Monday, November 12, 2007

A Decision Worse Than Making The Matrix Sequels, A Pair Of Uninformative Blowouts And A Dicey Career Move Off An Impressive Victory

I wrote this Sunday, but I thought we all might let the Miguel Cotto-Shane Mosley thriller soak in for a day and a half or so before I turned my attention to other things. Particularly, there was some talk before Saturday night that the Cotto-Mosley fight card was the best of the year, top to bottom, so I want to give my take on the other match-ups, then visit the other major fight of the night.

So here, in my ongoing roving-named series of quick thoughts, find my
Turbo Punches:
  • The Joel Casamayor win over Jose Armando Santa Cruz featured by far the worst decision by three judges I've ever seen with my own eyes in real time. I scored it 119-107 for Santa Cruz, and most everyone who scored it on press row had it about the same. That's 11 rounds to 1 against Casamayor, folks, with Casamayor losing an extra point for the 1st round knockdown. Were I feeling generous toward Casamayor -- and given what a jackass he is, I wasn't -- I could have, at most, give him another couple rounds. How two judges saw it as even a narrow victory astounds me, and how one judge saw it as only a narrow win for Santa Cruz is only slightly less astounding. Casamayor did nothing. Nothing. Since when do you get points for running away from someone? His punches, when he bothered to throw them, lacked steam. He was rusty from a 13-month layoff, and, maybe, just plain old at 36. The only thing Casamayor did of note was avoid getting clobbered when he accidentally got caught between the ropes at one point and dodged Santa Cruz's punches Matrix-style by bending halfway over. Plus, Santa Cruz was the aggressor throughout and landed plenty of hard shots against a Casamayor who usually is a defensive maestro. It's shameful that Santa Cruz, a nice, strange little fighter who is always entertaining despite being limited, has a loss on his record because of this decision. This decision is far worse, for me, than the Almazbek "Kid Diamond" Raiymkulov-Miguel Huerta decision this year, because, as Bad Left Hook correctly noted, at least Kid Diamond fought in that one, even though I and everyone else in the world thought he lost. I didn't see the Steve Forbes/Demetrius Hopkins fight this year that everyone thought was a solid Forbes victory that Hopkins somehow won on the scorecards. Hopkins and Casamayor are both Golden Boy-promoted fighters who got gift decisions on Golden Boy-promoted cards (as did, I hear tell, Golden Boy-promoted Daniel Ponce De Leon against Gerry Penalosa this year). I refuse to make allegations where I don't have evidence, and it'd be about the stupidest thing in the world for Golden Boy to be involved in any kind of judicial tampering, but if I were Golden Boy brass, I'd be taking a good hard look at myself about how it is that two of my pay-per-view cards featured three of the consensus three worst decision victories of the year. (Bad Left Hook's got an interesting theory on how the Casamayor decision debacle happened. I recommend checking it out, even though I don't endorse it myself.)
  • Speaking of Casamayor: There was a lot of good, frisky debate before the fight, during the broadcast and afterwards in some of boxing's chattering class about whether Casamayor deserves to be called the "true champion" of the lightweight (135 lbs.) division. He holds the Ring Magazine belt, which you earn by beating the man who beat the man who beat the man etc., Ring's commendable attempt to slice through the multi-belt/sanctioning organization morass. I have some thoughts on this, but not the time to give them this second, so I'll be delving into this later in the week.
  • Former welterweight (147 lbs.) champ Antonio Margarito did, truly, look sensational blowing out Golden Johnson in one round. Those were, truly, some of the best left uppercuts you'll see a right-hander land, and one of the most eye-popping power-punching combinations you're likely to witness. Margarito did, truly, start fast, learning his lesson from the Paul Williams defeat earlier this year where he dug himself about a six round hole on the scorecards just by getting outworked. But let's put this in context. We're talking about Golden Johnson here. Sure, he was a promising lightweight up until about 1998. But he got this fight by upsetting Oscar Diaz last year, who, so far as I can tell, was a prospect whose best win was over freaking Jesse Feliciano in 2005. Jesse Feliciano? Johnson before that had gotten his ass handed to him in three rounds by Vivian Harris in 2001, and has a few other not-so-impressive losses on his record to journeymen like Cosme Rivera, albeit some tough journeymen. One of boxing's best cliches is that "styles make fights." I really think Margarito would cream the shorter and vulnerable Cotto, I do, and Margarito is a good, good fighter. But the fleet-footed Mosley or Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would very likely pick Margarito apart, even with Margarito's height advantage. Nothing I saw in this win over Johnson changed my mind in any way about Margarito, other than to think that maybe if he got a rematch with Williams he wouldn't fight so poorly to start.
  • Likewise, Victor Ortiz' first round blowout of Carlos Maussa proved very little, mainly because Maussa looked so terrible. I didn't think that knockout punch was all that convincing, but Maussa responded to it very poorly. He's clearly a spent bullet, having been in some tough fights over the years, including an extended beatdown, albeit one in which Maussa was competitive, at the hands of Ricky Hatton in 2005. Maussa was, in theory, a good step-up fight for a hot young prospect on the verge of becoming a contender in the vicinity of the junior welterweight (140 lbs.)/welterweight divisions. It didn't work out being that way in reality, through no fault of Ortiz' own.
  • Switching gears to action across the ocean... David Haye's knockout of Jean-Marc Mormeck in France Saturday did prove quite a lot. This is a win over the legitimate champion of the division that proves Haye isn't just a boxing specimen; he's a real fighter. He showed some heart along the way by battling back from a 4th round knockdown and some other hairy moments. Now, he says, he's on his way to heavyweight. But if he's getting wobbled and/or dropped by the likes of Mormeck, and, before him, some dude named Giacobbe Fragomeni, and other naturally smaller men at the cruiserweight limit of 200 lbs., what's Haye gonna do when he gets hit by someone who's tipping the scales at around 260? He said before that he'd only gotten knocked out by Carl Thompson because he struggled so mightily with his weight that his stamina suffered. But before this fight with Mormeck, Haye claimed he'd worked the weight off more studiously, and therefore wouldn't have any stamina problems. What's his excuse for getting decked by Mormeck, then? I'd like to request that Haye stay at cruiserweight. There are some nice money fights for him there, such as a matchup with fellow countryman Enzo Maccarinelli. If he proves during his reign that he truly can take a punch from a 200-pounder, maybe I won't be so skeptical. I think Haye has a heavyweight punch and the kind of speed that could make him an interesting heavyweight contender, but I think those two factors could make him the cruiserweight king for a long time to come, if he devotes himself to his craft.

May the judges of the Casayamor-Santa Cruz fight be forever confined to this restaurant. "Fine eats" or no, it'd get old after a while. Plus, there's the humiliation factor.


Sean A. Malone said...

God the scoring of the Casamayor-Santa Cruz fight was just plain horrible. It was unjustified but I am not claiming any conspiracy theories simply inexpereienced judges. None the less an excellent night of fights last Saturday.

And I'm still partial to E.Honda's Hundred Hand Slap, priceless.

Tim -- said...

Thanks, Sean. I think "Turbo Punches" is only good if you follow the YouTube link.