30.4.09

Manny Pacquiao Vs. Ricky Hatton: Predictions

The Franchise says...

In contrast to the last time we saw Manny Pacquiao in the ring, when no one was sure how hopping up several weight classes would affect him against Oscar De La Hoya, he seems like the known quantity this time out. His blend of speed, explosiveness and determination should be as formidable as ever, and trying his hand at 140 shouldn't impact his stamina either.

Even fighting at his natural weight class, Ricky Hatton is the bigger question mark since he's fought just once with Floyd Mayweather Sr. in his corner. His chances of pulling off the upset revolve around two questions. Will Hatton be bigger and stronger than Pacquiao? And is it possible for a trainer, even one as good as Floyd Sr., to perform a complete style makeover in just two bouts?

My answer to both questions is the same: it's possible, but I don't expect to see it.

Mayweather seems to be basing his assumption of a strength advantage for the Hitman on the fact that Ricky walks around at a weight appropriate to cut to 140 and won't be killing himself like De La Hoya did. And it's true, Hatton is a pretty rugged junior welterweight.

But Manny is only about an inch shorter and has a pretty similar frame, and he carried even more weight against Oscar with no discernible drawbacks. If anything, I think the size and strength issue will be a push.

As for the second question, learning under Floyd Sr. has taken Hatton's defense from the "virtually nonexistent" category and moved it to "not bad." That's the same kind of step Pacquiao has taken under Freddie Roach.

Ricky's offense looked a little more multidimensional against Paulie Malignaggi too, but what he really needs is to be able to counter Manny with sheer ferocity (a la Erik Morales in his first fight with Pacquiao) or accuracy (like Juan Manuel Marquez). No matter who's in your corner, those aren't things you can easily add to your MO when you've already got 40-plus pro bouts under your belt.

Unless Hatton comes up with positive answers for both of those questions, I don't like his chances. I think he's plenty tough enough to hang around for a while, and there should be enough exciting exchanges to allow both the Filipino and British contingents to have reasons to cheer.

Ultimately, though, I expect Pacquiao to prevail via late-round KO.

Uatu says...

I don't believe that there is anything that Hatton can do better than Manny. I don't believe Hatton has any physical advantages over Manny.

I am trying to temper my enthusiasm for both Manny's win over Oscar, and also Hatton's win over Paulie. In the end, I don't believe either of those fights have any bearing on this fight.

Hatton will never give up and will fight with pride and aggression, which will lead to him getting cut up and knocked around.

Pacquiao by mid to late TKO. Hatton's "new" style will lead to the KO coming a little later in the fight, but I think it's still coming.

Spartan117 says...

The amount of support that Hatton has for this fight surprises me. You can always count on his loyal British fans to represent Hatton for his big fights, but I see more analysts backing Hatton than I expected.

Watching HBO's 24/7 has only supported my prediction that Manny will just be too much for Hatton to handle and this new news of Hatton's camp hasn't helped him either.

Manny will throw vicious combos that will overwhelm Hatton. Hatton will start off with what he has learned from Floyd Sr., but I agree with Uatu who says he will revert to his old ways within a few rounds. At the weigh-in, Hatton looked skinnier while Manny looked fit and healthy.

Manny's speed will also prove to be too much for Hatton. The punches will add up and take the Pac-Man to a TKO victory in the middle rounds - my pick is the 7th.

UPDATE: Via Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports comes word that all is not well in Camp Hatton, and that perhaps the Hitman will be looking to train with Roach after this fight. It's quite possible the alleged discord will have no effect on what happens Saturday, but it doesn't make me think the odds of a Hatton upset are any better, that's for sure.

Posted by The Franchise

28.4.09

Manny Pacquiao Vs. Ricky Hatton: In-Depth Preview





Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao

Born: Bukidnon, Philippines
Resides: General Santos City, Philippines
Height: 5' 6 1/2"
Reach: 67"
Current Titles Held: None
Former Titles Held: WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), Ring Magazine, WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), Ring Magazine Featherweight (126 lbs.), IBF Super Bantamweight (122 lbs.), WBC Flyweight (112 lbs.)
Professional Record: 48-3-2, 36 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 8-1-2, 7 KOs
Record at 140 lbs.: First fight at this weight
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 3-1-1

Notable Wins: TKO8 Oscar De La Hoya, TKO11 Marco Antonio Barrera I, SD12 Juan Manuel Marquez II
Notable Losses: UD12 Erik Morales I, KO3 Medgoen Singsurat


Ricky "Hitman" Hatton

Born: Stockport, England
Resides: Manchester, England
Height: 5' 7 1/2"
Reach: 65"
Current Titles Held: Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight (140 lbs.)
Former Titles Held: WBA Welterweight (147 lbs.), WBA, IBF Light Welterweight (140 lbs.)
Professional Record: 45-1, 32 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 7-1, 4 KOs
Record at 140 lbs.: 40-0
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 8-0

Notable Wins: TKO11 Paul Malignaggi, KO4 Jose Luis Castillo, TKO11 Kostya Tszyu
Notable Losses: TKO10 Floyd Mayweather Jr.


Analysis:

For the second consecutive year, Pacquiao finds himself in the biggest fight on the calendar. Last time out, the pride of the Philippines blitzed Oscar De La Hoya into retirement and became the most likely candidate to take over for the Golden Boy as the top draw in boxing.

In Hatton, Pacquiao will battle not a fading superstar but a world champion who should also be in his prime. Though he crashed and burned the last time he fought a pound-for-pound king - losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2007 - the brawler from Manchester has reinvented himself as more of a technician under the guidance of Mayweather's father, Floyd Sr.

Mayweather has been insistent throughout his war of words with opposite number Freddie Roach that Hatton will be both too skilled and too big for Pacquiao to handle. The former point is debatable, but the latter point could have some merit considering the Hitman has spent nearly his entire career at 140 pounds.

Still, Pacquiao carried even more weight into the ring against De La Hoya without sacrificing his signature blend of speed and power. It's not out of the question that after hopping from super featherweight to lightweight to welterweight in his last three fights that he'll settle in nicely at junior welterweight.

While both men will be eager to show how much they've improved as boxers over the last few years, each has hinted that he wouldn't be surprised if the fight ends with someone looking at the lights. Most of Pacquiao and Hatton's career knockouts have come from cumulative damage, so the large audience expected to tune in on pay-per-view should get its money's worth.

And since the old instincts that say stand and trade never completely go away, there may well be more two-way fireworks before the end comes than either trainer is planning.


Pacquiao's Winning Strategy: Keep It Moving

Blessed with exceptionally fast hands, it's hard to imagine Pacquiao will have any more trouble beating Hatton to the punch than he's had in any of his other big fights. He's also come a long way from simply jabbing to set up his powerful left hand, so his offense now comes in a variety of forms.

But Manny can be hit when he stands in front of an opponent for too long, and while Hatton isn't a noted counterpuncher like Pac Man nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, he is much more effective against a stationary target.

To combat that, Pacquiao would be well served to utilize the excellent lateral movement he displayed against De La Hoya. He'll look to avoid having the ring cut off, keeping the action in the center where his advantage in hand speed will be most apparent.

Pacquiao can also use his legs to control the distance of the fight, as Hatton feels most at home at very close range. Moving in and out will give Manny access to his whole arsenal, allowing him to start combinations with jabs, hooks or lead lefts.


Hatton's Winning Strategy: Combine the Old With the New

The bull in a china shop act that allowed Hatton to rack up 43 straight wins to start his career and bludgeon Kostya Tszyu into submission finally ran out of steam against Mayweather Jr. To his credit, he knew he needed to retool and showed quite a few new wrinkles against Paulie Malignaggi last November.

Even with more offensive diversity and defensive awareness, though, it's hard to see Hatton prevailing in a straight-up contest of boxing skills. Pacquiao has advantages in hand and foot speed that are just too obvious for even the "new" Hitman to overcome, and the risk of giving the fight away on the scorecards would be high.

What Hatton needs is a hybrid approach: using an improved jab and head movement to avoid trouble on the outside and exhibiting his previous rough and tumble approach to punish Pacquiao once he gets in close. He also needs to cut off the ring to give Manny less room to roam and allow his likely edge in strength to work in his favor.

If Hatton can make peace between his inner brawler and his newfound boxer, he'll have more than a puncher's chance to have his hand raised in victory at the end of the night.

Posted by The Franchise

27.4.09

Some Comic Relief ... or What You Won't Be Seeing This Saturday!

The internets are abuzz with Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton hype, and rightfully so, as the fight should be great. Here at BoxingWatchers.com, we'll certainly be adding our two cents on the megafight over the next few days.

First, though, I've got a little video treat for everyone. Call it a little pallette cleanser, something to contrast with the great boxing we just saw this past weekend and hopefully will be watching come Saturday.

Oh, and I know what you'll think to yourself after you watch it: that can't be for real. However, BoxRec.com says otherwise.

Enjoy!



Posted by The Franchise

20-20 Hindsight: Froch Makes the Scene, End of the Road for Taylor and What's Next for JuanMa

If you're a boxing fan and didn't enjoy the weekend that just ended, then I don't know what to tell you.

Friday night offered a more entertaining than expected fight between Cory Spinks and Deandre Latimore. Saturday was even better, with Carl Froch's dramatic late KO of Jermain Taylor and thrilling performances (for different reasons) from Juan Manuel Lopez and Gerry Penalosa - and they were spaced out in a way that you could catch both fights.

Froch should be the weekend's big winner, as beating a guy with some name recognition like Taylor makes him a known quantity outside of the U.K. for the first time. And yes, the way in which he did it also helps.

Since he's spoken recently about staying in the U.S., it will be interesting to see if he does exactly that. The top American contenders at super middleweight might not be up for a shot at Froch right away - guys like Andre Dirrell, Allan Green and Andre Ward - but there are other possibilities within a division that suddenly looks more interesting than it's been in a while.

I wouldn't mind seeing Froch fight Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika or Librado Andrade. There's also Lucian Bute for a battle of undefeated titleholders, though The Cobra would be wise not to fight him in Montreal.

It's probably not out of the question for a rematch with Taylor either, as the fight was close enough to warrant one. If that doesn't happen, we may have seen the last of Jermain as a top contender.

Taylor has just three career losses, but all have come in his last four fights. His best moments have come against guys that aren't known to be devastating KO artists (Winky Wright and Bernard Hopkins) and he just doesn't seem to be able to put it together against fighters who can withstand what he dishes out in early rounds. The always excellent Dougie Fischer has a great summary of what Taylor's turned out to be in his latest mailbag post on The Ring Blog.

Saturday's fight added a second "What if?" moment to add to his first fight with Kelly Pavlik as he was unable to finish Froch. It's one of the bigger ironies in boxing that a man nicknamed Bad Intentions has been undone by his lack of a killer instinct.

In contrast, JuanMa Lopez does have the know-how to go for the kill when he smells blood. He just wasn't able to do it against Penalosa, who turned in one of the gutsiest efforts in recent memory by standing and trading with the Puerto Rican star for nine tough rounds.

One nice thing about Penalosa's ridiculous staying power is that it allowed Lopez to display his whole offensive package. He can box or brawl, he mixes up head and body shots extremely effectively and he can deliver volume while still having plenty of snap on each punch.

JuanMa is also too big and strong for most guys at 122 lbs., so it came as little surprise when he stated after the fight that he was headed for 126 at the end of this year or the beginning of 2010. Even though he likes to stay busy - Lopez fought four times in 2008 - that realistically means we'll only see him in two more fights, tops, at super bantamweight.

No doubt every fight fan would love to see him face Israel Vazquez or Rafael Marquez, who he name-dropped in his post-fight interview, but would they be as eager to fight him after putting each other through hell three times in the past two years? Another compelling match-up would be with Celestino Caballero (assuming he beats Jeffrey Mathebula later this week) in a bout that would unify three of the four alphabet belts at 122.

After that, the sky's the limit for Lopez. He's already a superstar in Puerto Rico and only his lack of real rivalries and the fact that he plies his trade in the lighter weight classes are keeping him from that same status on a wider scale.

Posted by The Franchise

25.4.09

Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Gerry Penalosa: Round By Round

We're set for the main event in Puerto Rico with electrifying Juan Manuel Lopez taking on crafty veteran Gerry Penalosa.

Lopez is 24-0 with 22 KOs, and he's knocked out ten opponents in the last two years. His last three foes failed to make it out of the first round.

Penalosa is a former super flyweight titleholder and is 54-6 with 36 KOs. He's 11 (or more) years older than Lopez, but the two men are just about even in height, weight and reach.

Penalosa comes to the ring first. Lopez gets a showy entrance and his Puerto Rican fans give him a lot of love.

Michael Buffer does his thing on the introductions. We're all set to go for the WBO super bantamweight title.

Round 1

Penalosa flicks some jabs. Juanma finds the range with some short punches. Lopez lands a left to the body. Nice combo to the head and body by Juanma. Penalosa has to duck low to avoid a series of punches. Lopez is warned for a low shot. He goes back to work and the ref warns Penalosa for something. Lopez lands to the body and head but does take a few shots back.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 2

Jabs coming from Juanma. Both men score in close and Penalosa stumbles a bit. Wicked multi-punch combo from Lopez. He's firing from all angles. Penalosa stands his ground and gamely fires back. Straight right from Lopez. Sweet action in the middle of the ring. They turn in circles and Lopez gets the best of it. Now some counter shots score from Juanma right before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 3

Lopez reaches and Penalosa jabs. The crowd roars as Penalosa is hit along the ropes. A straight left crashes home for Juanma. Gerry has to cover up as punches continue to rain toward him. Lopez digs more hooks to the body. They stand at close range and Juanma lands a good right. A slugfest breaks out and Penalosa shows tons of heart.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 4

Juanma is quicker to the punch in the opening seconds. A left hook catches Gerry in the head. He ducks a series of punches and looks for his own angle. Lopez triples up on left hooks to the body. Penalosa fights off the ropes and trades. Lopez works a combo and bounces away. He scores again with multiple hooks. Both men throw all the way to the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 5

Juanma is averaging over 100 punches a round and landing roughly 40 percent. Penalosa has a heck of a chin, that's for sure. Both men stand and swing but Lopez is landing more punches with more power. He comes forward behind two hooks. The fans start a "Juanma" chant. It's the proverbial fight in a phone booth with right hands scoring for both fighters. Nice work along the ropes and Penalosa isn't backing down.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 6

Lopez tees off in the corner and the fans react. Penalosa gets hit with hooks to the body and head. Lennox Lewis wants more distance from Juanma to deliver more power. Penalosa scores with some right hooks but that's his only effective punch. A right and left stun Gerry. Lopez smells blood and turns up the pressure. Give credit to Penalosa for continuing to at least try to throw back. Combo work in the corner by Juanma. Gerry got pounded in that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 7

Freddie Roach tells Penalosa he may have to stop it if Gerry takes that many shots again. Nice right by Penalosa and he ties up. Lopez steps back and delivers with both hands. Juanma gallops across the ring and stays in Penalosa's face. Now Gerry tries a combo of his own. He dances a bit as Lopez tries to track him down. Both men stand and trade in the corner. Quite a show of determination from Penalosa, but he hasn't won any rounds yet.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 8

Juanma actually asked his corner if he was winning. Um, yes. Lopez digs to the body and head. Penalosa goes downstairs and it may have been low. Uppercut from Juanma. He presses forward and Penalosa lands a counter right. They brawl at close range again. Great action as both men throw combinations. Max Kellerman is in disbelief that Gerry is still in there trading. Sharp right by Penalosa. Juanma responds with hooks and the crowd is roaring.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Round 9

Roach tells Penalosa this is it: he needs a KO or he's stopping it. Lopez steps on the gas with right hooks. Gerry bounces but he isn't finding much offense. Juanma comes forward and they swing away in the corner again. Penalosa eats some shots and fires his own hooks. Now he lands one and here comes a barrage from Juanma. More fireworks and a big miss by Gerry.

Franchise: 10-9 Lopez
Uatu: 10-9 Lopez
Spartan117: 10-9 Lopez

Penalosa wants to continue, but Roach looks out for his man and tells the ref he wants it stopped. Kellerman says it was perfect timing. Gerry showed a ton of guts and may have had a puncher's chance, but he was taking too much consistent punishment.

The winner by TKO at the end of Round 9... and still WBO super bantamweight champion... Juan Manuel Lopez.

Lamont Peterson vs. Willy Blain: Round By Round

Bayamon, Puerto Rico is the site for tonight's HBO Boxing After Dark telecast. Juan Manuel Lopez is the drawing card, but we begin with a 140 lb. fight between Lamont Peterson and Willy Blain.

Both fighters are undefeated but have very low KO percentages. Peterson's fight night weight is five pounds heavier, and the tale of the tape gives him slight advantages in height and reach.

Michael Buffer does the introductions and we're all set for a scheduled 12 rounds.

Round 1

Peterson stalks and Blain counters. The ref calls an early TO for an accidental headbutt that cuts Blain over the left eye. Peterson pressures but his foe looks very comfortable on defense. Lamont throws a nice body shot and blocks the return fire. Blain stays elusive along the ropes. He ties up several times when necessary. Both men are covering up well. Peterson hears a whistle and stops fighting, but that's the sound for 10 seconds to go. Whoops.

Franchise: 10-9 Peterson

Round 2

CompuBox gave Blain just four landed punches in that first frame. There's more wrestling and Peterson almost picks up his opponent. Neither man is real busy right now. Peterson sneaks in a left hook upstairs, then connects with another. Peterson and Blain both land two-punch combinations. Multiple body shots by Lamont are answered by shots to the head. Peterson picks off a string of punches with his gloves, then goes on the attack.

Franchise: 10-9 Peterson

Round 3

Blain gets forced back by a right hand, and the fighters' feet get tangled. Peterson works some left uppercuts and a body blow. Blain counters upstairs. Big swing and a miss by Lamont. Peterson swoops in with uppercuts and they tie up. Both men land in the center of the ring. Blain scores with a nice counter left but Peterson stands his ground. Shots are flowing both ways but Peterson's punches have more power.

Franchise: 10-9 Peterson

Round 4

Harold Lederman has all three rounds for Peterson so far, for what it's worth. Blain snaps a few nice counters but Peterson is able to answer with hooks to the body. He chases Blain around and just misses some big shots in the corner. The pace slows a little as Max Kellerman wonders if Peterson's style is compelling. Blain ducks and weaves. Peterson is not getting robbed on some of these swings but Blain is slippery. Lamont's body work has been the difference to this point.

Franchise: 10-9 Peterson

Round 5

Peterson shoeshines a bit along the ropes. Blain works back out to the center and tries to counter. Blain connects with a left but Peterson shrugs it off. Blain is having his best round so far, he just doesn't have much pop. A left uppercut scores from Peterson. Lennox Lewis wants to see him jab more. Lefts to the body and head from Lamont. Nice exchange with Peterson going forward. That was the closest round, but I'm not sure Blain did enough to win it.

Franchise: 10-9 Peterson

Round 6

Blain looks like he's trying to show Peterson something different here, but he still get tagged with strong body shots. Peterson reaches with single shots. Blain counters with both hands and ties up. Peterson finally corners Blain along the ropes and tries to work the body again. Blain looks like he's hurt his right arm and the ref calls time. The ref tries to wave it off, but Blain wants to continue. He takes it over to the doctor, who allows it to continue. Bizarre.

Franchise: 10-9 Peterson

Round 7

Corner talk makes it sound like Blain jammed his thumb, and Kellerman is indignant that the fight was paused for that. Lederman also thinks if the ref waves it off, it should be the end. Yet we fight on. Things are a little disjointed right now. Peterson scores with a nice right hand. Blain is in pain again and the ref calls it off, this time for good. Kellerman has a good line: "Peterson scores his second TKO of the night."

The winner by TKO at 1:11 of Round 7... Lamont Peterson.

Posted by The Franchise

Taylor vs. Froch: Round by Round

Showtime had to kill some serious time since the first fight was over early in the second round.  They showed some interviews with both fighters.  Taylor comes out to the ring first.  He comes out to some slow country song, interesting.  Froch follows to the tune of We Will Rock You by Queen.  It's definitely a pro Taylor crowd.  Froch's family is in attendance.  

Froch is 31 years old and Taylor is 30.  Froch has a half an inch reach advantage which won't mean much.  Talyor is 28-2 with 17 KOs and Froch is 24-0 with 19 KOs.

The intros are finished, here we go.

Round 1
They meet in the center.  Froch throws the first jab.  Taylor lands a jab and dodges a counter.  Taylor lands a great right hand.  Froch looks more cautious now.  Taylor looks to land the right hand.  Froch throws another jab.  Taylor counters with a jab.  Taylor is really looking good in there.  Froch has stopped throwing the jab.  Froch already has redness on his nose.  Taylor gets in and throws a jab and a right.  Taylor counters again.  His hand speed looks better than ever.  Now Froch lands a good right hand.  He lands a left hook.  Both look patient now.  Taylor counters with a short left hook.  Good round for Taylor.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor

Round 2
Froch throws the first jab of round 2.  Taylor doubles up his own.  There is already some redness under the left eye of Froch.  Not much happens in the first minute.  Froch lunges with his jab.  Taylor goes back to countering.  He counters with a left uppercut.  He counters again with a right and Froch counters that with a straight right.  Taylor lands a hard jab.  Taylor barely misses with a haymaker.  Froch lands a left uppercut.  Froch is keeping his hands low.  Taylor whiffs an overhand right.  Both fighters are skillful counter punchers.  

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor

Round 3
Froch comes out swinging.  Taylor gets him with an uppercut.  They tie up.  Froch backs Taylor up with a combo.  Both fighters remain hesitant.  Now Froch gets busy with a hard combo and Taylor covers up.  Froch is keeping his hands almost completely at his side.  Taylor gets in a huge counter with a right hand.  Froch smiles.  Taylor catches Froch with another big right hand and Froch is sent spinning into the ropes.  Taylor gets him again and Froch goes down!  Froch is in trouble.  He makes it up but he looks wobbly.  Taylor doesn't go in for the kill and Froch makes it out of the round.

Spartan117: 10-8 Taylor
Uatu: 10-8 Taylor

Round 4
Taylor looks too hesitant for someone who just had his opponent in serious trouble.  Froch comes out back and throws a big combo to the head and body.  Taylor ties up.  Taylor loads up a right hand but misses.  Taylor counters with a left straight that knocks Froch's head back.  Taylor is landing some great counter punches.  Froch has his legs back under him.  Taylor is using some good defense too.  Neither fighter is doing a whole lot.  Taylor loads up the right hand but changes his mind.  

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor

Round 5
Froch counters with a double jab.  Taylor lands a better jab with some power behind it.  Froch comes forward and Taylor lands a right hook to the body and a left upstairs.  He blocks a hook from Froch.  Both fighters throw their jabs.  Neither let their hands go, still very cautious.  They tie up and throw some body shots on the inside.  They break up and Taylor goes to the body.  Froch starts punching now and lands a left to the head.  They fight before the bell.  Taylor gets a left a few seconds after the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Taylor

Round 6
Froch lands a jab.  No action in the first 30 seconds.  Froch comes forward and Taylor makes him eat a jab.  His counters are incredible.  Froch has been eating them all night.  Now Froch lands a great right hand that backs up Taylor.  There is some swelling under the left eye of Taylor.  Froch throws another combo and Taylor covers up.  This is a better round for Froch so far.  Taylor throws another counter that lands.  Taylor hits Froch with another jab.  Now Taylor comes forward and lands some great punches to the head of Froch.  Tough round to score but I give it to Froch.

Spartan117: 10-9 Froch
Uatu: 10-9 Froch

Round 7
Froch throws the first punch, a left-right combo.  Taylor throws a left hand followed by a right.  Froch throws another great combo but Taylor blocks it.  Froch lands another jab.  There are a lot of jabs being thrown by both fighters.  Taylor's jabs are landing perfectly.  Froch comes forward and Taylor knocks him off balance with, you guessed it, a jab.  They trade jabs again.  Froch throws a flurry that Taylor blocks.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Froch

Round 8
Froch lands the jab.  Taylor throws his own.  Froch backs up Tyalor with a combo upstairs.  Froch hasn't been throwing anything to the body.  Froch is starting to use the right hand against Taylor.  This is Froch's best round so far.  Froch lands a left counter that knocks Taylor off balance.  Taylor slows the the punches.  Froch continues to back up Taylor.  Taylor is doing virtually nothing.  I'm not sure what happened to him but he's doing significantly less in this round.  He doesn't look tired.  Now he finally wakes up and throws a crazy combo that looked like it hurt Froch.  Froch wasn't expecting it and Taylor throws another combo.  It wasn't enough to win the round but it looked great.

Spartan117: 10-9 Froch
Uatu: 10-9 Froch

Round 9
Froch throws a looping left hook.  He backs Taylor up with a flurry.  Taylor gets in with a combo.  The fight has slowed.  Taylor blocks a right uppercut.  Now Froch lands a hook to the body.  Froch leans in with his right hand and Taylor shakes his head.  Taylor lands a left hook.  Froch comes forward and Taylor ties up.  Froch lands a right uppercut on the inside.  Taylor gets caught up in the corner and Froch grazes him with a left hook.  

Spartan117: 10-9 Froch
Uatu: 10-9 Froch 

Round 10
These are important last rounds.  Froch comes forward and makes Taylor eat wide hooks.  Now Froch gets more busy than he's been in any round.  He throws a 7 or 8 punch combo.  Taylor's defense is still impressive, but he's not throwing anything.  Froch gets another right hand in.  Taylor is not doing anything.  He must be tired.  Froch tries to block with the shoulder roll but Taylor gets in a double jab.  Taylor leads with a right hand and knocks Froch off balance.  Taylor turns it on in the last minute, but it's not enough to win the round for me.  

Spartan117: 10-9 Froch
Uatu: 10-9 Froch

Round 11
Froch comes in with a big right hand and Taylor covers and backs up.  Froch starts taunting and winds up the right hand.  Taylor has stopped countering completely.  Froch lands a great, looping right hand.  Taylor throws and misses an uppercut.  Taylor lands a jab.  Blood starts coming from the nose of Taylor.  Now they trade huge bombs.  Each fighter landed massive shots.  I thought one of them would fall but they continue to throw.  Taylor lands a magnificent left hand that sends Froch off balance.  They finally start letting their hands go and this round has been pure entertainment.  They throw wild, wide punches.  It's tough to say who won the round and who landed the better punches.

Spartan117: 10-9 Taylor
Uatu: 10-9 Froch

Round 12
They both come out not throwing much.  Taylor goes back to countering.  Taylor counters with a great right hand.  Tyalor follows up with a combo and Froch counters him.  Froch throws a left-right combo to the head.  Froch staggers Taylor with a huge right hand bomb.  It looked like Taylor was going to go down.  Froch smells blood and tries to end the show!  Taylor is in serious trouble.  Taylor tries to throw back but he's not doing anything of value.  Froch continues to punish Taylor.  Froch rocks Taylor again with huge combos and Taylor is pretty much out on his feet.  The ref looks like he may stop it.  He does! It's over!  

The winner, and still WBC supper middleweight champion, by KO 2:46 seconds into the 12th round Carl 'The Cobra" Froch

Froch says that he could sense that Taylor was tired.  He calls him world class and a tough fighter,  but he applied the pressure and knew he could finish the show.  They analyze Taylor's knockdown. Froch says it was a great shot that he didn't see coming.  Now they show his own knockdown.  He says it was a great decision by the ref in the stoppage.  

Taylor says that he should've finished the fight but he wanted to be patient and thought he would catch him again in the later rounds.  He is asked if the ref made the right decision in the stoppage.  Taylor says that he's the referee and he needs to make that decision and adds "if I couldn't defend myself then he made the right decision."  

Froch calls Callzaghe "out of his armchair" and invites him to give Britain a great fight.  He thinks he can get him out of retirement.

The scorecard shows that if Taylor would have stayed on his feet to finish the fight he would have won a split decision.  

Recap: Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7, Episode 3

We join Ricky Hatton and his entourage on an off day in Las Vegas enjoying a little food and Kool-Aid provided by Floyd Mayweather Sr. Floyd shows off his gear and the Hitman calls his clothing "ridiculous." Hatton and company are impressed with his artistic talents though.

The crew watches last week's 24/7 and gains some more confidence - not that it was lacking to begin with - by watching Manny Pacquiao's training footage.

Speaking of Pacman, we get a look at how important Manny's faith is to his life and success. Freddie Roach says the guy who prays the most isn't going to win, but the guy who works the most will. Roach has his issues with Catholicism but respects Manny's views.

Roach and Michael Moorer are frustrated because they tried to close the Wild Card Gym but the crowds are growing again. Though it goes against his nature, Roach starts kicking people out, incuding members of Pacquiao's entourage. Cameras are allowed to keep rolling during sparring as a psychological weapon.

Hatton's training is going well too, and he repeats his belief that he's a different fighter than he was in the past. Hatton thinks there will be a knockout in the fight, and he's going through some tough work with a medicine ball to avoid getting stopped with a body shot.

Business picks up when Roger Mayweather arrives with one of his fighters to serve as a sparring partner. Floyd Sr. dismisses some of the past battles with his brother and says it's all about family. He talks a bit about his chronic lung disease and the pain he endures.

Pacquiao goes to see the doctor for his pre-fight exam, and Roach says he's happy that Manny is taking a day off because he's been pushing himself so far. He gets a clean bill of health and returns to training to find that Roach's crackdown has succeeded - the Wild Card is almost empty.

We're down to a week to go before the fight. The show explores Hatton's love for the Manchester City football (soccer) team, which was passed down through his family.

We also get to see Ricky's parents and his fiancee. A phone call references Hatton's thong scene fromt he first episode of 24/7. Apparently it did not belong to his woman.

Pacquiao gets treatment on his legs and waits anxiously for his mother to arrive. It's her first trip to the U.S. and the first time she will see him fight in person.

Manny heads to San Francisco for Filipino heritage day and his bobblehead day at a Giants game. Roach says events like that are important for fighters to avoid burnout and stay in the correct frame of mind. Manny also throws out the first pitch, though not well.

Roach and Mayweather trade verbal jabs during a couple of press days. The show ends by comparing and contrasting the fighters' training styles.

Posted by The Franchise

De Leon Jr. Vs. Green: Round by Round

The undercard of Froch vs. Taylor is a fight between Carlos De Leon Jr. and Allan Green.  The fight is at supermiddleweight.  Both fighters are 29 years old.  De Leon Jr. is 21-2-2 with 14 KOs while Green is 27-1 with 19 KOs.  

Showtime is wasting no time starting the bout.  Here we go.

Round 1
There is already some trash talk.  Green taunted De Leon during the ref's instructions.  The ref told them to stop the nonsense.  Green starts as the aggressor.  De Leon is backing up early, probably looking to counter.  Green lands a jab and a hook to the body.  Green lands a combo set up by a jab.  Not much happening in the first.  They feel each other out.  De Leon lands a jab.  Green counters with a a jab straight.  Now Green unleashes a hard combo to the head and body.  De Leon comes back with a combo of his own.  They trade punches at the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Green

Round 2
Green uses his jab.  Green crushes De Leon with a picture perfect left hook and De Leon goes down hard.  He strugles to get to his feet.  De Leon gets up and throws a combo.  Green smells blood and rocks him again with hooks.  De Leon gets up again but he's in trouble.  The ref tells him he'll give him one more chance.  De Leon goes back in but gets crushed and dropped again.  It's over.

The winner by TKO 1:06 into the 2nd round "Sweetness" Allen Green

Green says, in the post-fight interview, says that his mission was to make a statement.  He's calling out some big competition, mainly the winner of the main event.  Green seems calm and he shows some comedic skills on the mic.  He predicts Froch will beat Taylor tonight because he has the confidence.  

Live Froch-Taylor and Lopez-Penalosa Round By Round Updates Tonight

It's decision time for boxing fans tonight. Do we watch former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor battle Carl Froch on Showtime? Or do we tune in HBO to see exciting Juan Manuel Lopez attempt to hang the first KO on more than capable Gerry Penalosa?

Actually, depending on how the timing works out (the HBO broadcast starts an hour later), we may be able to catch them both. But for the premium cable-deprived out there, we'll be pulling double duty here on BoxingWatchers.com - once we tear ourselves away from second round coverage of the NFL Draft!

Spartan117 will do live round by round updates for Froch-Taylor and yours truly will do the same for Lopez-Penalosa. We'll also try to recap the new episode of 24/7, some undercard fights - especially Allan Green - and anything else we deem relevant.

Look for separate new posts for all the goodness out on our main page starting shortly after 9 pm Eastern tonight.

Posted by The Franchise

24.4.09

Latimore vs. Spinks: Round by Round

Since both of these fighters are from St. Louis, the crowd could favor either fighter. I would assume that they would cheer for the more established fighter, Spinks. I was wrong. When Spinks was shown on the screen, the crowd booed loudly. My guess is that St. Louis favors the more agressive and stronger puncher in Latimore.

Latimore is on his way to the ring first. The crowd is really into it. Spinks, for the first time while in front of his hometown crowd, enters to a booing crowd. Latimore has a record of 19-1 with 16 KOs. The crowd is really going crazy for him. Spinks is 36-5 with 11 KOs.

They are introduced. Here we go.

Round 1
Latimore runs out to the center of the ring and lands a right hand. Spinks counters and lands a good right hand of his own. Spinks is throwing good, meaningful shots. Latimore lands a great left-right combo and Spinks backs off. The crowd "oohh's" with every shot. Latimore lands a vicious left hand and Spinks goes down. He makes it up and looks at his corner. Spinks is using good upper body movement but Latimore's shots are too fast and too strong. Latimore is landing great shots in the first. He's looking for the knockout.

Spartan117: 10-8 Latimore

Round 2
Spinks comes out with his jab. Latimore lands a right uppercut. Latimore lands a big left hook that twists the head of Spinks. Spinks lands a shot to the body but Latimore counters with a harder left hand. Latimore's punches are so hard that they are swinging his body completely around. Latimore lands a body uppercut. Now a left hook. He's certainly landing the cleaner shots. Now Cory's defense looks poor. He's been getting hit with big shots for the entire round and is fighting with his chin exposed. Good round for Latimore.

Spartan117: 10-9 Latimore

Round 3
Latimore's trainer calls him down in the corner. He tells him to throw less punches and not just go for the knockdown. Spinks is throwing his jab and not much else. Spinks throws a left hook that sends him off balance. Latimore tries to capitalize with a haymaker but misses. Latimore lands a great left hand but Spinks looks fine. Spinks lands a straight left hand. They trade punches against the ropes. Latimore lands a shot that's below the belt. This has been a better round for Spinks but I still give it to Latimore.

Spartan117: 10-9 Latimore

Round 4
Latimore throws the first jab. Spinks throws a good combo and lands a right hook. Now he lands a good counter right hand. Spinks closes the gap and fights toe to toe but Latimore gets the best of him when they square up. Spinks throws and lands another combo, this time to the body, and Latimore counters with a left. Latimore loads up the left hook again. They trade huge punches in the corner before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 5
A cut has opened over the left eye of Spinks. His cutman is trying his best to stop it. It's not too bad but it will only get worse. Spinks lands a right hand. Latimore is really zeroing in on that cut. Spinks waves him in to taunt him. The cut is really visable now. Spinks keeps pawing at it which suggests it's getting into his eye. Spinks dodges a big left hook. Spinks has been backing up more now, probably worried about his cut. They trade shots against the ropes. This has been a tough round to score so far. Latimore looks a bit tired now. His punches are getting more sloppy.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 6
Spinks lands a wicked left hand, probably his best punch of the fight. Latimore is unfazed. Spinks throws a fast combo. They trade hooks. Spinks has Latimore against the ropes and they exchange more combinations. Spinks slows down a bit now. Spinks lands a great combo to the body that looks like it hurt Latimore. Latimore is really tired and he's getting incredibly sloppy. The crowd starts a huge "Cory" chant! Latimore is against the ropes and Spinks lands more punches to the body. Spinks' best round so far.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 7
They come out in the center and both look cautious. Spinks is getting more aggressive now. Spinks lands a double left hand and Latimore loses his mouthpiece. Now Spinks comes forward. Latimore lands a big left hand, then a right. Spinks waves him in. They trade punches again against the ropes. Spinks lands an overhand left. Spinks has really brought himself back into this fight. This is the most aggressive I've ever seen him in any match. Spinks has Latimore against the ropes again. Latimore's punches have lost all of their previous steam.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 8
Spinks comes out throwing punches again. Latimore counters with a left and Spinks grins. Latimore has been fighting well in the first minute of each round but gets tired and Spinks fights well for the last two. Spinks lands a left-right combo and ducks a wide hook from Latimore. Spinks walks Latimore down and looks to land a big shot. Latimore's hands are low now. Latimore lands a left hand. His trainer yells at him from the corner for keeping his hands low. Spinks lands a clean right hand. Spinks landed the better punches in Round 8.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 9
Latimore throws the left to start the round. Spinks lands another combo of hooks and again uses his upper body movement to dodge the hooks from Latimore. Spinks throws a left uppercut but it gets blocked. Now he lands a brilliant combo that backs Latimore back. Latimore is really off of his game. Spinks is showing some great boxing skill.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 10
Spinks sticks to his game and stays defensive while throwing and landing good combos. Now there's a cut on the right eye of Latimore. The crowd starts a "Cory" chant again. Latimore looks so tired. His legs are shot. Spinks continues to apply pressure. Now Spinks' cut opens again. His corner did a great job of closing it, but now it's bleeding again. This has been a closer round than the others. Latimore lands a great combo right before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Latimore

Round 11
Spinks comes out with his jab again and lands. Latimore lands a great left hand and it looked like Spinks was going to go down, but he used a strange show of balance to dodge a follow-up shot. Now Spinks lands a long left straight. Latimore responds with a flurry. Spinks looks more tired now but he may just be saving his energy. These last two rounds are quite important for both fighters. Spinks lands a hard left hand. The crowd is on its feet. Spinks lands a right hook. Another close round. I give it to Spinks.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Round 12
They come out swinging for the final round. Spinks ducks a hook from Latimore. Latimore blocks a hook from Spinks. Spinks lands a right hook and Latimore goes down. The ref calls it a slip. It was close but it could have been called either way. Latimore is exhausted - he is leaning on Spinks. Spinks walks him down again and lands a right hand. Latimore's legs are completely gone. Here comes the final minute. Latimore throws a punch that puts him off balance. Now Spinks looks tired. They swing away for the final seconds. Spinks goes back to the jab and doesn't get careless. They crowd cheers all the way until the end. They trade bombs as the bell rings.

Spartan117: 10-9 Spinks

Judge 1 scores the bout 115-112 Spinks, judge 2 scores it 115-112 Latimore and judge 3 scores it 114-113 for the winner by split decision... and new IBF junior middleweight champion... Cory "Next Generation" Spinks.

Spartan117: 115-112 Spinks

In the post-fight interview, Latimore says that he's disappointed. He wishes he could have dropped him again after the first knockdown. Latimore says that he slacked in the middle rounds and he needs to learn from his mistakes. He vows that he will be back.

Spinks says that he can fight a crafty fight and also go toe to toe. He says he wasn't hurt after the knockdown and he's not sure how or why he went down. Don King yells from behind Spinks, "Get ready Floyd Maywether." King hijacks the interview and talks about Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. He says if Pacquiao wins next month that Mayweather is going for him. That's a strange thing to say at that moment. Spinks grabs the microphone and says, "Then he can get some of me."

I'm not exactly sure what Don King is planning to do with Mayweather or Spinks but it looks like he has something planned for each of them.
Posted by spartan117

Alexander vs. Rodriguez: Round by Round

Tonight's card is in St. Louis, Missouri. There is one fight on the televised undercard and it's between Devon Alexander and Jesus Rodriguez at junior welterweight. Alexander is known for being a strong puncher and Rodriguez will most likely be the aggressor. Rodriguez is 19-3 while Alexander is undefeated with a record of 17-0. Alexander is the fan favorite, being born in St. Louis.

Round 1
Alexander throws the first punch and it's a jab. Rodriguez lunges in and throws two hooks. Alexander backs him off with a stiff jab. Alexander's corner is telling him to relax. Alexander has been the aggressor in the first. He hasn't landed many punches to put Rodriguez in any danger. Alexander gets hit with a right hand and goes down awkwardly. The ref calls it a slip. It's tough to call, but Alexander looks fine.

Spartan117: 10-9 Alexander

Round 2
Alexander keeps the punch output up. Rodriguez fights back. Alexander lands a great right hand and Rodriguez is forced to back up. Alexander's speed looks great. Rodriguez is staying very low. He looks like Alexander's southpaw stance is confusing him. They tie up in the middle of the ring but continue to throw while clinched. Rodriguez has been holding more in round 2.

Spartan117: 10-9 Alexander

Round 3
Rodriguez comes out swinging hard. Alexander tries to keep him back and matches his intensity. Alexander unleashes a combo to the body, then one to the head. Rodriguez isn't landing enough to win these rounds. Alexander is landing the more meaningful punches. Alexander lands a big left hand and the crowd cheers. Rodriguez continues to clinch. Alexander is landing some lasers here. Rodriguez gets crushed with a right-left combo and gets knocked off balance. After the bell, Alexander's corner complains to the ref about Rodriguez's holding.

Spartan117: 10-9 Alexander

Round 4
Rodriguez lands a good jab but Alexander comes forward. Rodriguez lands two more good shots. Alexander lands a jab to the body and another to the head. Alexander throws and lands a great combo of hooks upstairs. Rodriguez continues to push and hold with no warnings from the ref. Rodriguez lands an uppercut. They trade punches to the body. Another round for Alexander, but not his best.

Spartan117: 10-9 Alexander

Round 5
Alexander's trainer gives him a big motivational speech between rounds. He wants to see him get more aggressive. Alexander goes to work but doesn't change his game plan at all or apply any more pressure. Rodriguez finally gets warned for pushing. Alexander throws a flurry but nothing lands cleanly. Rodriguez throws a hook and uppercut and lands the hook. Rodriguez lands his best punch of the night with a straight right hand. Rodriguez is keeping his head so low. He's basically fighting while facing the floor.

Spartan117: 10-9 Alexander

Round 6
Alexander goes back to the jab. Rodriguez counters with a straight left that lands. Alexander has been grunting after every punch which makes them look better than they actually are. Alexander's punches have been mostly ineffective. Rodriguez lands another left hand. Alexander lands a hook set up by a jab to the head. Rodriguez throws and lands to the body. They exchange combos and Alexander lands the majority. Rodriguez comes back with a right hand.

Spartan117: 10-9 Rodriguez

Round 7
Alexander lands a jab and Rodriguez stumbles. Rodriguez continues to lead with his head. Alexander lands a left hook. The commentators mention that Alexander is a good fighter but just hasn't faced any quality opponents, so he actually could be considered a decent welterweight. Alexander lands two power left hands, his best of the night. Rodriguez walks through it but clinches. The crowd is really into this.

Spartan117: 10-9 Alexander

Round 8
Alexander goes back to the jab. He's starting to land more accurate punches now. I think he's finally getting comfortable in there. Rodriguez isn't doing much at all. Alexander lands a left hook and Rodriguez goes down. He complains the the punch was in the back of the head but that was only because he fights with his head completely down. He makes it up and looks at his corner for a while before he goes back in to fight. Alexander lands another great left hand. Rodriguez staggers but looks fine now. This fight should be stopped, not because Rodriguez is hurt but because he's just not doing anything.

Spartan117: 10-8 Alexander

Round 9
Rodriguez's corner complains that the punch that caused the knockdown was to the back of the head. The ref explains that it's because of Rodriguez's fighting style, which is true. Alexander lands another great left hand and Rodriguez goes down to a knee again. He's not getting up. It's over.

The winner by KO at 58 seconds of Round 9... Devon Alexander.
Posted by spartan117

Live Spinks-Latimore and Alexander-Rodriguez Round By Round Updates Tonight

ShoBox puts on a treat for fans in St. Louis tonight with a card featuring several hometown boxers. Cory Spinks takes on Deandre Latimore for the vacant IBF junior middleweight belt, while young gun Devon Alexander takes on Jesus Rodriguez on the undercard.

If you can't watch the fight in person or on Showtime, our own Spartan117 is staying up late to do live round by round updates. Look for a running Alexander-Rodriguez post out on the main page shortly after 11 pm Eastern, with Spinks-Latimore following after that.

Posted by The Franchise

Predictions: Froch-Taylor, Lopez-Penalosa, Spinks-Latimore

April goes out with a bang in the sport of boxing, with Showtime televising cards on Friday and Saturday night and HBO chipping in with one of the most exciting fighters in the game on Saturday as well. On paper, the most interesting bout sees Carl "The Cobra" Froch put his WBC super middleweight title on the line against former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor.

To me, Taylor represents one of the most interesting "What if?" cases in the sport today. Had he been able to keep Kelly Pavlik on the canvas the first time they met in 2007, it's quite possible that despite his soft-spoken nature and lack of gamesmanship, he'd be one of the biggest stars in boxing.

Kevin Iole recently wrote about the caliber of competition Taylor has faced, mentioning that his foes had a combined 83.7 winning percentage at the time of their fights. That's only going to go up this weekend, as Froch brings in a perfect 24-0 mark with 19 KOs.

But Froch has fought just once outside his native U.K. (knocking out Henry Porras in California in 2005), and his fight record is largely devoid of recognizable opponents. Is he another Joe Calzaghe, just waiting for the chance to display his wares to a wider audience? Or is he another Gary Lockett or Michael Jennings who's about to be exposed?

Everything I've read and seen from Froch suggests he leans more toward the former, but I still think Taylor has enough to get past him. I expect he'll have an edge in speed, and since he had trouble cutting to 160 toward the end of his time as a middleweight, there's reason to believe him when he says he feels stronger at 168.

I don't think Taylor will have an easy time of it - he rarely seems to - and this win is unlikely to propel him back to the top of the sport. Nevertheless, I like Taylor to win a unanimous decision.

HBO's Saturday night broadcast showcases bright young talent and knockout machine Juan Manuel Lopez. It's hard to name too many boxers who have had more impressive runs over the last two years than Juanma, who's KOed 10 men since the beginning of 2007 - seven of them in three rounds or less and three straight in the first round.

The consensus seems to be that former bantamweight titleholder Gerry Penalosa will prove Lopez's stiffest test so far, and the veteran does bring a wealth of experience and some power of his own to the table. He's also over a decade older and facing decent disadvantages in height and reach.

It's a mistake to read too much into common opponents in boxing, but it is interesting to note that Penalosa was easily outpointed by Daniel Ponce de Leon in March 2007. Lopez fought him a little more than a year later and blitzed him in less than two and a half minutes.

Amazingly, Lopez fought less rounds in four 2008 fights than Penalosa did each of the last eight times he's stepped into the ring. Does that mean Gerry has an edge if he can weather the early storm and take the fight to the late rounds? I'm not sure, but the next time Juanma goes past the 11th round will be his first, so it couldn't hurt.

Not that I believe that will actually happen. Even though Penalosa has yet to be stopped, the younger man will prove too explosive in this one, and Lopez will rack up another KO to add to his growing resume.

Last in importance but first chronologically is Friday night's junior middleweight Battle of St. Louis between Cory Spinks and Deandre Latimore. Spinks will get a chance to somewhat right a career that's come off the rails since he was holding multiple welterweight titles about five years ago, while Latimore will be making a bit of a step up in his level of competition.

Both men are southpaws and about even physically. Latimore is talented but still raw, and that could be an issue as he goes up against someone who almost guarantees a long, frustrating night.

Power should be the difference here. Spinks has gone more than eight years without leaving an opponent on the canvas and wasn't a heavy hitter back when he fought at 147. Compare that to Latimore who seems to have legitimate 154-pound power and it's no contest.

Though I don't discount the chance of Spinks winning ugly, I have to go with the guy who has multiple ways to win. Since Cory is tricky to put away, I'll go with Latimore by decision.

Posted by The Franchise

23.4.09

Wladimir Klitschko on ESPN2's First Take

Wlad Klitschko was on ESPN2's First Take today to promote his fight against David Haye. There is a running joke on Dan Rafael's ESPN.com chats about how bad First Take usually screws up their boxing questions and information, so let's see how they do today.

Wlad was in a studio, not the First Take studio, and was interviewed on-camera by Jay Crawford.

Why fight Haye? He isn't someone who has had a big name before this fight.
Wlad had never heard about Haye before either, but Haye has been so loud and mouthy, the fans want Klitschko to fight him. He was so visible in his mouthiness towards the brothers.

What's his reaction to the Haye t-shirt?
Wlad says it was below the beltline. It has become personal. He said this has nothing to do with sports, it's over the edge, and he will punish Haye for it.

Pre-fight line about giving Haye a "pizza face" for 12 rounds? Jay said he thought this was one of the funniest lines he has heard.
Wlad says it's not really funny. He wants to punish Haye for his mouth. He wants to beat him for 12 rounds, give him the pizza face and then knock him out in the 12th round with the Steelhammer. Wlad actually used the term "the Steelhammer."

How personal is this?
He doesn't want to see any t-shirt like Haye's. What's going to be next, a shirt with his mother's head cut off? The shirt bothered him.

Why the shift to Eastern Europe for the heavyweight boxing elite?
This answer wasn't anything that made any sense to me. I would have to re-watch this to catch exactly what Wlad was talking about.

That's it.
Wlad's English was decent to good. I believe that he is personally annoyed by Haye and truly insulted. I did think that the announcer and Wlad went just a slight bit overboard selling the personal angle, but it wasn't too bad. First Take got the facts right, but they didn't get into too many names of fighters, or past history, or weight classes, which is usually their weakness.

Posted by uatu

22.4.09

Roach Says Arlovski May Make Move to Boxing Permanent

Regular readers of this blog know I have a lot of (platonic) love for Freddie Roach. Sometimes, though, I wonder if even he believes everything he says.

In this case I'm talking about his hyping up of MMA fighter Andrei Arlovski. Roach told Michael David Smith of AOL's FanHouse blog that Arlovski was finally ready to debut as a boxer on the undercard of the Chris John-Rocky Juarez rematch on June 27.

Haters can stand down, as this apparently isn't a case of someone looking to dabble in the sweet science (ahem, Anderson Silva). Smith writes that Arlovski is considering making a permanent career change and boxing from here on out.

Still, the real eyebrow-raising part of the piece is that Roach thinks The Pitbull could establish himself as a top heavyweight in a short amount of time, fast enough that he talks about him facing current titleholders like Nikolai Valuev and Wladimir Klitschko.

Obviously, Roach knows a lot more about how realistic that might be than I do. It just seems like after the numerous athletes who have weighed in about the vast differences between boxing and the stand-up aspect of MMA (spacing, timing, stances, etc.), it may be a bit more difficult than that.

So either Freddie is just doing his part to sell his guy or he really thinks the heavyweight landscape is as bleak as popular opinion says it is. We'll see in a few months - or perhaps not, as Arlovski doesn't officially have an opponent yet and isn't guaranteed to make it onto the televised part of the card.

Posted by The Franchise

20.4.09

Kirkland Pinched on Gun Charge; Status for May 2 Unknown

Power-punching James Kirkland, rapidly becoming a BoxingWatchers favorite, has had another run-in with the law.

As reported by ESPN's Dan Rafael and subsequently echoed around the internets, Kirkland was picked up by police yesterday in Austin, Texas and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. It's too early to know if the arrest will jeopardize his appearance on the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton undercard on May 2, but since he was already on probation, smart money says it could be a problem.

Legal trouble put Kirkland on the shelf once already, taking him out of the boxing ring from November 2003 to April 2006. If he's forced to miss more time, it will further weaken a 154-pound division that is light on top young talent outside of Paul Williams (who fights at multiple weights anyway) and Alfredo Angulo.

Posted by The Franchise

Froch Looking for U.S. Exposure, Weight Tripping Up Mayweather-Marquez

Boxing may be more popular in other countries than it is in the United States in 2009, but it still means something to foreign fighters to make names for themselves in America.

Case in point: WBC super middleweight champ Carl Froch, who recently told London's Daily Mirror that he was looking forward to showing American fans what he can do ("It will be spectacular...") when he takes on Jermain Taylor and could even see himself staying in the U.S. after he wins. Or rather, if he wins.

That article is also worth reading just to see Taylor, a guy not known for his trash talking, throw something that sounds a little bit like smack toward The Cobra. Of course he prefaces it with a respectful quote first. That's telling him Jermain!

It's interesting that even with boxing's low place on the totem pole of American sports, winning fights here is still key to establishing credibility. Boxers who stay close to home for the majority of their careers are looked upon with suspicion.

Examples are plentiful. Recent retiree Joe Calzaghe only received credit for being a top ten pound-for-pound talent once he came across the pond. IBF middleweight king Arthur Abraham still has trouble getting fans to take him seriously.

The biggest fight currently scheduled for this year, the May 2 clash between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, is taking place in the States even though it features no American fighters. The U.S. continues to be the center of the fight game despite the fact that many sports fans here couldn't care less.

It's a strange state of affairs, a bit like the proverbial tail wagging the dog.

Elsewhere, with Floyd Mayweather's return almost assured, and Juan Manuel Marquez looking more and more likely to face him in his return bout, it's almost refreshing to hear that it's not money but weight that might be the sticking point.

BoxingScene.com's Mark Vester says two measly pounds may be keeping the fight from becoming official. JMM tells the site that he can't go up to 147 pounds but could do 143, while Money's camp is apparently floating 145 as a catch-weight.

If more compromising needs to be done, my gut tells me we'll see JMM at 145. Floyd always likes to have things his way and isn't likely to back down.

And in this case, why should he? Mayweather is the draw in this match-up and is the most financially lucrative foe Marquez could ever hope to land... unless Pacquiao decides he wants to tangle with him a third time.

Posted by The Franchise

19.4.09

Recap: Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7, Episode 2

The world's greatest show started in Hollywood.
Manny is living in a crowded condo again, with ten men living in the small condo.

Freddie has actually moved out of the gym into his own house.
Now people can't knock on his door at all times.
He doesn't seem to like it much, as he said the house may be rented soon.
Now Roach also has to sit in traffic and drive to the gym.

At the gym that day were Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale - Max Payne and the Batman/John Connor.

They showed Manny working over some sparring partners, knocking some dude down and out with a body shot.

Hatton is in Vegas.
Floyd, Sr. was running late for practice.
He stopped at Taco Bell.
He likes the number eight combo (hard shell), and he wants tomatoes on those with a Mountain Dew to drink.

Hatton was shown doing that Mayweather mitt routine.
I wonder if we will see any Hatton sparring footage.
The show went through Hatton's entourage and who all the players were.
The crew hit Vegas for some blackjack at night.

Back in L.A., Manny toured his new Hollywood house with his wife, Jinky. This will only be a second house, and not the primary residence.

Freddie said that Manny is now complete, he thinks. He sets things up, he is explosive, etc.

Michael Moorer got some airtime next.
Moorer is getting an education, he works from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm and he is getting an opportunity to help Freddie due to Roach's condition.

Hatton does his runs on Mount Charleston, where Floyd takes Hatton twice a week for serious training.
The show next did some time showing Hatton's family.
His fiance, Jennifer, and son are back in the U.K.
Hatton's mom theorized that Ricky is attracted to his fiance because she is taller than Ricky. His fiance is 5'10". Hatton's son is now 8 years old.

Floyd went on a mini-rant about Hatton being a racehorse and Manny being a mule.

Manny was on husband duties taking Jinky to the airport.
Freddie and Michael were up late into the night taking in Hatton tape on the couch.
Moorer was not impressed with the "new" Hatton, saying he reverted to his old ways and didn't do anything new in the ring.

Next they introduced us to Shane Langford. Freddie took in this fellow and lets him live in the gym and clean the place. Shane has had a rough life and he showed us his knife wounds.

The following bit was about Freddie's early training life. He had to work as a telemarketer to support himself in Vegas. His big break came from Mickey Rourke who called him to train him. Mickey would show up only once that first week. Roach ripped him so bad he cried and left Vegas. Rourke called him every day for 30 days and Roach returned. Roach had him promise that the next day off he would get would be the one Roach gave him. Roach trained Rourke for seven fights, after which, Mickey sold his gym and gave his equipment to Roach.

Back in Vegas we got more Hatton training footage as Floyd put him through exercises. Floyd was flexing for the camera and showing off his muscles. He bragged about how he could eat cookies and cake and still look ripped even at age 56.

Back at his house, they showed Floyd watching tape of his career. He admits he had a bad career. He said he was one hell of a fighter that never got a break. He got shot with a shotgun while holding one year old Floyd Jr. Floyd Sr. said he still wants a relationship with Jr.

Even with Sr. having dropped out of school, he has managed to succeed in life, and he said he feels blessed.

The show ended with a dramatic montage of training, the auxiliary people in the fighters' lives and the trainers.

Posted by uatu

14.4.09

De La Hoya Retires From Boxing

Oscar De La Hoya announced his retirement from the sport of boxing today. ESPN.com reports that at a press conference held at noon (Pacific Time) De La Hoya stated, "I've come to the conclusion that it's over inside the ring for me."

The 1992 Olympic gold medalist (36) carried his professional record to 39-6 with 30 KOs and achieved titles in six different weight classes. Having lost four out of his last seven fights, with his most recent loss coming by the hands of Manny Pacquiao, many experts predicted this retirement announcement.

Oscar will continue his ventures outside the ring as a promoter with his company Golden Boy Promotions.

He became the face of boxing for the second half of his career and gave boxing fans a number of memorable fights. He will surely be in the Boxing Hall of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible.

Posted by spartan117

MMA Fighters Continue to Campaign to Fight Roy Jones Jr.

What is it with MMA fighters continuing to call out Roy Jones Jr.?

Last week, the L.A. Times reported that Anderson "Spider" Silva is still trying to angle for a boxing match with Jones as soon as he's clear of his UFC contract - whenever that is. We've heard that before, but it seems like there's ongoing interest on both sides.

A newer and much more hilarious rumor turned up yesterday via Sherdog.com's Jake Rossen on his ESPN MMA blog: Nick Diaz thinks he can beat Jones too. You know, like the Fresh Prince once thought he could beat Mike Tyson.

Rossen rightly dismisses that idea as potentially suicidal for the California native. Not only is he less accomplished at his own craft than Silva, but he'd be giving up quite a few more pounds as well.

Still, the fact that these types of challenges and discussions keep popping up says a lot about the financial realities for MMA fighters. While some of them are undoubtedly doing just fine thanks to the surge in the sport's popularity over the last few years, they still get a check cut by the UFC (or Strikeforce, or whoever).

Get a boxer with the big name in the ring and you get a piece of the pie for yourself. Not as big as Roy's piece, but a nice one nonetheless.

A better question would be why it's Jones in particular who is getting so much MMA love. He's not the only fading ex-champ out there, though with Oscar De La Hoya expected to retire later today, he may be the most famous one still active.

He's also shown an affinity for the other combat sport, recently attempting to see if they could co-exist on one show.

Whatever the reasons, there's nothing but upside for Jones to actually make one of these fights happen. It would make him some more money, especially if it's against someone as well known in his own world as Silva.

There's just one catch: he needs to do it before he gets so old that someone just moonlighting in boxing actually has a real chance of beating him.

Posted by The Franchise

13.4.09

20-20 Hindsight: After Watching Winky's Beatdown, Who Wants to Fight Paul Williams Now?

When Winky Wright actually admits he's been beaten, that's saying something.

I had to leave for work right after the tenth round of the Paul Williams-Winky Wright fight on Saturday, but I had seen enough by then. As I walked out the door, I told my brother Spartan117 that I already knew what was going to happen: Williams was going to win by decision and Wright was going to complain about it.

Turns out I only got the first part right. The man AP writer Greg Beachem correctly pegged as a "notoriously sore loser" wasn't sore at all (except in the face, probably), admitting that the lopsided scores turned in against him by the judges were correct.

Wright was flummoxed by punches thrown from impossible angles. At one point, Williams threw a left uppercut under his own right arm, which was being held by his foe. The ref was so taken aback that he instinctively issued a warning to Williams.

Winky also acknowledged that while he was ready to face a lot of punches, he didn't understand it was going to be quite that many. The volume that Williams delivers really needs to be seen to be believed.

Before we get too carried away, I should stop short of making it seem like Williams is invincible. I'd stop way short of saying what promoter Dan Goossen said when he called his fighter the best in the world, regardless of weight.

His defense is a little sloppy, for one thing. Though he's quite capable of enough head and leg movement to prove evasive at times, Williams got tagged a number of times by a fighter nearly ten years his senior. He seems to have a sturdy chin but hasn't exactly faced tons of noted one-punch KO artists.

That's nitpicking though. Williams' blend of activity, offensive variety and conditioning are tough enough, even without considering his freakishly long reach and the fact that he's a lefty.

He comes across as likable as well, so he should be on his way to becoming a true star. One problem: most boxing scribes agree (as do I) that his near blanking of Wright isn't likely to make other top boxers want to fight him - which was already difficult before Saturday.

One thing Williams does have going for him is that he seems like he will actually be able to pull off his team's plan to fight anywhere between 147 and 160. With that in mind, I've brainstormed some possible opponents at welterweight, junior middle and middleweight and separated them by likelihood:

147 pounds:

Intriguingly possible - Miguel Cotto - He seems like the kind of guy who would relish the challenge, and if he convincingly gets past Joshua Clottey, his stock will be back on the rise. Cotto is also a big enough star to sell tickets if the fight is held in the right place (say, NYC).

Doubtful - Shane Mosley - Sugar Shane supposedly already nixed fighting Williams in the past. He's close to the end of his career and wants to take only the biggest money fights, which probably rules out The Punisher.

No freaking way - Antonio Margarito - He's suspended, and he's already lost to Williams once.

154 pounds:

Intriguingly possible - James Kirkland - Perhaps enough of a badass to say to himself, "I don't give a f---" and just wade through punches to go after Williams. Hard-hitting Alfredo Angulo may fit that description too, but he's less likely to be ready for such a big step up.

Doubtful - Vernon Forrest - The Viper just pulled out of a fight due to injury and is even older than Wright. Plus even he is shorter than Williams.

No freaking way - Oscar De La Hoya - It's funny just to think about the Golden Boy facing down 100-plus punches a round.

160 pounds:

Intriguingly possible - No one comes to mind, unless Bernard Hopkins jumps in a time machine and rewinds the clock by about ten years.

Doubtful - Kelly Pavlik - Team Pavlik seems to be content with a safer path for Kelly for the time being. If he and Williams cross paths, I'm guessing it will be a couple years down the road.

No freaking way - Arthur Abraham - Right now it's tough to get him to come across the pond to fight the much more conventional Pavlik. Think he's going to do it to try to solve Williams? Me neither.

Posted by The Franchise

11.4.09

Wright v. Williams: Round by Round

The main event is here. Winky Wright versus Paul Williams is live from Mandalay Bay. There are lots of fighters in attendance tonight: Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton to name a few. The fighters are about to make their way to the ring.

Paul Williams enters first. He's coming out to something by T-Pain and has a big smile on his face. He looks comfortable.

Before Winky enters, HBO shows a background video for him. He says he has some unfinished business in the sport of boxing. Winky comes out to "The City is Mine" by Jay-Z and Blackstreet.
The intros are finished, it's about to start.

Round 1
Winky looks to be in better shape than I thought but not the best he's ever looked. Williams starts the action first with a lot of jabs. Winky tries to establish his own jab. Winky is smiling. Williams throws an uppercut and Winky blocks. Winky still has the grin. Tons of punching from Williams. Winky lands a great right hand. Now a left. They both land cleanly. Winky has landed the better punches but Willliams has been the aggressor. Williams should be using more head movement.

Spartan117: 10-9 Wright

Round 2
Williams comes out with a smile of his own. Williams lands a jab. Williams throws a four-punch combo and lands maybe two. Williams is punching like a madman. Williams throws about a six-punch combo and lands four or five. Williams is really working Winky this round. Winky hasn't landed a meaningful punch yet in Round 2. Now he lands a jab. Paul keeps the punch output up. There is already some swelling on the face of Winky. Williams lands a great left uppercut that knocks the head back of Wright.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 3
Williams wastes no time throwing. He throws a three-punch combo. They trade punches now in the center. Each lands one good one upstairs. Winky tries to get his jab going. Winky lands a left hook and Winky clinches. Winky lands a right hook. Winky lands a right counterpunch. He follows up with a left. It doesn't look like it hurt him. Williams goes back to his big combos. Winky isn't throwing any punches to the body.

Spartan117: 10-9 Wright

Round 4
Williams is throwing a ton of punches as usual. Williams is throwing about 10 punches for every punch that Winky throws. Winky lands a good left-right combo. Williams is busier but Winky is landing the better punches. This has been a tough round to score. Williams throws some good shots to the body.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 5
Williams comes out firing again. Winky is blocking a lot of jabs out there. Winky lands a left hand. Williams lands a left and right to the body. This has been a good round for Winky, maybe his best. Williams is still working hard in there. Winky is landing good, meaningful shots.

Spartan117: 10-9 Wright

Round 6
Winky comes out swinging this time and Williams is ducking and dodging. Williams just landed three out of a five-punch combo and the fighters swing away. Williams got the better of the exchange. Winky goes back to the jab. Williams lands a straight left. Winky shakes his head. Williams is moving a lot now. Williams lands a left hook and a left uppercut. Wright lands a right hand to the body. Another tough round to score.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 7
Williams throws the jab first. Williams has thrown twice as many punches compared to Winky so far. Winky lands a jab. The crowd starts to chant Winky's name. Winky lands a straight right and Williams lands one of his own. Not many meaningful shots landed so far in this round. Williams lands a double jab. Now Winky goes on the aggression and lands a left hand. Williams keeps busy and lands two shots.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 8
For the first time, Winky doesn't come out swinging. Williams now lands a jab. Williams lands a stellar right hand and wobbles Winky. It was his best punch of the fight. Williams tries to end it. Winky is still fighting strong. He looks fine now. This has been a great round for Williams. Winky's face really looks like it was in a fight. No cuts yet though. They exchange in the center to end the round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 9
Williams is still grinning and he has a reason to. Williams lands two punches upstairs and one to the body. He looks very comfortable in there. Winky throws two shots and Williams laughs. Now Williams is throwing and landing like crazy. Winky holds as he usually does. Williams refuses to stop punching. Winky makes it out of there. Winky comes back and lands a left hand. Williams shrugs it off. Williams lands another left-right combo. Another great round for Williams.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 10
More swelling forms on the face of Winky. Williams comes out stronger than he has in any round thus far. A lot of the punches have made it through and Winky is getting rocked. Winky isn't landing enough to win these rounds. Williams is dominating down the stretch. Winky hasn't given up and he throws a few punches but they miss. Williams throws a bunch of hooks and one or two make it in. Winky lands a left hook. Williams comes right back and throws six more. I can't get over how busy Williams is.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 11
Winky throws the first jab. Williams throws a counterpunch that lands cleanly. He isn't letting up. Williams lands a great right hand. Williams throws another left-right hook combo and Winky shakes his head. Williams throws another combo but Winky blocks it. Williams winds up his left hand but doesn't unleash it. Not much happened, but it's still Williams' round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Round 12
Williams' face looks fine. Both trainers tell them to let everything go. They trade power punches in the center of the ring. Williams gets the better of Wright. Williams is, as you can imagine, throwing more punches. Wright looks a little tired. Williams wants the knockout. Williams lands a good right hook. There is about a minute left. Williams lands another left-right combo. Williams throws another great combo. They trade in the center to end the fight. That round is tough to score.

Spartan117: 10-9 Williams

Spartan117 scores it 117-111 for Williams.
The judges score it 119-109 and 120-108 twice, all for the winner by unanimous decision, Paul "The Punisher" Williams.

Williams says that he felt great and stayed with his game plan and outworked Wright. He said he's ready to fight any middleweight in the sport.

Winky says he felt good. Williams just threw too many punches. Wright said that Williams can face anyone in the sport. Wright added that this will definitely not be his last fight.
Posted by spartan117

Chris Arreola vs. Jameel McCline: Round By Round

Tonight's HBO broadcast comes from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The first fight is between two big heavyweights, Chris Arreola and Jameel McCline.

The tale of the tape shows Arreola giving up height and reach, and unsurprisingly, he's a bit heavier than his camp would like. He is 26-0 with 23 KOs.

McCline weighed in at 271 pounds after saying he was retired following his last fight. He is 39-9-3 but has lost three of his last four fights.

Michael Buffer makes the introductions and we're all set for action.

Round 1

Arreola goes to the body early. He throws a right upstairs and stays active. McCline jabs his way in and ties up. More body work from Chris. He lands a nice right upstairs too. McCline throws three jabs and a right hand. Arreola just misses with an uppercut, then he connects with a nice shot along the ropes.

Franchise: 10-9 Arreola
Spartan117: 10-9 Arreola

Round 2

The ref has to break the fighters up early. McCline tries more jabs. He's backing and circling more too. Arreola walks him into the corner but gets tied up. McCline comes out with a hard two-punch combo. That seems to light a fire under Chris, who scores with a straight right and an uppercut. McCline's head snaps back along the ropes. Jameel looks a little shell-shocked right now.

Franchise: 10-9 Arreola
Spartan117: 10-9 Arreola

Round 3

Both guys start throwing as soon as the bell rings. Arreola presses forward behind his right hands. He lands with both hands in combination, but gets hit with a right hand coming back. McCline wobbles Arreola a bit with a left hook. He lands another left in close. Arreola fires a left uppercut but McCline lands another hard shot right at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 McCline
Spartan117: 10-9 McCline

Round 4

Arreola shows no signs of real damage as he delivers the first hard punches of this frame. He likes that uppercut-body shot combo and uses it effectively again. Chris steps forward and uses a left uppercut and a straight right to send McCline to the canvas! Jameel can't answer the count and it's all over - Arreola wins by KO.

The winner by KO at 2:01 of Round 4... Chris Arreola.

Arreola is excited to be in the ring with Larry Merchant. Chris says his opponent took and gave good punches. He says he wants to fight the best and mentions the Klitschko brothers by name.

Asked if he's worthy to step up against the best, he turns the question around on Merchant. Arreola gives credit to his sparring partners for getting him ready.

Though he says he'll fight whoever his promoter lines up, it's clear Arreola would like a title shot.

Merchant also gets a few words with McCline. Jameel says Arreola did what he had to do and can see Chris fighting for a title very soon.

Jim Lampley gets a chance to talk to Ricky Hatton for a bit between fights. The Hitman repeats his opinion that Manny Pacquiao's win against Oscar De La Hoya wasn't that impressive, and he thinks he'll be the stronger, more explosive fighter come May 2.

Hatton also talks about his improvements under the tutelage of Floyd Mayweather Sr. Lampley points out that he's a little black under both eyes, but Ricky says he likes the sparring he's been getting in Las Vegas. 

Posted by The Franchise

Recap: Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7, Episode 1

The new season of 24/7 begins with a look at Manny Pacquiao's upbringing amidst the poverty of General Santos City in the Phillipines. We flash forward to Pacman's most recent victory over Oscar De La Hoya, and trainer Freddie Roach explains why he was so sure his charge would win.

The scene quickly switches to Manchester, the home of Ricky Hatton. A flashback to 2007 shows Hatton riding high before his fight with Floyd Mayweather, where as we know, he didn't fare too well. He uses the word "devastated" to describe how he felt after losing, and his family and countrymen took it hard as well.

Back in the Phillipines, we see the reaction of his fans to his last win. We see the christening of his baby, which like every Pacquiao-related event, was a huge deal - complete with 48 godparents.

The first training footage shows Manny at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Gym. Former heavyweight champ Michael Moorer is there too, giving advice. Hatton and former trainer Billy Graham talk a bit about their relationship and why Ricky felt the need to make a change.

The entertainment value immediately picks up as we hear from Hatton's new trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. He makes it clear in no uncertain terms that he thinks he's the greatest trainer ever, and he's anxious for the world to see how Hatton is continuing to improve.

More detail is shown of Moorer's role in Pacquiao's training camp, which looks to be pretty large. Why add another person to the mix? Roach admits that he was spreading himself too thin, especially with other fighters to train and Parkinson's disease to battle.

Freddie also says he has to close the gym for a few hours a day because Pacquiao is so popular. Manny also looks like he hasn't been taking it easy on his sparring partners.

Hatton and Mayweather travel from England to Las Vegas to finish his training. Floyd says his goal is to keep Ricky's aggressiveness and tenacity but teach him defense and evasiveness.

On the personal side, Ricky and Floyd have had to adjust to each other's personalities and senses of humor. Mayweather has a little rhyme for Pacquiao too.

We see some scenes from the press tour for the fight, including the fighters playing darts in an English pub. The episode ends with dramatic training montages for both men.

Posted by The Franchise