Franchise Thoughts: Time for Shoe Shining

I don't have a single topic to serve as the basis of a long form post, so why not touch on a bunch of things in short form? Time for...


Props go out to Tavoris Cloud, one of my favorite boxers most people don't know, for his IBF light heavyweight title win on Saturday night. Cloud received some criticism for staying inactive for a little over a year while he sought his title shot, but that move paid off in the end.

Yes, as my brother Uatu pointed out, it wasn't the most exciting fight ever. But I think Tavoris actually showed some improvemement by not just swinging away wildly, especially after he saw that Clinton Woods was looking to counter.

He's still a work in progress, but maybe a few more doors will open for him now. Paging Chad Dawson - assuming he beats Glen Johnson...

What is the real deal on Juan Manuel Marquez and his chances of beating Floyd Mayweather in a few weeks? According to promoter Oscar De La Hoya, everything is peachy, and Floyd is ripe for the picking during his comeback fight.

For a hilarious opposing view, there's the latest column from Michael Marley, who compares the mood in JMM's camp to that of a convicted prisoner on death row, among other things. Marley says Nacho Beristain is dismayed at a lack of speedy sparing partners for Marquez and is even gloomier than normal. Take with grains of salt if necessary...

Boxing on the big screen? It used to happen regularly (real fights, not just Rocky movies!) and now it's going to again, at least temporarily, as the Mayweather-JMM fight will appear on about 170 screens nationwide.

On paper it seems like a great idea, and the fan in me likes the idea of seeing fights on a huge movie screen and enjoying the communal experience of watching with other diehards. But I think it's application will be limited to just two or three big bouts a year, tops...

I'm not sure how I missed this, because "Dancing With the Stars" is my wife's favorite show, but apparently Joe Calzaghe will be competing on the seventh season of its British counterpart, "Strictly Come Dancing."

If anyone thinks JoeCal can't win, watch his Roy Jones fight again. The man can shimmy...

Not strictly boxing-related, but a fight of sorts between award-winning columnist John Canzano and the gang at Yahoo! Sports after he gave the thumbs down to the violence in MMA while attending UFC 102. Needless to say this didn't go over well with Steve Cofield and company. Writer fight!

I bring it up here because as much as I agree with the people who left comments after Canzano's column suggesting he was overreacting, a number of them decided to drag boxing into the discussion (but not Cofield, so kudos to him). For the umpteenth time, people, you don't need to tear down one sport to build up the other. If you don't like one, just ignore it and leave it to those of us who do.

Posted by The Franchise


Juan Urango vs. Randall Bailey: Friday Night Fights Round By Round

And away we go.

Round 1
Bailey trying for the huge right. Bailey circling constantly around. Urango comes out looking like Urango if you've seen his fights. Not surprisingly, Urango looks much fuller. Bailey falls, but it's no knockdown. Bailey gets in a chopping right. Now urango goes down, but it's not a knockdown. Both men are sort of flashing the jab and trying to land the big straight, but neither man gets close nor lands anything of consequence.

Uatu: 10-9 Bailey

Round 2
One couldn't be mad with a 10-10 first round. Lots of posing and manuevering minus the punching. These are two strong men with big punches but small outputs. Atlas predicts Urango will wear down Bailey. Discussion centers around the weakness of Bailey's jab. Urango is certainly trying to be aggressive. Urango gets in some nice body hooks. Bailey is moving less. Have to go with Urango.

Uatu: 10-9 Urango

Round 3
Urango does the inside thing again. Urango is actually somewhat counter punching there: waiting for Bailey to come in with the big right, then trying his wide combos. Bailey trying one and then leaving. Probably a sound strategy. Bailey gets two rights in. One wonders if Bailey can stay this active on his feet without getting the big shot in return from Urango. Left to the body from the Urango, right from Bailey.

Uatu: 10-9 Bailey

Round 4
At this point, it seems like anything could happen. It may very well come down to who lands that one fight-changing punch, or alternatively, who is in better shape in the cardio. Tie up immediately to start the round. Back to the inactivity from both. Bailey ties up. And again. Urango gets some inside work done, and Bailey ties up. Urango working some more. Urango constantly moving forward and Bailey gets out of there. Urango wings away wildly with Bailey on the ropes. Decent round.

Uatu: 10-9 Urango

Round 5
Bailey ducks and ties. Bailey caught a little off balance but keeps himself up. Not a damaging blow, but it did stumble him. Bailey throwing the right more early. Atlas has it 2-2 so far. Bailey looking good halfway through the round. More activity and more movement. Urango is missing more often. Will Bailey slow down later?

Uatu: 10-9 Bailey

Round 6
Graphic shows that Bailey is more or less ignoring the body. There's the big bomb! Urango goes down with 1:50 still left in the round. Urango is bleeding a lot as well. Bailey not jumping in. He's staying patient but still throwing big rights. There's another lead right. Urango looks more pensive. Bailey getting in one right and then circles away. Urango still trying. Bailey gets in some more strong shots.

Uatu: 10-8 Bailey

Round 7
Replays show a solid straight right after a next to nothing jab, as has been the pattern. Bailey also stumbled in the round and his glove touched the canvas, though the ref missed it. Would have been an even round. Not much going on in Round 7 so far. More of the same, but on the low activity end. Bailey back to tying up. Nice left from Juan. Bailey waiting around for rights and gets some in occasionally. Nothing much happened.

Uatu: Bailey 10-9

Round 8
Round starts out in familiar territory. It doesn't look like any adjustments are coming either way. Urango going to work on the body. Nice shots from both men. There goes the Bailey right as Urango moves in. And another. Urango gets one in of his own. A decent round for both so far. Left to the body from Urango. Could have gone either way, in my opinion.

Uatu: Urango 10-9

Round 9
Urango's trainer is Cotto's former trainer, Miguel's uncle. Urango comes out aggressive. He is trying, but Bailey escapes with no damage. And there's the bomb from Urango! Down goes Bailey with 2:11 to go. Here comes Urango. Bailey trying to grab. Down goes Bailey again! Bailey is trying to grab. Still 1:20 to go. Bailey ducking and grabbing. He is in full out survival mode. He is not throwing at all. Thirty to go. Bailey grabbing like a mad man. Urango trying to bomb. He's not going to do it.

Uatu: Urango 10-7

Round 10
Bailey grabbing early. Atlas only made the last round 10-8 and I have no idea why. So he has the fight dead even through nine, as he had an even round mixed in there somewhere. Urango going body and then head with the hooks. Urango trying to make the fight an inside fight. Bailey not giving up on the straight right at all. Urango full of confidence, and he hits Baiely with the left, then to the body, and down goes Bailey again! Urango coming on again. Gets in a nice overhand. Nice left from Urango. Bailey is wobbled a bit.

Uatu: Urango 10-8

Round 11
So maybe Atlas thought the second knockdown in Round 9 was a lighter knockdown, but if that type of knockdown from a punch would have happened in a round with no other knockdowns, would Atlas have chosen not to give Urango a point for it? I doubt it. I believe it deserved a point as well. Oh well. Bailey looking shabby so far early in 11. Atlas has Urango up two points. Urango coming forward and landing with more frequency. Bailey not landing with the right nor circling away any more. Bailey hits the canvas but not a knockdown for the second time this round. And the fight has been stopped! Bailey's corner stops the fight! It's over!

Very fun fight, credit to both men. I always enjoy seeing Bailey fight, and it's tough to see him lose this one. He gave it his all.

Urango is emotional after a hard fought victory. He overcame the big right, and a swollen eye. He showed a lot of heart tonight too.

The winner by TKO at 1:51 of the 11th round... and still IBF light welterweight titleholder... Juan "Iron Twin" Urango!

Urango said he was hurt in the first couple of rounds but he had to keep going.

Urango wants Timothy Bradley, which I would like to see.

His eye is looking fairly nasty right now. Not the worst I have ever seen, but not a lot of fun either. Quite swollen and a pronounced gash too.

And I'm out.

Posted by uatu

Tavoris Cloud vs. Clinton Woods: Friday Night Fights Round By Round

It's two title fights on one broadcast for the 2009 season finale of Friday Night Fights. First up is a light heavyweight title bout between undefeated Tavoris Cloud and former belt holder Clinton Woods.

Bob Wischusen is in for Joe Tessitore, alongside Teddy Atlas at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Florida. We get a video package that fills us in on the tough upbringing of Cloud, who has been flying under the radar thanks to a year of inactivity.

Woods enters the ring first. He is 42-4-1, and he lost to Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver in his only two previous fights in the U.S.

Cloud is a Florida native and has 18 KOs in his 19 pro fights. He's taking a big step up in competition in this fight, though he did hand Julio Cesar Gonzalez his first ever knockout loss last summer.

The fighter intros are over and it's time for action, scheduled for 12 rounds for the vacant IBF light heavyweight title.

Round One

Cloud goes right after Woods, who stands his ground and tries to throw back. Now Woods comes forward behind his jab. Nice right hand off the jab by Cloud. Woods doubles the jab and tries his own right. Cloud shakes his head as both men score with jabs. Woods tries to duck inside and gets tied up. Right hook on the inside by Cloud. Woods keeps two stiff jabs in his foe's face.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Two

Cloud strikes first and is chased back by left hands. Woods pushes Cloud up against the ropes, trying to trap him. He gets warned by the ref for hitting behind the head, and Cloud gets fired up. Woods lands two nice hooks in tight. Both men can score with jabs almost at will. Woods backs Cloud into the ropes again and lands another hook. Left-right by Woods as they come back to the center. He looks much more comfortable in this round.Right uppercut and hook by Cloud inside, but Woods scores again right before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Woods
Uatu: 10-9 Woods

Round Three

Woods covers up well as Cloud comes charging out of his corner again. Tavoris keeps moving as Woods measures more hooks. One-two inside by Woods; Cloud repsonds with a body shot. More body work as Woods tries to use his uppercut. Cloud throws a combo that is punctuated by a sharp right hand. Woods tries to show that he's not bothered. Cloud swings away with wide shots and knocks Woods back into the corner.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Four

Cloud threw 110 punches last frame. Woods controls the early part of this round in the middle of the ring. They trade jabs and miss hooks. Cloud ties up on the inside. Low shot by Woods but the ref didn't see it. It's still mostly jabs, though Cloud has thrown some showy punches that Woods has blocked. Both men land in a nice exchange, and Cloud goes to the body again. Close round.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Five

Cloud throws come nice combos with his left hand but it's hard to say if he's landing clean. He measures a right hand, but Woods responds with three of his own. Woods lands a right hook as they lean on each other. The ref steps in again as there is some rabbit punching. Left-right by Cloud as he loses his mouthpiece. Woods stays out of trouble but can't find much but his jab right now. They dance around until the bell this time.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Six

Woods steps on the gas a bit as the bell starts the sixth. Cloud steps through some fire to land a mean left hook. Both men flurry along the ropes and just miss big right hands. Woods tries to come forward but is met with multiple power shots. Woods jabs but can't deter Cloud from advancing. Cloud lands a nice combo and Woods throws back. Two right hands crash home from Cloud in the last few seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Seven

Woods' chin is definitely solid, as he's taken some serious shots. A jab battle breaks out again, followed by inside work both ways. Woods scores with the left hook and is forced to retreat by Cloud's counter shots. Left hook by Cloud and he tries pouring it on. Woods escapes and gets back to the center. Both men turn cautious all of a sudden, and nothing of consequence lands in the last 30 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Eight

Woods is the aggressor in the opening moments, trying to get that hook untracked again. Wild swings by both fighters as they stand toe-to-toe. Atlas thinks Woods needs to get outside. Combo by Woods but he gets whacked by a left hook at the end. Two lefts sandwiched around a right wobble Woods. He shows some bravado in the corner and they stand and trade. Cloud tries to finish his opponent, but Woods makes it out of the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round Nine

To no one's surprise, Cloud comes out firing and connects with a right hand. The crowd starts a "U.S.A." chant to spur Cloud on. Woods tries to come forward and the ref has to step in twice. Woods lands a few shots but Cloud is able to respond right away. Left hook along the ropes knocks Woods back. Left-right by Cloud right after a break. Both men connect as they trade in the middle of the ring.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round 10

We're getting to the point where Woods may need a knockout to win. He lunges forward with a left hook. Woods still letting his hands go and trying to create distance. Cloud stays wary and bounces around. Combo by Cloud catches Woods flush with a left hook. Woods eats a big right hand and backs into the ropes. Nice action in the last ten seconds as they battle at close range.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round 11

Two rounds to go, and it would be a surprise if Cloud wasn't way ahead. This is the first time he's been past 10 rounds though. Woods works off the jab but Cloud has an answer. Right hand by Cloud and he ducks the counter. He looks like he may be a little tired. Clubbing right by Cloud is answered by Woods. Three-punch combo along the ropes catches Woods. He turns things around right before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Round 12

Three minutes to go. The crowd is into it as both men try combinations. Woods chases and is hit coming in. Cloud unleashes to the body while Woods tries hooks. More wrestling forces the ref to intervene. Both boxers just miss with power shots. Ugly fighting in really close, and Cloud tries a few home run shots at the final bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Cloud
Uatu: 10-9 Cloud

Franchise: 119-109 Cloud
Uatu: 119-109 Cloud

The judges score it 116-112 three times, all for the winner... and new IBF light heavyweight titleholder... Tavoris Cloud.

Posted by The Franchise

Live Urango-Bailey and Cloud-Woods Round By Round Updates Tonight

Friday Night Fights closes out its 2009 season with a bang tonight with two, count 'em, two title fights of the IBF variety. Juan Urango and Randall Bailey go mano e mano at 140 pounds, while Tavoris Cloud and Clinton Woods do the same at 175.

These fights are actually pretty easy to see, given that they're on ESPN2 in the U.S. and available to stream to your computer through SecondsOutTV.com elsewhere. Nevertheless, we know there are some people who won't be able to watch.

That's where we come in. Join me and Uatu (in his first appearance as a married man!) as we recap the action with live round by round posts out on the main page. Then you can hit refresh to see the latest. See how easy it is?

The fun should begin shortly after 10 pm Eastern time. Be here or be elsewhere!

Posted by The Franchise


Juan Urango vs. Randall Bailey, Tavoris Cloud vs. Clinton Woods: Predictions

The Franchise says...

The quality of the main events on Friday Night Fights has had its ups and downs, but it's hard not to like two title fights on one show for the season finale. Juan Urango and Randall Bailey will clash for the IBF's belt at 140 pounds, while Tavoris Cloud and Clinton Woods do the same thing at light heavyweight.

Urango is one of those guys who seems like he's good enough to fight his way into title contention but not quite good enough to beat any legitimately top-ranked boxers. The Colombian southpaw has just two career losses, to Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto, but he was clearly outclassed in both cases, winning only about three or four total rounds.

Fortunately for him, Bailey is much the same. I had to look up when his loss to Miguel Cotto was, and it was longer ago than I thought (2004). He's actually 11-1 since then, but none of his fights have come against elite competition, and his last loss came against a guy (Herman Ngoudjo) that Urango beat easily.

We all know the transitive property doesn't apply to boxing, but I like Urango anyway. I think it's going to be catch or be caught for Bailey, and even though he certainly has the power to end things, I think he'll also prove the easier to hit.

It should be a competitive fight, but I see Bailey down on points and pressing, allowing Urango to strike for a late KO win.

The co-feature could be a showcase for the 19-0 Cloud, a personal favorite of mine thanks to his swing-for-the-fences style. If you like seeing punches that look like they are intended to knock someone's head off, he's your man.

He's also been inactive for slightly more than a year and is going up against his toughest foe to date in Woods. That's normally a recipe for disaster, and we've seen our fair share of young undefeated fighters stumble in the last year or two.

Still, Woods isn't getting any younger at 37 and will be giving away something noticeable in speed and athleticism. He's taller and has a longer reach and his best bet would seem to be out-boxing Cloud from the outside.

My guess is Tavoris isn't going to allow him to do that. I'm going with youth and energy in this one, and saying that unless the lay-off has dulled his edge too much, Cloud will emerge with a late-round KO.

Posted by The Franchise


Floyd Mayweather as Guest Host of WWE Monday Night Raw

Last time we saw Floyd Mayweather hook up with the WWE, it was as one of the featured parts of WrestleMania 24 in 2008. That was during Money's brief retirement from boxing, so it wasn't a total surprise to see him in the ring with the Big Show, and the appearance seemed to benefit both parties.

It was a little more surprising to hear that Mayweather would be the guest host of tonight's episode of Raw, as Floyd is busy (one hopes) preparing for his September comeback fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. But the show was in Las Vegas, so it's not like he had to cross the country to do it.

For those unfamiliar with the WWE's guest host deal, the company has been bringing in various people from different forms of sports and entertainment to appear each Monday. In lieu of a "general manager" character, the host has the ability to make matches.

What's in it for the celebs? A chance to plug whatever project they have coming up on a show that may not be what it once was but is still viewed by a couple million people each week.

Unlike other recent guest hosts, Mayweather didn't actually make an appearance until the top of the second hour of the show. Accompanied by his usual large entourage, Money came to the ring when called out by Big Show and his running buddy Chris Jericho.

Floyd wasted no time plugging his pay-per-view fight, saying it was more important than giving Show another taste of his fists. Jericho gave him some credit for being a great showman and self-promoter but said he thought JMM would knock Mayweather out.

As Show got in Floyd's face, good guy wrestler MVP came to his verbal defense. After some verbal sparring, Mayweather granted MVP's request for a tag team match against the two heels with a partner of his choosing, who ended up being Mark Henry.

Floyd sat ringside for the match and ended up playing a critical role, sliding some brass knuckles to MVP to help him knock out Jericho and win the match. He stood in the ring and celebrated with MVP and Henry.

Backstage, Mayweather helped Vince McMahon warm up for his appearance in tonight's main event. When Vince asked if he would have had a chance against Muhammad Ali, Floyd told him he would because he had more money. Nice.

Carlito dropped by and called Mayweather a horrible guest host, but DX teammates Triple H and Shawn Michaels begged to differ. HHH made a comment about getting busy with McMahon's daughter, and Vince showed he learned something from Floyd's tutelage, I suppose, by dropping Carlito with a single punch.

All in all not a ton of camera time for Money, but at least he got to hype the fight on a top rated cable show. He also showed more personality than he did during his previous WWE stint and seemed less wooden on the microphone.

Posted by The Franchise

20/20 Hindsight: Houston Home Cooking? Plus Guerrero and Jacobs Look Sharp

It's never boring when big boxing cards are held in Houston, at least recently. It helps that the city has good hometown fighters, and then there's the added fun that comes when controversy breaks out.

In February it was Houston's Rocky Juarez fighting Chris John. I scored that one 116-112 for John and was a bit surprised when all three judges turned in official scores of 114-114. I didn't think that was the worst decision ever, but some of you disagreed.

Before this Saturday's HBO Boxing After Dark card, Paulie Malignaggi suggested he would have to decisively defeat Houston boy Juan Diaz in order to pull out a decision. Since Paulie had virtually no chance of winning by KO, this was an even tougher task, and he didn't get the knockout or the dominating points win he needed.

What he did get was a very close fight that could have gone either way. Our Spartan117 saw it as a draw. HBO's Harold Lederman and Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports liked Malignaggi 115-113. But none of the judges agreed, and Diaz got the unanimous decision.

If only that was the end of the drama. Judge Gale Van Hoy turned in a 118-110 card for Diaz, arguably the most ridiculous score for a televised fight in years. Malignaggi was beside himself after the verdict, and there seems to be a general feeling that something bad went down.

Who's to blame for this foolishness? That depends on who you ask.

Tim Starks of The Queensberry Rules points out that Paulie knew what he was getting into when he signed on. Fellow blogger David Schraub think HBO should speak out against situations like Diaz-Malignaggi, while Iole points the finger at Golden Boy Promotions for creating the conditions that allow it.

Interesting viewpoints all. There's some truth in all of them.

Here's what I know: by itself, I didn't think the John-Juarez decision was horrible. In a vacuum, I still don't. But after what just happened on Saturday, it's not an isolated incident any more.

If I was promoting a boxer with title aspirations, I'd have to think carefully about agreeing to fight someone from Houston in Houston right now. Boxing is hard enough without having to worry about the house edge on top of your opponent.

(As an aside, I don't want to seem like I'm just bashing Houston, because the hometown syndrome can and does happen elsewhere. Montreal comes to mind as another recent example.)

The other two fights on the card had something in common, as both Robert Guerrero and Daniel Jacobs had to dig down and show something while earning victories and continuing their win streaks. Guerrero looked fantastic in the early rounds of his fight with Malcolm Klassen, moving well and letting his hands go. Klassen found something in the middle rounds, though, and The Ghost did a nice job shaking off a cut caused by a headbutt and making sure he didn't let the late rounds go the way of the South African.

Jacobs got the full ten-round tussle from Ishe Smith that I expected, with his veteran foe making things uncomfortable at times. We saw that Danny doesn't need to be the aggressor and that he likes to throw right back after getting hit with a good shot. His defense still needs some tightening up, as Smith landed left hooks throughout the fight.

Just to tie up this post thematically, the judge who gave Daniels a 100-89 win - a shutout since the fight was 10 rounds and Smith was docked a point - also deserves some derision. He (or she) is just lucky that Jacobs unquestionably won the fight and that there was an even crazier scorecard coming later.

Posted by The Franchise


Diaz v. Malignaggi: Round by Round

Here comes the main event between Juan Diaz versus Paulie Malignaggi. There has been some controversy building up to this fight. Malignaggi has complained that "the deck is stacked" in favor of Diaz. Diaz is from Houston, TX and got 3 out of the 4 hometown officials for the fight. Harold Leaderman says that Malignaggi has every right to be upset because there is usually 1 hometown official for each fighter plus 2 other neutral officials. We'll see how the officiating plays out.

Malignaggi has dedicated his fight to Gatti and entered the ring to Thunderstruck by ACDC.

Malignaggi gets welcomed by some expected boo's. The crowd goes wild for Diaz.

Here we go.

Round 1
Diaz, as expected, comes right forward. The magic man looks lighting-fast. He clocks Diaz with some great jabs. He now lands a good flurry. Diaz continues to come forward and tries to get inside. Diaz throws 2 straight lefts. Malignaggi gets against the ropes but slips away. Malignaggi is fighting very well, sticking to the jab and keeping Diaz away. Malignaggi is using some great upper-body movement as well. Diaz is still trying to figure out how to handle Malignaggi's speed. Diaz lands a good counter left. Good round for Malignaggi.

Spartan117: 10-9 Malignaggi

Round 2
Diaz comes right forward again this time landing a good right hand. Now Diaz puts his punches together and lands his best combo of the night. Malignaggi sticks out his tongue to taunt him. Paulie lands a straight right hand. A cut has opened over the left eye of Malignaggi. Diaz lands a huge left eye and a hook to the body. This has been a great round for Diaz thus far. Diaz gets inside again and lands a double-left. Diaz lands a left to the body and Malignaggi comes back with a right hand. Now a cut has opened over the left eye of Diaz.

Spartan117: 10-9 Diaz

Round 3
The cut is right on the eyelid of Diaz which could cause some major problems. I didn't see any clash of heads and neither did the ref. The Magic Man catches Diaz coming forward with two great straights. Malignaggi uses his reach and keeps Diaz at a distance again. He knocks him off balance with a good right hand again. Paulie's jab is working overtime. Diaz barely misses with a good left hand. The two clinch and Diaz frantically tries to punch out of it. Malignaggi is the busier fighter but Diaz is getting him with some good power shots.

Spartan117: 10-9 Malignaggi

Round 4
Paulie keeps the footwork going and lands two great left hand. Diaz catches him with a left hook. Malignaggi lands two more lightning-fast jabs. Diaz rocks him with a right hand that looked to stun Malignaggi. This has been Diaz's best round so far. He landing some great power shots but Malignaggi is taking it well. Diaz is pawing at his cut. Diaz's cut is getting worse and the blood is pouring into that eye. Let's see what his cutman can do between the rounds.

Spartan117: 10-9 Diaz

Round 5
Malignaggi gets in trouble with the ref for pushing Diaz away. No warning yet. The two fight in close quarters now. Diaz continues to land more on the inside. Diaz lands a 3-punch combo. The crowd is going crazy for even blocked punches from Diaz. Diaz is really going to town with the left hook. Malignaggi gets a second warning for pushing with the elbow but I don't remember warning number 1. Malignaggi lands a great right hand and the blood pours again from Diaz's eye.

Spartan117: 10-9 Diaz

Round 6
There is a different cut over the same eye for Diaz that's causing even more problems for Diaz. The cut is said to be caused by an accidental headbutt. Malignaggi is fighting well again and is honing in on that cut. Diaz is fighting with some urgency now and knows that the fight could be stopped at any time because of that cut. Diaz tries to work the body now and Malignaggi gets a few right uppercuts in there. Diaz gets 2 left hands in that knocks Malignaggi back. Paulie sticks with the jab. Diaz lands a good left hand right before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Malignaggi

Round 7
A doctor comes in to take a look at the cuts over the eye of Diaz. The doc says that he can keep fighting. Diaz tries to get inside again but misses with some wide punches. Malignaggi goes back from the jab. His trainer is telling him to stay away from fighting on the inside. He seems to be listening well and has a lot of success when he's keeping Diaz back with the jab. Diaz gets inside again and shows some great body work. Paulie keeps throwing the jab. Close round but I call it for Diaz.

Spartan117: 10-9 Diaz

Round 8
Paulie comes right out and throws the jabs. Diaz lands a left to the body. Malignaggi hasn't been throwing his right nearly enough and that's the punch that would be landing on the cut. Diaz gets Paulie against the ropes but the Magic Man slips away again. Malignaggi lands a good combo. Diaz gets inside again. Malignaggi's trunks are falling off. There's a lot going on on his trunks too: All kins of crazy tassels etc. Despite the trunks distraction he still fought well.

Spartan117: 10-9 Malignaggi

Round 9
Diaz is clearly landing the more damaging punches but Malignaggi is staying busy. The Magic Man is now letting his right hand go with occasional success. Some of Malignaggi's braids are coming loose now from punches. This has been a great round for Diaz. He's been getting inside and landing some great hooks to the body and the head. Malignaggi keeps the jab coming though.

Spartan117: 10-9 Diaz

Round 10
Diaz is chasing The Magic Man around the ring. Now the two square off in the center and trade shots. That was some of the best action in the fight. Malignaggi lands a jab followed by a great right uppercut. Paulie is yelling something over to the commentators. I'm not quite sure what he's saying but he should certainly focus on Diaz. Now Malignaggi is getting into a shouting match with someone in press row as he walks back to his corner.

Spartan117: 10-9 Diaz

Round 11
Diaz is trying to get on the inside but Malignaggi is staying with his quick jabs. Good straight right hand from Malignaggi. His speed has not diminished. Paulie is still having trouble with his trunks. This has been a better round for Malignaggi. It will be interesting to see how this pans out on the scorecards. A lot of these rounds have been extremely close. The ref stops the action to pull up Malignaggi's trunks, something I've never seen happen in all of my years watching boxing.

Spartan117: 10-9 Malignaggi

Round 12
Harold Leaderman has Malignaggi up by 3 rounds. I think he may be compensating, being from New York. The two fight with all of their heart for the last round. Diaz gets some good hooks in and Malignaggi comes right back and lands a great flurry. Blood is coming down the left side of Diaz's face. Malignaggi isn't stopping. He's moving extremely well and landing some crazy-fast punches. This will be a very difficult round to score now as Diaz lands a handful of hard hooks to the body and head. They trade punches to end the fight.

Spartan117: 10-9 Malignaggi

Spartan117: 114-114

The judges score the bout 116-112, 115-113, 118-110 all for the winner by unanimous decision Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz

The HBO team comments on the 118-110 scorecard and say that that score is inexcusable and certainly bias. In the post-fight interview Diaz says that he answered all of his critics and showed that he can fight with a cut. He says he has a lot to learn and is looking forward to get back in the gym and work on some things. He says that he wants a rematch with Marquez no matter how his fight with Mayweather ends up.

Malignaggi is fired up in the post-fight interview. He yells at the crowd and at Max Kellerman and says that "he knew he would have to deal with this" and adds that "Texas has never given anyone a fair fight when someone comes to Houston". The Magic Man says that he knows he'll never get the rematch he deserves and adds that it's "not fair that Diaz gets to call out the winner of the Mayweather-Marquez fight but I have to be hoped that I get picked as someone's opponent". He yells that "boxing is bullshit" and that he "used to love this sport" but now "can't stand it".

Posted by spartan117

Klassen vs. Guerrero: Round by Round

After a touching tribute to the lives of Gatti, Forrest, and Angulo, Klassen and Guerrero are on their way to the ring. This is Malcolm Klassen's first fight in the states and he's looking to become a more marketable boxing star in the 130 pound weight class.

Guerrero's record is 24-1-1 with 17 KOs. Malcolm Klassen is 24-4-2 with 14 KOs.

Round 1
Guerrero starts the action first while establishing the jab. Klassen is hesitant. The commentators say that Guerrero's team is going for the knockout. He's not impatient and is sticking to his snappy jab. Guerrero lands 4 unanswered punches. There's another combo from Guerrero. Guerrero is really taking it to Klassen. Klassen hasn't landed one meaningful punch yet. Klassen gets backed against the ropes and Guerrero unleashes a solid combo. Klassen lands a straight right hand. Now Klassen tries to get inside and go to work.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 2
Guerrero is unloading on Klassen against the ropes to start the round. He's mixing it up well to the head and body. Now Klassen is starting to let his hands go. He throws some solid combos but Guerrero's defense is looking pretty solid. Now Klassen gets in a good right hand, his best of the night. Guerrero goes back to the jab. He has a slight reach advantage that he's using well. The crowd starts to boo at the end of the round because of inactivity.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 3
Klassen turns up his activity and gets Guerrero against the ropes early. Guerrero comes right back and throws his own combos. Guerrero is looking really good in there. Klassen gets hit with a straight and comes right back with a left-right combo upstairs. Now Klassen plays the role of aggressor and Guerrero is on defensive. Guerrero is against the ropes but fights out of it well. Close round, tough to call.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klassen

Round 4
Guerrero goes back to the fundamentals at the start of the 4th. He lands a good jab followed up with a straight right. Guerrero is rocking the body and Klassen is doubled over. He looks hurt. He's fighting his way out of the corner now. This has been a great round for Guerrero. He's bouncing on his toes and is fighting like he trained well.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klassen

Round 5
Guerrero is the aggressor now and Klassen is backing up. Guerrero keeps the jab output up. He lands a great uppercut followed by a straight. Klassen comes forward now. He lands 2 solid straight rights. This has turned into a pro-Klassen round. Guerrero complains about a headbutt. The ref tells them both to stop holding. Guerrero gets trapped in the corner but dodges well.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klassen

Round 6
Guerrero counters well with a right hand. Guerrero goes back to the sharp combos to start winning some rounds. Klassen lunges with a right hand and misses. He lands a great right hand. Guerrero has Klassen in the conter but he's choosing his punches wisely. Guerrero lands two great uppercuts that knock out Klassen's mouthpiece. The ref finds a break in the action to get the mouthpiece back in. Good round for Guerrero.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 7
Guerrero lets his hands go again landing crisp combos. He lands another combo with a great straight left in there. Klassen now lands a combo of his own. There were about 2 punches in there that did some damage. Guerrero throws another combo with emphasis on his power left. Klassen gets in a punch before the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 8
A cut has opened over the left eye of Guerrero and ref is ruling it an accidental headbutt. It looks like it's slightly to the side of the eye so it may not hinder his vision. Klassen lands a good counter right hand. Guerrero is doing a good job of getting out of the way of some of Klassen's more wild punches. Klassen is zoning in on that cut. Guerrero paws at his cut. The both look like their getting tired as they clinch. Guerrero's left side of his face is a bloody mess but he turns it up and throws a couple more combos. Tough round to call.

Spartan117: 10-9 Klassen

Round 9
Guerrero goes back to the jab. Klassen counters with another left. Klassen pushes Guerrero away and throws some big right hands. Guerrero throws a couple good body shots on the inside. Now Klassen gets Guerrero against the ropes again and it looked like Guerrero may have been in trouble but he makes it out of trouble. Now the roles are reversed and Klassen is against the ropes. Klassen makes it out of danger as well. Guerrero doubles over after Klassen lands a big left to the body. Another close round.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 10
The fighters get a nice breather some the ref can dry the canvas. Guerrero keeps Klassen at a distance with his reach and jab. It's when Classen is able to get on the inside that he's doing damage. Guerrero's cut opens up again and the blood is pouring. Guerrero looks tired but he's still fighting with great heart. Klassen gets Guerrero against the ropes and lands a good body shot. Guerrero lands a good flurry at the bell.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 11
Gurrero has been the busier fighter all round. He's been averaging more than 100 punches a round. Klassen has been landing some solid shots though and this hasn't been a bad showing for him by any means. Guerrero lands a good combo and Klassen lands a great right hand. Klassen gets back inside and lands some more body shots. Guerrero is against the ropes again but slips out. Now Guerrero gets Klassen against the ropes again and makes him pay. Guerrero is finishing very strong.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Round 12
Guerrero is fighting with a lot of heart down the stretch. It looks like he still wants the knockout. He hasn't thrown all defense out the window as he dodges some wide punches from Klassen. Guerrero lands another combo upstairs. Klassen goes down but it's ruled a slip. Guerrero lands 2 fantastic right hands and Klassen has no answer for them. Guerrero is throwing non-stop. It's all over, Guerrero should win a unanimous decision.

Spartan117: 10-9 Guerrero

Spartan117: 116-112 Guerrero

The judges score the bout 117-111, 116-113, and 116-112 all for the winner by unanimous decision and new title holder Robert Guerrero.

Posted by spartan117

Daniel Jacobs vs. Ishe Smith: Round By Round

We're joining Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Lennox Lewis from Houston for HBO's Boxing After Dark. It's a rare tripleheader with the main event featuring hometown boy Juan Diaz as he takes on Paulie Malignaggi.

First though, it's a middleweight clash between undefeated Daniel Jacobs and Ishe Smith. The tale of the tape shows Jacobs with height and reach advantages, and after re-hydrating, he's about nine pounds heavier too.

The Golden Child is 17-0 with 15 KOs, and this is only the second time he's been scheduled for 10 rounds. Smith is nine years older and is 21-3, but he's lost two of his last five.

Michael Buffer handles the introductions and we're ready for action.

Round 1

Somewhat cautious start for Jacobs as he tries some stiff jabs. Smith keeps his guard high to pick them off. Smith reaches for a body shot and quickly backs off. Jacobs doubles and triples the jab. Smith tries some counter shots but neither guy is really landing anything. Lewis points out that Smith is following but not throwing enough. The ref warns Ishe for a low shot. Both men try flurries in the last 10 seconds.

Franchise: 10-9 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-9 Jacobs

Round 2

Jacobs switches stances a few times to try to find an opening. Smith comes charging in and is quickly tied up. Both men land hooks in the center of the ring. Right hook and more jabs from Jacobs; Smith throws with both hands to the body. Smith finds the range again with some hooks and backs Jacobs to the ropes. Danny scores with a combo coming forward. Left underneath the guard by Jacobs. Better action in that round.

Franchise: 10-9 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-9 Jacobs

Round 3

Harold Lederman gave that round to Smith. He's still coming forward and landing some shots, but Jacobs is responding in kind. Danny is fighting going backwards a lot though. He keeps the jab active and tries some body work but gets whacked upstairs. Jacobs counters along the ropes with rights to the head and lefts to the body. Smith scores with the left hook, his most consistent punch by far. Both men land right at the bell and Smith seems to think the last punch from Jacobs was late.

Franchise: 10-9 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-9 Jacobs

Round 4

Jacobs starts a little more aggressively now. Smith throws a combo starting with the left but Jacobs stands his ground. Ishe is doing a little more dancing and feinting. There are some wild swings in the center of the ring with most of them missing. Smith shakes his head as he takes a few right hands. Jacobs flurries and Smith lands a counter right. Left hook from Jacobs and Smith waves him in.

Franchise: 10-9 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-9 Jacobs

Round 5

Jacobs has thrown 200 more punches thus far according to CompuBox. Smith bulls forward and is tied up twice. Right uppercut by Danny off the jab. He backs all the way up but times his counters well as Smith comes in. Ishe has a cut near his right eye. Jacobs punches his way out of a clinch and backs away. Smith throws clubbing shots inside and ends up off-balance. Both men trade jabs and Smith lands a combo that dazes Jacobs. The bell sounds and the fighters have to be separated.

Franchise: 10-9 Smith
Spartan117: 10-9 Smith

Round 6

The ref gets the boxers together to warn about punching after the bell. Jacobs looks like he has his feet under him after that mean combo at the end of the fifth. He's still outworking his foe but Smith is landing counter lefts. Jacobs throws fast body shots and Smith shakes his head again. Hard one-two by Smith and Jacobs gets fired up. The ref is active as wrestling breaks out twice. Smith steps up with a right hand and Jacobs fires right back. Nice exchange at the bell again.

Franchise: 10-9 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-9 Smith

Round 7

Smith stalks again and lands two shots, but the ref warns him again. Kellerman thinks Jacobs is winning but credits Smith for making him uncomfortable. Jacobs throws to the head and body but it's mostly for show. Smith pumps jabs and bides his time. Jacobs opens up along the ropes and Smith is forced to cover up from the onslaught. Jacobs moves off the ropes and scores with a right hand upstairs.

Franchise: 10-9 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-9 Jacobs

Round 8

Smith shakes off a few punches as he stalks. Jacobs flashes his hand speed again. He triples up the jab and tires some body shots. You can hear Bernard Hopkins shouting from the second row. Smith lands a left hand and then another in the middle of an exchange. He does some work on the inside that includes an uppercut. Low body shot by Smith but the ref doesn't see it.

Franchise: 10-9 Smith
Spartan117: 10-9 Jacobs

Round 9

Both boxers lands left hooks as Smith tries pressing forward. Jacobs flurries to the body. Right hand crashes home for Smith. He uppercuts inside but Jacobs takes it well. Danny works his way out of a clinch. They stand and trade and Jacobs lands two nice left hands. Smith makes it ugly inside and the ref steps in. Left hand by Smith amidst a wild exchange and Jacobs says bring it on. Smith throws right after the bell; it was close but the ref deducts a point.

Franchise: 10-8 Jacobs
Spartan117: 10-8 Jacobs

Round 10

Smith's corner tells him he needs a KO, which is likely the truth. He's trying to go for it but Jacobs is moving well, even in the final round. Danny sticks and moves and still stays with his jab. He has to tie up in the corner as Smith tries for the home run shot. Jacobs circles out and keeps punching. Smith lands a few shots along the ropes but Jacobs isn't hurt. Ishe may have tired himself out; he gets credit for giving it his all right to the final bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Smith
Spartan117: 10-9 Smith

Franchise: 97-92 Jacobs
Spartan117: 97-92 Jacobs

The judges score it 96-93 twice, and 100-89, all for the winner, Daniel "The Golden Child" Jacobs.

Posted by The Franchise

Juan Diaz vs. Paulie Malignaggi Live Round By Round Updates Tonight

We're back in effect. How's that?

After taking last weekend off to celebrate Uatu's destination wedding, it's time to get reacquainted with the sweet science in the form of a three-fight card on HBO. Headlining the show from Houston is hometown boy Juan Diaz, who takes on Paulie Malignaggi in a bout where both men could really use the victory.

Also in action is Robert Guerrero, who tangles with South African titleholder Malcolm Klassen, and Danny Jacobs, looking to stay undefeated against Ishe Smith.

As always, if you can't watch the fights, you can follow our live round by round posts to see what's going down. Just look for new posts on the home page starting around 10 pm Eastern time tonight and refresh periodically for the latest.

Posted by The Franchise


Bernard Hopkins, Joe Frazier, Rocky Balboa on New Flyers Goalie's Mask

This is a completely random boxing-related item, and it's a week old, which is ancient in internet terms. Nevertheless, it's so cool I had to post and link to it.

Newly signed Flyers goalie Ray Emery has decided to go with a tribute to Philadelphia boxing history as the paint job on his mask for the beginning of the 2009-10 NHL season. It's got Bernard Hopkins on the left side, Joe Frazier on the right, and even fictional Philly great Rocky Balboa on the back.

For those of you who don't follow hockey, Emery is known as one of the more, shall we say, combative goaltenders around, and his time with the Ottawa Senators had its share of fights with both opponents and teammates. That makes it entirely appropriate for him to go the boxer route as he tries to start off on the right foot in Philadelphia.

Emery has had boxers on his masks before too. He had a Mike Tyson design ready to go four seasons ago but ended up wearing it for only one game after Ottawa management decided it was in appropriate (back when Ray was still on speaking terms with said management!). He's since had Muhammad Ali, George Chuvalo and Floyd Mayweather on his head at various times.

Posted by The Franchise

Juan Diaz vs. Paulie Malignaggi, Malcolm Klassen vs. Robert Guerrero, Danny Jacobs vs. Ishe Smith: Predictions

The Franchise says...

There's no such thing as a "must-win" bout in boxing, but we are going to be seeing a "damn-close-to-must-win" fight for both sides of HBO's main event this Saturday.

Juan Diaz gets to fight before his hometown fans in Houston, trying to right the ship after going 1-2 (and the one win was by split decision) in his last three fights. Smart, articulate and offensively talented - but defensively suspect - the Baby Bull was Victor Ortiz before Victor Ortiz, and has even more soul-searching to do at this point.

His opponent Paulie Malignaggi has actually seen his rise through the sport stopped twice: once after losing to Miguel Cotto in 2006 and again after his TKO loss to Ricky Hatton last November. There's certainly no shame in having those two gentlemen hand you your only two defeats, but the Magic Man seems to go to the back of the line more than most after taking an 'L.'

I think it's pretty well established at this point that Diaz only knows one way to fight. He's going to come forward and throw lots of punches. If that doesn't work, there's no Plan B. His chin is probably the best part of his defense, though as Juan Manuel Marquez proved, it has its limits.

Malignaggi is the bigger question mark. He's known as a light-hitting slickster (and that's being generous, as under 20 percent of his wins came via KO), but he curiously allowed Hatton to out-box him for most of their fight. He's naturally bigger and taller, though it remains to be seen if those qualities do him any good keeping Diaz out of his face.

It's not like Malignaggi can't win this fight, especially if he's able to consistently outmanuever Diaz or withstand an early barrage and pile up points down the stretch. It's just that his margin or error is so slim that the odds are against him being able to pull it off.

Diaz has found out that against the very best competition, what he does best isn't quite good enough. But Paulie is a step down from the likes of JMM and Nate Campbell, so I like the Baby Bull to win by late TKO.

In the co-feature, Robert Guerrero attempts to take the IBF super featherweight title from Malcolm Klassen after making a slight lightweight detour his last time out. After fighting just once in 2008, The Ghost has been a busy man, as this is already his fourth fight this year.

Klassen will make his first appearance in the U.S. after fighting all but one of his previous bouts in his native South Africa. He's fought just good enough competition to suggest he's not a stiff, and though he has four career losses, they've all come by the scorecards.

It's hard to break this one down having never seen Klassen fight, but the consensus opinion among boxing writers is that this will be the best guy Guerrero has faced to this point. Still, there's no reason to think that if he brings his 'A' game, he won't come out on top, and he's been fairly consistent in that regard in 2009. Guerrero wins by late KO.

HBO is also giving us a rare treat with a third televised fight, as undefeated Danny Jacobs tangles with Ishe Smith.

Fans have been waiting to see the 22-year old Jacobs take a step up in competition, but this may not qualify in that regard. Once upon a time Smith seemed to be a future title challenger, but that was probably five years ago, even before his unsuccessful attempt to win the first season of The Contender.

Jacobs got a little testy defending this fight on his Twitter feed, but he certainly appears to be taking the fight seriously, even if it isn't likely Ishe will have the power to hurt him. What Smith may have is enough veteran craftiness to go the distance.

But that's okay because the Golden Child has never gone ten rounds, so we may learn something about him in the process. Smith will learn that the younger man is too fast and too strong, and Jacobs will roll to an easy decision.

Posted by The Franchise


Boxers Who Love Twitter, Part 1: Andre Berto, Daniel Jacobs, Brian Viloria

I've come to the conclusion that boxers as a whole aren't exactly on the cutting edge when it comes to technology.

Perhaps that comes with the territory in a profession where one has to devote long periods of time to intense training before each bout. But even some of the most famous fighters in the sport don't have much of an internet presence, and in a sport where so much revolves around the ability to market each boxer as an individual attraction, that borders on inexcusable.

The younger boxers, the up-and-coming stars, seem to understand the importance of the latest technologies a little more than their older brethren, which is to be expected. Tops on the list of those technologies is everyone's favorite craze du jour, Twitter.

I know because I'm on there too (under my real name, @Nick_Tylwalk - shh, don't tell anyone!). It's interesting getting to see what some of these fighters are thinking, unfiltered by anyone else. Yes, it might not be the real boxers on the other end of the keyboard all the time, but some of them clearly enjoy tweeting too much to let someone do it for them.

I don't pretend to know every boxer who has a Twitter account, and I find new ones all the time. I do enjoy following some of them more than others, so I figured I'd give a shout out to some who are worth the time.

Andre Berto - @AndreBerto

Berto doesn't tweet every single day, but when he does, he's a madman. He'll give his thoughts on other fights, significant events from outside of boxing (like when Michael Jackson passed) and he also responds to news stories about him - like when the ESPN article broke the story that he might be fighting in Turkey. Andre also periodically asks his followers for updates on other fights that he can't see for one reason or another.

It's not like Berto has given up on interviews with established media, but like some athletes in other sports, he clearly feels there is some value for interested parties to get the scoop directly from him, and he's said so before. He's also recently become infatuated with Ustream, possibly the Next Big Thing for athletes, but I don't find Berto TV to be quite as insightful as his Twitter feed.

Daniel Jacobs - @DanielJacobsTKO

The Golden Child started off a little slower than Berto but now he's Tweeting with increasing regularity. He speaks from the heart when he gets worked up over something, like when he started getting defensive about criticism of his upcoming opponent, Ishe Smith.

If you're from Brooklyn, you'll definitely appreciate the frequent love Jacobs sends out to his home borough. He's also discovered Ustream, and thinks he may be the first boxer to ever stream live video of himself from his dressing room. I'm waiting for someone to tweet or stream video on their way to the ring!

Brian Viloria - @BrianViloria

Now here's a guy who really loves his Twitter. Starting with a good morning tweet almost every day, Hawaiian Punch lets everyone know about everything that's going on with him, including what he's eating, who he's hanging with and how the Lakers are doing - in other words, exactly the kind of stuff that people who hate Twitter usually cite as reasons.

Still, it's worth sifting through some extraneous posts because of what you'll learn about how fighters balance boxing, business and personal time. You'll also gain a greater appreciation for what training for a fight really entails, because Viloria gives lots of training updates.

Posted by The Franchise


Franchise Thoughts: Another Delay for Kelly Pavlik, Floyd Mayweather Does WWE Again and More

Well, that didn't take long.

That was my first reaction upon my return from Uatu's very nice destination wedding and getting a text from Spartan117 that the Kelly Pavlik-Paul Williams fight that was just announced for Oct. 3 will now, um, not be on Oct. 3. Because of Pavlik's recurring staph infection problem - you may remember that as the same thing that torpedoed his June 27 bout with Sergio Mora - the fight is postponed, perhaps until late November or early December.

Dan Rafael's report for ESPN contains two interesting tidbits. The first, which doesn't seem to be disputed by co-manager Cameron Dunkin, is that Pavlik missed several doctor's appointments for his hand, possibly contributing to the lingering nature of the infection.

So does this mean the Mora fight really was canceled because of the infection? And if The Ghost can't fight until he receives a clean bill of health, why the heck is he missing trips to the doctor?

Rafael also notes that Nov. 21 is a date that would be agreeable to Pavlik, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and HBO. Of course it's agreeable to HBO, because it gives the network something to air opposite the final first-round fight in Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic, between Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward.

But with Dan Goossen telling ESPN in not so many words that he's not going to have his guys Ward and Williams fighting on the same day, don't expect that to happen. Maybe it will be in December, where no big fights have materialized just yet.

Or maybe it won't happen at all, giving Tim Starks of The Queensberry Rules even more ammo to call Pavlik the worst-managed boxer around. It's pretty ridiculous to see the wrong turn his career has taken clearly laid out like that.

I'll take it a step further and say that there feels like there's a bigger disconnect between the real Kelly Pavlik and the public image that the people around him have crafted than there is for any other boxer. There's a lot to lose for Dunkin, Jack Loew, Pavlik's father, and even Top Rank if boxing fans stop thinking of The Ghost as the warrior who carries the hopes of blue-collar Youngstown on his back and still sleeps on his parents' couch before fights and becomes just another guy who runs his mouth a bit too much and gripes because he's underpaid.

Thus, Team Pavlik is constantly scrambling around trying to spin things when Kelly gets off track, which is happening with increasing frequency. And though some of the more damning allegations haven't turned out to be fact, Pavlik is the only boxer for which we have an inside source, and he's convinced me there's at least a small fire to go with all that smoke.

Moving on to fighters who are actually, you know, fighting, I had to say I'm not sure why some people were surprised at how easy a time Roy Jones had stopping Jeff Lacy. It's not that I don't think Jones is old (he is), but Lacy is so clearly not good at this point that a victory for Roy should have been easy to predict.

Uatu and I agree that the term exposed is used too frequently in the aftermath of boxing losses, but it definitely applied to Lacy after his crushing defeat at the hands of Joe Calzaghe three years ago. Further evidence came when he gave Jermain Taylor a rare drama-free night last November, and I think after losing to a 40-year old Jones that it's case closed.

Lacy is a decent boxer with a strong left hook and seems like a good guy, but in his three fights against world class competition he's gone 0-3 and has won maybe four or five total rounds.

Finally, Floyd Mayweather may be training for his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, but he'll take at least one night off to make another appearance on WWE programming. Money was one of the focal points of WrestleMania 24 last year, but one suspects he'll have a less active role as the guest host of Raw next Monday.

Floyd's larger than life personality would make him a natural for a full time WWE career once he decided to retire from boxing (for good, I mean)... except that Vince McMahon isn't known for hiring too many 5-foot-8, 150-pound performers.

Posted by The Franchise


A BoxingWatchers Wedding, Or Why We're Not Covering Any Boxing This Weekend

Yeah, there's a lot of boxing going on this weekend, and we're not doing round by round posts on any of it. What gives, you might ask?

Well, it just so happens that our very own Uatu, the most knowledgeable and mysterious of the BoxingWatchers, is tying the knot this Saturday. Since we're all brothers, we'll all be there.

So as we wish Uatu all the best in his new, married life (and hope Mrs. Uatu likes having lots of boxing on the tube), we hope you enjoy the fights, and we'll get back to posting on Monday or Tuesday.

Posted by The Franchise


Weekend Predictions: Jones-Lacy, Donaire-R. Concepcion, Luevano-B. Concepcion

The Franchise says...

I've got a confession to make: I've never been a Roy Jones fan.

Don't get me wrong. I've appreciated his physical gifts, and I've certainly seen him do things in the ring I've never seen anyone else do.

But Roy's prime coincided with the early part of my time as a serious boxing fan, and something about him just put me off. I think it was the way he tried to sell some of his lesser opponents as serious contenders when they clearly were anything but.

Maybe if he had just been a little more honest about what he was doing, I'd have rooted for him. I can't say for sure, but I will say that when Antonio Tarver (someone who inspires his own strong feelings from fans) knocked him out during their second fight, I was giddy. I felt that way watching him get starched by Glen Johnson too.

It's strange then, that I have more respect for Jones now at age 40. Unless he's got serious financial issues, he's still boxing because he wants to, and you can't be mad at that.

The really interesting thing is that since Jones relied on his physical gifts so much and never honed his craft the way a Bernard Hopkins did, I'd have guessed he'd be completely done before now. Yet he's taking on a semi-legitimate foe in Jeff Lacy this weekend.

The consensus opinion is that Jones is too old. Heck, Oscar De La Hoya thinks so, and he should know about when the end is obvious. If the Golden Boy is right, Jones is going to suffer his third career KO loss, because Lacy is built like a tank.

Somehow I don't think so though. Maybe it's because I haven't ever been able to get Lacy's destruction at the hands of Joe Calzaghe out of my head, but I think it's even more telling the way he was outclassed by Jermain Taylor last November. Taylor has been going life or death with everyone, and Lacy almost got shut out.

As long as Roy can still stick and move for 12 rounds and avoid getting lured into any protracted exchanges, I think he can pull this off. I like Jones by decision, and then he'll either try for Anderson Silva or fight one more boxer before retiring.

Since I babbled so long about Jones-Lacy, I'll keep it brief for the other big Saturday fights. I think Nonito Donaire's star is going to continue to rise, so I'll say the Filipino Flash will knock out Rafael Concepcion. Too much speed and power.

I'm more conflicted about the Steven Luevano-Bernabe Concepcion fight. I've seen Luevano's last three fights, and though there's no question he can box, he seems to make things more difficult than they need to be. You can certainly drop him if you get to him, though he has never been KOed.

Bernabe has a lot of pro rounds under his belt for someone so young, and he has what it takes to put Luevano down and keep him there. But he's never fought anyone this good before, so we'll learn something about him for sure.

I think this one's a toss-up, so just to avoid looking like a total homer (remember, the BoxingWatchers are all part-Filipino!), I'll go with Luevano by narrow decision. I wouldn't put money on it though.

Posted by The Franchise


Klitschko Brothers and Oscar De La Hoya Coming for Fight Night Round 4... for a Price

Gamers, you'll soon get a chance to use two of the heavyweight titleholders and the biggest pay-per-view draw of all time in Fight Night Round 4. But only if you're willing to pony up a little dough.

First pointed out to be via Twitter by Tim Starks of The Queensberry Rules, EA Sports has announced that Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko and Oscar De La Hoya, along with alternate versions of George Foreman and James Toney (skinnier ones, perhaps?) will be available in a few weeks through Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.

Alas, while I'm sure I will enjoy beating up on... um, playing as all three of those boxers, I also have to share Tim's reaction ("Noooo.") to the news that the update will cost 800 Microsoft Points or $9.99 for PS3. I'm looking forward to seeing more current boxers released - Andre Berto has already suggested he'll be in the game, pun intended - but EA better not expect us to fork over $10 for every three fighters. That is balls any way you look at it.

I'm actually even more interested in the free download also coming later this month, which will allow the mapping of punches to the controller buttons, a feature which was included in the previous Fight Night but so far absent from this release. It's not that I don't appreciate the beauty of the Total Punch Control scheme, but the training mini-game that requires specific combos is so unforgiving it makes me want to hurl my controller at the TV. If for no other reason than that, thanks EA, for saving me money on new wireless controllers.

Posted by The Franchise


Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams Will Fight Oct. 3 in Atlantic City

Paul Williams will get that big fight he's been hunting, and Kelly Pavlik will take on an opponent known as someone other boxers would rather not face.

That's because they will be stepping into the ring against each other. ESPN's Dan Rafael reported today that Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall will host the middleweight championship bout between Pavlik and Williams on Oct. 3, which will be televised on HBO.

The fight had been rumored for some time, but money and a contentious relationship between Top Rank head Bob Arum (who promotes Pavlik) and Williams' manager Al Haymon made it difficult to put together. As recently as earlier in the day on Tuesday, papers in Pavlik's home state of Ohio were speculating that the WBC and WBO middleweight titleholder would look for a match with Winky Wright instead.

Ironically, Wright was the most recent opponent for Williams, who pitched a virtual shutout against him en route to a unanimous decision four months ago. Williams has garnered a reputation - well-deserved in this blogger's opinion - of being a headache many other fighters would just as well do without thanks to his high punch output and long arms that enable him to throw those shots from unusual angles.

At least partially because of that, The Punisher has been floating around between three divisions in his last four fights, all victories. Pavlik once had similar thoughts of moving around in weight, but those were largely put to bed after his October 2008 thrashing at the hands of Bernard Hopkins, and his team has since refocused on competing at 160 pounds, where The Ghost has never lost.

Both fighters should be willing to mix it up, though they go about their business in different ways. Pavlik is more straightforward, stalking and setting up power shots off his jab, while Williams can box as the aggressor or the counterpuncher while letting go with unique combinations.

Williams was also exceptionally tall for a welterweight, where he fought most often from 2005 to 2008, but that won't be an issue for Pavlik, who should actually be looking down at his foe just a bit. Like all of Williams' previous opponents though, he will have to deal with The Punisher's lankiness: according to press releases from prior fights, Williams will enjoy a seven-inch reach advantage.

Posted by The Franchise


20/20 Hindsight: Nothing New From Angulo, The Roy Jones Story That Won't Die and Other Quick Thoughts

There was no big fight this past Saturday, but there was a fight worth watching on ESPN2 on Friday night as Alfredo Angulo attempted to get his career back on the right track. In some ways, he did that by knocking out Gabriel Rosado. Certainly his confidence should be back, though perhaps it never left if his dog-themed entrance was any indication.

I'm not sure we really learned anything about Angulo though. With all due respect to Rosado, who isn't a stiff by any means, Perro was in against someone who didn't look able to hurt him and couldn't deal with his pressure.

The last time we saw Angulo, he was getting taught a lesson by Kermit Cintron, who used a good jab and superior footwork to bring Alfredo's limitations to the forefront. Rosado just wasn't good enough in the same areas for us to know if Angulo has improved.

I still think Angulo's chance to be a star is pretty good. He has fight-changing power in both hands and certainly gives fans the action they want. It's just impossible to say for sure if he's any closer to reaching his potential until he fights someone else as good as or better than Cintron.

Also in action on Friday Night Fights was Anthony Dirrell, younger brother of Andre Dirrell. Though he doesn't appear to have as much upside as The Matrix, he's fun to watch as he switches stances often and has fast hands. He's also easy to root for, having already gone through a bout with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma that put his boxing life on hold for a couple of years.

Changing gears a bit, regular readers should know that I get a lot of amusement out of the apparent infatuation that Roy Jones Jr. and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva have with someday boxing each other. That story just won't completely go away, and it got a new boost of energy this weekend.

That's because Silva added another ridiculous (in a good way) KO to his MMA record by starching Forrest Griffin, who was in attendance in Philadelphia. Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports says a Jones-Silva fight is more likely to happen than some would suspect, though not until the Spider fulfills the remaining three bouts on his UFC contract.

My opinion of this fight hasn't changed, as I'd still like to see it. Though many MMA fighters are starting to take the sweet science more seriously, I think a high percentage of them would be in for a rude awakening if forced to fight under the other sports' rules. Before anyone jumps on me, this would be true going the other way too - Andre Berto, are you listening?

But Silva is so gifted in the stand-up portion of MMA and Roy has never been a master technician, so this particular match-up is intriguing. It needs to happen before Jones gets too old though.

Other quick thoughts:

* I think Vitali Klitschko agreeing to fight Chris Arreola is another one for the "you can't blame the Klitschkos for the sorry state of the heavyweight division" side of the argument. Both he and Wladimir certainly seem willing to fight anyone.

* Am I crazy, or is there a good chance that Paul Williams will make Kelly Pavlik look silly if they fight? It's strange to me that The Punisher's camp is reportedly the one making negotiations difficult, because Williams should be jumping at the chance to take on someone as high profile as The Ghost.

* With apologies for talking about MMA on a boxing blog twice in one post, anyone who doesn't think a good chin is a valuable trait in the combat sports can just watch replays of Brian Bowles' knockout of Miguel Torres from the WEC event last Sunday. Bowles walked through some stiff shots to land his own, an even more impressive feat with the lighter MMA gloves.

Posted by The Franchise


Alfredo Angulo vs. Gabriel Rosado: Friday Night Fights Round By Round

It's time for the main event from Buffalo Bill's in Primm, Nevada. Alfredo Angulo attempts to shake off his first career loss against upset-minded Gabriel Rosado in a ten-round junior middleweight fight.

Rosado hails from Philadelphia and is 12-3 with 7 KOs. His most recent win was a split decision victory over Kassim Ouma in April.

Angulo was undefeated and positioned for a breakthrough before stumbling and dropping a decision to Kermit Cintron in May. He is 15-1 with 12 KOs, and all you need to know about his straightforward style is that he racked up 11 straight knockouts before he took on Cintron.

Russell Mora is the referee. He gives his final instructions and we're ready to go.

Round 1

Rosado tries to get off early and bounce back out of range. Angulo presses forward as you'd expect. Nice right by Perro and Rosado tries to answer. Rosado is circling well to try to avoid being cornered. Alfredo walks in and tries some body shots. Rosado tries a quick combo but it's mostly blocked. Angulo lands a short left and takes a few shots back at the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Angulo

Round 2

Rosado shows quick hands but doesn't seem to have the power to bother Angulo at this point. Nice left hook counter by Rosado. Angulo buckles down and drops Rosado with a short right hand to the head. He's up but looks discouraged. Angulo goes right after his foe and puts him back down with a combination. There's a minute to go, but Angulo lands a left hand, then follows up with punches that have Rosado crumpled in the corner. Rosado is upset because the first knockdown came after a clinch when he expected the ref to step in, but there's not much he can do after the ensuing assault.

The winner by TKO in Round 2, Alfredo "Perro" Angulo.

Posted by The Franchise

Friday Night Fights Report: August 7, 2009

Alfredo Angulo is the headliner tonight as he attempts to shake off his first career loss. Undefeated Anthony Dirrell is also in action as Friday Night Fights comes to us live from Buffalo Bill's in Primm, Nevada.

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas are on hand, and Pernell Whitaker and Mark Breland are tonight's studio guests with Brian Kenny. Atlas talks briefly about Angulo's TV-friendly style and Dirrell's attempt to come back from a bout with cancer.

First up is Sergei Ganjelashvili and Archie Ray Marquez in a four-round bout. The 20-year old Marquez is the attraction here.

Back in the studio, Kenny talks about the 25th anniversary of the great 1984 U.S. Olympic boxing team with Sweet Pea and Breland. Tessitore says seeing them makes him sad when he thinks about what Olympic boxing has become.

Ganjelashvili is certainly game, attacking with awkward looping punches. But Marquez does some serious damage to the body in Round 2 and he looks confident. He turns it on with power shots from both hands in the final minute of Round 3.

Both men make it to the final bell, and Marquez will go to a decision for the first time in his young pro career. The judges all turn in scores of 40-36, and Marquez wins by unanimous decision.

Kenny talks to the former Olympians in another studio segment. Breland tells a tale about his lone amateur loss, as he finished his amateur career with a 110-1 record.

Highlights are shown of Whitaker's semifinal and final bouts from the 1984 Games. Even back then Sweet Pea had ridiculous body and head movement. Whitaker says his gold medal meant more to him than anything he accomplished as a pro.

Now we see highlights of Breland's Olympic bouts. Brian and Mark discuss how there was some pressure on Breland before the Games, as he already had quite a reputation going in. He was just too tall and lanky for his opponents, plus he had skills and power to boot.

Andre Dirrell is in attendance to watch his younger brother, and we're set for that match. Anthony Dirrell takes on Alfredo Contreras, who took the fight on short notice.

Dirrell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2006, and he talks a bit about overcoming the disease. He resumed fighting in late 2008, and is 5-0 since then and 17-0 (14 KOs) overall. This is scheduled for eight rounds at super middleweight.

Contreras tries to play the aggressor but Dirrell's hands are fast enough to land any time he sees an opening. Anthony can fight from either stance and tries both of them in the first round.

Andre is extremely vocal shouting out instructions and encouragement for his sibling. Anthony does a little showboating in the final minute of Round 2 after landing a nice combination in the corner.

Atlas doesn't like how Dirrell goes straight back with his hands down, but he's doing just about everything else right. Andre dons a headset and says he thinks Anthony is looking good. He does feel his brother could jab more and sit down on his punches as well.

Asked about the Super Six World Boxing Classic, Andre says he can't wait for it to start. He says he's faster and stronger than Carl Froch but knows The Cobra will bring everything he's got since he's a champion. Andre feels like he's training as hard as he can for the opportunity.

Dirrell smokes Contreras with a series of wicked body shots in the fifth round, then follows up with head shots from both hands. Contreras shows some heart by not wilting under fire.

About halfway through Round 7, Contreras catches Dirrell napping in the corner and actually lands a few nice shots. But Dirrell immediately comes back and starts teeing off with unanswered power shots, and though Contreras doesn't go down, the ref and his corner have seen enough. Dirrell wins by TKO at 2:32 of Round 7 and does a backflip to celebrate the win.

We get one more studio segment with BK, Sweet Pea and Breland. They examine highlights of Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell and both fighters weigh in on the controversial ending. They also look at Devon Alexander-Junior Witter and Whitaker says he was glad the fight ended when it did.

The news recap includes Vitali Klitschko and Chris Arreola agreeing to fight in September, talks resuming for a Kelly Pavlik-Paul Williams fight in October and the possibility of Allan Green as a substitute for the World Boxing Classic should one be necessary.

Posted by The Franchise


Franchise Thoughts: Looking at the Second Half of the 2009 Boxing Schedule, Plus the Debut of Shoe Shining

After a pretty hot start to the year in boxing, we hit a bit of a lull during the middle of the summer months. Something similar happened in 2008, but at least then we had Olympic boxing to watch (plus bitch about its ridiculous scoring system).

Anyway, we're past that now, and even if it's not necessarily pedal to the metal for the rest of 2009 - September could still use a few more fights, for one - as Jim Ross would say, business is about to pick up.

With that in mind, here are some highlights for the rest of the calendar year. This isn't intended to be an exhaustive list, and some of these fights aren't set in stone yet, but these are dates to keep in mind moving forward.

Aug. 15 - Nonito Donaire vs. Rafael Concepcion, Steven Luevano vs. Bernabe Concepcion (PPV); Roy Jones vs. Jeff Lacy (PPV)

Dueling pay-per-views are always a bummer, simply because they force you to make a choice. It will be interesting to see who has more (or more properly who has less) left in the tank between Roy and Jeff, and that event will probably sell better because of Jones' name. The little guys will be the better value pick though, and fans on the internets seem to be in love with Bernabe, so the Luevano bout should be a good one.

The Jones PPV also has Danny Green, B.J. Flores and Jason Litzau on the card, which is at least an attempt to give viewers some bang for the buck.

Aug. 22 - Juan Diaz vs. Paulie Malignaggi (HBO)

This is a nice matchup between two eminently watchable boxers; Diaz for his entertaining fighting style and Paulie for his personality. Both men are trying to get careers that kind of came off the rails in 2008 back on track, so motivation shouldn't be an issue.

The rest of the card is also loaded, with Robert Guerrero facing Malcolm Klassen and Daniel "Call me Danny" Jacobs taking on Ishe Smith. The Golden Child has been pretty defensive on Twitter about criticism of Smith as an opponent; maybe he'll channel that aggression into something impressive.

Aug. 28 - Tavoris Cloud vs. Clinton Woods, Juan Urango vs. Randall Bailey (ESPN2)

Friday Night Fights goes out with a bang with two title fights. I think the hard-swinging Cloud is on the verge of making a name for himself, but he's been off for a year and Woods is no stiff, or at least he hasn't been in the past. Urango-Bailey doesn't excite me a ton but is better than most FNF main events.

Sep. 12 - Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward (Showtime)

No, they aren't fighting each other, but tuning up and fulfilling sanctioning body obligations before the World Boxing Classic kicks off (probably, see below!). Nervous Showtime execs will be watching with crossed fingers.

Ivan Calderon also headlines a PPV the same night if pro wrestling-style squash matches aren't your thing.

Sep. 19 - Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (PPV)

So many questions to be answered here. Was Floyd really hurt and will he be rusty after his brief retirement? Will JMM handle the step up in weight? What weight is this fight being contested at, for that matter?

Unlike many HBO PPV cards, this one could end up really stacked. Already on is round two between Chris John and Rocky Juarez. Zab Judah will fight someone. And Dan Rafael has mentioned Allan Green-Sakio Bika as a possibility as well. If you're going to fork over your hard-earned money for just one PPV this fall, you could do a lot worse than this.

Oct. 10 - Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa (PPV)

Again, these two guys aren't fighting each other, but will be in action on the latest Latin Fury card. Juanma is starting to become must-see TV for any boxing fan, and wins for him and Gamboa enhance the chances of a showdown in 2010.

Oct. 17 - Carl Froch vs. Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor (Showtime)

Anticipation will likely be at a fever pitch as the most exciting concept to hit the sport in some time, the Super Six World Boxing Classic, gets underway. Not much more needs to be said, as every fight in the tournament is worth watching.

Nov. 7 - Chad Dawson vs. Glen Johnson II (HBO)

This is one rematch plenty of fans want to see. Johnson pushed Dawson to his limits last time and hasn't shown signs of aging yet. If Bad Chad wins convincingly, it could go a long way toward reversing some of the negative feelings regarding his lack of killer instinct. And could a certain Executioner be waiting for the winner?

This is also the date that David Haye fights Nikolai Valuev. You know, if Haye actually decides to fight.

Nov. 14 - Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto (PPV)

How can you not like this match? It pits two popular fighters with large ethnic followings and styles that usually result in action-packed fights against each other, and it will be an excellent show to attend live.

The rest of the card is still coming together, but Edwin Valero, Humberto Soto and Alfonso Gomez are all likely to be fighting.

Nov. 21 - Mikkel Kessler vs. Andre Ward (Showtime)

Assuming nothing goes awry in September, Kessler and Ward will finish off the first group of round robin matches here. My personal opinion is that S.O.G. drew the toughest initial bout, but the beauty of the World Boxing Classic is that there are no easy fights, so he might as well see how he measures up right away.

Nov. 28 - Lucian Bute vs. Librado Andrade II (HBO)

Bute is the guy who has the most reason for being upset about not being included in the World Boxing Classic, and apparently he wasn't even asked. That should be enough to put a chip on his shoulder, but there's also the fact that he was the beneficiary of some home cooking by the referee in Montreal during his first fight with Andrade.

It's tough to envision a second ending as dramatic as the twelfth round of Bute-Andrade I, but since this could very well be the last significant fight of 2009, maybe these guys will figure out a way to put an exclamation point on another good year for the sweet science.


Any good blog worth its salt needs a cutesy name for links and short commentary not big enough to warrant full posts, and I finally settled on shoe shining. Because who doesn't love a showy burst of uppercuts, right?

And if some boxing blogger out there has already thought of this one, I apologize. Just remember imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. On with the show...

Except for Floyd's dispute of reports that he owes the IRS a boatload of money, thus forcing him to come out of retirement, we haven't had too many appearances from Mayweather family members in the headlines for a bit. That changed over the past 24 hours when Roger Mayweather was arrested on charges of attacking a female boxer he used to train. I'm sure Floyd Sr. will have a comment or two on this one...

From the "say it ain't so" file comes Dan Rafael's blog entry mentioning how a lawsuit from Kessler's former promoter could derail the Super Six before it even gets going. To which I say, oh, hell no...

Here's a good little piece on how the Agua Caliente Casino Resort put a big effort into promoting the Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell card. It's just nice to see boxing discussed as something to use as a draw for guests...

Andrew Walker at East Side Boxing discusses what it would take for the U.K. to get a TV channel devoted to boxing. My heart says that would be incredible for the U.S. too, but my heart knows that niche channels in general don't seem to be doing that well, and boxing's audience is too small to make that possible.

Posted by The Franchise


20/20 Hindsight: Nate Campbell May Be the Unluckiest Man in Boxing, Plus Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander Impress

Poor Nate Campbell. The Galaxxy Warrior may seriously be the unluckiest man in boxing.

Or at least he's been up for that honor over the last 18 months. Since his thrilling lightweight title win against Juan Diaz in March 2008, little has gone right for him.

His first title defense was supposed to be against Joan Guzman, but his foe failed to make weight and then refused to fight at all. Nate claims that cost him $400,000, and he subsequently filed for bankruptcy.

This February, he was ready to put his titles up against Ali Funeka, but he didn't make weight and lost his belts on the scale. Granted, that was bad luck of his own making, but still. At least he (barely) won that fight.

That brings us to this past Saturday and his bout with 140-pound titleholder Timothy Bradley. The record reflects that he suffered a third-round TKO, but it sure didn't look that way to these eyes.

At issue was a nasty cut Campbell suffered near his left eye early in the third round. Replays backed up Nate's version of the story, which is that he suffered it after an accidental clash of heads. The ref thought otherwise, Bradley spent the rest of the round beating on Campbell, and the fight was stopped before the fourth.

It's probably impossible to know for sure if the headbutt caused the cut, but my brother Uatu said something at dinner last night that was very true: in the hundreds of fights we've both watched, it's not too often a cut like Campbell's gets opened up by a punch.

Campbell's team will certainly appeal, and as Dougie Fischer wrote after the fight, there's probably some chance the loss could get changed to a no decision. During his angry post-fight interview, Nate seemed more upset about the TKO loss going on his record than anything else.

I'm hoping the decision is reversed, as Campbell is no spring chicken at 37 and is running out of time and chances. He's been too much fun to watch in the ring to have his career peter out like this.

Even if Campbell gets his wish, he may not get a rematch with Bradley. Gary Shaw sure didn't sound too anxious to do it when asked by Jim Gray after the match.

And maybe we don't need to see one anyway. Bradley won all three rounds and may have just cruised to an easy decision if not for the cut. I'm not quite as high on Desert Storm as some people, but you have to hand it to him for continuing to get it done.

After seeing all of his fights in 2008 and 2009, my opinion of Bradley hasn't changed. He's not elite in any one area, but he's good enough at everything that he has no obvious weaknesses to exploit.

He has quick hands but not the highlight film speed of a Manny Pacquiao. He's defensively aware but not a master like Bernard Hopkins. And he clearly doesn't have a ton of one-punch power, but he's no slapper and can get opponents' attention with head or body shots.

One thing I do agree with is Bradley's self-assessment that he can move all day. His footwork was excellent on Saturday and he always comes into fights in tremendous shape.

It's still just a little hard for me to think of Bradley as the top dog in his division, but with the old guard at 140 fading away and Pacquiao just passing through, maybe he is. You can't argue with his results.

Bradley may have some other young guys to match up with him over the next few years (Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana come to mind), and one of them could be the winner of Saturday's co-feature. Devon Alexander faced a stiff test in Junior Witter and passed it with flying colors.

Yes, Witter claimed after the fight that he had injured his hand during the fight, leading to a strange stoppage. And the fans weren't too pleased with what they were seeing either.

But let's face it: there aren't many fighters trickier to face than Witter. The Brit has one of the most unusual fighting styles around, leaping in to punch and quickly grabbing to avoid counter shots. He also constantly switches stances from orthodox to southpaw and back.

Alexander showed a lot of patience when presented with that puzzle, picking his spots well. He caught Witter with a few hooks and straight lefts that did some damage, and he seemed to be growing in confidence as the fight went on.

He should certainly be right in the mix at junior welterweight, and could very well end up as serious competition for Bradley after another fight or two.

Posted by The Franchise