 Topics Of Conversation From The Cotto-Margarito PPV Party

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10 Topics Of Conversation From The Cotto-Margarito PPV Party – As I’ve noted in recent columns, I started a new job last month, and the workload is staggering. I don’t have time to shave more than once a week, I barely have time to wipe my hindquarters properly (if the workload gets any heavier, I’m going to have to sacrifice that one), and sadly, I don’t have time for my usual 3,500-word pay-per-view running diaries. So we’re going with a modified version—same vibe, less comprehensive, fewer words. It’s a top-10 list, focusing on topics of conversation between me, future Hall of Famer Nigel Collins, and semi-retired boxing writer Bill Dettloff at my Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II pay-per-view party this past Saturday night. In approximately chronological order, here we go:

1. “Mediocre Mike”

Back in 2009, when Mike Jones couldn’t land a date on HBO or its pay-per-view arm, a legend was spreading about one of boxing’s brightest prospects, a young fighter the major networks were crazy to ignore. Saturday’s fight against Sebastian Lujan provided the latest bit of evidence that the reality doesn’t live up to the legend. As Jones worked his way to a credible but forgettable decision win over Lujan, Nigel dubbed him “Mediocre Mike,” which sounds about right to me. Just because a guy looks the part, that doesn’t mean he can play it. Jones is a solid boxer, a worthy top-10 contender, but he’s not showing me anything to suggest he’ll ever be a star. If the PPV watchers are spending more time marveling over how much your opponent looks like a tattoo-less Cotto than talking about you, that’s not a good sign.

2. Mrs. Cotto’s cleavage

When you see excessive cleavage in person, as Jerry and George taught us, you glance quickly and then you look away. A poke means a peek. But when you’re watching it on TV, you can go ahead and stare at the sun as long as you want. And you can definitely feel free to make crass remarks with your buddies. Melissa Cotto chose to display her assets very prominently, so we chose to ogle, insult, and eventually throw her into a game of “[Expletive], Marry, Kill” with Margarito’s wife and Jinkee Pacquiao. Sorry, Mrs. Cotto, that’s what you get when you show up for the fights dressed like you’re on call to feed newborn quadruplets.

3. Commentators wrapped up

I’m not going to disparage the broadcast crew of Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Emanuel Steward; they were just doing their jobs by reporting throughout the night on the various New York State Athletic Commission-induced stupidities going on behind the scenes. The HBO cameras got great footage of what felt like a terrible pre-match pro wrestling skit, with some commission yutz hilariously referencing “Naazim whatever his name is.” And Steward made a very astute point a short while later about how closely Margarito was watching Robert Garcia wrap his hands, implying that if Javier Capetillo ever put anything in his wraps, Margarito would damned sure know about it. Unfortunately, while all of this was going on, there was an entertaining, hard-fought battle going on in the ring between Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak, and the commentators were missing key moments as they talked endlessly about hand-wrap-related topics. I’m not sure exactly how they were supposed to balance everything. I don’t have all the answers. I just know that in my living room, there were three frustrated fight fans trying to, you know, watch a fight.

4. Dettloff’s Duds

Bill strolled into my house determined to redefine 21st century fight-watching fashion, strutting down the interior hallway/catwalk sporting the look known as “Freddie Roach On The Top / Gary Shaw On The Bottom.” (Please, no jokes about preferred bedroom positions, okay?) Bill was sporting his self-styled “nerd glasses,” and with his hair having pretty much completed the transformation from reddish-blond to whitish-blond, he was a dead ringer for Coach Roach from the neck up. But from the neck down, he was comfortable as can be in a Sweatsedo. Bill doesn’t have Shaw’s physique, mind you. But with hard work behind the fork and knife, he can get there.

5. “Power Warlock”

Credit to regular reader and podcast listener (and occasional live-fight press-row stalker) Corey Lambert for tweeting this Atlas-ism to us during the Rodriguez-Wolak fight, reminding us of Teddy’s unintentional nickname for the Polish-American slugger. Probably the most enjoyable part of watching this solid action fight was during the final three minutes, when my Ring Theory “Quick Picks” competition with Bill sparked impassioned rooting. Bill wanted Wolak to last the distance and lose a decision; I could have been helped by Rodriguez getting the stoppage. It looked like it might come, but alas, Wolak held on and heard the final bell. I am now one point behind after 11-plus months of picking fights. It’s going to be a thrilling December. And I say that with both extreme seriousness (for me, Bill, and our devoted listeners) and extreme sarcasm (for the rest of the boxing world that wishes I would shut up about Quick Picks already).

6. Buffer loves him some Buffer

I’d never noticed this before (someone on Twitter claimed he’d done it at last month’s Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight too), but Michael Buffer is now reading off of index cards with a picture on the back of, you guessed it, Michael Buffer. Thank goodness the International Boxing Hall of Fame threw Buffer that bone this week and announced his impending induction. He desperately needed the boost to his flagging self-esteem.

7. A fine time for a photo op or phone call

I don’t know about you, but when I’m 45 minutes away from one of the most important—and physically perilous—moments of my career, and I’m trying to warm up and get in the zone for it, that’s probably not the best time for random photo ops and phone chats. Come see me three hours before the fight. Or after it’s over. But not when I’m finishing my final preparations. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Carmelo Anthony. And you, Swizz Beatz, you apparently famous hip-hop industry person whom I’d never heard of prior to Saturday night. And you, first lady of Mexico, whatever your name is. That Cotto and Margarito had to take breaks in the final hour before the fight for public-relations opportunities says sad things about the respect boxers are afforded and/or the lack of consideration for others from our celebrities.

8. Darchinyan defeats Rios

That little headline probably makes no sense whatsoever to you, so allow me to explain: While the rehydrated and revived corpse of Brandon Rios was putting the finishing touches on a bloody John Murray live on the big screen in front of us, Nigel, Bill, and I allowed ourselves to be distracted by the images on the computer screen on my lap, which showed Vic Darchinyan on a French game show, dressed as a mouse, running for his life in some sort of a showdown with a live bull. Nothing against the Rios-Murray fight, but this wasn’t even a contest. Vic nearly getting gored and hiding inside a giant fake wedge of cheese wins the battle for our attention every time.

9. A very braid-y Margarito

Dettloff isn’t the only one whose stylistic choices went under the microscope on Saturday night. Much discussion was also devoted to Margarito’s decision to take his long, douchey hair and put it in little, douchey braids. The verdict: No matter what he does, Margarito looks like a douche. But at least his hair didn’t get in his eyes during the fight.

10. “Just to look at him and taste my victory on him”

The Cotto-Margarito fight was fairly entertaining (if not nearly as thrilling and dramatic as their first fight) and, on the whole, satisfying. But what really stood out was Cotto’s postfight interview with Max Kellerman, where the Puerto Rican hero took advantage of the right, which he had fully earned, to be somewhat smug. When asked why he walked over to Margarito’s corner afterward, Cotto responded with the quote above. Unfortunately, the victory was mildly tainted, from my perspective. In the third round, Margarito’s surgically “repaired” right eye swelled shut, and that affected his ability to fight with Cotto on even terms. I’m not saying Cotto wouldn’t have won the fight regardless, but I’m just saying his victory was aided by his opponent’s compromised state entering the fight. And on top of that, the stoppage was somewhat debatable; certainly, Margarito was willing to fight on. Then again, if not for the controversy over the stoppage, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of a postfight interview with a ringside doctor who seemed like a Christopher Guest character in a mockumentary, complete with turtleneck and tweed blazer. (Hey, Dettloff, I think we’ve found your look for the next pay-per-view party.)

Eric Raskin can be contacted at RaskinBoxing@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at http://ringtheory.podbean.com.

10 Topics Of Conversation From The Cotto-Margarito PPV Party / Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

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Terence Crawford Has Conquered the World, and Now He’s Won Over Nebraska

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It was a day of even more anguish for Nebraskans, making for a night of even more exultation in a state where boxing – or, at least a particular boxer – is emerging as a hero and much-needed source of pride for citizens left wondering about the sorry state of the once-mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Hours after those Cornhuskers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, blowing a 10-point lead in the final 5 minutes, 21 seconds to fall 34-31 in overtime at Northwestern and begin a college football season 0-6 for the first time in program history, WBO welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford defended his title with panache and power, stopping previously undefeated challenger Jose Benavidez, Jr. in the 12th round to buttress his argument that he is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. There are still pockets of resistance to his claim to that designation, of course, but none coming from the ESPN broadcast crew of Joe Tessitore, Timothy Bradley Jr. and Mark Kriegel, all of whom intermittently offered their opinion that the switch-hitting Omaha resident has now firmly established himself as best of the best.

The 31-year-old Crawford’s latest bravura performance was met with shouted hosannas of approval from the sellout crowd of 13,323 in Omaha’s CHI Health Center, a record for a boxing event in Nebraska, and a stark contrast to the burgeoning sense of panic among Cornhusker partisans, who have to be wondering who these impostors in the red-and-white uniforms are.

Crawford grew up in a poor section of Omaha as an avid Nebraska fan, and after his latest demonstration of nimble footwork, fast, accurate hands and surprising power you could hardly blame his fellow home-state citizens from wondering if he might be persuaded to enroll at NU and play quarterback for his floundering favorite team. The ability to finish strong, taking the fight even harder to Benavidez in the final round when the more prudent move might have been to simply run out the clock, stamps Crawford as the pugilistic equivalent of Tommie Frazier, the option master who led the Huskers to back-to-back national championships in 1994 and ’95. But even the legendary Frazier wasn’t perfect; he was 43-3 as a starter during his four-year college career. Crawford, now 34-0 with 25 wins inside the distance, has a vision of someday retiring undefeated, a goal that at this stage seems entirely reasonable.

Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum, Crawford’s promoter, cited the fighter’s 12th-round mugging of Benavidez, the key blow being a ripping right uppercut that he had hidden up his figurative sleeve like a card sharp’s ace, as proof that the three-division world champion is indeed separate and above the madding crowd.

“Most fighters today, in that position, having clearly won the fight, would back off in the 12th round, not take any chances and run out the clock,” Arum said. “Not him. He’s a performer. He wanted to close the show, and that’s what he did. That’s what makes him special. That is not the mindset most (other fighters) have. But Terence is a showman. He wants to make a statement.”

He especially wanted to make it, and as loudly as possible, against the mouthy Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs), who has been talking smack about Crawford for months and gave him a hard shove at Friday’s weigh-in, which precipitated a retaliatory right hook from the champion. It missed, thankfully, but no matter. Crawford landed plenty of shots that did when it mattered, smoothly alternating, as always, from an orthodox stance to southpaw and back again.

“We just took our time today,” Crawford said, referring to himself in the plural rather than the singular, a nod toward his support team, most notably manager-trainer Brian McIntyre. “Everything that went on this week, he was trying to get in my head, wanting me to have a firefight with him. I knew if we got in a rhythm we could do whatever we wanted, and that’s what we did.

“He made me work in the early rounds. He was trying to counter me, working on my distance. I couldn’t figure it out at first. But once I got my distance, it was a rout from there.”

Maybe the rout evolved methodically and in a controlled fashion because that’s what Crawford, who had vowed to “punish” Benavidez for his impertinence, had in mind all along. He is a man of his word, and, also as he had vowed, he declined to touch gloves with Benavidez or to offer even a halfhearted hug after the final bell. No surprise there; like fellow Omaha native Bob Gibson, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Hall of Fame pitcher, he regards all opponents as the enemy and thus off-limits to fraternization of any kind.

What about that kept-in-reserve uppercut, which sent Benavidez tumbling awkwardly to the canvas and in obvious distress?

“I’d been seeing it rounds and rounds ahead of time,” said Crawford, who is now 5-0 in Omaha and 6-0 in  Nebraska, counting a sole appearance in Lincoln. “I seen him pulling back,but then he stopped pulling back so I started leaning more and more because I was touching him to the body. Then I threw the shot, and it landed.”

For those with a need to crunch numbers, official scorecards through 11 completed rounds all had the overwhelming wagering choice – Crawford went off at minus-3,000, or a 1-to-30 favorite – winning big on the scorecards tallied by judges Levi Martinez (110-99), Robert Hecko (108-101) and Glenn Feldman (107-102). Punch statistics furnished by CompuBox also were conclusive if not necessarily off-the-charts, with Crawford landing 186 of 579, a decent but not overly so 32.1 percent, to 92 of 501 (18.4 percent) for the outclassed but game Benavidez. But boxing is basically  an art form, not math, and like all artists Crawford is more about aesthetic impression than raw data.

For his part, Benavidez, who had promised to “shock the world” by “exposing” Crawford, figured he had done as well, if not better, than most of Bud’s previous victims.

“I gave him a hell of a fight,” Benavidez reasoned. “But I got tired. Boxing, you know. I was pretty impressive. I wanted to give the fans a fight that they paid to come watch. I know he didn’t think I would be that good.

“I take nothing from him. He’s the best of the best for a reason. He’s a good fighter, you know? But I’m a good fighter, too. I had that fight close.”

In the co-featured bout, 21-year-old featherweight Shakur Stevenson (9-0, 5 KOs), a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was much more dynamic than he had been in scoring a relatively pedestrian eight-round unanimous decision over Carlos Ruiz on Aug. 18 in Atlantic City, blasting out Romanian veteran Viorel Simion (21-3, 9 KOs) in one round. The southpaw Stevenson’s weapon of choice was the right hook, which he used to telling effect to floor Simion three times, prompting referee Curtis Thrasher to wave the bout off after an elapsed time of three minutes.

Simion, a 36-year-old Romanian whose previous losses were to former world champions Lee Selby and Scott Quigg, was penciled last in as a replacement for the injured Duarn Vuc, had never been stopped in his 12-year pro career and he looked askance at Thrasher, as if disbelieving that he would not be given the opportunity to fight his way out of trouble in the scheduled  10-rounder.  But, his legs still wobbly, he was not pleading a winnable case.

“My power was here tonight, and my speed,” said Stevenson, who claimed the vacant WBC Continental Americas 126-pound title. “Ain’t too much more that I can work on, but I’m going to keep staying sharp and get right back in the gym.”

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Close Early, Then All Crawford

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Terence “Bud” Crawford stopped Jose Benavidez, Jr at 2:42 of the 12th round. Benavidez came in with an unblemished record of 27-0. That run of success came to a screeching halt tonight. For the first half of the bout, Benavidez didn’t fight like the 20/1 underdog that the odds reflected in gaming shops across the globe. He made a good accounting for himself during the first six rounds, however the same can’t be said for the remainder of the fight, as Crawford dominated from the midway point on. It was the beginning of the end with Crawford landing a picture perfect uppercut that found it’s mark late in the final stanza. While Benavidez deserves credit for getting back to his feet, he only managed to prolong the inevitable for a handful of seconds more. Crawford goes to 34-0, with 25 by KO.

Story to follow.

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Kerobyan and Hovannisyan Score KO Wins in L.A.

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LOS ANGELES-Super welterweight prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan didn’t waste time and drilled Mexico’s Rolando Mendivil in less than a minute to win by knockout on Friday.

Kerobyan doesn’t get paid by the minute.

The North Hollywood fighter Kerobyan (11-0, 6 KOs) brought a large crowd to the Belasco Theater and didn’t give them much time to cheer as he blasted out Mendivil (10-6, 3 KOs) with an all-out attack.

Mendival never had a chance.

Kerobyan immediately connected with a three-punch combination capped with a left hook that dropped Mendivil in the first 15 seconds of the opening frame. The Mexican fighter got up and when the fight resumed Kerobyan clobbered Mendivil with a right cross and down he went on a knee. Referee Lou Moret had seen enough and stopped the fight at 49 seconds of the first round.

“I felt great. I never like to say that a fight is easy. I just make it look easy,” said Kerobyan. “I’m proud of my performance. I showed that I’m a warrior. I’m looking for bigger and better names. I want eight and 10 round fights only.”

In the co-main event, Azat Hovannisyan (15-3, 12 KOs) blitzed Colombia’s Jesus Martinez from the opening bell with an offensive attack void of any defense. He didn’t need any for the Colombian who was in full retreat until the fight was stopped. Hovannisyan unloaded a three-punch combination that included a left hook chaser and down went Martinez at 30 seconds into the fourth round of their super bantamweight clash.

“I feel stronger than ever before,” said Hovhannisyan. “Whatever has happened in the past is past. I’m ready for a world title fight. I know I still have a lot left in the tank.”

Other bouts

Richard “The Kansas Kid” Acevedo (4-0, 4 KOs) battered Mexico’s Javier Olvera (2-2, 1 KO) and ended the fight with three straight rights to the gut and head. Olvera flailed a few punches but other than that, it was all Acevedo as the fight ended at 2:30 of the first round of the super welterweight match.

Rudy “El Tiburon” Garcia (9-0, 1 KO) couldn’t miss with the left hook through all six rounds against Houston’s David Perez (10-5, 5 KOs) in their super bantamweight clash. Garcia fights out of L.A. but there was no hometown bias in this fight. He simply connected more with flush shots in every round. Perez showed a good chin and was never stunned or hurt. One judge scored it 59-56, the other two 60-54 all for Garcia.

David Mijares (6-0,3 KOs) won a hard fought split decision over Michael Meyers (2-1, 2 KOs) after four rounds in a super lightweight match. It had been over a year since Mijares had last fought, but the Pasadena fighter survived a last round knockdown and found a way past the strong Myers in winning the split decision 37-38, 38-37 twice.

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