- All the end-of-the-year award roundups are floating out. There's The Ring, there's ESPN, and then there's everyone else. So what have we learned? Welterweight (147 lbs.) Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is a popular choice for Fighter of the Year. I can dig it on one level, because beating Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya in the two biggest fights of the year is a good argument for him. But I liked the years of Miguel Cotto, a fellow welterweight, and Kelly Pavlik, a middleweight (160 lbs.), better for the extra win each collected and the fact that they were both in fight of the year candidates. What else? Judging by the list of knockout of the year candidates over at ESPN, beware the left: 13 of the 21 candidates came on left hooks or straight lefts, a skewed statistic given the deficit of southpaws in boxing. Also, judging by the SecondsOut.com readers' pick for worst decision of the year (middleweight win for Jermain Taylor over Cory Spinks), they're as blind as the judges who gave lightweight (135 lbs.) Joel Casamayor his win over Jose Armando Santa Cruz.
- I updated some of my links along the side rail -- boxing and non-boxing. Check out the book/music reviews of Corduroy Books, the boxing musings of No Mas, and the aforementioned Seconds Out for the simple fact that Thomas Hauser writes for them. And more. P.S.: I felt crazy for leaving Ricky Hatton in my top 10 "pound for pound" list after everyone else dropped him, but The Ring has him even higher than I do. I'm assuming it's on the merits.
- I've already recapped some of the busy week for the cruiserweights (200 lbs.) over at mvn.com/boxing -- first Steve Cunningham forced the corner of Marco Huck to throw in the towel, then we get a big, big March match-up in David Haye versus Enzo Maccarinelli... and then, last night, Tomasz Adamek beat a nobody in a tune-up. I don't know if Adamek's big enough to make noise in the division, but he's worthy keeping an eye on.
- Likewise, I've already addressed the Mayweather-MMA chatter, but I'm now thoroughly convinced that it's mere bluster.
- And last on my list of retreaded turf: Roy Jones Jr. visited the Knicks for a practice in the week prior, and somehow, few made the connection between two former greats falling on hard times.
- The first meaningful fight of 2008 is upon us Saturday -- the inaugural title defense for 140-pound belt-holder Pauli Malignaggi, against Herman Ngoudjo on Showtime. I really, really like Paulie, who's got a warrior's heart and excellent skills but the punch of Peach Schnapps. On the other end of the scale is Allan Green, the opposite of Malignaggi in charisma but a mean puncher, who'll be in a super middleweight (168 lbs.) battle with a significant opponent in Rubin Williams Friday night on ESPN2. And the vaunted Peterson brothers are in against decent competition Friday night, too, on Showtime.
Go, Paulie, go!