BoxingWatchers.com Boxer Power Rankings: January 2009

Now that boxing has finally got cranked back up for a new year, it's time to revisit the power rankings. Two of the top 10 boxers from our final edition of 2008 were in action in January, with Andre Berto holding on to win against Luis Collazo. Antonio Margarito wasn't as fortunate, getting knocked out by Shane Mosley and falling out of the top 10.

For the uninitiated, this isn't a pound-for-pound list, but a part-mathematical (to me), part-magic (to the other BoxingWatchers staff!) formula that measures performance over a rolling three-year period, rewarding activity, decisive victories and the winning percentage of defeated opponents. The theoretical maximum score is 36, with anything approaching or exceeding 20 reflecting a high level of recent dominance.

Without further ado:

1. Arthur Abraham - 24.96 - It looks like he will fight in March, but an opponent has yet to be finalized. If he goes past that point without fighting, he'll start falling in our rankings due to inactivity.

2. Wladimir Klitschko - 23.67 - When brother Vitali decided to face a mandatory challenger instead, Wlad ended up with a date to face the man ranked right below him on this list. That means Klitschko, who's been efficient but not very exciting, may finally be in a bout worth watching.

3. David Haye - 21.07 - He's been asking for it and now he's got his shot at a Klitschko. It's put up or shut up time for the Hayemaker.

4. Celestino Caballero - 20.72 - Returns to the ring in March in his homeland of Panama to take on Jeffrey Mathebula.

5. Manny Pacquiao - 17.62 - His upcoming fight with Ricky Hatton was on, then off, but now is said to be a done deal. The atmosphere should be terrific and the Hitman almost can't help but put up a better fight than the Golden Boy.

6. Andre Berto - 17.54 - The WBC welterweight champion got the year off to a rousing start by squeaking past Collazo. He'll have to jockey for position for a big fight in the crowded 147-pound division.

7. Vic Darchinyan - 17.00 - He flip-flops with Berto this month but could go right back up again if he takes care of Jorge Arce on Feb. 7. The Raging Bull's mouth is almost as entertaining as his fighting style.

8. Paul Williams - 15.89 - Neither he nor Winky Wright (remember him?) are big draws, so it will be interesting to see if their April 11 showdown generates any buzz. The Punisher has earned a big payday in this writer's opinion.

9. Kelly Pavlik - 15.36 - The Ghost is saying all the right things as his Feb. 21 return to middleweight approaches. If he handles Marco Antonio Rubio without much trouble, we'll know he's been able to put his loss to Bernard Hopkins behind him.

10. Miguel Cotto - 14.07 - Speaking of avenging losses, Cotto will look to do the same as the co-feature on the Pavlik PPV. All of a sudden a rematch with Margarito doesn't seem as definite as it did just a few weeks ago.

The next 7: Chris John, Juan Diaz, Nonito Donaire, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Juan Manuel Marquez, Joe Calzaghe


Herman Ngoudjo vs. Juan Urango: Round By Round

The Friday Night Fights main event for Jan. 30, 2009 comes to us from the Bell Centre in Montreal. The vacant IBF super lightweight (140 lbs.) title is on the line as Herman Ngoudjo fights in front of his hometown fans against tough Colombian Juan Urango.

Ngoudjo is 17-2, with both losses coming in the last two years at the hands of Jose Luis Castillo and Paul Malignaggi. Urango is 20-1 and has won seven of his last eight. His sole defeat came via lopsided decision to Ricky Hatton.

Teddy Atlas says Urango will constantly come forward and bang. His key will be to throw wide punches around Ngoudjo's defense. Atlas expects Ngoudjo to be faster, so he'll be well served to throw quick straight punches.

Marlon Wright is the referee in charge of the action. Christian Gauthier handles the introductions and we're ready to go.

Round One

Ngoudjo works the jab as Urango comes forward. Urango takes a few big swings along the ropes but Ngoudjo moves away well. As Atlas expected, Urango is not jabbing his way in. Urango loads up for a big combo that mostly misses. Now he digs with both hands to the body. They trade along the ropes and Ngoudjo manages to switch positions and hold his own.

Franchise: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round Two

The second round starts with some more exchanges and Ngoudjo has to be wary. Urango throws a nice right hook that lands. A nice exchange breaks out along the ropes and the ref tells both men to get their shots up. Urango goes to the body and is whacked in the head in return. They trade again with the same result. Right hook by Urango and an uppercut back from Ngoudjo. That was a close round.

Franchise: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round Three

Urango charges in as soon as the bell rings. Ngoudjo is still showing him good movement. A big left hand from Urango sends Ngoudjo to the mat. He answers the count but Urango is looking for the finish. He swings away with wide hooks from both hands. Ngoudjo stands his ground and ties up his foe. He goes down again, but the ref rules it a slip. Not this time - Ngoudjo hits the canvas with 20 seconds left and this time it counts. The round is over but the damage was done.

Franchise: 10-7 Urango

Round Four

The crowd is trying to will Ngoudjo back into it. Wright warns Urango for a left that may have been low. Urango scores with left hands to the head and body in the corner. Ngoudjo seems to have his legs back but is not offering much offense besides his jab. Urango throws multiple hooks and lands at least one. Ngoudjo throws some quick flurries but Urango shows his power again at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Urango

Round Five

Rights to the body score for Urango. Ngoudjo shows quick hands when he's backed up but his shots aren't hurting Urango. He looks for the kill again along the ropes, but Ngoudjo responds nicely out in the center of the ring. The same sequence replays a few more times over the last minute of the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Urango

Round Six

Ngoudjo circles and picks his spots as Urango continues with power shots. He just misses with a big right hand. There's more clinches in this round, which probably benefits Ngoudjo. He bravely fights his way out of the corner and ties up. Big right to the body by Urango before another clinch. They trade at the bell in what was another tough round to score.

Franchise: 10-9 Urango

Round Seven

Good defense by Ngoudjo as he weathers another assault. His return shots are coming a little less frequently in this round. Finally he bounces to life with a multi-punch combo as he bounces around. Urango responds with both hands to the body and there's more fireworks in the closing seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Urango

Round Eight

Ngoudjo shows he still has quick hands as he opens this round. Urango fires to the body and is hit with a straight right. Left-right to the body again by Urango. Atlas has this fight even, but I disagree. Both men get some work done in the center of the ring. Ngoudjo doubles up on the jab and clinches. He's really fighting smartly in this round. Ngoudjo sneaks in an uppercut right at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round Nine

Urango bulls his way forward but doesn't land much. Ngoudjo scores in the center and stand his ground along the ropes. The fighters tie up several times. Urango is swinging wildly and not finding much. Neither man can find a rhythm amidst all the wrestling. Ngoudjo flashes some quick combos that may have won him this round down the stretch.

Franchise: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 10

Ngoudjo is actually winning exchanges in close now thanks to his hand speed. He's also clinching when he has to and winging uppercuts too. Atlas thinks all the grabbing is working against Urango. Ngoudjo ducks under some big shots. The ref warns Urango a second time for low blows. He comes out swinging and Ngoudjo covers up. This round seems like its gone on way too long. The announcers notice it too. It's almost comical how long this round has become. Both men continue to fight on. Urango shows some spark with body shots. Finally the bell arrives after five minutes!

Franchise: 10-9 Ngoudjo

Round 11

Ngoudjo stumbles out of the gate as Urango comes in. Juan digs to the body and Herman grabs. The ref stops the fight due to the tape coming undone on one of Ngoudjo's gloves. Urango resumes his body attack. Ngoudjo covers up but some shots are still getting through. It looks like that long round worked in Urango's favor. Ngoudjo tries to shoeshine and gets grabbed. Both fighters swing from close range.

Franchise: 10-9 Urango

Round 12

Ngoudjo's corner told him he needs this last round. Urango is swinging for the fences once again. He bull rushes his way to the ropes. Now they stand and trade. Neother man can really land clean with so much wrestling. Urango is more active and is pushing the pace. Nice left by Ngoudjo but more fire comes back his way. Twenty seconds to go. Both men score, and we'll go to the judges for the decision.

Franchise: 10-9 Urango

Franchise scores it 115-111 for Urango. The judges score it 118-108, 120-106 and 116-110, all to the winner... and new IBF super lightweight champion of the world... Juan Urango.


Report: California Suspends Margarito Until Hand Wraps Tested

Apparently I just needed to wait a few days until the controversy over the "plaster-like substance" found and removed from Antonio Margarito's gloves before his fight with Shane Mosley took off.

ESPN boxing guru Dan Rafael is reporting that the California State Athletic Commission has suspended Margarito and trainer Javier Capetillo until the substance found in the wraps can be fully analyzed. Hey, I hear Gil Grissom is available!

All joking aside, I raised the issue of whether or not Miguel Cotto's camp would wonder whether Margarito and Capetillo did something similar before their fight. In the same vein, Rafael notes that people representing Kermit Cintron and Joshua Clottey - two relatively recent Margarito victims - are watching the developments in the hand wrap saga carefully.

And while Yahoo's Steve Cofield may be overstating things (no surprise there) when he wonders if this may spell doom for Margarito's career, it's more understandable to read that Mosley trainer Nazim Richardson is outraged - both for the potential danger posed to his man and the pall it could cast over the sport if it's decided that Margarito and company were knowingly cheating.

Boxing fans don't agree on much, but I think most would concur that there is a portion of the media and the sports-watching public just waiting for any opportunity to pile on boxing. Here's hoping this gets resolved quickly and decisively.


Recap: The Contender Season 4, Episode 8

This week's episode begins with an extra-long recap narrated by Tony Danza that sums up the entire first round of the tournament. We're down to eight remaining fighters, and the second round will begin with a bout between Felix Cora Jr. and Troy Ross.

There's a short focus on Ryan Coyne, who won the final first round fight in a narrow decision. He has to visit the hospital for a cut over his right eye. This one is deeper than the one he suffered over his left eye earlier in the show, and he has less time to recover before his next fight.

The remaining members of the Gold Team discuss the last fight. Akinyemi "A.K." Laleye is especially upset about the decision that cost them teammate Tim Flamos, and he unleashes a tirade in the direction of Troy Ross when he feels like Ross isn't as bothered by the actions of the judges.

Coyne and trainer John Bray talk about whether or not he can realistically continue. Though he wants to keep fighting, Coyne promises to make the decision that's best for him going forward when the time comes.

In the morning, Danza gathers all the remaining competitors and congratulates them for making it to the second round. He declares the team portion of the tournament officially over and says it's every man for himself now. There's no drama in choosing second round slots - Rico Hoye and Coyne have to fight each other because there are only two slots left.

As a reward, Danza tells the fighters he is going to take them out to see some of the sights in Singapore. It becomes a bonding experience as they take a boat tour, ride one of the world's largest Ferris wheels and enjoy a private dinner at a nice restaurant. Danza tells a good story about how he got his first big break in TV after he got up from two knockdowns in a boxing match and knocked out his opponent with one punch. Cora also gives a heartfelt speech about boxing and respect.

When the boxers return, they find pictures of their first round fights decorating the walls of the loft. They also receive letters from home, and Hoye gets word from his wife that he'll be having a baby boy.

Cora gets some bad news in his letter. Since he's been away from his city job for more than ten days, he gets notification that he's been terminated. And since storm-damaged Galveston was hit so hard, he has no home either. Those revelations have an impact on Alfredo Escalera.

During training, Bray expresses his opinion that Cora is the man to beat. He doesn't think Felix will get caught the way Ross' first-round foe did. Trainer Tommy Brooks says both men will come to fight and it may boil down to who makes the first serious mistake.

Before the fight, Brooks tells Ross to get up on points in the early rounds and be patient. Bray speaks to Cora mostly about the mental aspect of his game.

And it's fight time...

The first round sees both men trying to establish the jab. Ross looks like he has the faster hands, while Cora looks a little more hesitant. He lands a nice power shot that is answered with a multi-punch combo by Ross.

In the final minute of the round, Cora is caught flush by a hook and he goes down. He beats the count but the ref will not let him continue despite his protests. The official time of Ross' KO win is 2:38 of the first round.

Ross says he was expecting a five-round chess match, not a first-round KO. He wishes the best to Cora going forward and says he feels very confident.

An embarrassed Cora agonizes over his failure to step up to the plate. He also thinks he may have been too tight going into the fight. Physically he feels great, but mentally he is shaken up. As he takes the long walk, he sounds like he is considering giving up boxing, ending the episode on a somber note.

Next week: Tension heats up in the loft between Escalera and Hoye, but it's A.K. who Escalera will have to face in the ring.


20-20 Hindsight - Margarito-Mosley Aftermath Edition: What Makes an Upset, Hand Speed and Handwraps, Props and Disses

Now that a couple of days have passed since Shane Mosley's impressive knockout of Antonio Margarito, it's been interesting to watch the reaction of media and fans. Since Mosley was a 3-t0-1 underdog, was seven years older and was up against Margarito's aura of invincibility, many latched onto Sugar Shane's victory as a big upset.

Indeed, all three of us here at BoxingWatchers.com picked Margarito to win. After the fact though, it's hard to see history looking back at this as an upset at all.

Mosley is a multi-divisional champion who has been fighting top level competition for over a decade. Margarito's list of wins is impressive but much shorter, and he entered Saturday's fight only three fights removed from his last loss.

Nazim Richardson, who rightfully was given much of the credit for cooking up the winning plan of attack, practically begged reporters to keep billing Margarito as a monster to ensure his fighter got the credit he deserved. Shane will get his due, for sure, but my guess is the result of this fight will seem a lot less stunning as time goes by.

Speaking of Richardson, while his game plan may have won the day, even he was quick to say it would not have worked without an athlete of Sugar Shane's caliber. Mosley looked lightning fast in every exchange, and it became clear very early on that he had a big edge in hand speed while Margarito had... well, as The Ring's Dougie Fischer said, he had his chin, but that wasn't nearly enough.

If there's a common thread between the most recent outings of the Golden Boy Trinity (Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Mosley), it's that the man with a significant hand speed advantage won each won. Conclusive evidence that hand speed trumps all? Of course not, but at least in the case of Pavlik-Hopkins and Margarito-Mosley, we can definitely say that hand speed trumped pressure.

Finally, every media outlet covering Saturday's fight picked up on the story that Richardson asked for Margarito's hands to be rewrapped after spying what was described as a hard, plaster-like substance being inserted. What hasn't received as much play is how this revelation casts at least a bit of a pall over some of Tony's previous wins - especially, in this observer's mind, of his knockout of previously unbeaten Miguel Cotto.

Did Margarito receive some plaster-aided assistance against Cotto? We don't know, and probably never will.

But at the very least, if the expected Cotto-Margarito rematch takes shape, it's going to give Cotto a bit of a psychological boost thinking that he may have been up against literally harder punches the first time.


  • To the "old men" at Golden Boy. As mentioned above, the members of the Trinity all stepped in against younger men and went 2-1 over the last four months. Not too shabby.

  • To HBO. As Kvin Iole points out, the network is off to a great start to 2009. And it is resisting putting as many fights on pay-per-view, which is a blessing to boxing fans in the current economy.


  • To Jim Lampley's nutritionist. I watched Saturday's fight with two of the Official Parents of the BoxingWatchers, and both of them said the same thing: Lampley looks like he's ballooned up since we last saw him on TV.

  • To Larry Merchant. He must have had his reasons for claiming Affliction was paying De La Hoya $5 million to appear at the co-promoted MMA event in Anaheim instead of watching Mosley in L.A. But with multiple sources giving better reasons for the Golden Boy's absence and quoting flat-out denials from Richard Schaefer and Tom Atencio, it sure looks like Merchant let his distaste for MMA sway him into presenting rumor as fact.


Margarito vs. Mosley: Round By Round

It's a brand new look for HBO's World Championship Boxing to kick off 2009. Tonight's fight is a welterweight championship fight between Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley in front of an impressive crowd of more than 20,000 fans at the Staple Center in Los Angeles.

Jim Lampley runs down the list of current welterweight champions and contenders. Interestingly, he includes Manny Pacquiao, the weight-hopping Paul Williams and the currently still retired Floyd Mayweather.

Earlier in the night, Larry Merchant sat down with Margarito. Tony says he did a lot of sparring and prepared properly for the fight. He says Mosley will be looking to do more boxing and less brawling than Miguel Cotto. Margarito also feels like tonight's fight will be a big one for his fans and his career.

Lampley and Emanuel Steward discuss some of the similarities between Mosley and Cotto. Steward thinks Shane has learned from watching Cotto's fight with Margarito.

Next up is Merchant's interview with Mosley, and Shane is honest in saying that while he feels great right now, he'll evaluate how much he still has left after tonight's fight. Mosley thinks using his jab may be the key to his chances to win. He talks a little bit about ignoring outside distractions, and a video package goes into more detail about Shane's BALCO-related troubles, his split with his father and his divorce.

The tale of the tape shows a two-inch height advantage for Margarito but a slight edge in reach for Mosley. Tony is 30 years old, while Shane is 37.

Sugar Ray Leonard, Mark Wahlberg, Joe Pesci and Sylvester Stallone are among the celebrities in attendance. Oscar De La Hoya is not in the house, as he is in Anaheim at the Affliction MMA pay-per-view.

Mosley comes out to "Live Your Life" By T.I. and Rihanna. It's his first fight with trainer Nazim Richardson, who is best known for helping train Bernard Hopkins. Margarito gets a huge crowd reaction as he enters to some traditional Mexican music.

Michael Buffer handles the introductions and we're all set to go.

Round One

Mosley looks like he has plenty of pep early on as he takes the fight to the champ. He lands some nice shots to the body and ties up. Now Margarito comes forward a bit. Shane digs in with an uppercut and there's more wrestling. Mosley really looks committed to a body attack. Mosley shows some good hand speed in tight and Tony throws right back. The ref is really busy right now. Nice left to the head by Margarito.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Two

Mosley starts the second working jabs. Margarito tries to go to the body but they immediately clinch. Shane is really making it ugly, which is to his benefit. Both men try to work from very close range. Tony just misses with a big right. Shane lands a quick combo and backs away. The fans express their displeasure with Shane's holding. Margarito lands a couple of shots but Shane fires right back. The ref warns Mosley for leading with his head.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Three

The fight has been fought at Mosley's pace so far. Shane backpedals quickly as Margarito digs in. Both fighters take some good swings in the middle of the ring. Tony lands an uppercut and complains about a headbutt again. Mosley lands a flashy combo with a nice right hand. He lands another good right but Margarito smiles. Tony goes back to his jab, which has been his main weapon so far. Mosley lands a hard right and a left before the bell, but Margarito seems unfazed.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Four

Harold Lederman has given all three rounds to Mosley so far. Jabs both ways open this round. Shane locks up to avoid Tony's shots along the ropes. Margarito lands a nice uppercut, but Mosley is clinching whenever he can. Mosley jabs and Margarito covers to block the follow-ups. Right-left combo as Tony comes forward. Left to the body and a big right upstairs by Mosley. That flurry may have won him this round. Another big right right at the bell for Shane.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Five

Margarito is bouncing around but he hasn't been comfortable on offense yet. He lands some jabs and tries the body. Left hook to the head by Mosley. Margarito reaches down for a combo and Shane attempts to respond. Right hook upstairs by Shane. Nice shots land for both men. Margarito really seems bothered by the wrestling. Left to the head brings blood from Tony's mouth, and Shane lands to the body as well.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Six

Tony's corner is begging him to work more. Shane lands a right to the head and circles away. He's getting in some sharp shots that are scoring even if they aren't slowing Margarito down. Every exchange is going at least slightly in Mosley's favor right now. Shane backs Tony up into the ropes and lands several big right hands. It's strange to see Margarito back on his heels.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Seven

Steward says Mosley can't miss with his right hand right now. He's measuring shots in the middle of the ring, though the ref has to stop it for a moment to fix Shane's glove. To his credit, Margarito is still standing and trying to throw. They battle hand to hand in the center. Jabs are followed by a sharp right to the head for Mosley. Both fighters score with left hands along the ropes. Tony shows a nice flurry and comes forward for his best offense in a while. The fans boo loudly as the ref warns Margarito for low shots. That may have been the closest round so far.

Franchise: 10-9 Mosley
Uatu: 10-9 Margarito
Spartan117: 10-9 Mosley

Round Eight

Let's see if Tony can carry over some momentum. Back to jabs for both men. Right hand upstairs for Shane. A left hand backs up Mosley for a second. Nice right hand for the champ in response to numerous jabs. Tony gets hit by another right as he comes in. The crowd is really trying to will Margarito back into the fight. Mosley lands a huge left-right combo and Tony is stunned. Shane pours it on and Margarito goes down! He wobbles to his feet just before the bell but he doesn't look too good.

Franchise: 10-8 Mosley
Uatu: 10-8 Mosley
Spartan117: 10-8 Mosley

Round Nine

We'll see what Margarito has left in the tank. Mosley is landing some mean shots right now. The ref steps in just as Tony goes down again, and it's all over.

The winner by TKO at 0:43 of Round Nine... and new WBA welterweight champion of the world... "Sugar" Shane Mosley.

Merchant asks Mosley if all of the distractions may have actually helped him. He gives a lot of credit to Richardson for coming up with a winning game plan. Shane says he knew Margarito was going to come forward and thus, the plan wasn't that complicated. When asked if he thought he could knock Margarito out, he simply replies that he always goes for the KO.

Turning to an obviously distraught Margarito, Merchant asks him what happened. He gives the credit to Mosley, and says even though his corner wanted to stop the fight after the eighth, he refused. As expected, he says Shane was bothering him by clinching on the inside. He also says Mosley studied him well. Asked about the possible Cotto rematch, he doesn't really answer, but says he'll raise his hands as the champion once again.

The announcers discuss the hand wrap controversy with Margarito before the fight. Apparently state athletic commission officials found a "hard plaster shell" being inserted into Margarito's glove after Richardson caught it and asked for it to be removed. Tony had to have his hands wrapped three times before everything was found to be kosher.

Live Margarito-Mosley Updates Tonight

What's not to like about a pay-per-view caliber fight on free (well, not really free, but less expensive) television tonight? It's a welterweight showdown between two talented and likable fighters as Antonio Margarito clashes with Shane Mosley from Los Angeles.

Can't get to a TV with HBO tonight? No problem - that's why we're here. Bookmark our main page at www.boxingwatchers.com and stay up on the action with live round by round updates and scoring from the BoxingWatchers crew.

Join us at approximately 10 pm EST tonight!

Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley: Predictions

The Franchise says...

Last week's Andre Berto-Luis Collazo fight kicked off the major 2009 boxing "season" with a bang, so as fans, we simply have to cross our fingers and hope this fight keeps the momentum going. It's an intriguing match-up between an aging former champion and a younger fighter riding a wave of momentum, and as we saw last year with Pavlik-Hopkins and Pacquiao-De La Hoya, these can go either way.

It's not too often that a fight comes around where both men may be their own worst enemies, but I think that may be the case here. The only fight I've ever seen Margarito lose was against Paul Williams, and in that one it was simply a case of him not turning up the pressure early enough and waiting too long to get going. If he does that here - perhaps looking ahead to a rematch with Miguel Cotto - he may find himself getting outpointed in a fight logic suggests he should win.

By the same token, Mosley seems like he could have enough speed and skill left to pull off one more (and possibly final) big win. But that would seem to hinge on him pulling off a plan of attack that includes a lot of hitting and running or grabbing, and it's very likely that Sugar Shane will simply be lured into standing and trading at some point.

I have a lot of admiration for Margarito and will certainly be wishing him well in future fights, but Mosley has been a long-time favorite of mine and I will be rooting for him tonight. My head is overruling my heart here though, and while I think Tony will find Shane too cagey and tough to KO, my pick is Margarito by unanimous decision.

Spartan117 says...

I am one of the few boxing fans who has yet to be blown away by an Antonio Margarito performance. His fight against Cotto, although very exciting to watch, didn't show me that he was the best boxer at his weight class. He did, however, show me that he has an excellent chin and top-notch accuracy.

Sugar Shane hasn't impressed me enough in his recent fights for me to believe that he can pull off a victory. In his match with Mayorga, he had one more second before that fight would have gone to decision. It should not take a boxing tactician like Mosley all 36 minutes in the ring to finish a sloppy swinger like Mayorga. It only took De La Hoya six rounds. Mosley did show that his speed is still his number one weapon.

It would be nice to see the older Mosley shock the world tonight, pull off an upset, and show the world that he still has what made him a great fighter of his generation. I just can't see it happening though. I see this fight being similar to Cotto v. Margarito. Margarito will wear down Mosley and the punches will add up in the later rounds. Mosley won't have enough power to keep Margarito at a distance. Margarito by late round TKO.

Uatu says...

Margarito by TKO in the 10th Round.


It's On! Weigh-in Report: Margarito vs. Mosley

Streaming live on hbo.com.

It's 5:52 eastern time in the US, and surprisingly the weigh-in has already begun streaming. Lately hbo.com has started their streaming right on time and no one is there yet to weigh-in. Today, they are already weighing fighters by the time I check out their site.

Hopefully, this is just the prelim fighters. Other weigh-ins have led off with the main event and worked backwards, while some have built upwards to the main event.

They are going with the digital scale. I prefer the drama of the beam type where some guy actually has to move those indicators on the scale and watch the arm actually balance. Here it is just people reading a scale on the floor, which of course we can not see whatsoever.

The omnipresent Bernard Hopkins is on stage, which is to be expected at a Golden Boy fight. He is going with jeans in an expensive casual look. Bob Arum going with a classic turtleneck, blazer and dress pants affair. Excuse me, it looks like that might be a tight, bright red t-shirt under the blazer for Arum.

They declare 30 seconds until they are on the air. So thankfully I did not miss the main event. The streaming public on hbo.com are now being shown a slickly produced commercial for the fight, with an orchestral score over highlights.

And we are formally welcomed to the Nokia Theatre at LA Live.

They are expecting a sell out of over 20,000 at the Staples Center. And now another commercial. This in the voice-over on top of highlights style.

I am not sure how many of these I have watched over the years on TV and the web, but they are mostly the same. A lot of waiting around for little excitement. But, in the events where there is a buzz, the weigh-ins really get you pumped up to watch the fights. A loyal national crowd usually helps.

And here... we... go!

Shane Mosley and crew have reached the stage. Antonio Margarito has arrived too. Both men are going the custom track suit route.

Shane: 147 even. He is looking super lean, supper ripped, with the body of a 20-year old.

There's some jawing and arguing going on. There are a bunch of people on the stage making the stage uneven. Now they announce 147.2.

Tony: 145.8! Tony is looking all kinds of muscular too. The camera actually did cut to a shot of the digital reading, so that problem was solved. Thank you hbo.com

Now they are deciding if Shane needs to get back on. It is announced that Shane will step away and get back on later. They are going to take the picture for the fight, and then Shane will try again.

Face to face, Tony is taller, but he doesn't dwarf Shane as much as I would have thought. Bernard always gets his picture in between for these events and he is much taller than both men.

An interview with Tony, which is a nice surprise for the streaming public. Tony is asked about his weight. He says it is not a problem for him. He has to make that weight and he does.

He says LA will be his house, and you can see all the fans out here to support him, and he will make them proud.

Will it be like the Cotto fight? How does he see it turning out?
Yes, Shane has a lot of experience so they prepared so hard.

On a side note, the reporter was also the interpreter, which makes the interaction between the two much cleaner and shorter than the usual interview across languages.

Another commerical is shown.

The commissioner is being interviewed. The commissioner defers to the man conducting the weights with the scale. He is asked who requested the re-weigh-in. The scale stopped at 147 for a brief moment and then moved to 147.2. He stepped on again and it read 147.2. So he has to lose that weight. He has two hours.

B-Hop gets interviewed.

Is it hard to lose 0.2 pounds?
Bernard says he could stand up here and talk and lose the weight. He says the underwear probably weighs 0.1. He personally thinks the first number of 147 should count. Then people moved around and affected the number.

Bernard says Tony is a great person and fighter and it will be tough. Last year showed that just because a fighter is supposed to win doesn't mean he will. Golden Boy and Top Rank will continue to put on great fights.

He says that Shane isn't really going into Tony's territory being that Shane is from the area, has fans in the area, and Mexicans love him too.

Shane is back up... 147.

Shane says he is in great shape and ready to go. He didn't have to struggle to make weight so this extra weighing was no big deal. He's ready to go. He sounds excited. He says it wasn't hard to make 147, he says it was actually very easy, he just scaled it wrong today.

That's all, that's it.


Antonio Margarito Vs. Shane Mosley: In-Depth Preview

"The Tijuana Tornado" Antonio Margarito

Birthplace: Torrance, CA
Resides: Tijuana, Mexico
Height: 5' 11"
Reach: 73"
Current Titles Held: WBA Welterweight (147 lbs.)
Former Titles Held: WBO, IBF Welterweight
Professional Record: 37-5, 27 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 10-2 (8 KOs), 1 No Contest
Record at 147 lbs.: 17-2, 1 No Contest
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 2-1

Notable Wins: TKO11 Miguel Cotto, KO6 Kermit Cintron II, UD12 Joshua Clottey
Notable Losses: UD12 Paul Williams, TD10 Daniel Santos

"Sugar" Shane Mosley

Birthplace: Lynwood, CA
Resides: Pomona, CA
Height: 5' 9"
Reach: 74"
Current Titles Held: None
Former Titles Held: WBC, WBA Light Middleweight (154 lbs.), WBC Welterweight, IBF Lightweight (135 lbs.)
Professional Record: 45-5, 38 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 14-5 (11 KOs)
Record at 147 lbs.: 9-3
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 4-5

Notable Wins: TKO6 Fernando Vargas II, UD12 Oscar De La Hoya II, SD12 Oscar De La Hoya I
Notable Losses: UD12 Miguel Cotto, UD12 Winky Wright I, UD12 Vernon Forrest I


It sure seems like the boxing world has been full of "last chance" fights for former world champions over the past year or two, and this one qualifies as well. Mosley has proven he still belongs in the upper echelon of current fighters, but at age 37, this may be his final shot at another title and (perhaps most importantly) a continued presence in big money fights.

He's got a difficult task in front of him in the form of welterweight champion Margarito, who made the most of his biggest bout to date with a thrilling eleventh-round TKO of Miguel Cotto last year. The Tijuana Tornado isn't the busiest or most powerful fighter, but he puts those two traits together to form a relentless style that simply wilts opponents as the rounds go by.

Margarito's biggest foe could be complacency. He's thrived on the underdog role for so long, it's hard to say for certain how he'll handle life as one of the top dogs. With a Cotto rematch on the horizon and a seemingly bright future, the danger is that he'll look past Mosley.

That would be a mistake, as there's every reason to believe Mosley still has what it takes to pull of an upset. He won't be fighting from huge disadvantages in height and reach like some of Margarito's foes, and his hand speed and ability to pick spots to throw multi-punch flurries could still pose problems if the champ fails to bring his 'A' game.

One thing that would be a surprise is seeing either man knocked out. Mosley has never been down for the count in 53 professional fights, many of which came against world class competition, and Margarito has a well-deserved reputation for possessing an iron chin.

Margarito's Winning Strategy: Get Started Early

Though it's not impossible to see Margarito winning by KO - he did, after all, get to Cotto eventually - he certainly doesn't want to bank on it against Mosley, so it's important for him to make sure he's winning rounds. Even though his tireless work ethic suits itself to coming from behind, he doesn't want to have to dig himself out a hole against an opponent also known for coming on late.

Margarito waited too long to get started against Paul Williams in 2007 and it cost him. Mosley fights more in spurts now than he did in his younger days, so if the champ gets in a mindset to outwork him from the beginning, he should be able to pull it off.

At the same time, he doesn't want to simply throw caution to the wind against a boxer as seasoned as Mosley. Cotto was able to box Margarito effectively for the first half of their fight, but he couldn't keep it up for 12 rounds. If Tony gets going early and is prepared to go the distance at the same pace, he'll be nearly impossible to beat.

Mosley's Winning Strategy: Hit and Run

Hopefully Mosley took notes when his business partner Oscar De La Hoya was getting outclassed by Manny Pacquiao, because he'll have to do something similar to what Pacman did last December. That means using his footwork to get in and out effectively, circling away when the pressure gets too intense.

Mosley can still crack pretty hard for a welterweight, but he can't afford to fall in love with standing in front of Margarito, as that's a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, the gameplan he needs to follow dovetails pretty well with his preferred pace at this point in his career, which is to throw punches in short bursts.

He's certainly outgunned if the match turns into a continuous firefight. But if Mosley is savvy enough to pick his spots, getting off first and then getting away, he may be able to give Margarito more of a challenge than many are expecting.


Recap: The Contender Season 4, Episode 7

Only ten fighters remain in Season Four, and the first doubleheader of the tournament will finish the first round and reduce that number to eight. The Gold Team has had control for several weeks and will once again decide the pairings for the last two first round bouts.

The early spotlight is on Tim Flamos of the Gold Team as he checks in with his home. The oldest fighter in the tournament at 41, Flamos almost retired after his last fight but was talked out of it by his son.

Trainers Tommy Brooks (Gold) and John Bray (Blue) share some frustrations about the fighters not listening to them. It's especially hard on Bray, a former fighter who feels he never lived up to his promise and doesn't want to see the same thing happen to the competitors on the show.

Last week's winner Troy Ross talks over his choices with Brooks. He can either put himself in the one remaining empty bracket or go for Felix Cora Jr. who everyone seems to avoid. Ross chooses the latter, and Cora says it will be a good competitive fight.

When Tony Danza gathers the fighters, Rico Hoye steps forward for Gold and calls out Mike Alexander. That leaves Flamos and Ryan Coyne in the final fight.

Brooks says both fights are good style match-ups and either could be ended by one shot. Is he foreshadowing? We'll see.

Hoye is from Detroit and was a former top-10 caliber light heavyweight before running into trouble with the law. He says he considered moving on but somehow drifted back to boxing. His plan is to set up his offense off the jab.

Alexander hails from Columbus, Ohio, and he knows he's in for a big challenge. His goal is to keep Hoye moving.

The first two rounds go mostly Alexander's way, as it's clear that both men can land and are there to be hit in return. Brooks tells Hoye to let his hands go more because he is losing the fight.

Hoye appears to take round three and four with excellent work on the inside. Alexander looks like he may be running out of gas, and Bray implores him not to blow a fight he was winning.

The fifth and final round is fairly ugly with lots of wrestling. Both fighters do some good things, but Hoye seems to get the best of it and is clearly fresher when the final bell rings.

The judges come to a unanimous decision, scoring it 48-47 and 49-46 twice for Hoye. Alexander tips his hat to the victor, saying he was a bit winded and arm-weary down the stretch. Bray tells him his stock went up with that performance, and that if he gets himself in top condition he has a bright future.

Flamos and Coyne prepare to close out the first round. Coyne speaks a little bit about being the youngest fighter at 26, and how he once thought his future was in football (he played linebacker at Missouri) until injuries pushed him toward boxing.

Brooks tells Flamos he must stick to the plan and stay off the ropes. Bray reminds Coyne he has an advantage in talent, so if he listens he will come out on top.

Round One sets the tone with Flamos coming forward and Coyne laying back and making him pay with quick jabs and uppercuts on the inside. Neither man shows off textbook technique, and Bray is worried about clashes of heads.

Sure enough, Coyne is cut above the right eye - his cut in training a few weeks ago was above his left - in the second round. Bray is beside himself, telling his charge that he's turning an easy night into a tough fight.

Like the first fight, this one seems like it may be there for the taking in the fifth round. Flamos stays aggressive, but Coyne lands a few big shots amidst plenty of holding. Both fighter stand and trade all the way until the bell.

A split decision is announced, with 48-47 scores both ways and one judge seeing it 49-46 for Coyne. In a rare move, Danza goes in and congratulates the losing Flamos. He says he's not sure what his future holds, and he hangs up his gloves and departs the training center.

Next week: Coyne's future in the tournament is once again in jeopardy due to a cut. And the second round begins with an intriguing fight, as tournament favorite Cora steps in against Ross.


Report: Roy Jones to Face Omar Sheika on Combined Boxing-MMA Card

Golden Boy Productions and Affliction have been kicking around the concept of top-level cards combining boxing and MMA for a while. So far they haven't acted on that idea - and are actually doing the exact opposite this Saturday by promoting separate boxing and MMA events on the same night - but now it looks like they'll have a chance to watch someone else take the risk of trying it first.

ESPN's Dan Rafael reports that Roy Jones Jr. will take on Omar Sheika as part of a mixed boxing-MMA card in Jones' hometown of Pensacola on March 21. The event will be on pay-per-view and is planned to include multiple boxing and MMA bouts.

Though the article states that the state of Florida has already given its blessing to hold a combined card, it's not immediately apparent who Jones and Square Ring are working with to fill out the MMA side. Several regional promotions that have held successful events call Florida home, including Xtreme Fighting Championships and the Mixed Fighting Alliance, and the popular American Top Team camp has fighters training all over the state.

On the boxing side, Jones seems to have found the perfect foil in Sheika: someone Roy should be able to beat if he's not completely shot but credible enough to avoid allegations that the fight is a farce. Sheika owns a victory over Glen Johnson and has been in against Joe Calzaghe and Jeff Lacy, though he's fought just once since 2005 while battling various injuries.

While there's little doubt Jones will draw at the gate in his hometown, the real question will be whether going pay-per-view in a down economy will bear fruit, especially since other bigger fights seem to be headed the other way in 2009. Jones and company will have to hope his name and curiosity about the hybrid card can translate into buys.


Shane Mosley on Jim Rome is Burning on ESPN

Sugar Shane Mosley will be on Jim Rome is Burning today on ESPN. Rome himself is not on the show, and it is being hosted by Jason somebody. I am not familiar with this person that is filling in for Rome today. Shane is coming on to promote his big fight with Antonio Margarito this weekend. A report on his appearance is forthcoming. The questions are paraphrased to the best of my ability.

Apparently it is a gentleman named Jason Smith who is hosting today. He can be heard on ESPNRadio, and I have heard his show on ESPN Radio, All Night, on several occasions. I have no idea what kind of boxing knowledge he brings to the table. We shall see.

Here we go.

Smith asks Shane about the fact that Shane has said that he is worried about his overconfidence in the fight.

Shane answers something to the effect that he has great movement, speed, power. It was sort of an awkward question and answer there.

They move on to the wildlife in Big Bear. What does Shane think about seeing bears, deer, etc along the roads when he is running?

Shane doesn't worry about the wildlife. The bears actually run away from him when they see him. Right now it's winter so the bears are hibernating. Smith makes a joke that they should promote the fight saying that bears are afraid of Shane. Shane says they are out of his weight class.

A question about dropping his father as trainer and its effect out of the ring.

Shane says their relationship is exactly the same.

A question about the health of the sport.

Shane points to the awesome fight between Berto and Collazo. Shane says he still has three or four more years himself as well.

How old is too old to keep fighting?

Shane says only if you are getting hit with too many shots. He mentions Bernard and says if he can, he will fight as long as Bernard has. (Personal aside, I believe that Shane gets hit with more shots than Bernard does.)

What about the economy?

Shane touts the fact that he and Margarito have sold out despite the economy. Everyone is coming to the fight.

Smith asks a steroid question. What does Shane think about the fact that people may now always equate him with steroids?

Shane says people that know him in the boxing world know he is a clean person. Maybe outside of the boxing world people may think he is into it. He says that is not him. He lives clean, he is a clean person. He is not into that type of stuff, it is not his forte.

What's the hardest he has ever been hit?

He says Vernon is the only one to rock him so it's Forrest. He says he has been hit hard a number of times. Shane says what was going through his head was to get back up and knock Vernon out.

What does Barack mean to him?

Shane says it's a great thing. Obama brings together all nationalities and makes the world and country a better place.

Overall good stuff. Shane is a nice guy and not one for being flamboyant, and he's honest in interviews. It won't change my opinion on the fight.


Berto v. Collazo: Round by Round

Boxing After Dark is back for the first time in 2009 tonight with Andre Berto versus Luis Collazo. It's back just in time too, since I've exhausted the replays of Hopkins v. Pavlik, Cotto v. Margarito and De La Hoya v. Pacquiao.

Berto is coming off of his win against Steve "Two Pounds" Forbes. He's now facing the toughest competition he's faced so far in his career in Luis Collazo. This a fight between young welterweights, Berto being 25 years old and Collazo 27.

I've followed Berto since I saw him on the undercard of Taylor v. Pavlik I and am looking forward to see what he does in 2009. He is the WBC welterweight champion, having won the vacant title last June.

Max Kellerman and Bob Papa are our commentators tonight. Before the fight, HBO is showing a piece showcasing Berto's life. Kellerman now interviews Collazo. He says that he's hungry to show the critics that he's a top welterweight in the world. Collazo adds that he will capitalize on Berto's mistakes and work the body.

Collazo is 29-3 and Berto is 23-0 with 19 KOs. The intros are complete and it's time to fight.

Round One
They touch gloves in the center. Berto goes to work first and tries to establish the jab. Collazo tries out his jab. Both fighters look to be in good shape. Berto lands a left jab as Collazo comes in. Berto gets tagged with a huge right hand and stumbles back. He looks like he's in trouble, and has to clinch to stay on his feet. Berto looks like he has his legs under him. Now Berto peppers Collazo with a huge combo, and Collazo is forced to clinch. Collazo lands a right hand upstairs. Fantastic first round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Collazo
Uatu: 10-9 Collazo

Round Two
Berto comes out in round 2 swining with hard hooks. Collazo throws a jab follows by a cross. Not much landing cleanly. Collazo counters with a right hand and lands. Collazo lands a good body shot. Now Berto lands a straight to the body. Berto gets tagged with a left. Berto starts to use the uppercut and lands it, followed by a left. Berto clocks Collazo with a lightning fast combo to the head. Berto lands a great hook as Collazo comes forward. They hook up and Collazo lands some hooks as they break. Berto wobbles Collazo with a right and left hook. Another great round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Round Three
Collazo comes out fast and throws about six punches to the body. Berto counters to the head. Collazo looks like he hurt Berto with some shots as they clinch. Berto gets warned for holding. The two trade punches against the ropes. Both fighters are swinging wildly and getting rocked with huge combos. Berto looks to be taking most of the damage, but he continues to come forward. Collazo is winning the battle as they go toe to toe. Berto rocks Collazo with a right hand and Collazo smiles. The bell rings to stop the action.

Spartan117: 10-9 Collazo
Uatu: 10-9 Collazo

Round Four
Berto comes out with a right uppercut. Collazo is throwing a lot of punches and landing the cleaner shots. Berto lands three punches to the head. Berto rips Collazo with a wide hook. Now Collazo lands an uppercut and goes to work to the body. Berto catches Collazo as he comes in. Berto is clinching but getting punched while doing so. Berto gets a point deducted for holding. It's rare to see that happen. Berto wobbles Collazo with a right hook.

Spartan117: 9-9
Uatu: 9-9

Round Five
Berto hits Collazo and knocks out his mouthpiece. Berto backs away so the ref can put it back in. Berto is winning this round so far by landing a lot of great combinations. Berto catches Collazo with a jab. Collazo lands a left hook. Collazo is using great movement to dodge a lot of Berto's punches. Berto is throwing a ridiculous amount of punches down the stretch of this round. Berto lands a left hook right before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Round Six
Berto tries to beat Collazo to the punch and comes out swinging. He's landing big shots upstairs. Berto lands a left uppercut and puts Collazo on the defensive. Now Collazo works with the uppercut. Collazo is backed against the ropes but landing big shots. Collazo throws another six-punch combo the body. A right hand backs up Collazo. That was the most intense round of the fight. Huge action from both fighters. It could have gone either way.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Round Seven
Berto has landed a combo at the start of the last few rounds now. Berto lands another big combo and Collazo has to keep his gloves up. Berto lands a right and left to the head. Berto's left eye is swelling shut and he has a cut over it from a headbutt. Collazo drops his hands completely. Collazo has had his hands below his waste for about 30 seconds now. Berto hasn't done anything to capitalize. Collazo looks a little tired. Collazo keeps his hands down as Berto lands a combo.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Round Eight
The crowd is chanting for both fighters during the break. Sounds like more for Berto. Now a cut has opened over the left eye of Collazo. Collazo keeps his hands down again but not as low as the last round. Collazo is throwing substantially less punches. Berto continues to throw his combos and is landing the majority. Collazo isn't doing much this round. Collazo goes back to keeping his hands at his sides. Berto complains about a headbutt. Berto lands another combination. Collazo looks tired. Berto lands a jab followed by a right hook. Collazo lands two shots to the body and one upstairs. Berto rocks Collazo's head with a big right hand. Collazo stumbles into the corner, but the bell saves him.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Round Nine
These have been pretty close rounds. Both fighters take a short break for the first 30 seconds. Berto is still landing his combos. Collazo is really working the body while they clinch. Berto's head snaps back by a left hand of Collazo. Collazo lands three huge shots and Berto gets backed into the ropes. They look like they hurt him. This has been a very strong round for Collazo. Collazo lands a left upstairs. Berto's eye looks barely open. Berto gets crushed by a left and right that stagger him. Berto can't take too much more punishment like that.

Spartan117: 10-9 Collazo
Uatu: 10-9 Collazo

Round 10
In the corner, Berto's eye didn't look as bad as I thought. Collazo comes out swinging. Collazo is throwing an insane amount of punches, mostly to the body. Both fighters are trading punches and it's doing more damage to Berto. Collazo is getting crushed but still landing huge shots. Berto looks really hurt. Collazo now looks winded. Berto lands a left hook and uppercut. Berto stumbles, almost certainly caused by fatigue.

Spartan117: 10-9 Collazo
Uatu: 10-9 Collazo

Round 11
Berto has his legs back under him and comes out fast as usual. The fans are really into this fight and for good reason. Berto lands a right uppercut and left hook. Both fighters go toe to toe again and Collazo lands big body shots. Berto lands two left hooks. Berto lands another hard combo. Collazo pours on the body shots again. Collazo looks tired and wobbly. Collazo keeps his hands at his sides again. Berto lands a huge right hand before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Round 12
Both of these fighters have been through a war tonight. This fight has been a great way to kick off the year. Collazo's cut looks bad. They touch gloves in the center and now they swing for the fences. Collazo works the body and Berto goes to the head. Berto rocks Collazo with a huge left hand and Collazo's head snaps back. The fans are on their feet. Collazo goes back to the body. They go toe to toe again and Collazo is peppering Berto with flurries. Berto has landed some huge shots and Collazo shows the strength of his chin. Berto is going for a knockout. Collazo is really hurt and tired. Collazo falls out of fatigue. Collazo is in big trouble. Twenty seconds to go, and Collazo is really tired. Berto lands a combo to end the fight. Great, great fight.

Spartan117: 10-9 Berto
Uatu: 10-9 Berto

Judge 1: 116-111 Berto
Judge 2: 114-113 Berto
Judge 3: 114-113 Berto

Spartan117, Uatu: 115-112 Berto

The winner by unanimous decison... and still WBC welterweight champion... Andre Berto.

Berto gives Collazo praise and says he's a slick, powerful fighter. He says he would be interested in a rematch because thats what the fans want.

Collazo says he knew that Berto would be a great fighter and he would be happy to do it again. Collazo didn't sound like he was too angry about the decision and showed good sportsmanship.

Andre Berto-Luis Collazo Live Round By Round Updates Tonight

Boxing may not have an offseason per se, but it sure that feels that way when there are no significant fights during most of December and half of January.

That changes starting tonight, when boxing returns to HBO as undefeated WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto faces his stiffest challenge to date in the form of Luis Collazo. And that means we return to action too, providing some of the fastest round by round updates around.

If you can't watch the fight tonight, bookmark our main page at BoxingWatchers.com and follow along with our own Spartan117 as he breaks down the action starting at approximately 9:45 pm Eastern time.


Eromosele Albert vs. Germaine Sanders: Friday Night Fights Main Event Round By Round

It's main event time in Key West as Eromosele Albert is scheduled to go ten rounds against Germaine Sanders. Albert is 21-2-1, but got knocked out by James Kirkland and fought to a draw in his last fight. He's originally from Nigeria, where he was a two-time Olympian.

Sanders is a journeyman who sports a 27-6 professional record. He's lost his last three fights, all by decision, and took this bout on five days notice, subbing for Carlos Quintana.

Round One

Sanders starts out firing jabs and trying to go to the body. Albert covers up nicely and goes to his jab. Nice lefts to the body and head by Albert. It's all Albert when the fight moves to close range. Sanders dances as Albert tries a flurry along the ropes. More body-head combos from Albert. Sanders hasn't shown much but the jab so far.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Two

Sanders is on his bike again, trying to stick in some lefts when he can. Albert is coming forward but having trouble tracking his foe down. Sanders is really proving elusive, though Albert finally manages to land a straight right. Several left hands score as Albert backs his man into the corner. Another right hand from Albert is the final significant punch.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Three

This round looks much the same so far with Albert picking off Sanders' shots with his arms, then looking for his own offense. Albert throws with both hands to the body and follows up to the head. Sanders is landing the occasional counter but without much zip. When the fighters stand and trade, Sanders is definitely taking the worst of it.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Four

Albert lands a series of jabs and is still showing tight defense. He's really working the body on the inside. Sanders stand in and eats a left upstairs. Albert returns to body shots along the ropes, though Sanders is able to push his way out. Albert lands hooks with both hands and Sanders tries his best to fire back.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Five

It's starting to look like Sanders may just wear down as the fight progresses. Albert is keeping up his withering body attack and cutting off the ring well. Clubbing rights and lefts land for Albert, and it looks like he lands a few to the back as well. Sanders seems really fortunate his opponent doesn't have more one-punch power, or he'd likely be out of there.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Six

Lots of stalking now as Sanders circles like his life depends on it. Albert goes to the body and sneaks in a right uppercut for good measure. Teddy Atlas thinks Sanders will need to land one big shot to have a chance, and he hasn't shown that so far. Albert closes out the round with one final flurry.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Seven

This looks like a replay of previous rounds with Albert connecting with body shots and the occasional short shot to the head. Sanders gets popped with a right as he backs away. They stand toe to toe and Albert imposes his will. Albert is still very smart about using his arms to block incoming fire. Albert measures a one-two to the head and follows to the body. Sanders finally scores with a counter but it's much too little.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Eight

Multiple body shots crash home for Albert. Now he pours it on with a combo keyed by a big uppercut. Another right hand snaps Sanders' head back. Albert repeats his successful pattern with two body shots followed by a right hand to the head. Give Sanders credit for hanging in there, but he is taking some abuse.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round Nine

Sanders takes a left-right combo to the head and barely escapes further damage along the ropes. He's still circling in both directions. Albert scores with a left to the body and a right uppercut. He keeps coming forward and Sanders' best hope now is simply to make it the distance without getting knocked out.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Round 10

Unless something truly surprising happens here, it's pretty much just playing out the string. Albert turns up the heat with both hands, trying for the KO. Sanders is still backing away, but Albert lands multiple rights to the body and a shot to the head. One minute to go and it looks like Sanders will make it. No drama down the stretch.

Franchise: 10-9 Albert

Franchise scores it 100-90 for Albert. All three judges score it 100-90 to the winner, Eromosele "Bad Boy" Albert.

Friday Night Fights Report - Jan. 16, 2009

Friday Night Fights makes its annual trip to Key West, where it's warm enough for outdoor boxing. The theme of tonight is bouncing back from tough losses in 2008, with both Eromosele Albert and James McGirt Jr. in action trying to regain some career momentum.

Welterweights Marcus Willis and Omar Brown kick things off with a four-rounder. Both men are very inexperienced pros and both took the fight on less than two weeks notice.

Brown goes down early in the second round thanks to a left hook but doesn't look hurt and is back in swinging. Willis seems to have every physical advantage but could still get caught with something.

Dan Rafael of ESPN is the studio guest tonight. His one wish for 2009 is that Floyd Mayweather comes back to boxing and takes on Manny Pacquiao.

Teddy Atlas gives every round to Willis, and all three official judges agree. Willis improves to 2-0-1.

Brian Kenny and Rafael show some press conference footage from the Miguel Cotto/Kelly Pavlik doubleheader. Cotto says he knows nothing about Michael Jennings, and Rafael adds that he's not very good and is a joke as a mandatory challenger.

He has kinder words for Marco Antonio Rubio, who he calls a hard, aggressive puncher who earned his shot at Pavlik. Kelly says he still has a lot of proving to do, and he knows his opponent will be dangerous because he's hungry.

They move on to Marco Antonio Barrera, who recently signed a deal to host a regular show on ESPN Deportes. He's also stepping in against Amir Khan in March, and both commentators find that to be a stunning yet fascinating fight.

We're set now for James McGirt Jr. and Angel Hernandez. McGirt is the son of Buddy McGirt and sports a 19-1-1 record, though he was 1-1-1 in 2008. He has a five-inch height advantage and will be looking to stay on the outside.

Hernandez actually fights a smart fight in the early rounds, bulling his way inside. McGirt is probably out-landing but he has his hands full.

The action heats up in the fifth round with both men eating some big shots. McGirt attempts to use his mobility a little more as Hernandez finds some increased success in close. A little blood is coming from McGirt's nose.

Glen Johnson joins the announcers to talk a little bit about sparring with McGirt. He thinks James needs to settle his feet and use his boxing skills instead of spending so much time at close range and against the ropes.

In the seventh round, a cut opens over the left eye of Hernandez. He's definitely not going away though, continuing to throw punches at a fairly brisk pace. Atlas has McGirt up by just one point with three rounds to go.

Hernandez laughs a bit at the end of the ninth and this one may be up for grabs. Both men fight to the final bell, and it's in the hands of the judges.

The scores are 95-95 and 96-94 twice for Hernandez. The McGirts can't believe it as the veteran pulls off the upset.

Back in the studio, Rafael has news on Roy Jones Jr. coming back to fight in March against Omar Sheika. He also says there's nothing new on the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight, but he feels like they will work out the money issues and it will happen.

A little time is spent analyzing the Andre Berto-Luis Collazo fight. Atlas thinks Berto can outwork Collazo, though he is definitely the toughest test for Berto thus far.

Moving on to Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley, Atlas thinks Shane's chances depend on which Margarito shows up. Teddy doesn't think Mosley will get knocked out but may get outworked. Rafael talks a bit about how the fight is priced very smartly and even in the weak economy is likely to draw about 18,000 fans.


Prediction: Andre Berto vs. Luis Collazo

I must say that I am interested in this fight for a number of reasons:

1) In my mind, it marks the true return of boxing for the year.
2) It's a nice match-up of contrasting styles.
3) It's a match-up between young, hungry fighters near or at their prime.

Collazo certainly has fought the harder opposition. You can count Uatu among the people who thought that Collazo beat Hatton. I was slightly disappointed by his performance against Shane Mosley, although injury made have held him back. I really don't know what to make of Collazo at this point. I haven't seen him fight in almost two years.

Berto is a beast for sure. His strength did not allow him to knockout the always tough Steve Forbes even though he was larger, which is no shame, since Forbes has never been knocked out. Berto has really nice handspeed.

Collazo is a lefty, which could cause some problems. I see Collazo is listed only at 5'9", I thought he was taller than that. Berto is listed at 5'8 1/2", so there's no big difference there.

My guess is that Collazo, if he is in his Hatton form, will do his stick and move thing and try to keep Berto away from him. I believe he will take some rounds along the way, but Berto will eventually wear him down and get the victory, and will even knock Collazo down. I don't believe that Collazo has enough strength and power to keep Berto honest for the whole fight. So I will predict Berto by unanimous decision as Collazo holds on down the stretch to answer the final bell, but Berto will win convincingly when it is all said and done.


Recap: The Contender Season 4, Episode 6

Thanks to Hino Ehikhamenor's victory last episode, the Gold Team is still in control and riding high as we begin to near the end of the first round of the tournament. Hino receives his necklace from Tony Danza, but also plenty of ribbing from trainer Tommy Brooks and others for the way he broke down in tears after winning.

With only three fights left, Blue's Mike Alexander thinks everyone left is ready to go. Since Lawrence Tauasa has the most experience, Alexander believes Gold will look to avoid him, but that's not the way the tourney has gone so far.

Gold's training time focuses on Troy Ross, a two-time Canadian Olympian, and Rico Hoye, a veteran from Detroit who's been inactive for almost a year. Blue trainer John Bray is impressed with Tauasa, especially his footwork, and teammate Felix Cora Jr. gives him props for keeping everything light.

With both teams gathered, Danza brings in a master of foot reflexology - basically a painful foot massage that uses pressure points to help relieve pain in other parts of the body. Tauasa doesn't mind being the guinea pig, but seeing the reactions of all the fighters when they take their turns provides some comic relief.

Afterward, Hino agonizes over where to place himself in the second round. He seems to be avoiding the one empty fight left in the bracket, and after talking it over with Brooks, he still is up in the air about facing Cora - who looked sharp in his first fight and is now well rested to boot - or his teammate Deon Elam.

As it turns out, he does elect to face Elam, throwing his teammate off guard. Brooks and Hoye believe it's a good move, and the unspoken factor is that no one really seems to want to fight Cora.

Ross steps forward for the Gold Team. And to the surprise of no one who's been following this season, he calls out Tauasa. Ryan Coyne's injured eye makes it all the way back to health, one supposes. Danza reminds both men that this fight is doubly important, as the first round will end with a doubleheader next week, and the team that wins tonight will control both matchups.

The twist this week is that Ross and Tauasa have really hit it off and become good friends. Brooks says he likes to see the true professionalism they are displaying. The Samoan Tauasa (now residing in Sydney, Australia) is also recently engaged, and he checks in with his bride-to-be on the wedding preparations.

During the final strategy talks, Brooks tells Ross to use his height and reach and to build up points in the first three rounds before he does any gambling. Bray wants Tauasa to close the distance and keep his foe off-balance.

There are only 15 minutes left when the actual fight coverage begins, leading one to wonder if this fight is going the distance. The first round is pretty tentative, as a southpaw versus orthodox battle leads to both men having trouble jabbing effectively. The teammates of both men are really mic'ed up well - Cora can be heard constantly offering Tauasa advice.

After a close first round, both men look a little more assertive in the second. Then it happens: Ross lands a right hook flush and Tauasa is knocked down between the bottom two ropes. He manages to beat the count but looks extremely wobbly. Ross pours it on to try to close the show, and the ref stops the fight since Tauasa is not defending himself. The second-round TKO is the first stoppage of the tournament to date.

Ross is classy in victory, a stark contrast to Hino's displays last week. Tauasa gives all of the credit to his opponent, vowing that they will remain friends for life. He looks forward to his wedding, but the disappointment of losing catches up with him as he breaks down in tears right before he leaves.

Next week: Ross chooses between the empty second round bracket or a showdown with Cora. And a doubleheader closes out the first round of the tournament.

Bernard Hopkins on the Max Kellerman Show

Apparently B-hop has become a hot commodity due to the Eagles' march through the NFL playoffs. Bernard made an appearance on today's Max Kellerman radio show on ESPN Radio.

This was pretty close to a replay of his appearance earlier on First Take on ESPN2. Bernard mentioned that he has become a wanted man for such appearances due to his well-known criticisms of Donovan McNabb. Not a whole interesting was said, and the focus was entirely on the Eagles, McNabb and fans in Philadelphia.

At the close, there was a brief exchange about boxing. Max straight-up asked him if Calzaghe in Wales is the only fight he would take or he would retire, and Bernard said yes.

Reports: Guerrero Returns, Pacquiao-Hatton Fight in Trouble

Fans of Robert Guerrero have found him as difficult to view in action recently as his nickname: The Ghost.

That's going to change in less than two weeks, as the 25-year old southpaw returns to action for the first time since knocking out Jason Litzau last February on Jan. 24. The AP is reporting that Guerrero will appear on the Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley undercard, facing well-traveled (to put it kindly) veteran Edel Ruiz.

Guerrero's inactivity was due to the favorite cause of boxers everywhere, promotional problems. But his career has forward motion again now that he's signed with Golden Boy Promotions. The AP piece says GBP would like to get Guerrero a super featherweight title shot later this year, meaning we could see him take on Humberto Soto or Jorge Linares.

Elsewhere, Michael Rosenthal posted yesterday on The Ring Blog that the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight is in trouble. The reason? You guessed it: money.

Rosenthal quotes both Bob Arum and Freddie Roach while explaining that Pacquiao's lawyer is pushing for a 60-40 split while all other parties seem content with 50-50 - even Roach, who admits that much of the money will come from England.

My guess is that cooler heads will prevail or that an outside force will intervene, as HBO did when the Margarito-Mosley fight ran into a similar hurdle. There isn't a bigger money fight that can be made in boxing today unless one of the fighters can convince Floyd Mayweather to come out of retirement.

Of course Manny has other skills he can fall back on if he has to wait to land another top flight opponent. Any basketball teams in search of a 5-foot-7 combo guard may want to out the MP Warriors of GenSan when they take the court later today.

UPDATE: Well, it didn't take long for GBP to start thinking about Guerrero's next fight - yes, the one after the fight I wrote about above. ESPN's Dan Rafael is reporting that The Ghost may appear as part of an HBO tripleheader on March 7 that will also feature James Kirkland vs. Joel Julio and Victor Ortiz vs. Vivian Harris. With or without Guerrero, that sounds like a great night of boxing.


The Blogging Tradition: Covering the Coverage of the News: The Next Round on Maxboxing.com

Alright folks, I have been waiting for Maxboxing.com to roll out its new version of The Next Round. Replacing the fantastic Dougie Fischer is a gentleman by the name of Gabriel Montoya.

First of all, at least for me, this show is going to have a tough row to hoe as far as matching the excellence that the show had with Fischer. This newest episode is #231, and I can honestly say that I saw all 230 before this. The Next Round was not only my favorite boxing content, it was actually my favorite "programming," if you want to call it that, of any kind, surpassing all other webpages, blogs, podcasts, TV shows, etc. of any subject matter - boxing, sports, news or entertainment. To put it simply, I am and was a huge fan of The Next Round. But I am so happy to see it return, and Steve Kim would probably be great all by himself, that I am going to watch the show with an open mind, and it would take a change of epic proportions to stop me from watching it anyway. There have been too many weeks to count where I preferred a certain week's TNR over the actual matches I sat through. So here we go.

Right away, on the main page, before even clicking on the show, I have noticed that Montoya has more than a passing resemblance to Fischer visually. He appears to have slick-backed hair and has glasses just like Dougie. I seriously doubt that Kim went looking for Fischer body doubles, but I thought I would toss that in there, just because when I saw that the show was back up, I actually thought Dougie was back for a second. Perhaps my brain is just so used to seeing Kim and Fischer together.

The beginning segment is the same as before. Kim introduces the show, and the usual music plays after the bell rings. A technology aside, the GUI itself to use the viewer seems to have changed. I no longer have a running clock on the screen, nor do I have the option to pause. There are buttons, but they don't seem to be working properly. I must say that the picture looks crisper. And now that we are off of the front page and Montoya is in action, I can see he looks a lot less like Dougie than I had thought before. They have a slight resemblance, but mostly it's in the glasses, I guess. I really used the buttons on the viewer quite frequently for the previous shows. Having them allows the user to pause the show and not miss anything, as well as easily repeat segments to catch again what had been said. Without the buttons working today, I have to keep restarting the show from the beginning and watching through. For such computer matters, I usually am hesitant to criticize, because the problem could easily be on my end. However, the windows viewer is at least no longer an option on my computer.

Now, onto the show itself. The two-some jump right into an analysis of Berto-Collazo. Right away, I can tell you that I like Montoya so far. He doesn't appear to be overly nervous in front of the camera. He is navigating the whole look-into-the-camera mixed in with looking-at-Steve situation deftly. His tone is conversational, and he doesn't appear to have a schtick, which goes a long way with me. These days it seems that almost every personality on ESPN or talk radio tries way too hard. Montoya is going for the substance, which is great. He is coming off as knowing his stuff, but that's the one part of the show that I had no doubt would be solid. In my mind there was no way Kim would be put on with someone who didn't know boxing. So, no surprise, the analysis itself is still on par with what I considered to be among the best in all of boxing from The Next Round in its previous incarnation. There is no drop-off there at all in the new version.

The show is flowing just like the old show did. Kim and Montoya move through various upcoming fights as well as through a News and Notes segment. Episode #231 does not feature a mailbag, but Steve does say at the end that it too will return. That is perhaps where we will see Montoya's personality have more of an opportunity to shine.

In summary, the show is still great. I am going to keep an eye on Montoya. Initially, I didn't even read his mailbag because I already read Dougie's, and even though I love boxing, life is too short to get involved with multiple mail ags in addition to all of the other boxing reading. But now that I see he is going to host The Next Round, I feel like I want to give his mailbag a chance too. As corny as it sounds, through his mailbags, articles, and hosting duties, I felt like I got to know Dougie, at least to the extent that someone can through such forums. Other reporters in boxing and other sports are somewhat faceless, personality-less nobodies to me. That is how some people would view BoxingWatchers too, to be fair. Kim and Fischer individually and as a team managed to bridge that divide for me. I hope Montoya can do that too. Even if he doesn't, and even if he doesn't improve one bit from what he has shown after one show, he has already shown enough for me to continue to watch every week and continue to pony up my membership fee, provided it doesn't get outrageously high.


Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Roger Gonzalez: Round By Round

The Friday Night Fights main event for Jan. 9 showcases electric Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa in a ten-round featherweight fight against Roger Gonzalez. The action comes to us from Buffalo Bill's in Primm, Nevada.

Gamboa is 12-0 with 10 KOs and is clearly the favorite of the fans in attendance. Gonzalez is 27-2, but both of his losses cam by knockout.

Round One

It's a cautious opening that feels like the calm before the storm. Gamboa reaches with some jabs and a left hook. The fans already seem a bit restless but are supporting Gamboa. He shows off some hand speed with a flurry along the ropes. Another combo in the corner has Gamboa comfortably winning the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Two

Gonzalez throws a big right hand early in the second and knocks Gamboa down! That was a well-timed shot. Gamboa looks okay and starts throwing left hands. He backs Gonzalez into a corner and goes to work. He's throwing nice combinations to the body and head. Gonzalez reaches with a few jabs. Interesting turn of events, for sure.

Franchise: 10-8 Gonzalez

Round Three

Gamboa comes out fired up but Gonzalez tries to show he's unfazed. Nice uppercut along the ropes by Gamboa. Gonzalez misses with a left and very nearly pays the price. Left-right combo by Gamboa finds the mark. Gonzalez turns southpaw but is not throwing much right now. Gamboa tries one last flurry to close out the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Four

Wasting no time, Gamboa fires away with Gonzalez waving him in and covering up. They trade in the center and the ref tells Gamboa to get his punches up. Gonzalez gets the same warning a second later. Gamboa is trying to find some holes in his foe's defense as he stays busy. The ref tells Gamboa not to push as the bell sounds.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Five

Nice counters by Gamboa as Gonzalez is picking it up a bit. Gamboa is staying active but his accuracy has gone south. He sneaks in a left to the head and one to the body. Gamboa scores with a right-left combo and backs away. He plays to the crowd with a little showboating. Big swing and a miss by Gonzalez, who was going for broke there.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Six

Gonzalez is averaging just over four landed punches a round, and that's simply not going to get it done. Gamboa dazzles with punches from multiple angles and both hands. Gonzalez throwing an occasional left hand. He throws his first combo in ages and they tie up. Gamboa's footwork is very good and he shows no signs of tiring.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Seven

Bernard Hopkins chimes in from the studio advising Gamboa to keep his hands up, especially at close range. A couple of shots look low in an exchange in the center of the ring. Gamboa is still mixing up his head and body attack and doing some more showboating. Now Gamboa comes forward behind multiple left hands. He batters Gonzalez along the ropes to put an exclamation point on that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Eight

Gamboa pushes the pace right away with numerous shots to the body. The fight gets dirty when it's in close. Gonzalez barely avoids a wild right hand but can't counter. The ref cautions Gonzalez again for a low blow. Gonzalez scores with a right hand but it probably wasn't enough to win him the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round Nine

Gonzalez can't track Gamboa down, and the Cuban throws thudding left hands to the head and body. He just misses with a pair of right hands and there's a bit of wrestling. Gamboa is warned again for pushing his foe back across the ring. Nothing much of consequence lands during the final minute of the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Gamboa

Round 10

They touch gloves for the final round. Nice connections with both hands by Gamboa. Gonzalez showing some more fire now that the fight is winding down. Gamboa backs Gonzalez up and throws a series of power shots. One minute to go and Gamboa is going for it. Gonzalez' mouthpiece flies as he gets hit with a series of shots and the ref calls a stop to it. Teddy Atlas feels like the stoppage was a little quick, though Gonzalez didn't seem to have much left in the tank.

The winner by TKO at 2:12 of Round 10... Yuriorkis "El Ciclon" Gamboa.

Friday Night Fights Report - Jan. 9, 2009

Live from Primm, Nevada is the 2009 season debut of Friday Night Fights. The showcase fight tonight pits undefeated featherweight banger Yuriorkis Gamboa in a ten-rounder against Roger Gonzalez. Brian Kenny is in the studio with new ESPN boxing analyst Bernard Hopkins.

Hopkins says he thinks he still has a fight or two in him and feels like he can do something shocking in 2009 that can top last year.

The first fight of the night sees Cuban defector Erislandy Lara in action against Rodrigo Aguiar at 154 pounds. Lara is a southpaw who had a great amateur career and is 2-0 as a pro. He scores a knockdown right at the end of the first round and referee Joe Cortez calls a stop to it. It was a jab with a straight left behind it that did the trick.

Back in the studio, Kenny asks Hopkins about his strategy against Kelly Pavlik. Bernard says he knew he needed to get off first and take Pavlik's confidence away early. He also says the fight was very important for his legacy in the sport.

Asked about his longevity, Hopkins attributes it to always staying in shape and having good defense too. Who's next? Bernard wants a rematch with Calzaghe or possibly Jermain Taylor. He doesn't want to fight anyone in their 20s because he doesn't want to take away from the future of the sport.

They throw it to Teddy Atlas out in Nevada, who goes on a mini-rant about today's fighters not knowing the basics the way B-Hop does. Hopkins agrees that the fundamentals always give you a safety net to fall back on, and offers Roy Jones as a fighter who did not have that safety net once his physical gifts began to fade.

Next up is the U.S. debut of 2004 heavyweight Olympic gold medalist Odlanier Solis, who is 12-0 with eight KOs in his professional career. His opponent is Kevin Burnett, who just barely beat the count after getting knocked down late in a fight he was winning against Horace Grant in a memorable moment from Friday Night Fights last year.

Cuban fans make their presence felt as referee Jay Nady gets the fighters ready to go. Burnett is taller but he took the fight on short notice and is heavier than he's ever been.

Solis throws a cray combination from in close in the middle of round one but is forced to cover up when Burnett throws from the outside. Solis also shows a quick left hook when he sees an opening.

After the second round, Burnett's corner tells him he lost the first two rounds but is making Solis fight. Solis lands two wide right hands halfway through the third round and starts throwing like crazy, trying to seal the deal. Burnett weathers the storm without going down.

Hopkins chimes in from the studio to observe that Solis had some chances to go to the body when Burnett was hurt but failed to capitalize. The fourth round is relatively quiet compared to the fireworks that erupted in the third.

Burnett actually does some decent work in the first half of the fifth round, but Solis takes over down the stretch with some mean left hooks. Atlas says Burnett is fortunate because Solis has had some lulls. He has given every round but the second to Solis.

In the seventh, Burnett's trainer Pat Burns states that he's considering stopping the fight because his man has no chance to win on points and isn't defending himself well. Burns agrees with Atlas' assessment that a right uppercut might be the punch that could get to Solis, but he says it's up to Burnett to pull the trigger.

Soils turns up the heat in the eighth round and wobbles Burnett with a left hook. Nady waves the fight off and it looks like a good call because Burnett is practically out on his feet. That's an eighth-round TKO for Solis.

Atlas and Hopkins think Solis needs to get his weight and conditioning in order to become a factor in the heavyweight division. Both feel like the opportunity is there to make a name in a barren landscape for big men.

Kenny and Hopkins talk Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz for a bit. Asked about JMM moving up in weight, Bernard feels that he'll handle it fine, but pressed for a pick he goes with Diaz.

They move on to Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley, and Hopkins says Shane will have to be perfect to win. He compares Margarito to a young Felix Trinidad in terms of relentless pressure and breaking the will of opponents. B-Hop says if anyone can pull off the game plan to win, it's his business partner Mosley, and he wonders if Margarito is taking Sugar Shane seriously.

Bernard Hopkins on ESPN2's First Take

B-hop made a morning appearance on ESPN2's First Take this morning. He was on to chat with Dana Jacobson as well as to plug his appearance tonight on Friday Night Fights.

As usual, Bernard was an awesome guest. He came off as being thoughtful, honest, and as a cool person to have a conversation with.

Jacobson asked him some questions about Philly sports teams. He made some comments about how big it would be if both the Eagles and Phillies were to win championships in the same year.

He was also asked if his win over Pavlik was a bigger win than the Phillies'. He said that personally it was because he is over 40, he was a 4-1 underdog, and he won with no controversy.

He of course was asked about his future plans. He mentioned a third fight with Taylor and a rematch with Calzaghe. He said late spring or early summer would give him enough time to train and promote another fight. Bernard said he definitly had another fight in him. But, there were no other guys he wanted to fight that were big fights that he cared about. He said he wasn't going to risk himself against some guy that wasn't a big name. He also said his wife wanted him to retire, and he joked that he wasn't going to leave her, so he would be retiring soon.

The segment closed with a discussion about his on-air appearance on Friday Night Fights. Hopkins said that he loved to analyze boxing and all sports. He made a joke about Joe the Plumber, which showed that Hopkins has some pop culture knowledge outside of boxing. He said that he would like to be a commentator in the future.

All around the performance gets a solid A for Bernard, although the segment itself didn't really get into any serious boxing, which considering the program, is no surprise.


Stop the Presses: Chris John to Fight in America!

Anyone who reads this site on even a semi-regular basis knows I have a running joke about never having seen Chris John fight. There's a good reason for that: despite being one of the top-ranked featherweights in the world for years, John has never fought in the United States, and has made just a few trips outside his native Indonesia.

But my joke may have to end come February, because the AP is reporting that John will fight Rocky Juarez in Houston on the Feb. 28 undercard for Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz. On paper, that should be a terrific fight, the kind that really should be on televised undercards more often.

And like Diaz, Juarez calls Houston home, so it should help the paid attendance as well. Kudos to the promoters for putting it together, and thanks John, for finally letting us see what you're all about.


Recap: The Contender Season 4, Episode 5

Tonight's episode begins with a rather lengthy recap of what's gone on so far, perhaps acknowledging that no one was likely to have seen the previous two episodes that aired on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Deon Elam's win over Richard Gringas last week has the two teams even at six men each with the Gold Team in control of the next fight.

Everyone on the Gold Team agrees that the most recent fight was the toughest one so far. They have their eye on two boxers on the Blue Team: Ryan Coyne, who is still recovering from a cut above his left eye, and Darnell "Ding-A-Ling Man" Wilson, who has been battling weight problems.

Blue trainer John Bray complains about Wilson's eating habits and questions his commitment to making weight. Wilson is shown having a hard time resisting starches.

The training focus is mostly on Hino Ehikhamenor, who originally hails from Nigeria and works as a personal trainer when he's not boxing. Coyne is back sparring but looks tentative, and Bray keeps him from doing too much.

Danza gathers both teams and gets them to applaud the effort shown in last week's fight. He editorializes a bit and says that even the winning fighters don't seem to be heeding the advice of their trainers. Elam gets the chance to place himself in the second round, and he avoids Felix Cora Jr. and slots into one of the bottom-half fights instead.

It's no surprise when Callout Day arrives and Hino steps forward for the Gold Team. It is a bit surprising when he chooses Wilson, proving that it's very easy to out-think yourself in a format like this. Ehikhamenor tells Danza he simply thinks Wilson will be a better fight.

Ten hours before the fight, Wilson is still a bit heavy. He goes to work to shed the last few pounds but Bray is obviously displeased. Hino also thinks his foe has been spending too much time cutting and not enough time practicing his craft.

Weigh-in time arrived and Hino tips the scale at 196 3/4 pounds. They play up the drama for Wilson, who is right on the button at 200 pounds.

We get a little insight into the strategy from both corners. Bray cautions Wilson not to let Hino outwork him, while Tommy Brooks wants to see his guy use his jab and dance. Brooks says both men can bang.

Round One sets the tone with Hino looking speedy but wild and Wilson throwing less but swinging for the fences. A wild exchange leads to Ehikhamenor scoring a knockdown, though Wilson pops right back up.

Wilson goes down again in the second, but the ref calls it a slip caused by Hino stepping on his foot. Bray implores him to use uppercuts and stop looking for single shots.

Hino controls the next two rounds but spends as much time mugging and showboating as he does boxing. He gets rocked late in the third but looks like he easily wins the fourth with movement, as Wilson is simply swinging at air on several occasions. Danza tells what looks like a random fan that both men look like they may walk into something big.

The fifth and final round is somewhat anticlimactic with Ehikhamenor landing the cleaner shots. The scorecards offer no surprises, with Hino winning lopsided decisions from all three judges.

Hino says he feels a win over a cruiserweight with as much renown as Wilson moves him to a whole different dimension. The disappointed Wilson owns up to mot taking his conditioning seriously enough and give Ehikhamenor his due. He says he recovered from a four-fight losing streak earlier in his career and will bounce back from this setback too.

Next week: Hino has a tough decision on where to place himself in the second round. Blue Team tries to "reverse the curse." And an Asian master pays the boxers a visit.