BoxingWatchers.com 2007 Fight of the Year: Vazquez-Marquez II

Since boxing history is full of exciting rematches and trilogies, it's hardly surprising that two men could put on a pair of Fight of the Year candidates in a single calendar year. That being said, there's no question that something special happened each time Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez faced off in 2007.

Far too often today's fights seem to please either action fans or purists while alienating the other group, but the first Vazquez-Marquez showdown in March was a treat for everyone. Closely fought from the get-go, Vazquez seemed to hold a narrow lead after seven rounds. One problem: a Marquez punch smashed his nose, and Israel was unable to continue.

When the rematch was scheduled for August, the obvious but inevitable question became whether or not the sequel could live up to the original. Both men delivered in spades, trading shots over six hard-fought rounds until Vazquez avenged his defeat with a KO. It was, as my brother Uatu put it, pretty rare to see two boxers with such high skill levels hit each other so hard and so often.

Naturally, the rubber match scheduled for March 2008 is highly anticipated, and with two close, exciting fights already in the books, it's really anyone's guess what might happen. That should pretty much sum up why Vazquez-Marquez II is BoxingWatchers.com's 2007 Fight of the Year.

Honorable Mention: If you wanted to hear 10,000 fans sound like 100,000, all you needed to do was be inside Boardwalk Hall for Taylor-Pavlik. A sizable contingent of The Ghost's supporters were on hand, but plenty of people cheered when the then-undefeated middleweight champion sent Pavlik to the mat early in the fight.

Of course Pavlik and his fans cheered last, and everyone on hand agreed it was a hell of a fight. And lest we dismiss it as just a slugfest, let's not forget that Taylor showed some nice boxing skills as well - he was ahead on all three cards when he was knocked out in the seventh. The return engagement will take place in Vegas in February, and the MGM Grand can only hope for the same atmosphere.

Another fight that paired two talented boxers in their primes but simply lacked the drama of the two fights above was Calzaghe-Kessler. The two undefeated Europeans squared off in a very well-fought bout, and the four and five-point margins on the judges' cards may not entirely reflect how hard Kessler made Calzaghe work for his win. Joe may need any lessons he learned if he ever lands the fight he wants with Bernard Hopkins.

Special "Most Like a Video Game" Honor: Bika-Codrington - Contender Season 3 Finale. I love EA's Fight Night series of video games, but the two-way bombs that land in the electronic world simply don't happen in real life. At least that's what I thought until I watched Sakio Bika and Jaidon Codrington connect with an insane number of power shots. No one watching learned anything about the fundamentals of boxing, but the fight completely blew away expectations and was absolutely enthralling television.


BoxingWatchers.com 2007 Fighter of the Year: Kelly Pavlik

In a year that turned out to be good for a lot of people associated with the sport of boxing, it was especially sweet for the pride of Youngstown, Ohio, Kelly Pavlik.

Three trips to the ring, three KO victories. It doesn't get much better than that, especially when his second fight (versus Edison Miranda) was an action-packed fight of the year candidate. Except maybe for his third fight, which was even better and saw him get up off the canvas to take the middleweight crown from Jermain Taylor - who just so happened to be undefeated and survived three total fights against Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright without a loss.

That's impressive stuff any way you look at it. Even better, the success doesn't seem to have gone to his head. He still comes across as thoughtful and likable, with a work ethic that is a true reflection of his hometown. So while Ricky Hatton's followers take the crown for pure fanaticism,
Pavlik's growing throng of fans may be just as loyal. Just ask anyone who saw the ridiculous number of Team Pavlik shirts walking around Atlantic City the day of the Taylor fight.

Except for an appropriate nickname (The Ghost makes him sound like he should be a defensive wizard), Pavlik has everything you like to see in a champion: skill, power, heart and a down-to-earth personality. For all of those qualities and his success in the ring, he's BoxingWatchers.com's 2007 Fighter of the Year.

Honorable Mention: From a financial standpoint, Floyd Mayweather Jr. had 2007 locked down. The owner of the most natural talent in the sport handled his business in his mega-fight with Oscar De La Hoya, then proved he could serve as the marquee name and still do big business when he KO'ed Hatton.

Mayweather has always been a stellar boxer, but only recently has he put thw whole package together. He's come a long way from whining about his lack of fame, and he's learned how to sell himself and his fights. He can turn on the charm when necessary or fall back into the villain role he seems to relish.

Sure we'd love to see him challenge himself more, but he doesn't have to do that thanks to his newfound understanding of what really drives the big-time fight game. Here's a hint: it's the same word as his new nickname.

Fans who like their fighters to have more warrior in them than showman got to witness the continuing rise of Miguel Cotto. The man in the top spot in this site's power rankings had almost as nice a year as Pavlik, knocking out Oktay Urkal and Zab Judah and earning a tight but unanimous decision over Shane Mosley.

Though always known to have power and toughness, critics seemed to doubt his overall skill level before this year. The Mosley fight dismissed most of those questions, bringing out the full range of Cotto's impressive skills.

Undefeated and seemingly in his prime, Cotto doesn't have a big fight lined up yet for 2008. When it does come, he'll be riding a wave of momentum from his excellent year in 2007.


Season Premier of Friday Night Fights - Roy Jones on the Set

It is Uatu's sworn duty to watch and report back about the sport of boxing as he sees it. Sometimes he gets to watch a Pavlik-Taylor or a Pretty Boy-Hatton, sometimes he has to watch Friday Night Fights on ESPN so you don't have to. Tonight's main event is Guinn vs. Hawkins. As with a lot of the shows, the in-studio guest will probably be better than the fights. Today it is Mr. Unknockoutable, Body Head Entertainment's and Square Ring's own, Ya'll must've forgot, Roy Jones, Jr.

Roy is having fun with boxing again. He has 'refound' himself. He practiced with the Knicks today. He gave them a pep talk and shot around with them. Roy told them that all professional athletes go through low points, and if they believe and have faith, they can turn their season around. Uatu actually enjoyed Roy's contributions to HBO back when he was a commentator for them. Uatu thought he was great on HBO and was frank and honest.

Sargeant vs. Woods is up first. 8 rounds from the River Rock Casino.
Big right hand! Woods goes down and is in trouble in round one.
Announcers say this is the third straight time that Woods has been on FNF and has been hurt in the first round.

Tons of unanswered power shots from Sargeant in the second. Surprising there was no stoppage.

In Round 4 Atlas says Woods's legs look like the pasta he had last night.
Both fighters really putting it on the line.
Gritty stuff considering the stakes.
Woods won't quit.

Woods's trainer stops the fight? Or maybe the ref. Either way the right move. TKO win by Sargeant. Looks like the ref made the stoppage.

Back to the KFC studios. Roy likes the stoppage. Roy thinks the ref did a great job. Brian Kenny and Uatu agree.

Discussion goes to Roy's big fight with Tito.
Discuss his fight over the Prince in Idaho. That was just to reassure himself.
Then he took on an undefeated young fighter and took down Henshaw.
Roy doesn't fight bums. It's a waste of his time and his fans time.
He wants to entertain and can't fight a nobody.
They are showing great Roy and Tito highlights over the years.
David Reid and Fernando Vargas go down hard.

Roy was impressed with Tito's win over Mayorga. He believes the time off will really help Tito. Roy says he is excited and this is what he loves.
Only God has a timetable for him he says.

BK says Roy is glowing right now.
Roy says he had to go back down from heavyweight and win the Light Heavyweight championship again for the history of it.
Roy says that he and Bernard have not actually been seriously negotiating over the years.
Roy says Bernard wants no part of him.
He offered him 60-40 a number of years ago and Bernard said Don King would take too much so Bernard said no.
Roy offered him twice as much as Bernard got to fight Tarver, but Bernard still fought Tarver instead.
Then the Winky fight came around and Bernard took that instead. Roy says B-Hop really didn't want to fight him.
Bernard doesn't interest him because Bernard's not serious about fighting him.
Roy would go to fight JoeCal at 168 in England.
Ricky came here so Roy will go there.

Tyson vs. Ortiz is up next. It's Byron not Mike.
Ortiz has a big cut.
Ortiz goes down from a low blow and is getting recovery time.

Ortiz literally trips Tyson. He gets a warning from the ref.

They show footage from the Atlas Foundation Dinner in November. Lots of celebs. Gerry Cooney, Lou Duva, Michael Moorer, Curtis Martin, Eric Mangini, Bill Parcells, and Paulie Walnuts among others.

Ortiz takes a knee on purpose, but with no punch! Strange. So there's no eight count?
The ref DQ's Ortiz for his various shenenigans. Too many fouls as Ortiz hit in the back in the head.

Back to the studio.
Roy's favorite fight of the year: The Contender fight was the best fight, but PBF-Hatton was more hype and for boxing fans it should be the fight of the year, and he is a PBF fan.
Roy breaks down the fight. PBF fought with smarts, got Hatton revved up and took advantage of it. He fought a beautiful and smart fight.
He thinks the ref being so active gave Floyd some small advantage and the ref warned Hatton for nothing, but Floyd was in control anyway and would have won anyway.
Roy says unlike MMA, if you lose once the fans throw you in the trash heap. That's why Bernard and Floyd fight so cautiously. Roy says that is just smart boxing, and along the way PBF is pecking at his opponents, he is wearing his opponents like Hatton down. He says Bernard can be boring at times.

They then show vintage highlights of RJJ vs. Toney.
He says he was way too fast for Toney and entertained the fans by being right in his face the whole time.
Roy says his speed has never left. Not even the speed from his lead right hand from '94. He surprises himself with his speed even right now in training.
"Pensacola is still in the house, don't let it fool you!"

Uatu was doing some thinking and he figures he has seen Guinn fight on TV possibly close to ten times! That's as many times as Uatu has seen many of the top-flight boxers in the world. Were Grant, Toney, Thompson, Harrison, Chambers, Lawrence, Barrett, Lyakovich and Hawkins all on TV? A lot of those definitely were. Just goes to show the fact that heavyweights still catch all the breaks and exposure.

Guinn vs. Hawkins. 10 rounds.

During the fight they show a promo of some motorcross dude named Robbie Madison who on New Year's is going to jump the distance of football field on his motorcycle. Neat.

Guinn is not throwing his hands much. If you have seen any of those above mentioned fights, you know that this can often be his M.O. 3 rounds done, not much to say.

Roy time as guest analyst during the fight.
Roy would tell Guinn that he has to let his hands go. Too methodical. He fights like a robot. He is not going to win like this, his opponent is out in front of him. Atlas asks what is wrong with Guinn mentally. Roy says he doesn't understand it. He says he looks like he doesn't want to be hit. Atlas goes through his "silent agreement" bit, and Roy agrees that Guinn has made such an agreement.

Ronnie Shields talking now.
Guinn is not doing anything on the outside according to him.

Looking over the upcoming FNF schedule, Uatu does not foresee himself reporting on all of those fights. Per the legend of Uatu, he is traditionally only to appear at moments of great significance to watch and record. These fights certainly are not all of great significance.

Hard to say who is winning. Not many punches of great value.

Wow. In the ongoing MMA explosion, Uatu notices on his TV Guide that the next UFC preview show is on MTV. Surprising perhaps, but considering during the wrestling explosion that the WWE was on MTV, it isn't. MMA is the new poker, which was the new wrestling. Sure, MMA is here to stay and deservedly so. Doubtful that MTV will be a long term partner though.

Cotto-Mosley being replayed tonight as well. Great fight with lots of drama the first time, but with no knockdowns or classic individual rounds.

Atlas has Hawkins up 70-65 after 7 rounds. Hawkins has done a little more. Both announcers agree that Guinn cannot win by decision at this point.

Guinn has six minutes left to make his career turnaround per Tessitore.

Atlas has been preaching distance the whole fight. Guinn could score a knockout, but he needs distance. He has been disappointed with the fact that Guinn hasn't been fighting from a distance.
Every round up to this point has almost been exactly the same.

Punch Track - Guinn - 117 landed Hawkins - 221
the scores:
97-93, 99-91, 100-90 - all for the winner by unanimous decision- Robert "Big Philly" Hawkins!

Back to Roy
most likely scenario when the bell rings for Roy vs. tito
Roy is talking way too fast to keep up.
Hilarious break down of the pre-fight and first three rounds.
"Round fo', he's got to go."
Roy repeats again that if Bernard and Joe can't make a fight Roy is going to go to Wales in front of 50,000 fans to fight Joe.
Roy Jones was great in-studio, no surprise.


Franchise Thoughts: Floyd Mayweather to MMA?

I know the Christmas-New Year's season is almost upon us, but I checked the top headlines on ESPN.com tonight after coming home from work and had to check my calendar to make sure it didn't read April 1.

Many of you probably already saw it, but in case you didn't, here's the headline: "Mayweather mulls MMA move in deal with Cuban." Apparently, it's not a joke.

That's not to say that there isn't comedy to be found anywhere in the article. Check out this quote from Leonard Ellerbe, PBF's "adviser and best friend":
"Floyd is about taking on challenges," Ellerbe said. "This ain't some kind of prank. That is one of many things we've talked about with Mark. Floyd would have to take time to really understand it, but it is most definitely something he is interested in."
Um, right, Mayweather is all about the challenges. Ricky Hatton was the best welterweight he could have possibly fought, and the division is now cleaned out. Sorry Miguel Cotto, Paul Williams, Kermit Cintron, etc. You guys just don't provide any challenges for Floyd!

A more telling quote comes from Floyd's new best buddy - and Dancing With the Stars co-contestant - Mark Cuban:
"Floyd is a brilliant marketer. He follows the money."
Ah, now we've arrived at the truth. There's a reason Floyd wants to be called Money - he does, indeed, know how to market and follow the cash. He was savvy enough to sell the fight with Hatton as a big challenge, knowing inside it was a relatively low risk, because he knew it needed that element of danger to sell tickets and PPV buys.

And where is the money in fight sports right now? Why, mixed martial arts, of course. So in its own perverse way, it makes perfect sense that Mayweather may want to get involved.

There's nothing wrong with that, by the way. If Floyd is more interested in becoming the biggest star he can be, instead of trying to become the best boxer he can be, he's got every right to do it, and more power to him.

Let's not kid ourselves though. If Floyd ever steps into an MMA ring/cage/whatever, it will be on his terms just like everything in his recent career. The ESPN article references boxers like Ray Mercer and Frans Botha who tried MMA with little success, but I'm guessing a more apt comparison would be Tommy Morrison. "The Duke" participated in a fight in June that could only be called mixed martial arts using the very broadest definition - the special rules were tilted heavily in his favor - and his opponent was a nobody. A Mayweather event for HDNet Fights would likely be even more of a circus.

People would probably watch, maybe even lots of people, which would be a boon for both Floyd and Cuban. Hell, I might even watch, because this is BoxingWatchers.com, and Mayweather is the most naturally gifted boxer on the planet today.

At least, he is when he's not pushing his inner boxer to the back burner in favor of his inner star.


PPV Numbers for Undefeated

According to a press relase from HBO PPV, 'Undefeated' did 850,000 buys. A good number, no doubt, but as Uatu predicted, well under the 1 million buy mark. Still an impressive year for both HBO and the Pretty Boy. For HBO, eight events, selling 4.8 million buys, and generating $255 million in revenue.


BoxingWatchers.com Boxing Power Rankings - December 2007

With no important fights until January, consider these the final rankings for 2007. I made some adjustments to the formula to more accurately reflect (hopefully) the level of competition each fighter has faced over the last three years. Thus, some fighters may have moved down even without fighting (sorry Punisher!). It's a work in progress, no doubt.

Please remember that these rankings reflect a boxer's recent body of work more than his skill level - that's why B-Hop is absent, for example. For a more thorough explanation of how our rankings work, check out the post helpfully entitled How Our Rankings Work.

Without further ado...

1. Miguel Cotto - 22.38 - Won some more admirers by beating Shane Mosley. He's tough, has power and underrated boxing skills. Oh yeah, he also knocks a lot of people out. Welcome to the top spot.

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr. - 18.10 - Surprised many (including this writer) by knocking out Hatton. The win was no surprise, though, and it doesn't look like he has much interest in fighting the gentleman above him here. Shame.

3. Kelly Pavlik - 17.98 - Downgraded slightly for his level of competition, but that doesn't make his KO of Jermain Taylor any less impressive. A repeat performance in '08 could put him right back on top.

4. Israel Vazquez - 17.78 - The lightest guy on this list. Hey, we had to draw the line somewhere.

5. Wladimir Klitschko - 16.50 - Uatu doesn't like that he's on this list at all. He deserves it because of his performances, but the heavyweight division is still sad.

6. Juan Diaz - 16.38 - Don't sleep on his upcoming bout with Michael Katsidis.

7. Manny Pacquiao - 14.45 - Getting ready for a monster rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez. I thought he lost the first one, but he's improved a lot since then.

8. Joe Calzaghe - 14.21 - Calling out The Executioner is a pretty dumb move for most boxers. But most boxers aren't as good as Calzaghe...

9. Chad Dawson - 14.14 - "Bad Chad" has the misfortune of being in a fairly crappy weight class - depending on whether or not you consider Hopkins a light heavyweight. Dawson may get some more love if he knocks out Glen Johnson in his next fight.

10. Antonio Margarito - 13.34 - Rebounded nicely from his loss to Paul Williams.

The next 7: Arthur Abraham, Ricky Hatton, Paul Williams, Junior Witter, Chris John, Kermit Cintron, Juan Manuel Marquez


Some Thoughts

Hatton - PBF is not going to be duplicated in terms of excitement in the promotion any time soon. It was the perfect storm of the undefeated, pound for pound number one, as the B side villian, flashy in fighting style and lifestyle, cocky and larger than life, against a foreign (to the US) hugely popular home town, blue collar brawler from a large industrial city who was also undefeated and well respected and ranked world wide - very down to earth and one of the guys. PBF-Cotto could be similar, but has less of a true international flair. No individual fighter has near the rabid following of Hatton. The weigh-in had more energy to it than a lot of championship fights have had. And when Hatton comes out to "Blue Moon" and the crowd sings along, that electricity is unbelievable. Uatu must admit he has become a huge Ricky Hatton fan after this fight. Not so much because of Hatton the fighter, but because of Hatton the attraction and spectacle. This is after not really caring much about him after the Urango, Castillo, and Collazo fights.

Skip Bayless on First Take on ESPN2 said he thought Mayweather was overrated. He said if you go down his resume, his wins weren't that great. Gatti was a shell, Hatton was too small. He said that Oscar was only for a payday and then suspiciously he became a promoter of Pretty Boy in his next fight. The Two Live Stews supported Mayweather and were at the fight. Or at least one of them was.

Per 610wip the new class of IBHOFamers was announced and Larry "the Easton Assassin" Holmes is in.


Twenty-Twenty Hindsight - December 10, 2007 - Mayweather-Hatton, Jeff Lacy and More

I've decided to change the name of my look back at the weekend that was in boxing to celebrate something that happens more often in the sweet science than in any other sport. As fans and observers, we're constantly changing our opinions after the fact. Even things we "knew" going into the fights are often fluid.

In the rush to coronate Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the greatest ever, or even the greatest boxer today, we shouldn't lose sight of what he's really about. His new, self-given nickname makes it perfectly clear: he's about the money. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, since boxing is his job. We just need to keep in mind that Floyd is more interested in being a star than he is in proving himself the best - especially since he's already convinced himself he is the best.

So no, we're not going to see him fight Miguel Cotto or Paul Williams or any fights he could actually, you know, lose. There's not as much money in them as the fight he just took, and Pretty Boy knows it. Ricky Hatton provided the perfect opponent at the perfect time, as his rabid fans helped add to the financial side of the fight while his aggressive style made gave many experts just the slightest hope he may have a chance to win.

As we saw, that hope was largely unfounded. The Hitman succeeded in making it an ugly fight at times, but once Mayweather made some adjustments there was really not much drama. The fact that one judge gave Hatton only one round at the time he was knocked out tells you that he wasn't really in the fight.

The HBO announcers made the assertion that Hatton brought out the best in Mayweather, but that's an exaggeration. He made Floyd fight a little differently than he's fought in the past, but did he really push him? I don't think so, and I'm not sure we'll ever see Money in a fight that will reveal the full nature of his tremendous skills.

That's because PBF's best skill is knowing exactly what fights to take to realize his own goals. He's become the heir apparent to Roy Jones Jr. in that regard, racking up wins and making money while putting himself in very little actual danger. You've got to admire him for the way he's transformed himself into what he really wanted to be all along - a star - even as you wish he'd really push himself further.

There was an undercard on Saturday too, it just wasn't a very good one. Daniel Ponce de Leon looks like he is trying to learn how to become an actual boxer, but in the process he drained most of the excitement out of his fight. Let's hope he figures out a way to round out his game while retaining the combination of aggressiveness and power that marked the early stages of his career.

Jeff Lacy also was less than scintillating, and two of the three BoxingWatchers.com staffers actually scored his fight for his opponent. Is he, as the HBO announcers seemed to hope, just shaking the ring rust off following his serious shoulder surgery? Perhaps, but if he fights future fights the way he did Saturday night, he's much more likely to be used as a stepping stone for up-and-coming fighters than he is to make a serious comeback of his own.


Round by Round: Mayweather vs. Hatton

Merchant says to predict the fight would be hope over experience. He says Mayweather is so skilled that it can drain all the drama out of the fight. That's as good a way to say it as any.

First up is "God Save the Queen" by Sir Tom Jones, then the "Star-Spangled Banner" by Tyrese Gibson. The Brits are even booing the anthem. And I did not know Tom Jones was British.

Celebrities on hand include Jude Law, Ray Leonard, Mark Cuban, Wayne Newton and Helio Castroneves, Tiger Woods, Will Ferrell, Mario Lopez, Denzel Washington, David Beckham, Jeremy Piven, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Gwen Stefani.

Hatton enters to "Blue Moon" as always. And Floyd Mayweather enters to... "Born in the U.S.A." That won't win over any of the Brits. Buffer gives the "somebody's 0 has got to go," but of course a draw could make that untrue. Got to love Floyd's Dancing With the Stars co-stars mixing with his crew and holding his belts. Pretty Boy is also introduced as a.k.a. Money. Not very original.

Round 1

Quick jab by PBF and Hatton ties up. Hatton has a quick jab of his own. Left hook by PBF, Hatton responds. Left by Floyd as he backs up. Footwork will be key for Floyd, for sure. Crowd responds to every body shot by Hatton, that may influence the judges. Power shot by Hatton lands. Ricky able to tie up every time so far. Left to the body by Hatton. Good right by PBF. Both land at the bell.

The Franchise scores it: Hatton 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Hatton 10-9
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-9

Round 2

Good left along the ropes by Hatton. Floyd good left as he backs out. Ref calls time to talk things over. Good right by PBF. Big right by Floyd again before they hold. Left by Hatton. PBF with a shot to the back of the head. It's rough inside, which favors Hatton. Joe Cortez calls time again. He's warning them for roughing up on the inside. Two lefts by Hatton. Hatton tries to flurry as does Mayweather.

The Franchise scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Hatton 10-9
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-9

Round 3

Can Hatton keep this up for 12 rounds? If so it will be close. Good exchange along the ropes. Lampley is upset because he thinks Floyd is doing more holding. Hatton scores once or twice in a flurry along the ropes. Floyd able to hop in and out every now and then. Mayweather scores with hard shots from both hands. Hatton's right eye is cut. Floyd uppercuts inside, and it's a good round for him.

The Franchise scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-9

Round 4

Hatton goes right back to his stalking. Floyd punches off the ropes but Hatton stands strong. Body and head lefts by Hitman. Right by Floyd. Flurry by Hatton along the ropes. Toe-to-toe in the center of the ring. Big right by Floyd. Two big shots by PBF. Hatton shows some heart by slugging away in the middle. Nice combo by Floyd until he stumbles. Surgical precision by Floyd when he can keep the fight off the ropes.

The Franchise scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-9

Round 5

Hatton controls it early once again. He needs to keep Floyd backed up. Easier said than done. Flurry mostly blocked by PBF. Good right by Floyd. Mayweather is crafty, picking his spots. Bic combo by Hitman misses for the most part. Uppercuts starting to land inside for Ricky. Floyd gets ready to steal it, but Hatton won't let him. Ugly round is good for Hatton.

The Franchise scores it: Hatton 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Hatton 10-9
Uatu scores it: Hatton 10-9

Round 6

Floyd looking smarter right off the bat in the sixth. Both men snap each other back along the ropes. Floyd almost goes out of the ring. Hatton gets a point deducted for hitting behind the head. Now it turns into a brawl. Quick left by PBF. Hatton is determined again along the ropes. Body shots by Ricky can't feel good. Both men score with rights in the center. That was ugly for a completely different reason.

The Franchise scores it: Draw 9-9
Spartan117 scores it: Mayweather 10-8
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-8

Round 7

Floyd scores first. On the replay, Hatton missed that shot he was docked for. Mucho wrestling again. Hatton really does have a great cutman, because that cut doesn't look too good. Floyd gets the best of an exchange before the bell but he does miss a few. Tough round to score.

The Franchise scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Uatu scores it: Hatton 10-9

Round 8

Floyd looking very good this round, scoring with both hands. Right hand stuns Hitman for a second. Hatton gets pummeled against the ropes. Now a big right from Hatton. Ricky may have weathered the storm, pun intended. Left uppercut by Hatton. Good left cuaght Hitman coming in. Hatton in big trouble in the corner. He fights back before the bell but it was too little, too late that time.

The Franchise scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-9

Round 9

I'm betting Floyd may be on his bike this round. Good quick left by Floyd. Left by Hatton. Floyd backed up but still lands. Sweet jab by PBF. Things go Hatton's way for a bit as his fans get the chants going again. Big miss as Floyd wheels away. Quick combo inside by Floyd. This is a great round for him because he didn't use much energy but did enough to win. Two straight rights in the last ten seconds should seal that one for Money.

The Franchise scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Mayweather 10-9
Uatu scores it: Mayweather 10-9

Round 10

Floyd seems to have Hatton timed right now. Big left catches Hatton coming in and he's on the canvas! Another left just as the ref looked like he was going to call it, and Hatton's down again. It's over.

The winner by by KO at 1:35 of the 10th round, Floyd Mayweather Jr. At the time of the stoppage, The Franchise had it 87-83 Mayweather, Spartan117 had it 87-83 Mayweather, Uatu had it 88-82 Mayweather.

Round by Round: Lacy vs. Manfredo

We're about to see exactly Jeff Lacy looks coming back from shoulder surgery. I don't think Manfredo will have anything for him if he's healthy... but that's a significant "if." It's ten rounds of super middleweight action, as no titles are on the line.

Round 1

Lacy strikes first with a left. Manfredo tries a few jabs. Combo upstairs by Lacy. Hatton chants are flowing already. Jab by Lacy and they tie up. Manfredo with a right but he's hit by the counter. Not much happens during the final 45 seconds.

The Franchise scores it: Lacy 10-9
Spartan 117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 2

Some tie-ups early in the round. Lacy's trainer asked for more this round. He tries to uppercut in the clinch; Manfredo fires a straight right in response. Body shot by Manfredo. Twenty good seconds of nothing right there. The fight goes back inside, and Manfredo has the quicker shots.

The Franchise scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 3

Now Lacy looks like he's trying to pick it up. Big miss with a left. Good right by Lacy and some lefts to the body. Both guys bang inside. A decent right by Lacy. Manfredo gets off faster inside. Lacy tries to back Manfredo up against the ropes as both men look to the body. The ref is letting them break most clinches by themselves. Manfredo gets a combo in right before the bell and Lacy lands a few of his own.

The Franchise scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 4

A big right by Lacy sends Manfredo to the canvas just a few seconds in. They trade in the corner and then in the center of the ring. A few wild misses by Lacy as he looks to press his advantage. Most of this round is just the two guys up very close throwing short hooks to the head and body - the proverbial fight in the phone booth.

The Franchise scores it: Lacy 10-8
Spartan117 scores it: Lacy 10-8
Uatu scores it: Lacy 10-8

Round 5

Manfredo knocked back early but he's back bouncing around. Lacy is aggressive but missing a lot. A short left and more clutching. Lacy comes in behind some body shots and they tie up again. Now they tie up without any punches thrown! Manfredo lands a few short shots but nothing too hard. Jab by Lacy but not even close on the follow-up. Lacy tries a late attack but it is mostly blocked.

The Franchise scores it: Lacy 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Lacy 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 6

Manfredo gets off but Lacy is able to counter effectively. Manfredo lands a body combo and immediately looks to tie up. At close range Lacy gets the best of it. Body-head combo by Lacy. In the center of the ring Peter has the advantage, so he should keep it there. Lacy punches his way off the ropes as Manfredo hops around. Both men try to steal the round though nothing looks decisive.

The Franchise scores it: Lacy 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 7

Manfredo pucnhes Lacy back into the ropes and scores with a few light shots. Lacy digs to the body but is hit in the head in return. Looping right and left by Lacy and time is called to fix Manfredo's glove. Hard left by Lacy in the midst of Manfredo's offense. Two straight combos by Lacy. Right hook by Jeff right before the bell.

The Franchise score it: Lacy 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 8

Lacy seems to have some momentum but Manfredo scores early. Lacy just very inaccurate right now. Body shots inside as Manfredo tries to land upstairs. Every time Lacy lands a jab, he misses the next punch. A left hook by Lacy, but not what we're used to seeing from him. Short uppercut, then a wild miss as Lacy wrestles Manfredo down. Yet another tie-up to end the round.

The Franchise scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Lacy 10-9
Uatu scores it: Lacy 10-9

Round 9

Good counter right by Manfredo. Lacy hopping in a lot without landing. Lacy chases and lands a couple single shots. Uppercuts by Jeff inside. Left and another uppercut by Lacy. Finally both men trade shots - Lacy is cut over the right eye. The ref says it was from a headbutt. Three-punch combo by Manfredo. Good round for Peter as he opened up quite a bit.

The Franchise scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Manfredo 10-9

Round 10

Good opening with both men fighting like they're behind. Uppercut knocks Manfredo back. Left-right combo to the head by Peter and a body shot. Lacy tries to attack the body against the ropes. Finally Lacy scores with a left and right. Another right and they tie up. Both guys scoring with short inside punches. A couple lefts land right before the bell by Lacy.

The Franchise scores it: Lacy 10-9
Spartan117 scores it: Manfredo 10-9
Uatu scores it: Lacy 10-9

The Franchise scores it 96-93 Lacy. Spartan117 scores it 96-93 Manfredo. Uatu scores it 96-93 Manfredo. All three judges score it for Lacy.

Undefeated: Mayweather-Hatton Undercard LiveBlog

We're wasting no time tonight with Wes Ferguson-Edner Cherry about to start and we're just a minute into the PPV broadcast. Cherry won the first time these two clashed - we'll see what goes down tonight. Hit refresh often for updates.

Edner Cherry KO6 Wes Ferguson

I'm inclined to dislike Cherry simply because of his high red socks. He got warned early on for punching after the ref had stepped in for a break. His trainer is upset with him already, telling him he lost the first round. He came out looking a lot more aggressive in the second round, but nothing decisive has happened through two.

Hatton shown on his way in, sporting his bucket hat. Meanwhile, it's never a good sign when Jim Lampley makes fun of Harold Lederman for calling the opener an interesting fight.

Miguel Cotto is on hand, looking all business. Or possibly bored, it's hard to say.

Ferguson goes down in the sixth - it was a pretty nice left hook by Cherry though it didn't look like it hurt Ferguson that much. Cherry tries to press it and get Ferguson out of there, but no dice. Late in the round, Ferguson gets tagged by another left hook and he's not getting up. His head really hit the mat hard when he went down - Emmanuel Steward says he shouldn't even be allowed to train for six months.

Floyd is shown chilling in the MGM Grand's "A" dressing room. Daniel Ponce de Leon and Eduardo Escobedo are up next. This is for the WBO jr. featherweight title, apparently.

Daniel Ponce de Leon UD12 Eduardo Escobedo

I love Kenny Bayless' line: "What I say, you must obey." Nice.

Escobedo actually tags De Leon with a couple of nice shots in the first round. He's moving and countering well.

Ponce gets a warning for hitting in the back and behind the head. He looked like he found the range a little better with both hands in the second.

The third round begins at a much faster pace and both guys look willing to trade. There's an ongoing debate over Escobedo's tactic of intentionally turning his back. As in, is it really Ponce De Leon's fault if he hits him in the back if his opponent is giving him no choice?

Larry Merchant just pointed out the Brits are unusually quiet because they don't care about this fight. Nice counter shots by Escobedo and it looks like Ponce can take some punches. If you combined the strengths of these two guys you'd have one hell off a fighter.

More goodness from the mouth of Merchant: it's been a bad night for pure boxers so far. And anything that happened before the broadcast doesn't count.

Steward thinks Ponce de Leon is cut. Those two right hands by Escobedo won't help. Escobedo goes down but it was obviously a slip, and is ruled as such. Ponce sure is committed to coming forward - hopefully Hatton is taking notes.

Through six rounds, Lederman has Escobedo behind five rounds to one. I think it may be closer but Ponce should be winning.

More discussion about Escobedo's questionable ducking tactics. And here come the Ricky Hatton chants from the crowd! Merchant: "Sounds like the Brits decided to entertain themselves since this fight isn't doing it for them."

Neither fighter has ever had a KO after the 8th round, so there's a good chance we're in it for the long haul now. I can't help but think that something Lampley said earlier may be right: he may have had a better chance if he was just the wild swinger he was a few fights ago. Now they're asking Lederman if Escobedo can be penalized for his ducking and turning away; Harold says he can.

Floyd gets his instructions. I've never really been sure why they show this since nothing interesting ever happens.

Lamps thinks Ponce de Leon is in good shape because judges tend to favor more aggressive boxers even if not all of their punches are landing. I'd say it depends on the judges. Merchant says these guys have sucked the life out of the arena.

And that's it. The announcers didn't like it, the fans didn't seem to like it, and about the only thing that happened is that the favorite didn't look particularly good.

Here come the scores: 115-113, 117-111 and 118-110 all for Ponce de Leon.

Undefeated: Mayweather-Hatton Coverage Reminder

Just a reminder that if you can't get to a place that's showing the Mayweather-Hatton PPV tonight, we've got your back here at BoxingWatchers.com. We'll have LiveBlog updates for the undercard fights and, of course, have live round-by-round scoring as Pretty Boy and The Hitman square off.

Bookmark us and refresh often for the latest.

Predictions: Mayweather vs. Hatton

The Franchise says...

However you may feel about him - and he's a polarizing figure, so plenty of fans feel one way or the other - it's clear Floyd Mayweather Jr. has arrived as the figure in the boxing world. He's about to become the first boxer to do 4 million pay-per-view buys in one year, despite the fact that (or maybe because) as Kevin Iole pointed out in a recent column, many of those buyers want to see him get knocked out.

He doesn't have as famous a foil this time around as he did earlier this year in Oscar De La Hoya, but he does have in Ricky Hatton a foe with a better chance to pull off the upset. Or not, depending on who you believe and how you rate The Hitman's chances.

Here's what we know for sure: if you try to beat Pretty Boy at his own game, you will lose. He has too much natural talent, technique and defensive skill to even think about outboxing him.

It's a good thing, then, that Hatton won't be attempting to do that. What he'll try to do is to apply constant pressure, hold and rough Floyd up on the inside (perhaps testing the boundaries of what the ref permits) and hope that the fight becomes a brawl.

He's not the first man to come up with that plan. Others have tried to pull it off in the past. All have failed.

The well-worn cliche in boxing holds that styles make fights, and that's especially true for this one. Taking nothing away from Hatton and his accomplishments, the only reason anyone even has the slightest doubt about PBF emerging as the victor is the small chance that Hatton is able to impose his will and turn it into the kind of fight Mayweather doesn't want to fight.

Even though I'll be rooting for that to be the case, I just can't see that happening. I expect Hatton to be game, and that he'll present more of a challenge than Arturo Gatti and hold up better against Floyd's offense than De La Hoya. But it's difficult for me to imagine him winning a decision, meaning his only real chance is to wear Mayweather down and knock him out late.

If that happens, I'll be even more surprised than the first time I saw Roy Jones Jr. out cold. My call isn't very creative, but I'm confident it's the right one: Mayweather UD 12.

In the other fights of the night, I like Jeff Lacy to return to form with a KO win. I'll also go with Daniel Ponce de Leon with a KO win simply because I don't know much about his opponent.

Uatu indicates...

Uatu just read the Iole article and wonders, what does the international aspect of this fight do to the overall PPV sales? Sure, they are tracking at 60% of the ODH fight, but if all of the tickets and interest is coming from England, does that decrease the PPV sales here that will actually be purchased in the States based on a % of the amount purchased in May? Maybe the interest here isn't as high as they think? Do those PPV amounts include international buys? Maybe there will actually be more PPV sales internationally and more total than projected? Not sure. Wouldn't be surprised if there were sub-1 million domestic buys, but who can ever tell what the numbers really mean considering the source. Anyway:

Don't leave your feet if you aren't going to shoot the ball.
Don't make the last or first out on the basepaths.
Don't block a defender if you can see the numbers on his back.
Don't bet against the Pretty Boy. UD 12

Tough call on Lacy seeing that he hasn't been seen healthy in a long time. Lacy KO

De Leon by KO


Undefeated Weigh-In Report

Uatu does not like to indicate a prediction until after he watches the weigh-ins, just in case. An update will be posted as soon as it goes down.

Weigh-ins for fights like this are such great publicity.

No surprise. It's a packed house.

Large group of children in the stands doing the "Soulja Boy Dance".

Now that music is being drowned out by Brits.

Buffer goes for the easy pop with a call out to the UK.

Johnny Murray up first. And Martin ??? didn't understand the name.
Jimmy Campbell. Dean Harrison.
Lee Meager.
Those guys aren't weighing in. Apparently they are fighting tonight.

Buffer tells a joke that President Bush called in fear of the British Invasion and the White House being burned down the last time.

Bob Halloran on stage.
The Ricky Hatton Song chants have begun in earnest.
They said they were going to give the odds, and then Buffer said they aren't going to. Weird.
In the history of British Sports, the $ on Hatton is the largest in British Sports History per Buffer.

Sugar Shane takes the stage with JMM and B-Hop. And now Oscar, of course.

Joe Calzaghe on in the house and on stage. That Enzo guy is there too.

Hopkins is throat slashing, lifting his shirt, and showing his abs.

A Joe Cal song has broken out in the crowd.

As with a lot of boxing events, a lot of nothing is happening now. Hugs all around on stage though. God Save the Queen and other stuff in the crowd is going around.

Save some for tomorrow Hatton fans.

Wayne Newton and Helio Castroneves come out carrying belts.

Here's MAB.

More nothing...

First on stage - Hatton.
Affliction shirt. Very popular among fighters these days. Bucket hat. Warm up pants.

PBF aka 'Money'. It's official now apparently.
Dressy looking V-neck and pant ensemble. No jewelry that I saw.

Hatton ripped at 145. Instead of looking forward looks sideways and at Floyd the whole time.

PBF also very ripped at 147. Looks the traditional forward.

In each other faces. Get separated.

Posturing, flurrying, showing belts.

Hatton grabs the mic, swears to the crowd and leaves.

Good stuff all the way around. I would have liked to have seen Lacy and Manfredo though too.


BoxingListeners - Hopkins on the Radio

Bernard 'the Executioner' Hopkins is about to appear on 610 WIP. Any interesting info will be passed along by Uatu.

Live from Vegas

Host has already called Floyd, "Merriweather"

Hopkins says: No way the Eagles should have gotten rid of TO or Garcia.

The Captain (McNabb) is not respected.

McNabb is a good person, good athlete, can compile good statistics but lacks the blood and guts, heart and determination to risk everything to be the best.

Some nice and inspirational thoughts from Bernard about him turning his life around.

Moving on to the Tarver fight.
When is enough, enough for Bernard?
When he doesn't feel like he needs to get up at 6am and run in sub-freezing weather.
Bernard says he has been blessed to be a defensive fighter. He has never taken a beating.
He's not in a similar class to say a Gatti, he took care of his body. He was a late bloomer. He didn't really begin to get his due until after the Oscar fight. With the partnership with Oscar, they are now the talk of the promoting world. Bernard at 42 is the new 32. It's clear he's not done.

Mayweather - Hatton
Fight will be won or lost because of styles.
PBF confidant enough to go "Dancing with the Stars."
Hatton has fought here multiple times now and has brought all of the Brits with him.
Bernard picks Hatton - UD 12, hard fight, lots of energy, lots of action, down to the final bell.
Host asks if PBF is really a bad guy?
Bernard can relate to the psyche because he too was the bad guy in fights and liked people writing negatively against him because it motivated him.

Short, but as always Bernard was a compelling guest.


Quick Tarver, Forrest, and Chavez, Jr. Thoughts

Uatu is a huge Tarver fan, but he realizes that Tarver is an older fighter, at least in age. Tarver-Lacy though would be a fight worth watching, and Tarver would have the advantage. Tarver - Dawson is a very difficult fight for Tarver, and in fairness to the Magic Man, Dawson is not exactly a household name.

Believe it or not, Forrest-Mayorga III would actually be worth watching. It is conceivable that a network would be willing to show it as well. Forrest - Oscar will probably never happen, but Vernon would have a great chance of winning. Forrest - Cotto would also be worth watching too, since Cotto is never in bad fights. Also not likely to happen.

If Chavez, Jr. is going to fight Alfonso Gomez next, then no one can complain that he isn't taking incremental steps up the ladder. Off the top of the head, he looks to be the best of the sons of the famous (Camacho, Hearns, McGirt, Paez Jr. etc...) although some of those fighters haven't had near as many fights.


Saturday Night Update

and there you have it. Tarver KO per boxingtalk and Chavez KO per fightnews.

and another favorite comes through. Forrest KO11 per the good folks at boxingtalk.

3 for 3 true believers. per fightnews Arce by KO1

So far Uatu is 2 for 2. Calderon UD 12 per fightnews and Donaire TKO8 per boxingtalk

Latin Fury

At this point, would his handlers have him fight someone that could beat him? Not yet.

Chavez Jr

Arce "Lollipop Cowboy"
ditto for the reason, ditto for the result

Joke has been told before but...
Death, Taxes, Calderon UD12

Showtime: Tarver, Forrest, Donaire

Favorites all win.

Mason "The Line" Dixon ud12

Vernon "Viper" Forrest ud 12
He's ready. He's ready. He's ready, for ya.