Not every boxing weekend is so all-fire important, so not every Weekend Afterthoughts need be novel-length. Let us sweep and dust about the corners and pick up the dust bunnies and dig our fingers into them.
For starters, you got this video, via TQBR Schedule Maestro and Australian Bureau Chief Alex McClintock. See, Manny Pacquiao? Jesus sometimes DOES want you to punch people. Other stuff:
- Jorge Linares. What can you do with this guy? You look at him and at times, he seems to be everything you cold possibly want if you were building a perfect fighting machine. Then he loses to Sergio Thompson in a bout meant to set up his latest career revival with a vengeance-driven rematch win over Antonio DeMarco. It's not as if you can write him off entirely for losing due to a cut; but then, his tendency to get so badly bloodied is a bit of a liability, isn't it? And it's not as if he was mega-badly hurt in that fight; but what is he doing going down in the first place? All praise due to Thompson for going nuts on Linares, of course, but Linares shouldn't have been on the mat at all against someone against whom there was such a pedigree disparity. The cuts problem is obviously a huge one, and apparently always will be, especially when Linares is so damn hittable; on that count, he might move on from trainer Freddie Roach, who doesn't exactly specialize in defense but found a way to turn Amir Khan respectable there. The main issue there, though, seems to be that Golden Boy Promotion's Oscar De La Hoya thinks Roach is too busy to train Linares fully, and I've always wondered whether Roach stretches himself too far, myself. Another problem: I don't think he's a lightweight, is Linares. He wasn't a massive puncher at featherweight, and nobody seems to respect his power at 135 pounds, based on DeMarco stalking him all fight and Thompson simply bulldozing in and letting Linares' punches ding off him. (I've seen it said that Thompson was hurt by Linares, but I don't know if I see that part anywhere.) I'm still not going to write Linares off entirely, but there's a lot not to like these days, like him losing to Thompson and doubling the misery by spoiling a potentially good rematch.
- Hank Lundy. Our man Patrick Connor covered the Friday Night Fights card amply and deftly, but with Linares going down, I really like the idea of Lundy stepping in against DeMarco. That sounds like a great cat-and-mouse game to replace the one we lost in DeMarco-Linares II, and we've already seen DeMarco excel as the cat and Lundy excel as the mouse. Of course, we might instead end up with DeMarco-Thompson, since Thompson-Linares was some kind of sanctioning belt eliminator. And I bet you the networks pass on that one -- in which case the question becomes whether DeMarco likes his belt more, or a TV date. I hope he likes the TV date more. Another option would be to have DeMarco-Linares II anyway, but it doesn't interest me until Linares is rehabilitated elsewhere.
- Kelly Pavlik. If there's one thing that made people doubt whether Robert Garcia was the 2011 Trainer of the Year -- OK, there were a few things, but this was one of them -- it's that it would be hard to point out how he tangibly made any of his already-excellent fighters all that much better. Pavlik, at least, looked fairly sharp to me in his first fight since joining Team Garcia. No, Aaron Jaco was not a test of anything significant, but Pavlik needed a win, and he needed to look good, and he did both of those things. I suspect Pavlik's miles inside the ring and out will prevent him from returning to his pound-for-pound heights, but I can see him being a real player at super middle or middle still, if he can keep his demons at bay. The sad thing about Pavlik and Arthur Abraham fighting in separate fights this weekend was that once upon a time, Pavlik vs. Abraham was as good as it got -- but both lost their way for various reasons. Also, as a television program with anything like reliable logistics, "Top Rank Live" is a freaking mess, according to Dan Rafael here, and, oh, according to just its entire history.
Here is the thing about Pavlik, who I think CAN reclaim the middleweight division if he gets a chance. I thought he was winning the Sergio Martinez fight until those cuts. They seemed to take everything out of him and he couldn't see anything coming. Without those (and obviously credit to Martinez for opening them) I think Pavlik retains his belt and who knows where we'd be.
And Linares... boy, when he exploded onto the scene against Oscar Larios years ago he seemed like he was destined to be something really incredible and it's really strange how he has just devolved over time.
Early in the 1st round of Thompson-Linares, Thompson started smacking Linares with big rights and I thought "Here we go..." Didn't think it'd get stopped in the following round or anything, and I'm not saying I called the loss, but I agree with robb_muckle. Linares looked to be in rough from the starting bell on. His combinations are really nice, and when he's using his footwork, it's very solid, but he does this a lot: use his legs and jab to get in, once inside throws a combination and either just stands there, or pulls out winding his gloves up like he's running. Not trying to over-analyze, but that's generally not the type of stuff that gets trained out after years of fighting. Even against DeMarco he was wide open for some clubbing right hooks and it was almost like he didn't see em coming. Not sure where he goes now.
Sidenote: Check out about halfway through round 1. Linares cracked Thompson with a left hook that stiffened his legs out a little bit. Linares flubbed the follow up by pushing down on his neck and allowing him to buy a little time though.
DeMarco-Lundy would be cool with me. As I said in my FNF piece, I'm not so sure Lundy can succeed on an HBO or Showtime level (or rather, the idea of what HBO and Showtime Championship Boxing are supposed to be), but I wouldn't mind seeing him try. He'll earn the check. But if they were able to make a DeMarco-Thompson fight and not have a 5 month promotional tour for it, I wouldn't mind that either.
Haven't actually gotten around to watching Pavlik-Jaco yet.
Re: the boxing priest going 120 rounds...Ha! Stick that in your (likely) corncob pipes and smoke it, Andy Bowen and Texas Jack Burke!
And thanks for the kudos, sir.
in a lot of ways, it's sad to see linares lose. if he had a better chin, he'd be exactly the star boxing fans crave: an exciting offense oriented fighter, who gets hit just enough so that things are never obviously one sided. i love how classy he can be in the ring, though for his future it might be best that he quits. (spoiler!) the second round gets all the credit, but i felt linares wasn't much in control in the first. it was a seesaw round where he was in front but thompson showed he wasn't there to lie down, battled hard and, at one point, i thought thompson rattled him.
pavlik looked good against jaco, but i have to wonder about how pavlik managed to KO jaco with his left. i don't do so from a conspiracy point, so much as pavlik was always strong with his right, but in this case did a TON with his left, and i feel like that says more about jaco than kelly.
lundy-demarco might not be a firefight, but that's a fight between two guys who have worked hard for the limelight and deserve it. i love watching lundy fight, but i think he loses a close decision to demarco. i hope it comes off
Can Linares get a medical exemption to fight with a Rip Hamilton faceguard? If so, I give him a solid chance at a comeback.
@vertigoking Finally caught Pavlik-Jaco last night and...yeah. The other guy didn't look that interested in being there after taking a few shots. I will say though, Kelly looked kinda sharp and light on his feet. He moved better than he has in his last few. As for the Martinez fight, I thought Kelly's body language in the last few rounds (for the most part) wasn't a good sign. There was a good deal of blood and I imagine that's tough to battle through, but he kinda just sat there and took a number of shots a couple of times and it was like he accepted the fight wouldn't be his. That said, physically he was very in that fight through 10 or so. He's been clowned a lot, but at his best he's gonna give any middleweight trouble at a minimum.
@PatrickConnor Thanks for the headsup on the Linares-Thompson leg-stiffening. I see it now. I absolutely watched the thing a couple times and missed it.
There's been some questioning of the GBP matchmaking in this fight. Thompson was a bit of a mystery, true. But there was nothing to indicate he was a threat, either.
As for over-analysis: That is TQBR's stock and trade, sir. I love those nitty-gritty breakdowns of where a fighter is doing something well or poorly. I heartily endorse it in this case and all cases. Besides what you said of Linares, he also seems to think he can turn his head with the punches and neutralize them; shit clearly ain't working.
@robb_muckle I also didn't think Linares was ever in control of the fight.
I'm also with you on what that left says about Jaco rather than Pavlik. Rafael said that the KO was a sign that Pavlik had a new "wrinkle," i.e. a left hand, but I'd like to see how a better fighter handles that same punch.
@HitDog Knowing him, he'd get punched in the faceguard and then the faceguard would cut him, ending the fight by TKO.
@tstarks It didn't seem like particularly woeful matchmaking to me, but maybe not much attention was paid to Thompson's record. It kinda reminds me of the Khan-Prescott situation where a pretty unknown guy stepped in with someone he wasn't supposed to have any business facing, but otherwise had a fancy record and a high KO percentage. If the aim is to put him in with DeMarco again, then I would've thought they'd put him in with a more known quantity that he could look good against (but get a few rounds) and go into the rematch confident. Maybe that's what they thought would be the case, but if that's true, Thompson didn't look half-bad (albeit wide/wild a few times) and someone didn't do their homework.