At Friday's weigh-in for Lamont Peterson-Lucas Matthysse Saturday on Showtime, BoxingScene's David Greisman and I did some interviews on the fight itself, the topics in the headline, some upcoming bouts, the latest figure for Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view sales and more. Read on for word from welterweight/Showtime commentator Paulie Malignaggi; upward-moving junior welterweight Amir Khan; and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.no comments
It's one of those kind of fights, is Lamont Peterson vs. Lucas Matthysse Saturday on Showtime: The more you dissect it, the more footage you watch, the harder it gets to figure out who will win. You might have started off one way and flipped back and forth repeatedly. In that sense, your fractured crystal ball reflects the odds in general -- by one sports book, Matthysse is the ultra-narrow favorite, but the closer it gets to fight night, the more writers come out picking Peterson.
That kind of fight might be enticing enough on its own, but the attraction is compounded by yet other things, like the ways in which Peterson and Matthysse are alike, and they ways they're different. Matthysse is a brawler who can box; Peterson is a boxer who can brawl. If you mope around lamenting the sorry state of body punching in boxing today, this weekend has a pot of gold to cheer you up. Even if both men take turns avoiding contact for stretches, there will be a significant percentage of the war waged in the trenches. The winner, too, will cement his spot as a top-two fighter in the top-heavy 140-pound division, with a nearly equally compelling fight awaiting the victor against Danny Garcia that could crown a new lineal junior welterweight champion.
Peterson-Matthysse has got all of the colors of the rainbow, only if a rainbow could be drenched in blood -- pretty, mixed with violent, mixed with the sharp-contrasting-mingling colors, mixed with the excitement of such a rare event. There are people, and I'm one of them, who have been looking forward to this bout more than any other on the 2013 calendar.no comments
(A cast of thousands, from left: Anthony Peterson; Devon Alexander; Lamont Peterson; Lee Purdy; Anthony Ogogo)
If you're headed to Atlantic City this weekend for one of the year's best main events -- the junior welterweight scrap between Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse -- or even if you're just trying to figure out how much of the Showtime/Sho Extreme broadcasts you want to catch, here's a handy guide to the men on the TEN-FIGHT UNDERCARD. The one that begins at THREE THIRTY P.M. It walks a fine line between, "Wow, lots of boxing for my money!" and "Uh, is it worth it to be at the fights for the equivalent of a full workday, and what happens if there are a bunch of early knockouts, won't I just be sitting around for hours anyway?" But there are some worthwhile fights and fighters on the undercard, and I believe they'll run in the order I listed below, latest to earliest. I'll change it around if I find out differently later.no comments
(Dusty Harrison, left, and D.C. based rapper Wale, right; via)
These are flush times for D.C. boxing. This Saturday, two of the top ticketsellers in the Beltway will appear on separate cards: junior welterweight contender Lamont Peterson fights in Atlantic City against Lucas Matthysse, while blue chip welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez Harrison holds down the home front in Washington, D.C. in a step-up bout.
Acclaimed amateur Harrison made headlines for getting an exemption from local boxing regulators to begin his professional career at the green age of 17. Approximately two years later, he's fighting his first pro opponent with a winning record, Eddie Soto, and in only his second eight-round bout. It's an important moment in Harrison's career, one that in it short life has been wrestling -- and by the testimonials of his team, successfully so far -- with one word: "maturity," both mental and physical.
"I think it's a really good test for me, a perfect step-up fight," Harrison said in an interview with TQBR this week.
Key Harrison team member Jeff Fried said that with Harrison as the headliner of a nine-fight card Saturday at the University of the District of Columbia Sports Complex, they have every expectation of him selling out the 3,000-seat venue, although it's a bigger venue by a factor of three than Harrison has ever headlined.
Harrison is one of the torchbearers for a revival of boxing in the region, led by the Peterson brothers, featherweight Gary Russell, Jr., and heavyweights Seth Mitchell and Tony Thompson. Each are at varying stages of their careers, having suffered setbacks they haven't yet bounced back from (Mitchell/Anthony Peterson), having suffered setbacks subsequently overcome (Lamont Peterson/Thompson) or not having taken off yet at all (Russell). Harrison, all of 18 years old, is somewhere between the second two categories.
In August of last year, Harrison got dropped hard in the 6th and final round by 2-5-0 Marqus Jackson. The video is compelling footage. Fried, who has advised the likes of Riddick Bowe, Shane Mosley and Winky Wright, said he watched it 40 times while trying to decide whether to join forces with Harrison and his trainer father, Buddy. And everyone thinks -- oddly enough -- it was a wonderful occasion.
"I think it was the best thing that has happened to me," Harrison said.no comments
Lucas Matthysse, the hard punching Argentine, WBC interim junior welterweight titlist and number one Ring-ranked junior welterweight, will challenge the IBF strapholder Lamont Peterson this Saturday in Atlantic City. It’s a storied town, one that has seen some classic fights down the years. Yet it’s also synonymous with the darker side of the sweet science, and the forces at work behind the scenes that so often keep the fans and their expectations tantalizingly apart. I suppose in that sense it’s the perfect setting for these two, given the extent to which their respective careers have been intertwined with that mercurial virtue known as justice.no comments
Get excited, there are some good fights this week. There is also a ridiculously cool Game of Thrones poster at the top of this post, designed by Saul Bass and available for $40. We’d really like to see someone do something similar for some vintage fight posters – how cool would that be?
Anyway – from Moscow to Cancun, let’s get to the fights.no comments
Since Patrick Connor already had you covered for Friday Night Fights and I already had you covered for ShoBox on an already-light week, there normally would be little need for any Weekend Afterthoughts. But a few contenders of note were in action, including a few who found themselves amid some drama, so here's a drizzling of W.A.'s:
- Jamie McDonnell vs. Julio Ceja. This was the bout of the weekend -- two contenders wringing every ounce of sweat out of their bodies and fighting at a high level. In the end, McDonnell had just a smidge more technique, movement and overall ability than the more brawling-oriented Ceja, pulled away for a majority decision and probably established himself as a top-5 bantamweight in the process (although it's a thinner division these days than just a year or two ago). McDonnell pulled away in the 12th after a hotly-contested 11th where Ceja landed a big left hook. I did not closely score the fight because most people seemed to agree while watching it live and McDonnell looked to be in control more often than not, although one U.K. paper found the decision controversial, rather than just the too-wide 118-110 scorecard. Excellent stuff, this. More McDonnell, more Ceja.
- Ricky Burns vs. Jose Gonzalez. This was the most puzzling outcome of the weekend -- one man, Gonzalez, putting on a masterclass of boxing against the #1 lightweight if you assume Adrien Broner is departing permanently, Burns, only to quit after the 9th round. Gonzalez was absolutely owning Burns through seven rounds, controlling distance and making his jabs whiff short. But in the 7th round both men traded in a Round of the Year candidate. At some point around there, Gonzalez reportedly hurt his hand or wrist, and he appeared to run out of gas, and he didn't look like he took it well that Burns stood up to his finishing charge. Either his true character was revealed, i.e. adversity and Gonzalez don't mix, or else he'll take the criticism he got for quitting to heart and turn into a warrior a la Vitali Klitschko after he was criticized for quitting with an injured shoulder, or hell, maybe he'll do the Victor Ortiz hybrid thing where he's in nasty brawls that suggest he's now a MAN but also does mentally fragile things all the time, too. Burns might've been in sub-optimal shape or state of mind after his career jerking around with promoter switches and abandoned bouts, but he lives to fight another day and showed heart, experience and a little luck can bail you out on an off-night in the ring against an opponent in a groove.
- Vic Darchinyan vs. Javier Gallo. Darchinyan got revenge for the recently-deceased movie critic legend Robert Ebert against Vincent Gallo, whose movie "Brown Bunny" Ebert and Gallo famously got in a flame war over... sorry, read that wrong. Javier, not Vicent. Anyway, after getting rocked in the 1st by a Gallo right hand, Darchinyan took over and dropped Gallo a total of four times en route to putting him down for good in the 4th round. He might get Victor Terrazas next if Nonito Donaire doesn't, or he could face true junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. Either match-up means another meaningful fight for Darchinyan, who is in the midst of his latest career revival at age 37. That's more likely to be cut short against Rigo than Terrazas, but even his recent losses get better all the time -- Abner Mares and Shinsuke Yamanaka in particular have established themselves as the real deal.
- Kazuto Ioka vs. Winsanu Kokietgym. Junior flyweight Ioka didn't beat anyone all that legit, but the lengthy highlight clip I saw was still fulfilling. Ioka doesn't waste much motion, almost flicking out his punches and standing in the pocket while defending himself with subtle adjustments of his gloves or tiny twists of the neck. He only started getting hit late because he was going for the stoppage, which he got in the 9th off a body shot. God, that fight against Roman Gonzalez would've been a doozy had Ioka's team not turned it down in the name of accumulating experience. Another junior flyweight contender in action against limited competition, Adrian Hernandez, struggled more than Ioka according to Dan Rafael, but I haven't been able to track down the bout myself.
A boxer boxer. (h/t unofficial TQBR visual consultant Che)
We'll have some Weekend Afterthoughts soon enough for the fights that went down this weekend, but there's still a lot left to talk about with the prior weekend -- the pay-per-view buys for Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero, the appropriateness of Ruben Guerrero's trash talk as evaluated by a noted trash talker, what's next for Lil Floyd, and a couple other related things that have transpired mostly over the course of the past week. We also have some non-Mayweather related items, like Deontay Wilder's arrest and Al Haymon's latest signee and the de rigueur steroid update.no comments
(Dierry Jean connects on Cleotis Pendarvis; credit: Tom Casino, Showtime)
Nearly three years ago on a trip to Montreal for the light heavyweight clash between Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson, the one fighter on the undercard who made an impression on me was Dierry Jean. Watching him struggle with Cleotis Pendarvis on ShoBox Friday night through three rounds, I began to wonder whether I had overrated him back then. But with a deep gash in his eye at the start of the 4th round, Jean found a laser overhand right that put Pendarvis down and nearly out. Suddenly, I was wondering whether I had, in fact, underrated him. Jean closed the show with his badly hurt opponent against the ropes and the referee had no choice but to step in and call it a technical knockout.
The junior welterweights had been playing a high-speed game of cat-like pattycake through three rounds, with most of the rounds interchangeable. Both were quick, both were setting traps and countering, both displayed good reflexes and defensive instincts. I had it 2-1 through three for Jean, but it could've been the other way around, too. The head butt swayed the 3rd on my card; Jean's right eye was cut right on the outside, but it was a long, deep hole and the bleeding might have trickled over into his field of vision. Or maybe Pendarvis, seeing blood, began to find a home for his punches at the end of that round because he had some crimson to target. The blood might've sharpened Jean's focus too in the 4th, though, because that right hand was on the money. That Pendarvis was incredibly able to get up at all might've been what saved him from being on the wrong end of a KO of the Year candidate.
As if the 140-pound division wasn't deep enough, Jean just announced his arrival. True, Pendarvis doesn't have a really notable win on his record, but he has close losses to Mauricio Herrera and Terrence Cauthen, and he's made a name for himself on the Southern California sparring circuit against top pros like Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito. This was a good win, one that shows Jean can handle adversity against an authentic, tricky, southpaw pro and rise to the occasion. He's next in line for Lamont Peterson's alphabet strap, but Peterson is tied up through at least next weekend against Lucas Matthysse, and the winner might face Danny Garcia next, so don't count on Jean getting in there against a top guy until fall at the earliest. While he's not yet in the league of that trio, Jean did show he'd be a viable opponent for the winner of that round-robin, at minimum.
On the undercard, John Thompson won a middleweight unanimous decision against fellow undefeated Geovanni Rodriguez, but neither of them wore the role of "prospect" all that well. Thompson had size (6'1"), wingspan (77"), speed and reflexes on his side, but he punched sloppily and bent his neck back at a 45 degree angle with every shot, so much so that if he meets anyone with a modicum of countering ability and punching power, you have to figure he gets knocked out. Still, after some seesaw early rounds, Thompson began to work from long range and dial in sharper right hands, with a left hook and then a jab dropping Rodriguez in the 4th and a right cross hurting him badly in the 10th. Thompson's trunks were 'merican-themed and tasseled, so he has crazy fashion going for him, but he needs to work on his punch technique and what he's doing with his chin way up there before he can be considered even "someone to watch."no comments