Boxer Clothing and Gear - Follow-Up II

As part of my continuing quest to scour the internets for boxer shirts, clothing and such (here's the original post and my first follow-up), I've come across another company I missed up to this point:

Remetee: Based in California, this clothing company was founded by one of the creators of Affliction, and it shows in both the design (skull-heavy) and price (not cheap) of its clothing.

It's also run into some bad luck supporting some talented boxers. Sharp-eyed fans may have noticed Victor Ortiz and the guys in his corner were decked out in Remetee right before he got knocked out by Marcos Maidana. Also this James Kirkland signature shirt probably seemed like a good idea until a few months ago.

Also for sale is a Ricky Hatton shirt (with no skulls!) and an event shirt for Hatton's demolition at the hands of Manny Pacquiao.

Posted by The Franchise


20/20 Hindsight: When Annointing Someone the Next Big Thing Goes Awry, Plus What to Do About Arthur Abraham

In case you missed Saturday's HBO broadcast of Boxing After Dark, you owe it to yourself to catch a replay. Soon. You won't be disappointed.

Victor Ortiz and Marcos Maidana threw the concepts of feeling each other out and establishing the jab right out the window, deciding early on to just wing power shots early and often. The ensuing collision lasted six rounds, and three of them (Rounds 1, 2 and 5) made this writer yell out loud even though I was watching the fight alone.

It's not very often that you see someone get knocked down three times in the first round and come back to win by TKO, but Maidana pulled it off. Ortiz brought the more well-rounded game to the fight, but the Argentinian had more heart and the better chin. Those qualities plus a wild yet devastating right hand turned out to be enough (barely) to carry the day.

Much of the analysis over the last day or two has focused on what Ortiz did wrong, that he fought the wrong fight and caved when the going got really tough. There's definite truth in the former and perhaps in the latter as well, though it's always easy for us to demand that fighters show the willingness to get carried out on their shields from the safety of our own seats or couches.

Regardless, it was hard to listen to Ortiz's post-fight interview and not feel some sympathy for how discouraged he sounded. Here was a man suggesting that he might have to think hard about continuing his boxing career - and at all of 22 years of age and two career losses.

The unspoken context was that Ortiz felt disappointed not only in his performance, but that he had let so many other people down. This was a boxer who, despite his youth, was getting a massive push from Golden Boy Promotions to become the sport's next huge star.

It's not hard to see why. As Max Kellerman opined in the aftermath of the fight, Ortiz almost seemed too good to be true: touching personal story, skill and power in the ring, good looks, engaging and well-spoken personality. The phrase "total package" may be a cliche, but if Ortiz doesn't qualify, no one does.

Golden Boy's anxiousness is easy to see too. It's three biggest draws, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley, are all retired or headed that way. A company passing of the torch is in order soon.

Despite all that, we were reminded once again that all of the star-making plans in the world can quickly come apart in the ring. Whether it's Alfredo Angulo's lateral mobility issues or Ortiz's shaky chin, boxing can expose any flaws in its crop of young up-and-comers.

Actually, expose may not be the right word, because we're not talking about guys who are finished products. The conclusion is the same, though: in boxing, it's the results in the ring that will ultimately determine who will be the big names in the sport over the next decade.

It's definitely still possible for Ortiz to be one of those names. Maybe now the hype behind him will die down a bit and he'll be able to get back on track toward that goal with a little less pressure.


Arthur Abraham didn't exactly thrill the pants off of viewers with his tenth-round TKO of Mahir Oral on Saturday, but he did what he needed to do. He took his time and played defense until he figured out Oral couldn't hurt him, and he turned up the power in the middle rounds until his opponent couldn't take any more.

King Arthur also said all the right things after the fight about wanting to fight in the U.S. against Kelly Pavlik or any of a number of guys at 168, and he even showed some personality. I'm not sure if that was just for show or if his management is the problem, but it would be really nice to see Abraham in some bigger fights while he's still in his prime.

With his high guard and slow starts, he's not the most exciting fighter around, but he certainly goes for the kill when he senses an opening. He didn't deny that he's having a tough time making 160, so a fight with Pavlik would have to be made pretty quickly.

On the other hand, I can see why Team Pavlik wouldn't be chomping at the bit to put their guy in against Abraham. King Arthur has some holes, but it would take a skilled counterpuncher to best exploit them, and that's not really The Ghost's specialty. Since Abraham doesn't have the name value to help sell tickets in the States, it could seem like the risk/reward ratio just isn't there.

So we might be down to hoping Abraham agrees to fight Pavlik in Ohio or simply announces he's headed for super middleweight right away. He might not be the best boxer in the world, but he's good enough that it would be a shame to see him continue to fight in relative obscurity.

Posted by The Franchise


Ortiz v. Maidana: Round by Round

Time to peel myself away from EA's Fight Night Round 4 to watch some real boxing. Tonight's recently abbreviated card contains Victor Ortiz against Marcos Maidana. This fight is another step in Ortiz's process in becoming a boxing superstar. Golden Boy Promotions is putting a big push behind him to speed up this process. We'll see what he brings to the ring tonight.

The HBO broadcast has just started live from the Staples Center in L.A. It looks like the event has drawn a good crowd. Now HBO runs a feature story on Ortiz's struggles in life.

Still no start of the fight yet from HBO. They're filling some time since the card is only one fight. They now talk about Ortiz's opponent, Maidana.

It looks like things are getting underway now. Marcos Maidana makes his way to the ring first to some boos. This is his first fight in the U.S.

Vic Ortiz comes to the ring now to a Michael Jackson medley. The HBO team tells us that with his passing, Ortiz devoted his ring walk to MJ.

Here we go.

Round 1
Maidana steps forward first and throws a jab, followed by a fast flurry. Ortiz has an EA sponsorship on his trunks. He lands a left hook. Maidana steps forward again and lands two good hooks. Ortiz fires back and drops Maidana with a left. Maidana comes forward and throws one punch and drops Ortiz! Ortiz is back up but he is in big trouble. He holds on to stay up. He doesn't have his legs under him. Maidana is trying to end the show. Ortiz looks better now. The bell rings. What an incredible round.

Spartan117: 10-10
Franchise: 10-10

Round 2
Ortiz looks much better now. He's firing some big shots now. He lands two punches to the body. Maidana unleashes a big combo and tries to turn the fight into a brawl. He lands a good right hook in the process. Both fighters are throwing nothing but power punches. Ortiz gets backed against the ropes. Maidana throws a combo to the head and body. Ortiz lands a wide left hand. Ortiz lands a huge right and drops Maidana. He's really pouring it on. Maidana makes it up. Ortiz tries to close the show and knocks Maidana down again. He makes it up as the bell rings.

Spartan117: 10-7 Ortiz
Franchise: 10-7 Ortiz

Round 3
An Ortiz chant starts. Oscar De La Hoya shouts from ringside to Ortiz, telling him to be smart. Maidana lands a right hand. Ortiz backs Maidana into the the corner and lands a major right hand. Maidana fires back with a right hand head shot. Ortiz lands a straight left. Ortiz lands a good left hook and Maidana barely misses a with a big left. Ortiz gets Maidana in the corner again but doesn't land that much.

Spartan117: 10-9 Ortiz
Franchise: 10-9 Ortiz

Round 4
Ortiz comes forward and lands a straight left. Maidana lands a sneaky, strong right hand. Ortiz turns up the aggression and throws a left-right combo of hooks. He lands a great straight left again. Ortiz misses with another straight and Maidana barely misses with a counter punch. Ortiz isn't jabbing enough and Emmanuel Steward discusses it. Ortiz misses a wide left hand. There's some swelling under the left eye of Maidana.

Spartan117: 10-9 Ortiz
Franchise: 10-9 Ortiz

Round 5
Ortiz slips a left hook. He lands a huge right hand and Maidana backs up against the ropes. Ortiz springs into action and lands a good uppercut. Ortiz gets caught coming forward with a right from Maidana. Now Maidana is the aggressor. Ortiz gets hit harder. A cut has opened on the right eyebrow of Ortiz. They go toe to toe and trade huge power punches. It's tough to tell if the cut was opened by a headbutt or punch. Ortiz got absolutely hammered at the end of the round with two right hands. He's lucky the round ended.

Spartan117: 10-9 Maidana
Franchise: 10-9 Maidana

Round 6
The replay between rounds shows that the cut was definitely caused by a punch. Maidana comes right out and tries to close the show. Ortiz is in big, big trouble. Maidana lands too much and Ortiz goes down. He gets up but doesn't look like he wants to continue. The doctor looks at him and stops it. It's over.

The winner by TKO... and interim WBA super lightweight champion... Marcos Maidana.

Ortiz's face is in bad shape. Lots of swelling under the right eye and a cut over the left. He's in the ring talking to De La Hoya and Shane Mosley.

In the post-fight interview, Maidana says that the knockdowns made him hungry to fight harder. He said he was well prepared and well trained and ready for a tough bout. He adds that he knew he could take Ortiz after knocking him down the first time. He says he'll fight anyone his management throws at him.

Now Vic gets interviewed. He thought it was going to be an early night after the first knockdown. He's asked if being the headliner changed his style. He responds that the crowd did get to him and he wanted to knock Maidana out, making him stray from his game plan. He says the knockdown that he suffered really hurt him. He tips his cap to Maidana and says he was the better man tonight. Ortiz adds that he has a lot of thinking to do.

Posted by spartan117

Arthur Abraham vs. Mahir Oral : Round By Round

It was kind of a late edition to Showtime's boxing schedule, but IBF middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham is in Berlin tonight to put his undefeated record on the line again. This isn't live, and Nick Charles and Steve Farhood aren't even in Germany, but we'll act like this fight is live.

The announcers talk about how there's only one fight in the middleweight division anyone wants to see - Abraham vs. Kelly Pavlik - and I have to agree. They sound like they don't think it will happen.

Charles also says Abraham could be headed up to 168 pounds if he can't land Pavlik, where there are more juicy fights that he could make. Farhood suggests that Arthur is having trouble making 160 pounds and it's more of a question of when he'll move up rather than if.

The tale of the tape shows Oral with a height advantage, but strangely, not a reach advantage. Oral is 25-1-2 but has only 10 KO victories.

Abraham is 29-0 with 23 KOs, and this is his tenth defense of his IBF belt. Michael Buffer handles the fighter intros and we are ready to go.

Round 1

Oral comes out attacking with jabs and body shots. Abraham is covered up well. Arthur flicks the occasional jab. Oral keeps throwing even if not much is getting through. The announcers mention that Abraham is a slow starter. Oral sneaks in a right to the body. Abraham gets clubbed by a right coming in.

Franchise: 10-9 Oral
Spartan117: 10-9 Oral

Round 2

Abraham's corner tells him to stay cautious but pick it up. He keeps blocking shots with his high guard. Oral is working a lot of jabs. Abraham sticks a left hook to the body. Both men exchange jabs that connect. Nice body work by Arthur and a counter right by Oral. Arthur starts to find the range with his own jab. He goes to the body with both hands, then both men land before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Oral
Spartan117: 10-9 Oral

Round 3

Oral certainly seems confident as he presses the issue. He is getting a few jabs through the guard. Abraham throws a few shots upstairs with some sizzle on them. Left hook by Arthur. The crowd tries to get into the action. Flurry to the body by the champ. Oral is still doing much more of the work right now. He's been able to score with some counter shots too. Left and a strong right by Abraham before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Oral
Spartan117: 10-9 Oral

Round 4

The announcers point out Oral is playing with fire by having his hands so low. Abraham starts coming forward more. Oral pumps jabs and fires an occasional right behind them. Body shots by Arthur answered by a counter right. Abraham flurries to the body again. Oral stands his ground while the champ feints. Left hook to Oral's body, followed by body shots and a right to the head. A right from Arthur sends Oral to the mat. Abraham pours it on after his foe beats the count. Oral eats a few more rights but he makes it to the bell.

Franchise: 10-8 Abraham
Spartan117: 10-8 Abraham

Round 5

Abraham's edge in power is so apparent in this fight. A right hand just misses and Oral slips down. Another right crashes home for Arthur. Oral is game, still throwing punches. Combo punches score for Abraham. Right-left-right combination rattles Oral a bit. He comes right back with a left hook that knocks the champ back a step. Both men throw to the body. King Arthur lands two more rights int he closing seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Abraham
Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham

Round 6

Oral isn't giving up, exchanging jabs once more. Nice right to the body by King Arthur. More jabs both ways. Oral still punching but losing even more steam. A right hand sends Oral down to the mat again. He makes it up and there's 45 seconds to go. They trade in the center of the ring with the champ getting the better of it. Oral backs Arthur up late in the round but still easily lost that round.

Franchise: 10-8 Abraham
Spartan117: 10-8 Abraham

Round 7

Oral's jabs battle Abraham's hooks. The challenger stays busy but can't crack the defense of his foe. Slow round for Arthur so far. Oral bounces and tries some left hooks. Both fighters show some good defense as they dodge punches. Have to give that round to Oral just based on activity.

Franchise: 10-9 Oral
Spartan117: 10-9 Oral

Round 8

The translator in Abraham's corner has an amusingly high voice. The announcers debate whether Arthur is having too much trouble making 160. Good shots both ways in an exchange. Abraham just misses a smoking right upstairs. Body shot by Abraham. Left hooks in succession by the champ. Oral eats a right and some jabs. Abraham sizes up more right hands. Right-left combo to Oral's face.

Franchise: 10-9 Abraham
Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham

Round 9

Abe's corner urges him on a bit more between rounds. He starts with more jabs but goes right back to covering up. Right and a left for Abraham. Oral limited to just jabs at the moment. Left hook by Arthur. Abraham lands a couple of punches in the midst of an extended flurry. He keeps short lefts in Oral's grill. Oral stumbles a bit while getting tagged by another right.

Franchise: 10-9 Abraham
Spartan117: 10-9 Abraham

Round 10

Abraham opens right up with a body attack. A left hook in the corner forces Oral to his knee. He's up at eight and the action restarts. A right to the body forces Oral to his knee again. The ref tells him he can't allow it to continue much longer. Oral goes down for a third time, and though he wants to continue, his corner calls a stop to it.

The replay showed a smiling Abraham actually pointing out to Oral that his corner had thrown in the towel.

The winner by TKO at 1:23 of Round 10... and still IBF middleweight titleholder... "King"Arthur Abraham.

Abraham tells Al Bernstein that he was not hurt by any of Oral's punches.
He says his style is to watch his opponent for a few rounds and then go for it when he has the guy figured out.

King Arthur also says he wanted to wait for the tempo of the fight to caome down a bit.

Asked about taking his mandatory or fighting Pavlik, Abraham says he could be at middleweight or super middleweight depending on where the biggest fights are to be made. Switching to English for a bit, Arthur makes it clear he'd like to fight in America.

Abraham also gives a funny answer to the question of whether anyone can hurt him, quipping, "Yeah, my mother."

Posted by The Franchise

Live Ortiz-Maidana, Abraham-Oral Round By Round Updates Tonight

It's a full night of boxing tonight that might have you reaching for your remote or your DVR.

Next Big Thing candidate Victor Ortiz is on HBO, fellow rising star Juan Manuel Lopez is on pay-per-view, and a special edition of ShoBox features middleweight titleholder Arthur Abraham. Not too shabby.

If you aren't fortunate enough to be by a properly equipped TV this evening, well, we feel your pain. And we'll do our best to keep you up to date on the action because that's what we do here.

We'll definitely have Ortiz-Maidana and Abraham-Oral live round by round posts out on the main page (actually the Abraham fight may not be live, but we'll act like it is!). We'd love to do the PPV too, but we can only split our limited resources so many ways. Maybe one of our readers can keep us up to date on the JuanMa fight!

Come back and check us out starting shortly after 9 pm Eastern time tonight.

Posted by The Franchise

Paul Spadafora vs. Ivan Bustos: Photo Gallery 6/24/09

Spartan117 was on hand at Station Square this past Wednesday night to see the Pittsburgh Kid, Paul Spadafora, send his hometown fans home happy with a TKO victory over Ivan Bustos. He was close enough to take pictures too, the best of which I'm posting here.

Oh, and in case you aren't familiar with Spadafora, that's him with the tattoos and the "PK" trunks in Pittsburgh black and gold.


Posted by The Franchise, photos by spartan117


Officially Official: Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Rescheduled for Sep. 19

Rib injuries, a postponement and whispers of slow ticket sales had become the stories, but boxing fans can take heart that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Juan Manuel Marquez will finally be getting down to boxing each other this fall.

The date rumored to be in the works since the initial July date was pushed back was made official today, as Mayweather-Marquez will take place on Sep. 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

With Mexican Independence Day taking place on Sep. 16 and Mexican fans accustomed to seeing Oscar De La Hoya in action around that time, the new weekend makes perfect sense. Some pundits have also pointed to the difficulty of selling a fight in the desert in the middle of the summer, and getting it out of the 100-plus degree heat has to be a relief for fans thinking about watching in person.

But was slow business at the gate at least partially responsible for the move (the official reason remains Floyd's rib cartilage injury)? Shane Mosley recently suggested it was, but the AP story contains a flat out denial by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. Both men have vested interests in their versions of the story, so the truth may be somewhere in-between.

This also means that fans hoping for a Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao clash will have to wait until spring of next year at the earliest. There was a school of thought that maybe Floyd would try to wriggle out of facing JMM to go for the truly huge money against Pac-Man, but that's dead now.

Assuming Mayweather defeats Marquez and Pacquiao finalizes plans to meet Miguel Cotto in November, we won't be seeing a Floyd-Manny bout until at least April 2010.

Posted by The Franchise

Quick Rundown of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2

Not enough hours in the day to give a complete post on Friday Night Fights or to do a round by round. I will post the outcomes of the major two fights and some truncated thoughts if anything interesting goes down.

Deontay Wilder wins by first round knockout. Atlas loved Wilder's trunks, and I must admit that they are awesome trunks. Bombs dropping with flames exploding. Quite cool.

David Haye was interviewed over the phone, and he was his usual brash and entertaining self. He did say he's ready at the end of July to fight either of the brothers Klitschko.

Oscar De La Hoya was ringside to be interviewed. He said Victor Ortiz is the figher he is most exicted about.

They asked him some questions about Sugar Shane Mosley. He said Shane-Manny is still realistic.

Oscar and Teddy Atlas broke down JMM-Floyd Mayweather. Teddy doesn't see it as a walk in the park for Money May. The layoff may place some pressure on Money May.

Oscar says Money May is a very proud fighter that wants to fight the best, and he gives Floyd credit for coming back against a tough fighter like JMM and not an easy one.

Onto the main event:

Daniel Jacobs vs. George Walton

A fight scheduled for 10 rounds.

They cut in to show footage of Paul Spadafora. You couldn't see Spartan in the crowd, but I assure you he was there. Very short footage, but some nice press for Spaddy as he makes his comeback.

Daniel Jacobs dominated from pillar to post, and looked great with another TKO victory. Jacobs had to overcome a cut and some bleeding in his eye, and totally outworked and out strengthed Walton throughout.

TKO 8th Round for Danny Jacobs

Methinks we will see young Jacobs on the come up to some BAD or Shobox type cards in the near future. Since he's with Golden Boy, more likely BAD or Versus.

Ringside interview:

Jacobs has an injury to the knuckles on his left hand, which is a chronic injury for him.

Did anything go on in his mind with the cut?

He had been cut once before in the amateurs. He wasn't scared here in the pros though, because he had that experience.

Teddy asked Jacobs if he has played Fight Night Round 4 yet, and he said that he had not.

That's it for me.

Posted by uatu

The Champs the Day Thriller Hit Stores

In honor of the passing of MJ, I thought I would do some quick research to see who the champs of boxing were the day Thriller was released. That day was November 30, 1982. Not a creative story angle but somewhat interesting.

We have said many times that we are not historians of boxing, nor are we historians of Michael Jackson. All of this info was pulled from Wikipedia, which is a shaky source at best. So please, no comments about how there are earlier secret versions of Thriller demos, or there are some crazy sanctioning body recess, emeritus, superduper or humanitarian champs I didn't put on the list. This was thrown together with haste.

Side note: the IBF was only created in 1983, so this is WBA and WBC only and for lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight only.

Do you remember the time? I know I don't, but here we go.

WBC - Vacant - looks like Alexis Arguello vacated in May of '82, and it wasn't filled until May of '83 by Edwin Rosario.

WBA - Ray Mancini

WBC - Vacant - Sugar Ray Leonard retired in November of '82. August of '83 it was filled by Milton McCrory.

WBA - Sugar Ray retired and it was filled by Donald Curry in February of '83.

WBC - Marvin Hagler

WBA - Marvin Hagler

WBC - Larry Holmes

WBA - Mike Weaver

Posted by uatu

Weekend Predictions: Oritz-Maidana, Abraham-Oral, Lopez-Lontchi

The Franchise says...

Whether your preferred boxing viewing is on HBO, Showtime or pay-per-view, you've got something to watch on Saturday. What was originally scheduled to be a tremendous night of boxing that included a much anticipated Chris John-Rocky Juarez rematch and middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik is now just pretty good, but those are the breaks.

On the bright side, two of the brightest young stars in the game are still in action. With John-Juarez II off, Victor Ortiz gets the spotlight all to himself on HBO as he takes on Marcos Maidana.

Ortiz has been running through his competition, reeling off eight straight knockouts against guys who weren't all stiffs. The same could be said of Maidana, who is ranked inside The Ring's top 10 at 140 pounds and has 24 KOs in his 25 career wins.

Despite his youth, Oritz seemingly has it all: talent, savvy and charisma. He's worthy of the push he's got behind him, but as we saw recently with Alfredo Angulo, creating stars can sometimes be a tricky business.

We'll see if Maidana can pull off the Kermit Cintron spoiler role here. I'm not feeling it, so I like Ortiz to earn a mid-round KO.

A little further down the path to stardom is the man in action in Atlantic City, Juan Manuel Lopez. Already a titleholder, JuanMa possesses a scintillating blend of power and work rate and even has some defensive wherewithal to boot.

Gerry Penalosa used some well-timed counters and a ridiculous chin to hang with Lopez for a while in April, but he eventually got bludgeoned into submission. Olivier Lontchi can reportedly box a little bit, but does he have the power to keep JuanMa honest?

It's also worth keeping in mind that this wasn't supposed to be the PPV main event (that would have been Pavlik's fight) and the opponent was chosen with that in mind. I think it's back to a short night of work, with Lopez knocking out Lontchi early.

Finally, Showtime squeezed in an extra night of boxing to feature the man everyone wants to see in a showdown with Pavlik, Arthur Abraham. I don't know much about his challenger, fellow countryman Mahir Oral, but a glance at his record suggests King Arthur is a big step up in competition.

There's always a chance of a letdown, of course, but Abraham should be plenty motivated to look good on American TV and hopefully set up that future date with The Ghost. No upsets this weekend, as I like Abraham to retain his IBF title by mid-round KO.

Posted by The Franchise


Short Post - Various Famous People in the new Fight Night commerical

The new spot for Fight Night Round 4 focuses on the mythical match up of Ali vs. Tyson. The commercial is really nothing special, as it is just a bunch of people talking about the fight as if it were real. The interesting part is that there is a strange mix of famous people talking about the fight.

Oscar De La Hoya and Freddie Roach are in it, which is no surprise. Also in the commercial are Steve Nash, John Calipari, Just Blaze and Wyclef John, which I thought was a somewhat random group of dudes to also be in it.

Posted by uatu


Paul Spadafora Card - Live Correspondence

Here's the lowdown so far:

Spartan says that there is an awesome turnout tonight. He says that there is seating for over 1000 people and there are many more with standing room tickets watching the fights.

Heavyweights are up first: Tommy Poe vs. Ryan St. Germain (sp?) BoxRec has this fight as Poe vs. George Navarro. There are lots of Poe fans in the house tonight which makes sense since he is from nearby West Virginia.

Big bombs are being thrown with lots of blood involved.

Poe takes the fight by decision.

Next up: Sam "Black Ice" Gibson vs. Jose Caraballo at welterweight.

Carballo is the hometown favorite in this one. Spartan says he believes that Caraballo is losing early and is being forced to clinch a lot.

And Gibson takes it by KO.

Apparently his name is actually Gipson not Gibson according to Spartan. BoxRec lists him as Gibson. The program reads Gipson. BoxRec has been wrong many times before but could easily be a program typo too.

Next up: Rod Salka vs. James Ventry.

Salka is the hometown favorite in this one. Interestingly, BoxRec has Ventry scheduled for another fight just 22 days from now.

Big cheers from the crowd for Salka. Tons of cheers for Rod Salka but Spartan thinks they both look good in the ring.

Salka is putting on a show now.

Spartan is estimating close to 2000 in the house packed in now. The crowd is live and vocal tonight too.

Salka is now displaying some good hand speed.

It was a good fight that went the distance. The crowd was very into the action. Rod Salka takes the decision and is now 8-0.

Spartan was able to procure some prime seats for tonight's card. He is close enough to see and possibly even be hit by the sweat.

Spartan is estimating there are well over 2000 people in the house tonight, possibly 3000 now. Looks like Spadafora can still draw in his hometown. I am not exactly sure how the tickets are being priced, but I know Spartan's was affordable.

Here comes the main event. Lots of boos for the opponent, and lots of love for Spaddy, unsurprisingly.

A Spadafora chant breaks out early.

Spadafora vs. Bustos

Round 1
Spartan: 10-9 Spaddy

Nothing special yet. Spaddy is hesitant to throw the right early.

Round 2
Spartan: 10-9 Spaddy

More action in Round 2 than Round 1.

Round 3
Spartan: 10-9 Spaddy

A convincingly won round for Spadafora.

Round 4
Spartan: 10-9 Spaddy

Spadafora finding a groove. He is letting his hands go and is landing accurately. If he keeps this up he may have a chance to end it early.

Round 5
Spartan: 10-9 Spaddy

Spaddy is crushing Bustos right now. He's looking tight and crisp as he takes another round.

It's all over. The towel has been thrown in. Spaddy dominates in front of the home crowd.

Paul Spadafora wins by TKO.

Posted by uatu with on-site reporting by spartan117

BoxingWatchers on Location: Live Paul Spadafora Coverage Tonight

Though cliche lovers will no doubt be disappointed to know that we never do any posting from our mother's basement, a combination of a lack of media credentials and a dearth of disposable income means the BoxingWatchers do most of our work from home.

Still, when a former lightweight titleholder is in action less than a mile away, we snap into action. Our own Spartan117 will be in the field tonight in Pittsburgh to take in The Pittsburgh Kid, Paul Spadafora, as he takes on Ivan Bustos at Station Square.

Still undefeated, the 33-year old southpaw held the IBF lightweight title from 1999 until 2003, but a combination of legal trouble and injuries have limited him to three fights in the last five years. We'll give you a first-hand account of how he looks since hooking up with Pernell Whitaker as head trainer live on the site tonight.

Posted by The Franchise


Belt-Go-Round: Alexander, Witter to Clash on Bradley-Campbell Undercard

There are plenty of examples of the strange and sometimes arbitrary way the titles from boxing's four sanctioning bodies float around the weight classes, but perhaps no current situation is a better illustration than what's going on with the WBC 140-pound belt.

See if you can follow along. England's Junior Witter won the strap (which was vacant at the time) back in September 2006 by beating DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley. He made two successful defenses before dropping it to Timothy Bradley last May.

Bradley won decisions over Edner Cherry and Kendall Holt since then. But he had no interest in defending against the WBC's mandatory challenger, Devon Alexander, so he was forced to give up the belt when he signed to take on Nate Campbell - no stranger to belt politics himself.

The WBC wanted to match up its top two ranked junior welterweights for the now vacant belt, which happen to be... Alexander and Witter. Oh, and just for good measure, it was recently confirmed that Alexander-Witter will be televised on Showtime on August 1 on the Bradley-Campbell undercard. Only in boxing!

For what it's worth, it sounds like an intriguing fight on paper. The young (22 years old) and undefeated Alexander is fun to watch and carries himself well outside the ring, but he hasn't beaten anyone of consequence other than Corley, everyone's favorite whipping boy.

He'll have a puzzle to solve in the form of the so-awkward-he's-fascinating Witter, who hadn't tasted defeat prior to the Bradley fight since way back in 2000 at the hands of Zab Judah. Witter is known to switch stances often, has some power and has more than twice as many pro fights under his belt, so he really should test Alexander.

I'm leaning ever so slightly at this time toward the youth of Alexander in the first fight and the skill and savvy of Campbell in the main event. But hey, if Witter and Bradley both win, maybe they can fight a rematch to reunify the WBO and WBC titles that Bradley just had until he had to vacate one.

Like I said, only in boxing...

Posted by The Franchise


20/20 Hindsight: By the Numbers for Klitschko, Entertainment in Montreal

To summarize Wladimir Klitschko's TKO victory over Ruslan Chagaev, I'd like to quote Jay-Z before he and Nas teamed up on "Black Republican" a few years ago: "It's what you expected, ain't it?"

Another outing, another opponent who basically posed no threat to Dr. Steelhammer. Chagaev gave it a shot, but he had no answer for Klitschko's jabs and the right hands that eventually came behind them.

Until someone can either effectively get inside the jab or just show the reckless abandon to wade through it to test Wlad's occasionally shaky chin, the scene we saw on Saturday is going to continue to play out. Klitschko has improved as the decade has gone on, but in the process, he's sucked almost all of the drama out of heavyweight title fights.

Can anyone bring it back? I still have hopes that David Haye can do it if he gets another shot to fight Klitschko. He should have the boom or bust mentality necessary to liven things up, and if he doesn't, he'll look like the world's biggest hypocrite for talking so much smack.

Michael Rosenthal hinted on The Ring Blog that Chris Arreola is also a potential opponent for Klitschko, likely for L.A. in September. He'd at least try to press the issue with Wlad, though I'm not sure he'd have a great chance at pulling off the upset.

As fans, all we can hope for is that someone can push Klitschko soon, because his recent fights haven't been much fun to watch.

On the flip side of the entertainment coin, Friday's light heavyweight title fight between Adrian Diaconu and Jean Pascal didn't disappoint. The fifth round was one of the best in boxing this year, with Pascal scoring an early knockdown but finding himself holding on late as Diaconu made a determined rally.

I'd never seen Pascal fight before, and he struck me as a really poor man's Roy Jones Jr. He carried his hands low, using his reflexes and movement to dodge punches, often at the last possible moment.

He also flashed some quick hands on offense, though he didn't seem to have a ton of power behind all of his shots. You definitely got the feeling he was flirting with disaster even as he was winning rounds, which may not be the safest way to have success but does provide a good show for fans.

I'm not sure Pascal has enough upside to rule the light heavyweight division, but with the big names at 175 getting a little long in the tooth, it's not bad to have the 26-year old as an option to spice things up.

I'd love to see him in against Chad Dawson, though Bad Chad has unfinished business with Glen Johnson first.

Finally, a summer boxing schedule that already looked to have only a few truly compelling fights took another blow over the weekend when Chris John was forced to withdraw from his rematch with Rocky Juarez because of a blood problem said to be similar to anemia. That news comes as a bummer, as John and Juarez proved to be well matched the first time they threw down.

We should know more about HBO's plans for this Saturday's broadcast later today. Victor Ortiz may really be forced to put on a show in his bout to provide a reason to tune in.

Posted by The Franchise


Klitschko v. Chagaev: Round by Round

HBO is not wasting any time. It's 5 o'clock here on the east and ESPN jumped right into the coverage. Wladimir is already in the ring. They just finished two national anthems. The crowd is really into it and the stadium is absolutely enormous.

The intros are finished. Here we go.

Round 1
Wlad comes out first and uses the jab as expected. Chagaev tries to get inside and throws a jab to the body. Wlad keeps the jab going. He hasn't thrown a right hand yet. Chagaev does get inside and lands two right hands before a clinch. Wlad lands a couple more jabs. One jab lands on the nose of Chagaev. Chagaev lunges to get inside. Not much going on yet.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 2
Wlad pours on the jabs. Still no right hands from Wlad. Chagaev finally gets inside again and lands a left hand. Wlad throws his first right hand. It's a straight. Chagaev can't figure out a way to get on the inside and land some punches. He goes for it again and Wlad backs away. Wlad lands a fast right hand and Chagaev goes down. He's fine, as it was a flash knockdown. Wlad is trying to get some openings for another right hand.

Spartan117: 10-8 Klitschko

Round 3
Klitschko goes back to the jab, as usual. Chagaev is starting to get braver and taking more chances to get inside. He lands a pretty good counter up top. Wlad has landed some solid jabs this round. Now a strong right hand. Chagaev ducks inside and misses with a left. Wlad lands another jab. Klitschko lands a great right hand. He's starting to let the right hand go.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 4
I can't blame Chagaev for trying. He's doing his best at trying to get inside without putting himself in serious danger. Wlad keeps up his jab output. Wlad throws two right hands but they were both blocked. Now Wlad is starting to lay on the power punches. Chagaev won't be able to last too long if he keeps taking punches like that. Wlad lands another huge right hand.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 5
Klitschko comes out throwing, you guessed it, a jab. Chagaev isn't doing anything to try to land punches. Wlad lands a left-right combo, his best of the night. Chagaev is taking some serious damage. Chagaev tries to land a body shot before a clinch. Wlad throws a left hook but it misses. Chagaev throws and lands a left straight. This has been a somewhat more productive round for Chagaev but Wlad still takes it by a mile.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 6
Klitschko lands some more jabs. Klitschko looks like he's interested in ending this sooner rather than later, now throwing more power punches. He lands another jab. Chagaev tries to get inside again and fails. This round has been more of the same: Wlad landing some strong jabs and Chagaev not landing much of anything.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 7
Klitschko establishes the jab once again. Chagaev leaps forward with a wide right hand. Wlad backs away from danger. Klitschko comes back with another left-right combo that finds its mark. Chagaev finally steps on the gas pedal and charges Wlad into the ropes, throwing everything he can. Wlad clinches to keep the pressure off of him. They separate and Wlad goes back to the jab.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 8
Klitschko lands some more jabs. Now he lands another big right hand. Chagaev is backed against the ropes and Klitschko goes in for the kill, throwing right hands set up by the jab. Chagaev charges inside and backs Wlad up. Wlad lands another right hand. Chagaev gets in again and lands a right hand. A cut has opened over the left eye of Chagaev.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 9
A Klitschko chant starts up. He keeps the jabs coming with a few rights thrown in. He's starting to break down the defense of Chagaev and landing at a higher percentage. Seven to 10 jabs in a row thrown by Wlad now. He finally throws a right hand into the mix. Chagaev is against the ropes and in trouble now. The crowd thinks that Wlad is going to close the show. He lands some more right hands but Chagaev makes it out of the round.

Spartan117: 10-8 Klitschko

Chagaev's corner decide that he's had enough. They stop it between the 9th and 10th round.

The winner by TKO, Wladimir "Dr. Steelhammer" Klitschko.

Posted by spartan117

Wladimir Klitschko-Ruslan Chagaev Live Round By Round Updates Today

Two of the BoxingWatchers are hitting the road for a wedding today and won't be able to see the battle for The Ring's heavyweight championship. Fortunately, there are three of us.

Why should you care? You might not if you are one of the nearly 60,000 fans on hand to see the fight in Germany or you can find the fight on your TV (on ESPN Classic here in the States).

For everyone else, you can get live round by round updates right here from our own Spartan117. Look for a new post out on the home page starting shortly after 4 pm Eastern time.

Posted by The Franchise


Adrian Diaconu vs. Jean Pascal: Round By Round

The Bell Centre in Montreal should be rocking as two local fighters square off in a light heavyweight title fight. Adrian Diaconu puts his WBC belt on the line against Jean Pascal. Wally Matthews and Barry Tompkins are tonight's announce team.

The tale of the tape shows the younger Pascal with height and reach advantages. He comes to the ring first sporting a 22-1 career mark.

Diaconu is 26-0 with 15 KOs. Though both men get cheers from the crowd, the applause sounds louder for the titleholder as he bounces down to the ring.

The ref is also from Montreal. Bi-lingual introductions are done, naturally, and we're ready for a scheduled 12 rounds.

Round 1

Pascal leaping around and ducking away as the fight begins. Diaconu pops him with a quick one-two upstairs. Pascal steps in for a shot and dances back. Pascal just misses a loaded right. He tries jabbing but is super cautious. Nice right o the body by Jean. Diaconu clubs with a right and tries to follow up. Another nice combo by Pascal set up by the jab. Pascal hits and runs again as the bell sounds.

Franchise: 10-9 Pascal

Round 2

Can Pascal keep up this fight plan for 12 rounds? Diaconu tries some jabs. Pascal ducks a right hand. Pascal goes to the body and retreats. Jean is quick to tie up as Adrian comes in. Pascal lands a right to the head and keeps moving. Diaconu is warned for using his elbows. Wild swinging by Pascal as they are tangled up inside. Pascal was impressive again but you get the sense he is playing with fire.

Franchise: 10-9 Pascal

Round 3

Diaconu keeps pressing forward as Pascal keeps his hands down. Adrian is just a half-step behind right now. Now Diaconu connects to the head and body. The champ is content to work his jab and look for his opening. Pascal goes to the body and ties up. Pascal comes in with a hard right to the body but it didn't land flush. They bang heads and Pascal does some holding and hitting. Good left hook by Diaconu. Close round as Diaconu came on.

Franchise: 10-9 Diaconu

Round 4

Diaconu gets the better of an early exchange, and the crowd cheers as they slug it out. Left hook by Pascal. He beats his man to the punch but eats a counter before he ties up. The Shark lands a couple of glancing head shots. Good action in the center of the ring as Diaconu beats his chest. Good round for both guys.

Franchise: 10-9 Diaconu

Round 5

Pascal hits and ties up as before. The ref is active early on. Diaconu has trouble finding the range. A counter left crashes home for Pascal and Diaconu goes down! Pascal pours it on with right hands as the fight resumes. Uppercut by Pascal in close. Wild swings both ways along the ropes, and the ref is busy now. Here comes Diaconu with vicious left hands. Pascal has to tie up to avoid trouble, and that was a crazy round.

Franchise: 10-8 Pascal

Round 6

Now we've got an entertaining fight and the fans are into it. Diaconu scores to the body coming forward. He lands more punches inside. Pascal goes back to the hit and run game. Diaconu is cutting off the ring better now. Sharp head shots from both men. The announcers want more jabs from Pascal. Right to the body from Jean. More trading in the center of the ring to close it out.

Franchise: 10-9 Diaconu

Round 7

Diaconu is still hunting. Pascal rediscovers his jab. Good combo punching by Adrian forces Jean to duck way down low. Body work by Pascal and Diaconu fires right back. Pascal is still moving well but hasn't landed many power shots in this frame. Diaconu scores with a left to the body. Pascal connects with an uppercut. Pascal touches his gloves to the mat, but it's a slip.

Franchise: 10-9 Diaconu

Round 8

Pascal leaps in with a few quick shots and ties up. Diaconu responds with body shots. Both guys score as Pascal circles. There's a few near misses as they close the range. Diaconu not timing things as well right this second. Pascal goes body-head and retreats. Diaconu is bleeding near his left eye. Counter shots from the challenger in the closing seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Pascal

Round 9

There's a slight delay to clean water in one corner. Pascal ducks and dodges. Diaconu charges forward with some glancing blows. Pascal jabs as he moves. Nice right hand by the champ and some more; Pascal quickly fires back. Right and a left upstairs by Pascal. Jean uppercuts and hooks while avoiding counters. Pascal lands one and misses a follow-up.

Franchise: 10-9 Pascal

Round 10

This will be a real interesting job for the judges if it goes to the scorecards. Pascal is doing a lot of dancing right now. Nothing serious lands in the first minute. Diaconu scores first and Pascal responds. Adrian goes to the body but Pascal dodges more harm. Good right-left combo by Diaconu; Pascal goes right to the head and then to the body. Both men get in some shots in the final 30 seconds, and that was another close round.

Franchise: 10-9 Diaconu

Round 11

Quick combo by Pascal and he still has energy to move. Some boos come from the fans as they size each other up. Pascal flashing the quicker hands. Diaconu wakes the fans back up with some hooks that partially connect. Pascal throws multiple body shots, but Diaconu scores with a big right hook. Here comes Pascal right back. Left hook by Pascal. Pascal backs off and throws but Diaconu comes charging in again. Great action and another close frame.

Franchise: 10-9 Diaconu

Round 12

Three minutes to go in a terrific fight. The announcers have Pascal up by three, but I see it differently. Left to the body by Jean and he pushes his man back. Both guys swinging for the fences in the center. Tough to tell who got the better of that. Right by Diaconu and they tie up. One minute left. Big right by Pascal. Combo punching both ways. They are throwing bombs now. Huge left by Pascal and a right by Diaconu. Pascal scores with the final two shots - what a fight!

Franchise: 10-9 Pascal

Franchise: 114-113 Pascal

The judges score it 115-112, 116-112 and 116-111, all for the winner by unanimous decision... and new WBC light heavyweight titleholder... Jean Pascal.

Posted by The Franchise

Troy Ross vs. Michael Simms: Round By Round

After the umpteenth replay of James Toney versus Fres Oquendo, it's time for a new edition of Fight Night on Versus, live from the Bell Centre in Montreal. Adrian Diaconu and Jean Pascal will battle in front of their local fans in the main event, but The Contender Season 4 champion Troy Ross is in action first.

Wally Matthews and Barry Tompkins are calling the action. They are reporting a crowd of about 15,000 on hand at the Bell Centre.

This is Ross' first fight since winning the TV show title. He is 21-1 and comes into the ring to Kanye West's "Jesus Walks." Ross turns 34 next month, so as the announcers correctly point out, he can't waste time in his career.

Opponent Michael Simms is generously being called a veteran, sporting a 20-10-1 pro record. He's lost six of his last seven but isn't necessarily an easy out, as he's never been knocked out.

The tale of the tape shows Simms with a height and weight advantage. Christian Gauthier handles the introductions in both English and French, and we're set to go for a scheduled 10 rounds in the cruiserweight division.

Round 1

Apparently these guys fought as amateurs, with Ross coming out on top. Ross reaches with some jabs. He lunges to the body. Simms pumps his jab as well. Ross works the body along the ropes as Simms covers his head. Nice right hook by Ross. Both men throw to the body and the ref steps in. Ross jabs twice and ties up. Left hand by Ross knocks Simms back a step or two. He throws more chopping left hands in the final 20 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 2

Ross uses jabs to try to set up his left. Left uppercut from Ross finds a home. They wrestle in close and Ross tries to punch his way free. Nice one-two by Ross in the corner. Simms is covering up and only throwing sporadic uppercuts in return. Ross tries to hook around Simms' high guard. They back into a corner again and trade uppercuts. Simms finally walks forward but he hasn't found anything effective thus far.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 3

Here comes Simms with a left hook right off the bat. Ross is swinging wildly with his lefts. Ross triples up on the jab. Right to the body by Ross. Simms waves Ross in, but they tie up. The announcers want to see more jabs from Simms. Now he gets off a two-punch combo upstairs. Ross peppering the jabs but missing follow-up shots. That was Troy's weakest round, but he probably won it with activity.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 4

We see a shot of Diaconu warming up. Ross jabs some more and throws right hooks. Troy just misses a big left. Simms comes forward off balance. Right hook to the head by Ross. Simms lands a right but has to cover up right away as return fire comes back. A right hand to the body makes Simms wince and his pants slip down. Ross works the body again in the final 10 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 5

Ross' corner works on some swelling and possibly a cut by his right eye. Ross forces Simms back along the ropes. A left to the body looked a little low from Troy. Simms is more active now but he isn't landing. Just as I say that, he smacks Ross on his swollen eye. Ross fires back to the head and body. Troy bullies Simms along the ropes as they lean on each other. They trade and Simms almost loses his trunks again. Simms gets some shots in during the closing seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 6

Ross is winning easily but he's lucky his opponent isn't a big puncher. Simms comes forward and lands a nice right uppercut. They trade from super close range and the ref warns Ross for leading with his head. Ross jabs and ties up. The ref calls timeout for an accidental headbutt. Ross retreats and throws jabs as he goes. Both men try hooks and uppercuts in close. Nice flurry by Simms before the bell. Close round.

Franchise: 10-9 Simms

Round 7

Ross is bleeding a little from his left eye. Left hand scores for Simms. Both guys miss wild shots as they come in. Left upstairs and right to the body by Ross. Ross turns it up with a right uppercut and presses forward. Simms digs in and just misses a right hook. Troy throws clubbing left hands and backs Simms up again. Quick one-two by Ross. Troy showed more spark in that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 8

The cut over Ross' left eye looks worse than I thought. He trades along the ropes and circles back into the center. There's more wrestling that forces the ref to step in. They lean and grapple some more. Ross lands two left hands and they tie up again. Quick right hook counter by Ross. Not much of consequence in the last 20 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 9

Simms comes out with energy but Ross still has bounce in his legs. Troy jabs and tries to find his way through Simms' gloves. Left-right combo from Ross. Simms looks for uppercuts inside. Both men look a bit fatigued right now. Simms comes forward as Ross tries more left hands. Ross lands the last few shots of the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Ross

Round 10

Unless something crazy happens, Simms is looking at yet another decision loss. Ugly close range fighting as before. Simms is rocked by a right hook but doesn't look hurt. The ref gives Simms to recover from a shot below the belt. It looked pretty low. Left uppercut by Simms as they resume fighting. Ross takes it well and throws to the body. They are tangled along the ropes, but Troy finds room for a few right hands. Simms doubles over and gets a standing eight with ten seconds to go. Simms makes it to the final bell though.

Franchise: 10-8 Ross

Franchise: 99-90 Ross

The judges score it 98-91 and 99-90 twice, all to the winner by unanimous decision, Troy "The Boss" Ross.

Posted by The Franchise

Wladimir Klitschko on Jim Rome is Burning

Wladdy K. is a guest correspondent on Jim Rome is Burning on the worldwide leader today. I think he has done this exact same thing for a previous fight, but I can't remember if it was him or a different fighter.

These segments are usually extremely short and don't offer much insight, but they are great mainstream exposure for fighters. And, of course, Wlad fights tomorrow afternoon on ESPN Classic against Ruslan Chagaev.

Yes, Jim confirms that Wlad has done this role before on the show.

Wlad runs some stairs, runs on the beach, and plays some golf.

Wlad playfully teased Jim about not being able to do these workouts.

Wlad relaxed by doing some kite surfing, his only hobby besides golf.

Wlad flexed his skills on the golf course.

Wlad also did some slight of hand magic tricks on the golf course with a golf ball.

All in all it was a great segment. Wlad was very personable, and humorous and lighthearted throughout. It looks like he may be blossoming into an engaging personality and not just a dominant fighter.

A+ considering the usual short length.

Posted by uatu

Live Adrian Diaconu-Jean Pascal Round By Round Updates Tonight, Plus Troy Ross

O Canada!

We've already seen that the Bell Centre in Montreal is a live venue for boxing, so what do you think it will be like tonight when both fighters in the main event on Versus reside in Quebec?

What's that? You don't get Versus? Well, allow us to present an alternative.

We'll have live round by round updates of the light heavyweight bout between Adrian "The Shark" Diaconu and Jean Pascal out on the main page later tonight. If you can't watch the fight, reload at your leisure and you'll be up to speed.

Also in action is Troy Ross of Contender fame, and if time permits we'll try to do live updates of his fight as well.

The broadcast begins at 9 pm Eastern time tonight.

Posted by The Franchise


Cameron Dunkin Denies Pavlik Rehab Reports, Blasts Internet

The official response has come in to reports that Kelly Pavlik is in alcohol rehab, and it's an angry denial.

Pavlik co-manager Cameron Dunkin told the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier today that the middleweight champ is not and has not been in rehab. He also called the writer of the initial rehab report, Pedro Fernandez of RingTalk.com, a "scumbag" and ripped internet sites for circulating it.

While we'll have to plead guilty as charged on that one - and with full admission that Fernandez has had some, um, credibility issues in the past - it's easy to see how Team Pavlik would be outraged whether the original story was true or false. Both sides are out there now, and the final word probably isn't in just yet.

Posted by The Franchise

Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ruslan Chagaev: Predictions

The Franchise says...

Well, this isn't the heavyweight title fight we were expecting, but it's the one we're getting.

Once David Haye dropped out of his shot against Wladimir Klitschko with an injury, Wlad's people made a nice recovery to nab Ruslan Chagaev as an opponent. If The Ring rankings are your thing, it's an even better fight than the one originally scheduled, since it will be for the magazine's heavyweight championship.

Even though not many people gave Haye a chance to win, things got a lot less interesting from an entertainment standpoint once his trash talking and mind games went away. As The Ring's Michael Rosenthal pointed out after watching the final open workout, there isn't much Chagaev can do but be grateful for this opportunity after his fight with Nikolai Valuev was canceled after he tested positive for hepatitis B.

Chagaev will be in shape, putting him a leg up on most short notice replacements. He's also dealt with very large men before, handing Valuev his lone loss back in 2007. And perhaps he'll catch Klitschko a little less revved up emotionally since Wlad isn't trying to shut Haye's mouth.

Those are Chagaev's chances in a nutshell, because everything else favors Klitchko. He's got more weapons in the arsenal, more power and more experience against top (for this era anyway) competition.

Until someone can get inside without eating Wlad's dangerous right hands and really test the big guy's chin, he'll continue either winning boring decisions from the outside or knocking guys out once they get a little loose with their defense. I don't think Chagaev is up to the task, so I'm taking Klitschko by late KO.

Posted by The Franchise


Kelly Pavlik in Rehab per Ringtalk.com

Pedro Fernandez of Ringtalk.com is reporting that Kelly Pavlik has checked himself into an alcohol rehab treatment center. Here is the link: http://ringtalk.com/index.php?action=fullnews&showcomments=1&id=2541

Fernandez has the inside scoop on this news, as at the time I read the article, it was not mentioned on ESPN, the Ring, or Yahoo!Sports' site.

After reading the article, it's interesting to think back to the stitches incident. I had no idea alcohol was involved, and I don't remember reading anywhere that it was. Now add on this latest postponement, and how there has been some back and forth over whether or not Pavlik has been hurt, and it all comes together. I also was not aware that Pavlik was on probation either.

It's not clear how long or how his stay will affect his career, which will certainly be put on the back burner now. One would think that the Mora fight would be in jeopardy.

Here's to hoping that Pavlik overcomes his troubles and can continue to prosper inside of the ring and outside of it.

Posted by uatu

Franchise Thoughts: No Summer Blockbusters, But Still Some Good Boxing Coming Up

Here's a list of some pretty talented boxers: Floyd Mayweather, Juan Manuel Marquez, Kelly Pavlik, David Haye, Fernando Montiel and Amir Khan.

What do all of those gentlemen have in common? All of them were originally scheduled to fight in late June or July. Now, none of them will be in action until this fall at the earliest.

The summer boxing schedule may not have been able to keep up the pace of excellent fights we've seen so far in 2009, but after a tight contest between Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey this past weekend, it at least had a chance. Now injuries have robbed us of a fight between two of the top guys in the sport at any weight (Mayweather and JMM) and the most intriguing heavyweight bout in quite a while (Haye and Wladimir Klitschko).

On the plus side, the fall lineup will probably end up loaded, especially if Mayweather-Marquez is rescheduled for September and Cotto really ends up fighting Manny Pacquiao in November.

In the meantime, it's not all bad. Here are three fights I'm still looking forward to this summer:

Chris John-Rocky Juarez II - June 27, HBO
- It's not too often I come away impressed with and feeling like I learned something about both boxers in one fight, but that's the way I felt after John and Juarez battled to a draw in February. I scored the first fight for John, but I didn't think the decision was a ridiculous case of home cooking like some people did.

That shouldn't be a problem this time, since the fight is in L.A. instead of Rocky's hometown of Houston. I expect these guys will battle the same way they did before and provide us with a more definitive winner.

Also on that same card is a trendy pick to be the Next Big Thing, Victor Ortiz, so it's a broadcast that's well worth watching.

Joseph Agbeko vs. Vic Darchinyan - July 11, Showtime - The Raging Bull has been impressive as of late, and he's moving up a few pounds in weight to challenge for the IBF bantamweight title.

We all know Vic can slug, but he's been showing more wrinkles to his game as he goes. He'll need them against Agbeko, who is aggressive, super tough and has never been knocked out.

I expect it to be a bit of a challenge for Darchinyan. And if it's not, that pound-for-pound love he's starting to get is even more appropriate.

Juan Diaz vs. Paulie Malignaggi, August 22, HBO
- This one was just confirmed last week and should be a lot of fun. Diaz is entertaining to watch win or lose, and Malignaggi has something to prove after getting smoked by Ricky Hatton last November.

The catch weight between lightweight and junior welter should add to the intrigue as well. Diaz already wasn't a big KO artist at 135 and Paulie could be drained by cutting the extra weight, so it will be interesting to see how that aspect plays out.

Posted by The Franchise


Manny Pacquiao - Miguel Cotto - November 14th

ESPN is running on the crawl that Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto will be fighting November 14th, with weight and purse to be worked out later.

They have been wrong before and jumped the gun, as when they ran that Manny and Shane Mosley were fighting, and it sounds far from a done deal with no purse or weight determined, but there it is.

Update: The report was from the LA Times, and the location is to be Vegas.

Posted by uatu


20/20 Hindsight: Does Narrow Cotto Win Plus Mayweather Injury = Pacquiao-Cotto?

I've said it before, but it bears repeating after what went down this weekend: boxing is a funny sport sometimes.

Miguel Cotto doesn't look great, but he guts out a split decision against a very game Joshua Clottey. Floyd Mayweather hurts himself training and has to push back his bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, possibly until September.

And the end result is Cotto getting the biggest fight and payday of his career against pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao this fall?

Michael Marley says yes (big ups to Tim Starks at The Queensberry Rules for that one). And whether he's correct or not, the pieces really did fall into place.

Though the boxing world is waiting for Pacquiao-Mayweather, that's obviously out until 2010 - unless Floyd simply tells JMM to take a hike, but that doesn't seem likely.

A decisive win by Cotto may have made him the most likely candidate to face Pac-Man next. But his squeaker probably helped him even more.

As Max Kellerman stated during the post-fight on HBO, it's Cotto's mix of courage and vulnerability that make him so compelling. In four of his last six fights (sorry Michael Jennings and Alfonso Gomez), it's almost like he won or lost in the most difficult way possible.

He came out on top against a quicker, more accurate foe on Saturday, overcoming a nasty cut over his left eye in the process. Yet it's not hard to imagine Pacquiao sitting out there thinking to himself, "Yeah, I can beat this guy."

Other boxers probably think so too. Andre Berto hit up his Twitter feed watching the replay and said he'd beat Cotto to the punch every time.

Good enough to win titles and amass lots of fans, but not quite formidable enough to scare people into ducking him. That's the package that Cotto brings to the table, and it's got him in line for a big prize.

There will be weight and money issues to be worked out, for sure. The location of the fight will also be intriguing, as Manny is pretty much a Las Vegas exclusive at this point, while Cotto draws his followers from the East Coast.

You have to think that having Bob Arum promote both men will help smooth some of those bumps out, and fans will travel to see what is the biggest fight that can be made next to Manny-Floyd.

Yeah, boxing is funny, and Cotto may be laughing all the way to the bank come November.

Posted by The Franchise


Number One/Numero Uno - Floyd Mayweather vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Postponed

Breaking news on ESPN.com: the Money May-JMM fight has been postponed indefinitely due to a rib injury that Floyd has suffered.

Dan Rafael's report mentions Sep. 19, the weekend of Mexican Independence Day, as a likely candidate for the rescheduled fight if Mayweather is ready to go by then.

Posted by uatu


Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey: Round By Round

We're just about set to see Miguel Cotto in action again on what's become his signature date on the boxing calendar, the Saturday of the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City. He'll have his hands full with Joshua Clottey tonight, and the HBO broadcast begins with a look at the loaded welterweight division.

Max Kellerman says we'll find out for sure tonight if Cotto has recovered from the beating (and possibly cheating, in Max's words) at the hands of Antonio Margarito. A video package recaps the bumpy road Cotto has navigated since his first career loss.

Emanuel Steward compares Clottey to Margarito in terms of style. He says Clottey will apply pressure and push the pace while keeping his hands up high on defense.

Clottey tells Kellerman that he needs the win badly tonight. He somewhat downplays comparisons to Margarito but does say he will pressure early on. Clottey doesn't think he needs a KO to win despite Cotto's home ring advantage because they share the same promoter.

The tale of the tape has the fighters equal in weight and virtually identical in reach and weight. Cotto is four years younger.

Clottey comes to the ring first. Can't say I know the name of the song playing. The Grandmaster looks confident.

As expected, the crowd is fired up as Cotto heads for the ring. Steward says he thinks Clottey can win a decision but will need to do so very convincingly because of the energy that the fans will provide when Cotto lands.

Michael Buffer does the introductions. Clottey is 35-2 with 21 KOs. Cotto is 33-1 with 27 KOs. And we are ready to go!

Round 1

Both men testing the jab. Short right hand from Cotto. Clottey ducks away from some head shots. Left to the body by Cotto. Each man slips some punches inside. Jabs connect both ways. Cotto flurries but Clottey picks them off with his arms. Clottey flashes some quick jabs. Left upstairs and to the body by Clottey. Left hook by Cotto sends Clottey to the mat right before the bell. Clottey doesn't look hurt but more surprised.

Franchise: 10-8 Cotto
Uatu: 10-8 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-8 Cotto

Round 2

Clottey certainly didn't want to fall behind on points early like that. Both men are cautious through the first minute of Round 2. Left hook upstairs by Cotto. Clottey stays covered up. Short left hook by Clottey. Jabs from Clottey. Steward likes what Clottey is doing but thinks he is open to counter shots. Jabs from Cotto. Big swings and misses both ways. Nothing huge landed, but Cotto may have taken it on activity.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Clottey
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 3

Harold Lederman gave Round 2 to Clottey. Cotto tries the body and gets jabs right back in his face. Clottey unleashes a series of left hooks. His jab is still very sharp. Cotto can't land much flush but he's staying busy. Clottey whips out a nice left uppercut too. Emanuel thinks Cotto should go back to the jab. Cotto has been cut over the left eye, and it looks fairly bad.

Franchise: 10-9 Clottey
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 4

Replays show that the cut was caused by a headbutt. The fight will continue for now. The fighters stand and trade a bit in the center of the ring. Clottey comes forward as Cotto digs in and tries to keep him back. Body shots by Cotto answered by a nasty uppercut from Clottey. Left from Cotto knocks Clottey back a step. Hard right from Clottey and he tries to follow up. Clottey retreats into the corner and ties up. Cotto flurries and backs away. Good action in that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Clottey
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Round 5

Clottey is landing cleaner shots but Cotto is landing more thus far. It's tough to say how many of Cotto's shots are landing clean because of Clottey's high guard. Nice one-two by Clottey. Cotto almost slips in mid-combination. Clottey lands a hard right. Now another one along the ropes. Clottey falls down in the corner but it wasn't from a punch - more of a slip/tackle. Clottey is staying down for a while, acting like he's hurt. The ref tells him to walk it off as the crowd lays into him a bit. There are 40 seconds left in the round. Now we're back to action. They slug it out to end the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Clottey
Uatu: 10-9 Clottey
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Round 6

Steward and Kellerman argue about whether or not Cotto threw Clottey down. Clottey flashes quick hands again. Cotto backs Clottey up in response. The crowd urges Cotto on as he punches his way forward. Clottey tries to fight his way out. Cotto fires a straight right and an uppercut. Clottey's responses are mostly with the uppercut. Mean hooks by Miguel. Clottey weathering the storm fairly well. Now Clottey scores with a big right.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Cotto

Round 7

Clottey returns to the jab that served him well earlier. Body work by Cotto. Nice right uppercut from Clottey. Cotto covers up and tries to counter. Both men still have some bounce in their legs. Cotto is pawing at his bloody left eye. Good combination to the head by Clottey. Cotto is backed into the corner and he tries to duck away. Sharp right by Clottey finds the mark.

Franchise: 10-9 Clottey
Uatu: 10-9 Clottey
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Round 8

The momentum shifts in this fight have been pretty dramatic. Some wrestling to start this round. Clottey works nicely in tight. Cotto goes on offense and backs Clottey up. Clottey backs his man up against the ropes but Miguel works his way out. Sharp combination punching from Clottey. Cotto can't see right hands coming because of his eye. Cotto ties up and then turns things around. Clottey lands a quick left before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Clottey
Uatu: 10-9 Clottey
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Round 9

Clottey is still stalking and Cotto is trying to stay mobile. Cotto landing the occasional shot but Clottey has the effective aggression. Clottey lands and backs up a bit. Now Cotto goes on the attack with some hooks to the head and body. Clottey digs back in and Cotto has to tie up. Both men try to slug for the last 10 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Clottey
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Round 10

I don't envy the judges in this fight. Lederman has it even after nine. Clottey comes forward once again. Cotto trying to stay active even as he retreats. Clottey isn't throwing much for the time being. Cotto switches southpaw and they tie up. Clottey flurries and mostly misses. Quick counter by Clottey but Cotto lands two quick ones at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Round 11

Cotto looking good early in this round. Clottey shook out his leg a bit and hasn't let his hands go much so far. Both men land right hands. Left hook counter from Cotto. Serious swings and misses by both guys. Cotto flurries a bit to the body and head. Clottey picks out a few quick shots. Sharp right by Clottey and Cotto fires right back.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Clottey
Spartan117: 10-10

Round 12

It's always tough to tell with judges, but one would think this last round is important. Lederman has it even after 11. Clottey scores first, then he almost slips along the ropes. Clubbing shots fly in both directions. The ref checks Clottey left glove. Cotto throws double left hooks. Cotto stays circling and lands a left hook. Cotto hits Clottey in the back of the head, but the ref admonishes Clottey for turning his back. They return to action, but the ref warns Clottey for a low shot. Left hook by Cotto. Thirty seconds to go and they tie up. Cotto is doing more work when it counts. They fight to the bell and we'll see.

Franchise: 10-9 Cotto
Uatu: 10-9 Cotto
Spartan117: 10-9 Clottey

Franchise: 115-112 Cotto
Uatu: 114-113 Cotto
Spartan117: 115-113 Clottey

The judges score it 116-111 Cotto, 114-113 Clottey and 115-112 Cotto. The winner by split decision... and still WBO welterweight champion... Miguel Cotto.

Jim Lampley doesn't think the decision was questionable, but Kellerman thinks the 116-111 score was ridiculous. HBO's cool punching graphics show that Clottey was not as effective going to the body as one may have expected.

Lampley talks to Cotto about another test with the cut to his eye. Asked about the last few rounds, Cotto says he just tried to forget about the blood and make his fans proud.

Does he feel like it was the greatest win of his career? Yes he does, and he also gives props to his cutman for his effort.

Cotto sort of ducks a question about fighting Manny Pacquiao.

Lampley talks to Clottey about his hard luck, and he's disappointed because he says he came forward and blocked so many of Cotto's punches. He wants a rematch.

Clottey knows he didn't throw much in the final rounds but says he was fighting cautiously to avoid Cotto's single punches.

Kellerman feels that Cotto's habit of overcoming adversity while displaying vulnerability may give him an even better shot at landing a megafight with Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. Steward says he thinks Clottey won the fight but he fell in love with Cotto's performance.

Posted by The Franchise

Live Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey Round By Round Updates Tonight

As it always is when Miguel Cotto fights on the weekend of the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York City, it should be a raucous atmosphere at Madison Square Garden tonight when he faces off against Joshua Clottey.

It should be a very good fight too, one you don't want to miss if possible. But sometimes life gets in the way, and you can't always see every fight.

That's where we come in. Join us for live round by round updates out on the main page and we'll keep you abreast of the action.

Don't forget that even though the fight is in NYC, it's a late start for HBO's World Championship Boxing. The broadcast begins at 10:35 Eastern time, and I expect we'll start updating around 11 pm.

Posted by The Franchise


Betting on Boxing: Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey

Now to go against my actual prediction.

Miguel Cotto is a huge name and is one of the most famous fighters in the game. Joshua Clottey is, in my opinion, as close to a nobody as there is in the boxing world outside of hardcore fans, despite his immense talent. I bet I could ask the entire amount of my 250 classmates who Clottey is and not one would know.

I imagine that more "uneducated" money would come in on an HBO-backed fighter like Cotto than Clottey. So there is the possibility for some skewed odds. Sort of like how Notre Dame football and the New York Yankees always have lower odds on them winning the championship than would seem appropriate, purely because they have way more people placing future bets on them as opposed to the Utah Utes and the Texas Rangers have. Add in the fact that Cotto has a rabid cultural fan base here in the States (and protectorates), and there will be even more money on Cotto.

As I mentioned in my fight prediciton, for the longest time I have thought that Clottey would win. Now I have changed my mind to predict Cotto by victory. How would I bet though? What are the actual odds?

Vegasinsider.com lists the odds as:

Cotto -365
Clottey + 285

This fight is very close to a pick 'em, so I like the bet on Clottey very much. The one thing that makes me nervous is the fact that this fight is in NYC on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day parade, and MSG will be 99% pro-Cotto. That could influence the judges, as every punch Cotto lands, or probably doesn't even land, will be met with thousands of raucous cheers. If this fight was in Vegas, then it would be a no-brainer bet on Clottey. However, even so, I still like the value of placing a bet on Clottey, despite the virtual home ring advantage for Cotto.

Posted by uatu

Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey: Predictions

The Franchise says...

It's funny how perceptions in boxing change so quickly.

A few years ago, Miguel Cotto probably wasn't given enough credit for his overall game. He got his props for his tenacity and ability to break down foes, but it wasn't until he defeated Shane Mosley toward the end of 2007 that he got his just due for his boxing skills.

In the eyes of this observer, those same skills were very much on display for most of his fight with Antonio Margarito. But after that one now-suspect (yet undeniably brutal) loss and one bounce-back fight against an outgunned opponent, Cotto all of a sudden is seen as ripe for the picking.

Some of that has to do with the respect that pundits and hardcore fans have for Joshua Clottey, the current trendy pick as the underrated man in the welterweight division. While the returning Floyd Mayweather, Mosley and Cotto get the headlines, Clottey simply does his thing, going 5-0 over the past two years.

His counter punching ability seems to be the perfect weapon against a foe whose first instinct is to come forward, though Cotto has shown he can modify his style when needed. Clottey is also effective at preventing flush shots to the head, and he's never been knocked out in 37 pro fights.

Both men are superior body punchers, and since neither has especially fearsome one-punch power, there should be plenty of time for body work to take its toll. Clottey may be a little more comfortable in the late rounds, as seven of his last nine fights have gone the distance.

On paper this fight looks like a toss-up, and since the winner is likely to be prominent in the "who's going to fight Manny Pacquiao" sweepstakes, there should be plenty of motivation to go around. That means picking a winner largely boils down to gut instinct.

For me, that instinct is telling me Cotto finds some way to come out on top. Even though it's a pick that doesn't make me super confident, I'm taking Cotto to win by close decision.

Uatu says...

Ever since this fight was announced I have been riding the Clottey wagon against Cotto. I think this guy is a very hard out for anyone at 147, including Paul Williams and Money May. He has tight defense, a strong and sturdy frame, and comes into his fights in tremendous shape. No one ever blows him out, and I have never seen him in trouble in any fight. Add on the fact that Cotto has a new trainer, and signs point to Clottey for the upset.

I have decided to change my opinion, however. I have thought about this fight from many angles, and I just think that Cotto is the better actual boxer. I believe we will have a repeat of both the Mosley and Margarito fights. Cotto is going to outbox and outwork Clottey and get himself a comfortable points lead. He is going to fade down the stretch, and Clottey will be pressing him towards the end. However, Clottey lacks the (possibly questionable) "power" that Margarito had in the final rounds, and he will not have the activity that Shane had either, and of course, Shane came up short anyway. So even though there will be drama in 10, 11, and 12, and Clottey will not be in any danger, I now like Miguel Cotto by decision, possibly split.

Posted by The Franchise


Boxer Clothing and Gear - Follow-Up

Here's a quick follow-up to my weekend post about where to go on the web to buy shirts and other apparel to support your favorite boxers:

Dethrone Royalty: This relatively new player in the fight game sponsors a bunch of MMA fighters, including Josh Koscheck, Cain Velasquez and Jose Aldo. But it also has two notable boxers on its roster in Robert Guerrero and Chris Arreola. We'll see if the Ghost comes out sporting Dethrone this week on Friday Night Fights.

James Toney: As Uatu posted in the comment section of the first post, he bought a Lights Out beanie a while back. You can find those plus tees, hats and even tank tops for the ladies at Toney's e-store. No all-you-can-eat buffet passes though.

Posted by The Franchise


Fight Night Round 4: First Look

We are fans of video games here at BoxingWatchers. Unfortunately, since we've started here there hasn't been a credible boxing video game that has seen a release (no, Don King Presents: Prizefighter doesn't count). But the wait is almost over for EA's highly anticipated return to the virtual boxing ring with Fight Night Round 4.

FN R4 ships for the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 on June 30, but the demo of the 360 version was released earlier this month. If you didn't get to check it out, Spartan117 has you covered.

When you boot up the demo, it showcases the new features that have been added to the series since Round 3. It shows off some really neat stuff, such as a revamped Create a Boxer mode where you can use actual photographs of yourself to create yourself as an up-and-coming future champion.

Online competitive play has also gotten a face lift. The demo doesn't go into great detail about the new online play but it looks like there will be an actual world title in each weight class for which the online community will compete. The beginning of the demo also shows off the attention to detail to the technical aspects of the sport itself, such as the importance of height and reach, but more on that later.

Before you can jump in the ring, you are forced to go through a tutorial of the basics. You lace up the gloves as Ricky Hatton in a boxing gym against a still, defenseless Manny Pacquiao.

The first thing you notice are the graphics. They are top-notch, absolutely stunning. The in-game physics are also amazing. The boxers' shorts sway and swing according to every bounce and movement of the boxer.

If you are familiar with the controls of the previous Fight Nights, they are almost the same. If you aren't, the right stick controls your punches. Moving the stick straight to the right will through a straight right, while moving it straight and left will throw - you guessed it - a straight left.

A hook is thrown by swinging the stick from the right or left to the top (like the real motion of a hook). And an uppercut is thrown by moving the stick down to the right or left and then swinging it to the top. Yes, this motion also resembles the motion of an arm throwing an uppercut.

The left stick controls the boxer's movement around the ring. Blocking is achieved by holding the right trigger while moving the right stick in areas that you would like to guard. Ducking and weaving is done by holding the left trigger and moving the left stick in the direction that you would like to duck.

You can hold one of the shoulder buttons to load up and throw the haymaker. It may sound complicated, but the controls are very easy to pick up.

After completing the tutorial, you go to the main menu. You can jump right into an exhibition fight or see the list of boxers. The list of boxers includes an impressive 48-boxer line-up.

The list includes the following with their overall in-game rating:

Tomasz Adamek 83, Muhammad Ali 92, Jorge Arce 91, Amin Asikainen 79, Emanuel Augustus 84

Marco Antonio Barrera 84, Joe Calzaghe 90, Nate Campbell 84, Eddie Chambers 80, Julio Cesar Chavez 84

Kermit Cintron 82, Diego Corrales 85, Miguel Cotto 88, Billy Dib 85, Nonito Donaire 88

Roberto Duran 93, George Foreman 83, Joe Frazier 87, Yuriorkis Gamboa 87, Arturo Gatti 86

Roberto Guerrero 84, Marvin Hagler 92, Vivian Harris 80, Ricky Hatton 81, Thomas Hearns 90

Roy Jones Jr. 90, Jake Lamotta 87, Ray Leonard 91, Lennox Lewis 83, Paulie Malignaggi 80

Fernando Montiel 84, Carlos Monzon 88, Sergio Mora 82, Erik Morales 88, Tommy Morrison 82

Shane Mosely 89, Anthony Mundine 82, Victor Ortiz 79, Manny Pacquiao 85, Kelly Pavlik 87

Vinny Paz 85, Ray Robinson 93, Cory Spinks 78, Jermain Taylor 84, James Toney 86

Mike Tyson 88, Pernell Whitaker 96, Winky Wright 84

Now for the fight. You only get to choose between two of the 48 fighters: Manny Pacquiao or Ricky Hatton. You get to re-live the battle of east and west, except this version will be held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The entrances are realistic and solid. Unfortunately, no "Blue Moon" for Hatton's entrance and also no Michael Buffer. The crowd looks great.

Here we go. I picked to fight as Manny Pacquiao. The commentary is great and is handled by ESPN's Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. Hatton comes right forward and starts throwing as he did in the real fight.

One of the things that the EA folks stressed was the importance of clean punches. I peppered Hatton with a lot of punches that grazed that did some damage but didn't put Hatton in any kind of danger. It was only when I looked for opportunities to land clean haymakers that Hatton started reeling.

I landed a huge left cross (like the one from last month), and Hatton clinched to stay on his feet. You can push him off when he does that. I hit him with a few more and he went down. Great realism.

The corner game is also improved in Round 4. Depending on how well you do in the previous round, you accumulate points that you can spend on fixing your fighter's health, stamina, or damage (cuts).

The physics are really on display in the real fight. You can see every muscle flex in the fighter's torso when they throw a big punch, and if it lands upstairs you can see the face ripple. It's really amazing. The sweat and spit are flying with every clean headshot, and when a cut opens, the blood pours the more you target it.

I played a handful of matches, and flush punching really does make a difference. I rocked Hatton with the cleanest haymaker I could possibly land and he didn't get up after the first knockdown. In other fights he got up four or five times.

The demo is certainly an indication of how great this game is going to be. I hope that the career mode is an improvement from the previous Fight Night installments, which were lacking. I'll be sure to write a full review when I get my hands on a copy at the end of the month.

Posted by spartan117


Boxer Clothing and Gear Round-Up

Something that Uatu and I have discussed before is how savvy MMA fighters are at marketing themselves via sponsorships, especially with clothing companies. Boxers tend to lag behind in that respect, and only recently has the concept of the walk-in shirt begun to replace the robe during some fighters' walks to the ring.

As a fan, sometimes I'd just like to show support for some of my favorite fighters, and it gets a little frustrating when there's a lack of t-shirts and the like. You can sometimes find fan-created shirts and knock-offs, but I prefer to buy the official stuff whenever possible as a matter of principle.

For the benefit of anyone who's ever felt the same way, I figured I'd compile as much info from the mighty internets as possible to help point the way to the official boxer clothing and gear that is for sale out there. There's no way this is going to be an exhaustive list, so leave a comment or an email if you know of a company or boxer I've missed.

I'll start with some clothing companies that are actively supporting boxing:

Affliction: If you like your clothes with scary skulls on them, this is the brand for you. Affliction has had a large presence in MMA and boxing for a while and has made signature shirts for Kelly Pavlik, Bernard Hopkins, Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito and Jorge Arce(!), as well as an event shirt for the Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao fight.

The company also has a deal with Golden Boy Promotions, which has already yielded a De La Hoya shirt and a line of shirts for The Ring magazine.

Ecko: Designer Marc Ecko and his company have crafted a limited edition clothing line for Miguel Cotto. Though it primarily consists of t-shirts, the line also included a pretty sweet matching track jacket and mesh pants at one point.

Red Corner Apparel: This shirt-making company was riding high with its Margarito shirts after he defeated Cotto, but it doesn't seem to be in business with the Tijuana Tornado any more. It does have several different Carl Froch shirts for sale, signing The Cobra right before he defeated Jermain Taylor.

Pound 4 Pound Apparel: These guys are positioning themselves to market the next wave of boxing talent, inking deals with Andre Ward, Daniel Jacobs and Ronald Hearns earlier this year. Ward wore his signature shirt to the ring for his most recent fight.

Some boxers prefer to handle merchandise sales through their own official websites instead:

Ricky Hatton: There's only one... well, you know the rest. Get yourself a Hatton shirt or one of those bucket hats the Hitman likes so much.

Shane Mosley: Along with men's and women's clothing, Sugar Shane has items like official mugs and mousepads. His stuff comes via Zazzle, where you can also find BoxingWatchers shirts!

Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Floyd's gear can be found on the official site of his record label, Philthy Rich Records, which is better at putting out tees and hoodies than, you know, actual records. Money is seen on a lot of the shirts, naturally.

Andre Berto: Berto's site says a line of clothing is coming soon. Of course, Antonio Tarver's site has been saying that for a while now...

David Haye: You could get Hayemaker t-shirts until pretty recently, but the online store now says it is closed for routine maintenance. Kind of like Haye himself, I guess.

Troy Ross: Best known (to me anyway) as the winner of the most recent season of The Contender, Ross also fancies himself a bit of a fashion designer. Rosswear, coming soon to a catwalk near you!

What about Manny?

I know what you're thinking: surely the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world must have some official apparel, right?

He does. I think. It might be made by these guys, who are responsible for the shirts and hats worn by many fans at Pac-Man's recent fights.

But does Manny get a cut of the sales? Got me.

Nike also has a deal with Manny, but his earlier shirts were available only in the Philippines (unless you found a seller you trusted on eBay!), and more recent items, like the shirt sold when Pacquiao threw out the first pitch at a Giants game before the Hatton fight, were produced in very limited quantities.

Posted by The Franchise