20-20 Hindsight: Great Night for Pacman, Bad Night for Cortez and More

Speed kills.

It's a bit of an overused adage, especially in the world of sports, but it got that way for a reason: a lot of times, it's true. Manny Pacquiao proved that on Saturday night, quickly dispelling any notions that stepping up to lightweight might rob him of his explosiveness. Poor David Diaz may as well have been boxing Barry Allen, as Pacman's display of speed left him so befuddled that he punctuated his post-fight interview with a profanity.

Even in the early rounds, when Diaz was covering up and blocking a fair number of incoming punches, some were still getting through his guard. Many were right hooks, shots that Pacquiao hasn't thrown as often or as accurately in the past. Add in some trademark lefts and enough lower body movement to quickly hop back and negate what seemed like a good strategy for Diaz - to close the distance and try to go to the body - and it really was just a matter of time before Manny broke his opponent down.

It was such an impressive display that it made me reconsider an idea I thought was laughable as recently as last week: the idea of a superfight between Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton. Previously, I thought that would be suicide for Manny, that the Hitman was simply too big and too strong. Now? All bets are off.

Yes, it would mean another step up in weight for Pacquiao, but he handled this one so easily, it certainly seems like he could do it again. It's also a real possibility that Hatton simply would be overwhelmed by Manny's hand speed, much like he was against Floyd Mayweather. There's no doubt it would be the biggest money fight that could be made without the involvement of Oscar De La Hoya, and with Pacquiao's Filipino faithful and Ricky's chanting throngs, the atmosphere would be unreal.

If you watched the whole pay-per-view, you know Pacquiao's performance wasn't the only spectacle of the night. We had supposedly heavily favored Tye Fields, he of the gaudy record padded with inferior competition, getting dropped by Monte Barrett (not exactly the most feared KO artist) in less than a minute. We had Steven Luevano and Mario Santiago both get up off the canvas to scrap their way to a draw. And last but not least, we saw one of the most bizarre, ridiculous displays of officiating on a major boxing broadcast in some time.

It came in the fourth round of Humberto Soto's fight with Francisco Lorenzo. Soto had already knocked Lorenzo down once in the round, bloodying him in the process. As Lorenzo was wilting in the face of another onslaught, referee Joe Cortez looked like he was going to stop the fight, pulling Soto away. But the fight continued, and Soto went back on the attack.

Lorenzo had trouble deciding whether or not to take a knee, so Soto kept throwing. Finally Francisco dropped into one corner and Cortez waved off the action. It looked like a stoppage for Soto.

Except it wasn't. After a lengthy and confusing huddle with ringside officials, Cortez awarded a DQ victory to Lorenzo. The explanation? Soto hit him in the back of the head while he was already on the canvas. That came as some surprise to those of us watching the fight, who merely saw Soto flattening Lorenzo's nose and pulping the rest of his face until he had enough.

Replays showed that one glancing blow did land on the top of Lorenzo's head right before Cortez jumped in to end the fight. HBO wasn't allowed to interview the ref, so a member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission faced the cameras. Conveniently, he said the ringside doctor determined the late punch gave Lorenzo a concussion, and since it was an illegal punch, Soto had to be disqualified. Never mind, I guess, that Cortez's strange indecision led to that punch in the first place, or that Lorenzo was one more legal punch away from getting knocked silly.

It would be easy to pile on Cortez and say he doesn't know what he's doing, but the truth is that he has a great reputation and has always seemed more than competent to this observer's eyes. Instead, I'll call it a really bad night with a series of questionable decisions on his part that all added up to something for which injustice is probably too mild a term. Here's hoping the powers that be reward Soto as if he'd just won a decisive victory, which is what he should have earned.


Round by Round: Diaz v. Pacquiao

After a night of interesting circumstances, let's hope that the main event stays clean and entertaining. The fans in attendance are fired up at the decision of the last fight and ready to see bombs. I'm sure they won't be disappointed.

The fight between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz is at 135 pounds. Manny is moving up to try to take Diaz's title. This is Pacquiao's first fight at this weight class. Diaz is 32 years old and Pacquiao is 29. Manny has a record of 46-3-2 and 34 KOs. Diaz is 34-1-1 with 17 KOs.

It looks like a very strong Filipino turnout at Mandalay Bay. Lots of pro-Manny signs can be seen. The fighters aren't even in the ring yet and the crowd already starts an enthusiastic "Manny" chant.

Pacquiao comes to the ring first since he is the challenger. Diaz follows. Fernando Vargas accompanies Diaz to the ring.

It's time for the main event!

Rd 1: The fighters touch gloves to start. Manny starts with his lunging jab and the crowd starts chanting. Diaz tags Manny with a left. Diaz scores with two more shots upstairs. Manny answers back with flurries. Manny's punches look fast as usual, but Diaz looks like he came to fight. Manny hits Diaz and knocks him a bit off balance. Manny now starts throwing a lot of combos. Manny's defense looks good as he dodges two of Diaz's hooks. Diaz catches Manny with 2 hard shots in a clinch. Now Manny rocks Diaz hard with four hard shots to the head.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 2: Diaz starts with some jabs. Manny starts to work an uppercut. Diaz answers back and catches Manny between punches. Now Manny swings away and lands the majority. Diaz works the body. Manny now rocks Diaz and Diaz stumbles. Diaz seems to be weathering the storm though. Diaz now fires back as Manny opens up a cut on Diaz's nose.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 3: Diaz comes out on the offensive and swings away. Manny blocks some but also gets hit. Now Manny goes back to work and throws the combos. Diaz's chin is being tested, and his nose continues to stream with blood. Pacquiao is throwing a lot with his right hand and it is scoring. Diaz continues to get hit but punches out to break the combo. Diaz lands two body shots before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 4: Manny is using his footwork throughout the fight and dances around Diaz. Manny now works the body and mixes up and switches to the head. Diaz swings back and clocks Manny. The ref stops the action so Diaz's cut can be examined. He is cleared to continue. Manny lands a blistering counter punch and Diaz wobbles. Diaz is clearly stunned - he can't take Manny's speed. Diaz tries to set up combos with the jab now. Another cut opens above Diaz's right eye. His face is a bloody mess. Diaz gets another huge shot to the head but he shakes his head. Diaz now concentrates on the body. Manny backs Diaz against the ropes but Diaz fights out.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 5: Manny continues to circle Diaz, hitting from odd angles. Diaz now shows off his upper body movement but continues to get hit in the head. Manny raises his arms mid-round. Diaz continues to fight back but Manny looks like he can see Diaz's punches coming. Diaz lands a body shot and a head shot; Manny continues to come forward. Diaz hits Manny again and momentarily stops the Manny onslaught.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 6: Diaz's blood is now coming into his eye but he continues to come forward. Manny throws right hooks and scores. Diaz's legs look less sharp than they did earlier in the fight. Manny lands a wicked counter punch and knocks Diaz's head back. Manny snaps his head back again with a jab. Now he throws a vicious combo that all lands. Diaz stumbles hard. The ref stops the fight again to look at Diaz's cut and the ring doc says that he is okay to continue. Diaz lunges forward but misses at the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 7: Between the rounds, Diaz says to his trainer, "It's not his punches, he's just too fast." Pacquiao starts aiming for Diaz's cut and more blood flows. Diaz swings by lunging forward but gets tagged on the way in. Manny lands another combo and Diaz stumbles again. Diaz continues to leap in and get hit. Diaz misses with an uppercut and gets hit again on the way in. Diaz now lands to Manny's body and mixes it up with a shot upstairs and lands. One of the closer rounds but I still definitely give it to Manny.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pacquiao

Rd 8: Manny shows no signs of slowing down and throws combos at will. Diaz doesn't look like he has a solution for Manny's blinding speed. Manny now leaps forward and lands a left hook and I thought Diaz would go down for sure, but he stays up and takes tons more punishment against the ropes. Diaz swings out. Lampley and Steward, the commentators, think that the fight should be stopped. Diaz gets horribly rocked against the ropes. The ref is looking at Diaz and appears to be deciding if Diaz can continue.

Spartan117: 10-8 Pacquiao

Rd 9: Diaz's punch output is dropping as the fight continues. Diaz now swings more but his punches are off the mark and don't have much on them. Diaz lands a straight left. Manny lands a hard jab and straight left and staggers Diaz. Diaz looks like he's going to go down any second. Manny is now stalking Diaz around the ring. Diaz finally goes down from a vicious left, collapsing onto the canvas. He has nothing left and the ref stops the fight.

The winner by KO in the 9th round... and new WBC lightweight champion... Manny Pacquiao.

Manny says he trained to unleash power and speed and prepared to do it at this weight class. He says he was surprised that Diaz lasted as long as he did. He also says he trained to work the left hand. Manny says it's the promoter's job to find his next opponent and he's not looking to fight anyone in particular. Lamply asks Manny if he thinks he's the best pound-for-pound boxer. Manny doesn't directly answer the question and thanks the fans.

Diaz has a more vulgar post-fight interview. "He was just too f****** fast," he says. He says Pacman's punches were so fast that he thought trainer Freddy Roach was in there hitting him too. Diaz says that Pacquiao deserves to be called the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

Diaz-Pacquiao Undercard LiveBlog: Luevano vs. Santiago, Fields vs. Barrett, Soto vs. Lorenzo

We had some technical difficulties getting started tonight, but we're good to go now for some live thoughts on the David Diaz-Manny Pacquiao undercard. The first fight features Steven Luevano and Mario Santiago facing off for the WBO featherweight title. HBO says Luevano looked good for the first four rounds, then Santiago started coming on. Both men were down in the second. I'm picking it up in the seventh round, which was an ugly one that I'd give to Santiago.

Santiago peppers Luevano with left hands for most of the eighth round, but Luevano looked like he still had a little fire in him at the end of the round. This could get interesting down the stretch.
Speaking of interesting, Jim Lampley just made a comment about how the economy has definitely impacted business in Las Vegas. I was just there a few weeks ago and it did seem a little slow. Back to the action, Santiago comes out firing in the tenth round, then halfway through the round he has Luevano backed up against the ropes and is just teeing off. But Mario may have punched himself out, because he's looking wobbly himself as the round winds down.

Harold Lederman has the fight even after ten. Strangely both guys look willing to box in the eleventh after slugging away for the last few rounds. Luevano is having trouble keeping his mouthpiece in. Slowing the pace definitely helped the champ; we'll see if they go for it in the final round.

Both men are game, but until the final 15 seconds, no one lands much of consequence. Santiago finishes with a final flurry and we'll go to the scorecards. The scores are 117-111 Luevano, 115-113 Santiago and 114-114, meaning it's a draw and Luevano keeps his belt. CompuBox shows they landed almost the exact same number of punches, and they each suffered one knockdown, so I suppose that's fitting.

Nice footage from the Diaz-Pacquiao weigh-in; both guys look like they are in great shape, but Diaz is definitely bigger and thicker. Next up is a heavyweight clash between Tye Fields and Monte Barrett. I've seen Fields look good against questionable opposition and Barrett look questionable against good opposition, so something's got to give.

And it looks like what's going to give is Fields' chin. Though Fields comes out aggressive, the first time Barrett digs in and throws, Tye gets caught. Two big right hands start the damage, and a third sends the big man down. The ref calls a stop to it, and Barrett gets a first-round KO in just 57 seconds. That's what happens when you fight real competition.

Last but not least is an intriguing junior lightweight scrap between Humberto Soto and Francisco Lorenzo. Soto looks good in the first round and really starts landing left hooks and straight rights in combination in the second. Jorge Arce is in the crowd enjoying the action. Our own Spartan117 gives both of the first two rounds to Soto.

Action pauses in the third round for an accidental clash of heads, and Lorenzo begins to have some success going to the body. Soto lands some mean right hands in the fourth, and a combination sends Lorenzo to the canvas. He beats the count, but he's a bloody mess and soon takes a knee in the corner. Referee Joe Cortez apparently calls time because Soto hit Lorenzo when he was already down, and we may have some controversy brewing.

After a really long conference with the ringside doctor and other officials, Cortez gives his decision to Michael Buffer. It's a disqualification win for Lorenzo, and that's simply one of the worst calls I've seen in this sport! Cortez looked like he was about to call the fight, changed his mind, then said Soto hit Lorenzo after he took a knee. One problem: Lorenzo was getting punched silly, he took a knee on his own, and replays showed he never hit Lorenzo on the mat.

Soto tells Lampley the ref never told him to stop, and that if he glanced a blow off the head he should not have been disqualified. Watching the replay, Soto says Cortez only told him to stop after the supposed disqualifying blow had been thrown. To his credit, Soto thanks the fans even though he suffered from some very bad luck tonight. Emanuel Steward is so angry he's threatening to curse on TV.

Live Round By Round Updates for Diaz-Pacquiao Tonight!

Considering the BoxingWatchers.com staff members are all part Filipino, you didn't really think we'd miss Manny Pacquiao stepping up to lightweight to try to take David Diaz's title. Did you?

If you can't catch the pay-per-view, join me and Spartan117 here as we blog through the undercard and do some of the fastest live round by round updates you'll find anywhere on the internet.

And go Manny!


Vegas Lines on Upcoming Fights

I recently returned from five days in Las Vegas, and while I wasn't busy redistributing money from the Tropicana to Planet Hollywood (thanks Pleasure Pit!), I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the lines on some upcoming fights. These lines were good as of June 20, and can and probably will change as some of these bouts get closer. This would be the place where I would steal ESPN's line about the lines being presented for educational purposes only if I was inclined to do so.

Without further ado...

Arthur Abraham (-200) vs. Edison Miranda (+170)

Yes, this fight has already taken place, but I threw it in here just to demonstrate that gamblers felt this one was fairly tough to call. Abraham actually opened at -220, meaning as fight day approached the line actually tightened up. Interestingly the prop bet on whether or not the fight would go the distance was -115 on both sides, suggesting that no one knew how the hell it would end.

Manny Pacquiao (-500) vs. David Diaz (+350)

To no one's surprise, Vegas has Diaz as a significant underdog. The sports books actually came up on Manny since the line opened, meaning even at +330 it was difficult to find enough backers for Diaz. Perhaps the lone acknowledgment that Pacman may have trouble closing Diaz out as he goes up in weight is seen in the prop bet on the fight not going 10 full rounds, which is available at even money.

Wladimir Klitschko (-600) vs. Tony Thompson (+400)

Gamblers must think Thompson is a live dog, as he actually opened at +450. I guess there's always a chance that Klitschko will go down for the count if he's tagged with the right shot, but if he fights Tony the same way he fought his last fight there is little chance of that. Then again, the prop betting has the fight not lasting nine rounds as the favorite, so someone must think Wlad is going to summon the courage to try to blast Thompson out of there. Here's hoping.

Miguel Cotto (-240) vs. Antonio Margarito (+190)

The opening line saw Cotto at -170, so people must have been backing him. If I was going to be in Vegas I'd be very tempted to throw some money on Margarito even though I favor Cotto (slightly) to win the fight. The distance prop bet is ten rounds and "will go" is the favorite, but I suppose that's logical since Cotto is undefeated and Margarito has never been knocked out. With the bombs these guys can throw though, I could also be talked into putting a few bucks on the "won't go" side.


20-20 Hindsight: Abraham Makes His Case for Showdown With Pavlik, Berto Ready for Welterweight's Best?

I guess that settles that. Arthur Abraham put to rest just about any doubts about his abilities and worthiness by knocking out Edison Miranda in the fourth round of their rematch Saturday night.

As naturally skeptical as I am about fighters who spend their entire careers in Europe, Abraham looks like the real deal. We already knew he had championship heart, gutting out his first bout with Miranda after having his jaw broken. This time we saw his craftiness and power, both of which were impressive.

Though this weekend's fight was at a catchweight of 166 pounds, Abraham's prize for winning could and should be earning a shot at middleweight king Kelly Pavlik's titles. Doug Fischer of MaxBoxing.com summed it up short and sweet in his weekly Monday Mailbag, saying, "Pavlik-Abraham is THE fight to be made at 160 pounds."

That's especially true since the middleweight division looks devoid of appetizing options for Pavlik. Some have suggested Winky Wright, but stylistically Pavlik-Abraham is much more of a crowd-pleaser, and my guess is it would sell better as well.

Staying with the theme of boxers whose stock is on the rise, welterweight Andre Berto continued his rapid ascent with a seventh-round KO of Miguel Rodriguez. He captured the vacant WBC title in the process, which could instantly make him a player in a division that is loaded with talent.

Berto once again flashed his ridiculous hand speed and complete arsenal of punches. He was more than justified in saying after the fight that it would take "a bad man" to relieve him of his new belt. But is he really ready to be thrown in with the likes of, say, the winner of the upcoming Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito bout?

I suspect not, but the nice thing is that he doesn't have to be. At 24, Berto is the youngest of the welterweight powers - though others, like Cotto and Paul Williams, aren't much older. Williams-Berto seems like it would be a hell of a fight, and if that one can't be made, there are a number of veterans in the division who would make a nice step up for Berto. Regardless, time is on his side and he looks like a star in the making.

Now if someone could just come up with a catchy nickname for him...


Round by Round: Berto v. Rodriguez

The second main event of this Saturday night is between welterweights Andre Berto and Miguel Rodriguez. Andre Berto is a top young prospect in the division with an undefeated record. He is 21-0 with 18 KOs. If he moves past this fight with a win, his career will start to take off.

Rd 1: Both fighters feel each other out. Rodriguez throws the first punch. He now throws combos. Berto starts to jab. His punches are very fast. Berto gets counter punched by Rodriguez. Berto is told to watch the punches to the back of the head. Berto lands four hard jabs and hooks cleanly. Berto now lands more lightning combinations. Rodriguez now gets in there with some jabs.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto

Rd 2: Rodriguez now starts turning up his punching output. Berto lands a very hard right hand, and Rodriguez backs up. Berto tries to go for the knockout. Rodriguez makes it out alive and clinches. Rodriguez starts punching again. Berto sets up more power shots with a stiff jab. Rodriguez now looks slower. Berto now landing many straight right hands. Rodriguez now lands a jab and a straight. Berto waves him in. Rodriguez is taking these punches well.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto

Rd 3: Berto again looks to be going for the knockout. Rodriguez backs Berto into the ropes with a flurry. Rodriguez lands a solid jab and hook. Berto now gets back into the fight and lands a right hook. Rodriguez has Berto against the ropes but Berto is landing more punches in this position. Berto uses good foot movement to get around Rodriguez's defense to land cleanly.

Spartan117: 10-9 Rodriguez

Rd 4: Berto starts the round with three hard shots upstairs. Rodriguez's defense is nonexistent. Now both fighters work the body. Rodriguez sticks to the jab while Berto throws stiff combinations. He lands a hard left hook and Rodriguez backs up. Berto now counterpunching and scoring. Rodriguez now gets a jab and a hook in. Berto nods. Rodriguez gets caught off balance and gets hit with three more shots to the head.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto

Rd 5: Berto is throwing at will upstairs. Rodriguez still comes forward. Berto is throwing all kinds of punches and landing the majority. Rodriguez still walks forward. Berto now gets backed into the ropes and clinches out. Rodriguez gets stuck bent over and Berto makes him pay. Rodriguez doesn't appear to be hurt but his face is bruised.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto

Rd 6: The commentators say that they hear some trash talking going on in the ring. Berto snaps Rodriguez's head back with a good straight. Rodriguez lands a straight right. Berto lands multiple very hard right hands that all land and Rodriguez smiles. Berto lands five lightning fast hooks in a row at the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto

Rd 7: Berto lands a solid jab and an incredible uppercut and Rodriguez goes down. Rodriguez gets up but is hurt. The crowd starts to chant for Berto. Rodriguez appears to have shaken off the cobwebs and is back in the center of the ring. Berto lands another vicious right and Rodriguez goes down again. He gets up but only takes more punishment. The ref calls it and Berto is the winner.

The winner by TKO at 2:13 of the seventh round, and new WBC welterweight champion, Andre Berto.

Berto says that his nerves got to him in the beginning of the fight. He said this was because of the belt being on the line. He says he's a new kid on the block and says he wants to make an impact in the division. "It will take a bad man to take this away from me," he says.
Berto says he's not looking to fight anyone in particular. He says his power makes up for his size.

Round by Round: Miranda v. Abraham

The last time these two fought in the ring, Arthur Abraham had his jaw broken and Edison Miranda lost because of low blows. These two fighters have made this fight personal, as many of Miranda's bouts are.

Abraham is undefeated while Miranda has two losses: one to Abraham and one to Kelly Pavlik. Also, this is the first time Abraham has fought in the U.S.

The intros are finished and its time for the fight.

Rd 1: Abraham starts as the aggressor. He starts establishing the jab and makes it through Miranda's defense. Now both fighters feeling each other out. Miranda backs Abraham against the ropes. Abraham fights out. Abraham gets a left hook in and Miranda stumbles. Abraham now throwing good combos. Miranda now uses his trademark wide hook. Abraham now told to keeps his punches up after a body blow.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham

Rd 2: Miranda now steps forward and throws combos. Abraham is being stalked around the ring. Miranda keeps the intensity up. Abraham trapped against the ropes and blocks most of Miranda's shots. Abraham waves him in. Miranda hits nothing but gloves. Miranda lands a vicious body shot. Miranda gets warned for a low blow. Abraham takes his time for recovery. They start again after about 30 seconds. Abraham gets in some body shots but Miranda comes right back.

Spartan117: 10-9 Miranda

Rd 3: Miranda now starts keeping his punches upstairs. Abraham gets a big right hook in and Miranda waves him in. Abraham is sticking to his defense and not throwing as much as Miranda. Miranda is clearly the more active fighter. Miranda now gets warned for pushing. Abraham gets in a hard right hand and Miranda's knees buckle. Miranda still comes forward.

Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham

Rd 4: Miranda sticks to putting the pressure on. He gets three good body shots in. Abraham drops a huge left bomb and Miranda goes down. He makes it up but is clearly hurt. Abraham lands another another hard left and Miranda goes down hard again. He gets up again and receives more punishment, falling a third time from a right. The ref calls it. It's over.

The winner by TKO at 1:13 at the fourth round, Arthur Abraham.

Round by Round Coverage Abraham v. Miranda and Berto v. Rodriquez

The Boxing Watchers will be bringing you live round by round coverage of tonight's middleweight matchup between Arthur Abraham versus Edison Miranda. Then immediately following that bout, if it wraps up fast enough, I will be switching over to cover the HBO bout between welterweights Andre Berto and Miki Rodriquez. Tonight's fights should be explosive with lots of punches and knockdowns. Don't miss them!

I'm predicting a victory for Miranda and a victory for Berto.


Weekend Predictions

Uatu says...
He sees a fight where this time Abraham does not get his jaw broken and will therefore this time hold on for the victory.
Uatu says Abraham by decision.

Over on HBO, Uatu will take Arreola by late KO.


20-20 Hindsight: Williams, Mora Impress, Who's Next for Pavlik, De La Hoya?

I like to think I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong. And boy, was I wrong about the fights this weekend - with the exception of Kelly Pavlik knocking out Gary Lockett, but I doubt even Lockett himself was surprised by that outcome.

Let's start with Paul Williams' emphatic avenging of his defeat at the hands of Carlos Quintana. I really did think Williams was the better fighter overall, but my lousy luck with picking losing fighters to win in rematches plus my belief that The Punisher couldn't hurt Quintana made me pick against him.

That turned out to be wrong in a big way. Williams hurt Quintana the first time he got inside, then knocked him silly with a left hand. The champ made it to his feet but never looked like he regained his senses, and Williams made sure he never made it out of the first round.

The Punisher's eye-opening display made it easy to believe him in the post-fight interview when he said Quintana simply caught him on a bad night the first time around. You'd like to think he's back on track for big things at 147, like facing the winner of July's meeting between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito (who Williams has already beaten).

In his own way, Sergio Mora was equally impressive. He doesn't have a very fan-friendly style, but he's slippery enough to befuddle a veteran like Vernon Forrest and he showed some pop (if not KO power) to both the head and the body.

Mora also answered any questions about his ability to go 12 rounds by taking over the late rounds against Forrest. The fight was close enough that I thought he may get tripped up by the judges, but they turned in fairly sensible scorecards that may have provided Mora with a ticket to a big payday.

That's because experts like Dougie Fischer of MaxBoxing.com are already speculating that Mora may end up fighting Oscar De La Hoya later this year. The Golden Boy is, of course, lacking an opponent for the fall now that Floyd Mayweather is at least temporarily retired, and the Latin Snake seems like a guy who would fit the desired risk-reward ratio perfectly.

Like Williams, Mora also made me look bad by picking against him. I was fortunate not to make an official pick for Daniel Ponce De Leon's fight or I would have been 0-for-3 in non-Pavlik fights on Saturday. That's manning up. My hat's off to my brother Uatu, though, as he once again showed his stuff by getting all of his predictions correct. Kudos.

Speaking of Pavlik, all of the speculation after his easy dismissal of Lockett seemed to focus on a possible fight with Joe Calzaghe. Assuming he wasn't affected by stepping up in weight, he's plenty good enough to take that fight next. But I want to side with those who think he should take care of all the legitimate challengers at his current weight first. That could mean Arthur Abraham (assuming he gets past Edison Miranda again in a few weeks) or Winky Wright in a match-up of contrasting styles that could be interesting.


Round By Round: Pavlik vs. Lockett

HBO shows a feature before the fight about Pavlik's life in his hometown of Youngstown, OH. It focuses on Pavlik's notoriety around Youngstown and also his charitable nature.

The main event is between undefeated champoin Kelly Pavlik vs. Gary Lockett. Lockett is a middleweight from Wales. He comes from the Joe Calzaghe/Enzo Calzaghe camp. There has been a whole lot of trash talking between Team Pavlik and Team Lockett. I can't wait to see it unfold in the ring. Lockett only has 1 loss but many complain that he has not faced and top opponents.

The crowd is not surprisingly there for Pavlik since the drive from Youngstown to Boardwalk Hall is a relatively short one.

Rd 1: Pavlik darts to the middle of the ring. Lockett starts throwing first. Kelly now starts with the counter punches. Nothing hard landed so far. Kelly lands a good jab. Both fighters are throwing good crisp punches. Lockett is doing a good job with keeping his gloves up. Now Lockett establishes the jab. Pavlik now lands a hard right hand. Lockett momentarily stunned. Lockett shakes out the cobwebs and now comes back. Pavlik keeps his composure and sticks to his boxing technique.

Spartan117: 10-9 Pavlik

Rd 2: Lockett now starts to move his upper body. This is important when going against the power of Pavlik. Pavlik trying to set up combos with his jab. Pavlik lands a good hook to the body. A mark has formed on the forehead of Lockett, but I didn't see a clash of heads. Pavlik last a huge combo of big shots and Lockett can't take it and takes a knee. Lockett gets up and starts swinging but takes a lot more punishment. His face is a mess. Pavlik sticks with the combos and lands cleanly. Lockett somehow stays in there. He gets clocked with another power shot and he takes a knee again. 10 seconds left in the round and Lockett makes it out of the round.

Spartan117: 10-7 Pavlik

Rd 3: Lockett now keeping his gloves very high. Now Lockett is starting to swing for the fences becuase that looks like the only way hes going to win this fight. Pavlik lands an uppercut inbetween the gloves. Lockett stays in there. Lockett gets hit with a very rough counter straight and makes him look lost in the ring. He takes another knee. Enzo Calzaghe throws in the towel!

Pavlik wins by TKO in rd 3.

Pavlik says he looked out Lockett's for right hands in the fight. Pavlik says that he will take anyone Top Rank throws at him but doesn't say he's looking to fight anybody in particular. Max mentions Arthur Abraham. Pavlik takes a jab (no pun intended) at Calzaghe and hints that he might want to fight him. He asks the crowd "is that what you want to see?"

I would definitely want to see that fight!

Round by Round: Ponce De Leon vs Lopez

The first fight tonight is between Daniel Ponce De Leon vs. Juan Manuel Lopez. It is at the 122 pound weight class. De Leon is the better known fighter in this fight and is highly favored, but many believe that this is a winnable fight for Lopez.

Lopez, of Puerto Rican decent, is out to the ring first and is also undefeated. De Leon, of Mexico, follows. His record is 34-1.

Side note: Michael Buffer recently got married.

Buffer finishes with the intros and it's time to start the fight.

Rd 1: Both fighters square off in the middle of the ring. De Leon is the aggressor in the beginning, throwing fast combos to the head and body. Lopez is throwing some good counters. Lopez lands a hard straight right. De Leon looks to swing for the fences. Lopez lands a very hard right hook and De Leon goes down hard. He makes it up but his legs are gone. Ponce is taking horrible punishment. He goes down again but he gets up on shaky legs but the ref says no more. It's over. Lopez scores a 1st round KO victory.

Juan Manuel Lopez wins by TKO

Lopez says he was looking to land his right hand. He says that he thought Ponce De Leon was going to be ready for his right hook but apparently he was not. He says he's going to talk to his managers and set up a good opponent for his next fight. Kellerman says that he's certainly established himself in the division.

Round By Round: Vernon Forrest vs. Sergio Mora

This one's starting a bit earlier than expected thanks to Paul Williams' quick KO win in the previous fight. The announcers mention that Vernon Forrest is giving away nine years in age but feel his two-year layoff a few years back due to injury have helped keep him in good shape.

It's a battle of serpents from the Mohegan Sun as The Viper and the Latin Snake are ready to go for the WBC super welterweight championship.

Round 1

Both men reaching with the jab in the early going. Mora digs with a right to the body. More jabs both ways. Vernon loads up a big right but misses. Now some grappling after Forrest misses coming in. No one throwing right now as they size each other up. The crowd is displeased. Good shots by Forrest coming out of the clinch. Thumping right down low by Forrest and another follows. Cautious first round and the two men exchange pleasantries going back to their corners.

Franchise: 10-9 Forrest

Round 2

Mora having trouble following with anything after the jab. Good feints by Forrest. Mora finally gets inside but can't land too much. Forrest tries to measure Mora for a right but it's mostly evaded. They tie up and Mora tries to throw body shots. Left hook by Mora. Quick shots countered by Forrest's right hands. Mora looks slippery but he hasn't found an effective offense yet.

Franchise: 10-9 Forrest

Round 3

Forrest trying his best to land big rights; Mora has so far been able to duck away. The Latin Snake bounces around, unable to engage. Short shots by Mora and they tie up. Nice left hook by Forrest in close. The announcers discuss how strange it was to hear Forrest trash talk before the fight. Good body work by Forrest along the ropes. Both men warned for holding and hitting, and a second warning to Mora for hitting behind the head.

Franchise: 10-9 Forrest

Round 4

Buddy McGirt told Forrest between rounds not to look for the home run shot. Mora jabbing to start this round. They trade inside and Mora gets the best of it. Two rights by Forrest and a left hook in response from Sergio. Another left hook and Sergio's found something that works. Forrest looking a little more cautious and not coming forward. They try to trade again in close as the round ends.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Round 5

Forrest using hooks and uppercuts to score inside. He's warned for roughhousing. Mora scores with a straight right. Mora taunts Forrest as The Viper lands some big shots along the ropes. Short lefts inside by Mora. Jabs landing both ways. One-two just misses for Forrest and Mora charges forward with left hooks. The crowd boos as the last 20 seconds wind down with no real punches thrown.

Franchise: 10-9 Forrest

Round 6

The announcers want more jabs from Forrest. Nice right hand upstairs by Mora. He backs up Forrest with another right but Forrest survives and ties him up. The ref warns both men for low shots. Good left by Forrest as they trade. Mora's left eye looking rough but nothing too bad yet. Forrest holding on as the announcers wonder if he's tiring. Both men land in close as they wrestle to the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Round 7

McGirt told Forrest he's eating too many right hands. Jabs from Mora; Forrest responds in kind. Mora hooks his way inside with the left. He triples the jab and lands a right to the body. Mora warned one more time for hitting behind the head. Mora shakes off a right hand and they tie up. Peppering lefts from the Latin Snake. Mora switches southpaw but only for a second. Another nice round for the challenger.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Round 8

Forrest catches Mora with a jab and a big straight right. He looks for more but Mora is light on his feet. Nice left coming in by Mora. Forrest warned again for low shots. They try to fight their way out of the clinch but the ref has to step in. Mora landing more jabs in the final seconds but probably not enough to take this round.

Franchise: 10-9 Forrest

Round 9

Vernon looks like he has a little more spark now. Neither man can get the advantage in close. Mora has never been 12 rounds, so that may be a factor, though he's throwing and landing more shots right now. Sharp left upstairs for Mora. Forrest lands out of the break and that looked questionable. Stinging shots along the ropes by Mora and Forrest digs down to try to fight back. Best sequence of the fight with both men swinging away but Mora showed something there.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Round 10

Forrest looked gassed between rounds, but can Mora take advantage? Forrest trying to stalk without success. He looks frustrated as Mora lands multiple jabs and lefts. Right-left combo by Mora and one shot back by Forrest. Thumping left by Forrest and both guys land. Another flurry by Mora inside and all Forrest can do is swing wildly in response. Nice 1-2 combo at the bell punctuates a good round for the Latin Snake.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Round 11

Let's see if Mora can finish an impressive second half of the fight. The crowd is behind him. He's zipping jabs and trying to work the body inside. Forrest swinging and missing again. Now he lands a hook as Mora comes in. Good action with body shots flowing by both men. Big right upstairs by Mora. A second right crashes in but Forrest stands his ground. They wrestle to the ropes and Mora looks pretty pleased.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Round 12

This fight could very well be up for grabs. Mora dodges a big right. The fans spur him on as he scores to the body. Left to the Forrest's head and the ref has to break them up again. Mora landing lefts to the head and rights to the body. Both guys score as they battle along the ropes. Forrest trying to score as Mora dances around. Very close misses as Mora stays bus. The fight ends with nice action along the ropes and Mora's looking excited as the final bell rings.

Franchise: 10-9 Mora

Franchise scores it 115-113 for Mora. The judges score it 114-114, and 115-113 and 116-112 for Mora. The winner by majority decision, and new WBC super welterweight champion, Sergio Mora.

Mora said he worked hard for this moment, but that he had no set game plan coming into the fight. He's shown a big right hand from the sixth round but he says Forrest took it well. Mora says they treated this fight like a once in a lifetime opportunity and it paid off.

Forrest is asked about being winded, and he's gracious in defeat. He says Mora's style was tricky and that the Latin Snake was the better man tonight. Forrest won't make any excuses and also says he definitely wants to continue fighting.

The two men share a respectful handshake. Mora claims he has more to show and that this was just the tip of the iceberg. He gives a shout out to Oscar De La Hoya and says if he wants to do something in September or December, he's willing.

Round By Round: Carlos Quintana vs. Paul Williams II

We're wasting no time getting to the action on Showtime as Paul Williams is introduced for his rematch with Carlos Quintana. The announcers mention that Williams is actually a slight betting favorite despite losing the first meeting.

The crowd at the Mohegan Sun seems to be behind Quintana. Williams is the younger fighter, and has big advantages in height and reach. This is Quintana's first title defense of the WBO welterweight title. And we're all set to go.

Round 1

Williams has vowed to be more aggressive right away but it doesn't look like it in the first few minutes. Quintana and Williams trade shots with the champ getting in a harder shot inside. Williams lunging with the jab. Left hand by Quintana. Jab snaps the champ's head back. Williams with a huge flurry and a left sends Quintana down! More lefts knock Quintana woozy and it's over! The Punisher redeems himself big time with an impressive first round KO. It was a straight left that originally stunned Quintana, and then a mean left that sent him down in the corner. He never got his legs back under him and it was just a matter of time until a right hook and more lefts ended the fight.

The winner by KO at 2:15 of the first round, and once again WBO welterweight champion, Paul "The Punisher" Williams.

Williams credits his sparring partners and strength trainer for the difference this time around. He says Quintana caught him on an off night, but he knew he'd be able to bounce back. He wants Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito or Oscar De La Hoya in the near future.

Live Round By Round Updates Tonight: Pavlik-Lockett, Quintana-Williams and More

It's another two-channel night of boxing here in the U.S., which means we'll be doing double duty here on BoxingWatchers.com. If you can't get to a TV tonight (or can get to only one TV and don't want to channel surf during the fights), why not join us here for some of the fastest and fairest round by round updates anywhere on the internet?

Spartan117 will go round by round for both HBO fights, including middleweight champ Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik putting his belt on the line against Gary Lockett. I'll be handling the rematch between Carlos Quintana and Paul Williams, and if time and logistics permit, an intriguing bout between Vernon Forrest and Sergio Mora.

Bookmark us here for all of the action.


Friday Night Fights Main Event - Souleymane M'Baye - Herman Ngoudjo

Uatu is in a good mood today, so, just for the heck of it, and because he enjoys boxing and has nothing better to do, he's going to score tonight's main event on Friday Night Fights on ESPN.

Round 1
Nothing special happened. No signifcant punches land.
Uatu: 10-9 M'Baye

Round 2
With a minute to go a seemingly out of nowhere, Ngoudjo decides to start throwing bombs. He stepped in close and started winging away.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 3
This fight has started to win Uatu over. He is glad he decided to watch this over a re-run of CSI:Miami or UFC best of 2007. Both fighters that round wanted to fight in very close quarters.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 4
M'Baye may have damaged the left eye of Ngoudjo a little. This fight is some good stuff. M'Baye looks better this round.
Uatu: 10-9 M'Baye

Round 5
The doctor looks at the eye of Ngoudjo. Through 4 Teddy has it 3-1 Ngoudjo. Hard round to score. Even and nothing too big.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 6
This fight is close and sort of interesting and sort of not. No punches standout but at least there are punches. Close again.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 7
Nothing clean ever seems to land with these two. Coin toss.
Uatu: 10-9 M'Baye

Round 8
Teddy has Ngoudjo winning at this point. Perhaps Ngoudjo is separating himself a little. More and harder punches but not by much.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 9
Teddy says Ngoudjo's eye is now completely closed. Not really looking to slow him up too much.
Uatu: 10-9 M'Baye

Round 10
Teddy likes Ngoudjo much more than Uatu does at this point. Although he has it 6-4 Ngoudjo. But there's only been nine rounds. Not sure how that could be. That might have been the second time the graphic had more rounds than had been fought. Anyway, another close round.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 11
Maybe Teddy had a 10-10 round in there. That would explain the score not seeming correct. All apologies to ESPN. He did, the first round. Announcer who is not Tessitore tonight likes Ngoudjo's uppercuts. Does it even need to be said? Another close and difficult round to score.
Uatu: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 12
M'Baye is bringing the fight in the 12th. He is throwing hard. One wishes he would have done that the whole time. The ref stops the fight for some loose tape on Ngoudjo. Ngoudjo's eye actually looks sort of bad now. M'Baye didn't exactly close the show and neither did Ngoudjo.
Uatu: 10-9 M'Baye

Almost every moment of every round of this fight was the same. That was sort of a good thing since there weren't many clinches or lulls, but, at the same time, there were no peaks to the action or signature landed punches. This score could be anything but should be close. And if it is to be close, one would think the hometown fighter would get the nod.

Uatu scores it 113- 115 Ngoudjo.
Teddy had it for Ngoudjo.
Judges had it 117-111, 116-112, 115-113, unanimous decison for Herman Ngoudjo.

Breaking News: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Says He's Retired

Even though it hadn't been made official, it was widely assumed that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya would do battle for a second time this fall. Now it looks like Mayweather won't be fighting the Golden Boy. Or Miguel Cotto or anyone else for that matter.

The AP is reporting that Floyd has decided to permanently retire from the sport of boxing. He cited a lack of passion and personal happiness as the reasons for hanging up the gloves.

The timing is unquestionably strange given that Mayweather stood to enjoy a huge payday for a rematch with De La Hoya. Apparently, though, even the man who nicknamed himself Money can see beyond his bank account.

“I am sorry I have to leave the sport at this time, knowing I still have my God-given abilities to succeed and future multi-million dollar paydays ahead, including the one right around the corner,” Mayweather told the AP. “But there comes a time when money doesn’t matter. I just can’t do it anymore. I have found a peace with my decision that I have not felt in a long time.”

Of course, boxers "retire" all the time, so it remains to be seen if this decision will stick. But there's no question it will reverberate through the sport in the short term, as De La Hoya is suddenly left without an obvious dance partner for his own supposed retirement tour.

Expect to hear more here and around the internet as this story plays out.

Predictions: Pavlik-Lockett, Quintana-Williams, Forrest-Mora

The Franchise says...

When you've taken on Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor - twice - in your last three fights, I suppose it's only fitting that you've earned yourself a little bit of a reprieve. That seems to be what middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik is getting himself this weekend when he faces Gary Lockett, who is making his first appearance in the United States to take on The Ghost.

Can't say I know too much about Lockett except that Pavlik himself says he has a good right hand. The champ's defense is adequate but not great, meaning he is there to be hit at times - one of the things that makes his style exciting. So I suppose at worst, Lockett has a puncher's chance of pulling off the upset.

Pavlik has advantages in height, reach and youth, so the only real worry would be if he is looking past this fight. Say, to a possible big money bout with Joe Calzaghe. But that doesn't seem to be very likely with the Pride of Youngstown, and our own Spartan117 has a source close to Pavlik who assures us that he is taking the fight "very seriously."

That all adds up to bad news for Lockett. Thanks for coming to Atlantic City, but I see The Ghost sending him back across the pond with a mid-round KO.

The most intriguing fight on Saturday is actually over on Showtime, as Paul Williams tries to avenge his lone defeat as a pro against Carlos Quintana. The first fight between these two men was extremely close: two of the three of us here at BoxingWatchers.com actually scored it a draw, though all three official judges liked Quintana.

Conventional wisdom was sort of turned on its ear in that one too, as the lanky Williams usually got the better of the action on the inside while Quintana boxed more effectively. It definitely seemed like Williams could not hurt his foe, and a lot of his punches were of the slappy variety.

In most of Williams' fights, opponents simply have no answer for his volume and the strange angles his height provides. Quintana did, and The Punisher didn't seem to have another plan of attack. Could he and his team have developed one in the last few months? That will be the question of the night.

I'm learning the hard way that you need more than a gut feeling to pick the losing fighter to win in a rematch (see Pavlik-Taylor II, Margarito-Cintron II). With that in mind, I'm taking Quintana by another close decision.

Also on Showtime is another intriguing fight that sees Vernon Forrest put his WBO junior middleweight belt up against former Contender winner Sergio Mora. Most experts aren't giving Mora much chance of pulling off the upset, but one of my favorite boxing scribes, Doug Fischer of Maxboxing.com, thinks the Latin Snake has a definite shot. And when Dougie talks, I listen.

After two losses to Ricardo Mayorga derailed his career back in 2003, Forrest has looked much better in recent times. He's been in against better competition than Mora, has an awkward style that is tough to deal with (just ask Shane Mosley) and is perceived to have a big edge in power - though to be fair, he's never been known as a devastating KO artist.

Mora is moving down one weight class after campaigning at 160 in his previous fights. As long as that doesn't drain him, I expect him to have a speed advantage, and he'll need it because nothing would shock me more than if he knocks The Viper out.

Forrest has been extremely confident during the build-up to the fight, but you have to wonder if he's privately a little concerned that Father Time is bearing down on him at age 37. I think he'll have a tougher time with this one than he or many others may suspect, though I like Forrest to pull out a unanimous decision.

Uatu says...
Uatu cannot honestly assess Lockett, other than by boxrec.com. Nonetheless, he's going to make a prediction anyway. Purely based on the fact that he thinks that Pavlik is the goods, and that Pavlik is too aggressive to let a lesser fighter steal a decision, and based on the fact that Bob Arum ok'd the matchup in the first place, Pavlik by KO early.

Quintana barely beat Williams. Quintana caught Paul at the right place, right time. This time, Williams gets it done. Williams convincing decision.

Forrest is getting old. Mora has maybe gotten stale. Mora probably can't knock down or rattle Forrest, but, Uatu thinks he could take it by outworking Forrest. This is a tough call and an interesting fight. Forrest should be able to completely outclass him, but this a big chance for credibility for the Latin Snake. Uatu likes Mora by decision.

Kelly Pavlik on the Max Kellerman and Brian Kenny ESPN Radio Show

Here's a brief rundown of Kelly the Ghost Pavlik's appearance on ESPN radio.

Pavlik has seen tapes of Lockett.
Lockett is not fast enough for him.

Both Kellerman and Pavlik agree though that it could be a dangerous fight.
Pavlik says that Lockett can fight.
He has a good hook and right hand.

BK asks if Pavlik feels different in preparation now that he is the defending champ and is away from fighting Jermain Taylor.
Pavlik says it is different since he now has a target on his back.

BK asks for Pavlik's thoughts on Joe Calzaghe.
Pavlik says Joecal is good but awkward.
He doesn't give him too much credit for beating Bernard Hopkins though.

Both BK and Max say they thought Hopkins won.

Pavlik says that if Hopkins was the younger Hopkins that fought Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad or Jermain Taylor, Joecal would have had to contend with the right that put him down much more often than he had to face in his fight. Pavlik says that Calzaghe gets hit with a lot of right hands.

Pavlik says he wouldn't have Joe in the top 3 pound for pound.

They talk of the Zertuche fight and whether Kelly feels he needs to be exciting and not just win. Pavlik says not really.

They next talk about Pavlik's peat moss, tulips, and annuals!
Pavlik is so competitive he wants the best lawn on the block.

Pavlik says his life has not changed much since becoming champ.


Tonight's WEC Main Event Has Boxing Connection

Though we don't normally talk any MMA here - that would be the focus of MMAWatchers.com, I would think - it's hard to completely separate America's current favorite combat sport from the sweet science. Boxing is one of the disciplines included in MMA, after all, and it's not unusual for top fighters to spar with boxers to sharpen their striking skills. Oh, and both sports have their share of questionable decisions and stoppages.

Tonight's WEC main event featherweight championship bout between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver takes the connections to the next level. That's because Pulver, the challenger also known as Lil Evil, has an undefeated career record as a professional boxer and is known for his killer left hand.

Okay, so Pulver's career consisted of four fights, all four-rounders fought in 2004. They were still legit pro boxing matches, verified by BoxRec.com, and two of them were first-round knockouts.

Just a little something extra to think about if you tune in to the WEC card tonight on Versus, perhaps to cheer on the unofficial "Favorite MMA Fighter of BoxingWatchers.com": Mark Munoz, a.k.a. the Filipino Wrecking Machine.

Disclaimer: All staffers of BoxingWatchers.com are part Filipino!