Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cynicism Rewarded

Yup, nothing I saw on Shobox tonight convinced me otherwise that any of the dudes in this heavyweight title eliminator tournament could knock off Vladimir Klitschko.

I was not in agreement with the Showtime commentators who thought after the fight ended it was impossible for Calvin Brock to pull out a decision over eventual victor Eddie Chambers. In fact, I had it a draw, with Brock winning rounds one through four, then the 10th and 11th. Maybe that's why it took so long for the scores to be tabulated. How much would it have sucked to hold a four-boxer single-elimination tournament and have one of the fights come up even? I don't want to allege foul play here, I'm just sayin'. That all three judges had their pick for winner just one round ahead is not surprising.

I did like some things about Eddie Chambers, whom I had not seen before. Those are some fast hands he's got. He also moved around in little baby steps like all those awesome fights from Joe Louis' era. The way he held his hands and cocked his head was pure new school, though. Anyway, he's evidently got a little pop in his mits, too, because Brock looked all kinds of mushy in the face parts. One main problem: He's way too small to beat Klitschko. I'd give him a good chance against literally any other heavyweight on the scene that I've seen, a category of fighter that does not include his next opponent, Alexander Povetkin, who he'll meet for the final elimination. Chambers looks like he could dull most heavyweights' power with that upper body fall-back move, and his speed would give a lot of them serious trouble. I don't understand why he didn't throw more punches, considering Brock gave him plenty of opportunities, but then, Chambers is young and maybe didn't realize the gravity of the situation. Against Klitschko, that inactivity and tendency to stand in front of his man without doing anything for minutes at a time would only lead to Chambers getting jabbed one billion and three times per round, and Klitschko wouldn't care if he hit glove, because so long as Klitschko jabs Chambers and keeping him away, he wins on being busy alone.

Brock didn't look like the same person who was in a fun brawl with Jameel McCline a few years ago, nor the same person who scored 2006's knockout of the year over Zuri Lawrence, or even the same person who gave Klitschko a moderate run for his money late last year. I wonder if that crushing knockout loss he suffered at the hands of Klitschko took a lot out of him. Chambers' punches seemed to affect Brock a good deal, even the jabs. Brock looked slow in comparison not only to Chambers but to previous incarnations of himself, although maybe that had something to do with Brock coming in at a career high weight. He looked sluggish enough that I was tempted to think he just didn't want to fight Klitschko again -- who could blame him? -- if not for the fact that Brock came out hard in the 10th and 11th. Then just as mysteriously he ran away from Chambers all of the 12th, as if he didn't need the round or didn't want it. Maybe he was distracted and/or annoyed, as I was, by his father trying to dictate directions between rounds when Pernell Whitaker is his trainer these days, not dear old dad, his ex-trainer. Anyway, I fear Brock's headed for opponent-land if he is worse for the wear from the Klitschko fight, because Brock was only ever a good all-around fighter who had a low margin of error if he wanted to become champ. I'd miss the "Boxing Banker" nickname if Brock left the game, but hey, he is a banker if he wants to be with that college degree, and his wife is working to become a lawyer. Better that he enjoys a life of high-falutin' banker-lawyer love than muddle through a boxing career as a punching bag.

Clearly, I am this guy.

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