Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Gatti-Inspired, Broken Hand Boxing Blog

As I write this, my finger is in a splint. OK, the title is a bit misleading, but as my pinky nearly turned into a pretzel earlier today when it was dislocated and fractured, I figured I could pay no greater tribute to the day of Arturo Gatti's retirement than to soldier on the way he did so many times: broken bones and all. (wink)

MARGARITO-WILLIAMS

Squirm, Margarito fanboys.

As good as Cotto-Judah was, this was a hell of a good fight that was more competitive than the prohibitive favorite for fight of the year. I'm not ready to nominate it -- Pavlik-Miranda and Marquez-Barrera are right up there, too, for me -- but it's definitely a contender. So many drama points. It featured unexpected dominance early from Williams; a fierce charge by Margarito in the second half; several pyrotechnic exchanges throughout; and a moment of truth for the new champion, the freshly-crowned Williams.

Margarito nearly won the fight on sheer ferocity in round 11. Williams was hampered by an unfair warning that he'd lose a point if he clinched again, so he had little choice but to take a beating. That he won the 12th after that was the most impressive moment of the fight for him -- sure, he looked great for the first six rounds, but we found out in the 12th that Williams has championship-level heart. Big fight. Big moment. The 6'1" (seemingly much taller) Williams came up big, which kind of makes sense, doesn't it?

I have to think nine out of 10 people who watched that fight would call it for Williams. It was a brave showing by Margarito, but he was too slow and Williams was too quick, too fresh and punched way too much -- 1,256 times! -- for the Tijuana Tornado. If Margarito's slavish devotees don't concede his defeat, they are charlatans several times over.

Next for the winner: I want Williams to get his wish -- A matchup with Cotto. After all, if Margarito was lined up to fight him conditional on a win, why doesn't Williams get to replace Margarito? As good as Williams looked tonight, I'd pick Cotto in a barnburner. Cotto is in his prime, unlike the seemingly aging Margarito, and has better fundamentals.
Next for the loser: Despite his respectable showing, it seems to me Margarito has to reestablish himself at an advanced age to get back into the upper eschelon of the welterweight division. Sounds daunting, especially since Margarito was ducked even when he had a belt. If he takes on another top 10 contender -- Luis Collazo, maybe, in a rare style matchup of pressure fighter vs. gifted counterpuncher? -- and wins convincingly, I don't see why he wouldn't have earned it. But this may be a big career setback unless he gets the Cotto fight anyway and wins it.


GATTI-GOMEZ

This was sad.

Gatti got beat up. He looked real, real slow. Too many wars and the weight limbo he aptly self-diagnosed -- too old to make his body squeeze into 140 pounds, too small to be powerful and absorb the punches of bigger men -- did him in. All his punches seemed short even when he connected, like he thought Gomez was a foot closer. He would have had a way better chance against the ghost man he seemed to be aiming at.

Gomez performed better than I expected, and my hunch about the size differential made a huge impact. But this was about Gatti not having anything left.

Next for the winner: What's good for Williams is what's good for Gomez. Gatti was going to take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. if he won, and Gomez wants it. We'd find out yet more about what both those fighters have, if so, and it would be good for the sport in a minor way because it would pit a popular TV fighter against the son of a legend, potentially drawing in a handful of non-traditional or lapsed fans.
Next for the loser: My hope -- A fat cigar. A cruise where he reflects upon a grand career. A long, happy life, the kind where people see him on the street and want to hug him instead of getting his autograph. Good night, Mr. Gatti. Boxing will long remember you.

CINTRON-MATTHYSSE

What a knockout. You just don't find many punchers like Cintron these days. Williams TKOed Matthysse in 10; Cintron obliterated him in two. Despite the excellent action in round 1, the fight should've ended after the second knockdown, when Matthysse's legs were wobbly. It would've saved him from getting nearly decapitated by an uppercut, then getting his head crunched to a 45-degree angle by the next punch, which devastated him.

Cintron deserves to move into the top of the welterweight ranks with this win. The Margarito humiliation looks very distant now.

Next for the winner: Why not solve this boxing-UFC thing once and for all? Cintron, with his background as a collegiate wrestler and a willingness to get into the octagon, has a better shot than any boxer at defying the obvious -- a boxer in boxing rules wins against a mixed martial arts fighter, an MMA fighter beats a boxer in MMA rules. I admit I want this to happen because Cintron's strategic advantage would help boxing defeat this inferior sport. If not, I say give him Sugar Shane Mosley. Mosley-Mayweather would be better, but Mayweather's eyeing Ricky Hatton. Mosley backs down from no one, so I bet he'd do it. And if Cotto doesn't end up fighting Williams or Mosley, Cintron-Williams has the potential to be sensational.
Next for the loser: As Monty Python once observed, the key to not being seen is to not stand up. Likewise, the key to not being brutally knocked out is, when you're nearly unconscious, don't stand up. Cheers for the guts, but ouch for the brain. I'd find a better trainer, one who would've thrown the towel in sooner, and maybe one to sand down Matthysse's rough edges. He's got power, an untrainable commodity. For a model of what finding an excellent trainer will do for a power puncher, may I recommend... Kermit Cintron?

3 comments:

BOB said...

the Cintron knockout made me jump up and hell to Matthysse...YOU GOT KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT...then i realized he looked dead and felt a little bad.

i think Margarito would have been better to pound Williams' body instead of reaching for his face.

Gomez is still not ready for primetime.

Fickle said...

Your eloquence makes me wish I knew anything at all about boxing, or any other sport for that matter.

alex said...

I almost wish I hadn't stiffed you and your kind invitation. That's how good that one-handed recap was.

Btw, can't believe you came home from the hospital and blogged. You're a trouper, TS.