Recommended Viewing and Random Thoughts By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (April 7, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing
Tonight is the episode five premiere of “Fight Camp 360: Inside the Super Six World Boxing Classic” (Showtime, 10 PM, ET/PT) which takes a behind-the-scenes and ringside look at Showtime's super middleweight tournament, which resumed a couple of weeks ago at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, pitting “King” Arthur Abraham versus Andre Dirrell.
That fight- which for the most part was dominated by Dirrell- ended abruptly when Abraham whacked Dirrell while he was down on the canvas in the 11th round, causing his disqualification.
“360,” from the very onset, has been a solid effort by the production crew at Showtime, which is oftentimes overshadowed by their colleagues across the street at HBO. But for my money, I'll take “360” by unanimous decision over “24/7.” My reason? It's simple; while they are both slick productions, there is something very contrived and staged about “24/7.” At times, it's like the boxing version of “The Hills,” reality TV that isn't always real. What I like about “360” is that they let the action speak for itself. They aren't trying to create storylines that have to be approved by the promoters. Unlike “24/7,” Showtime's production is not financed by the promoters and is therefore much more unhindered. To me, when “24/7” failed to mention the suitcase full of money that Oscar De La Hoya seduced Manny Pacquiao with, back in 2006- which was where this rivalry was really created- in the lead up to that promotion, was where they lost a good deal of credibility.
“24/7” is a promotional infomercial. “360” is a documentary series.
And one of the huge advantages they have is that since they are covering a series of fights, they have the ability to show clips of the actual bouts. But beyond that, what is really compelling is the interplay that takes place between those involved in the fight. From the trainers, the promoters and managers, and family members who are seated ringside, you get an up close and personal look at what happens inside the crucible that is a professional prizefight that is not covered on boxing broadcasts. The reality is when people know that the cameras are on them, they act differently. But as the fight gets going, you get the sense that they quickly forget about them and the filters come off.
And the Dirrell-Abraham fight, and its ensuing madness, is a perfect example of the rising emotions and tensions that exist during the ebbs-and-flows of a heated contest. The ever-emotional Gary Shaw, exhorting his boxer, the concern in the corner of Abraham as they give up the early lead, the anxiety of Dirrell's spouse and then the anger of his corner and relatives as he gets knocked cold from Abraham's transgression.
Then you have the hectic scene in the bowels of the arena as a disoriented and dazed Dirrell is taken into this locker room. And finally, the calm after of the storm. I don't want to give away too many spoilers but all I can say is, you can't script this stuff.
And that's the best part of “360”- they don't try to.
- I didn't get to mention this before, but I thought Miguel Garcia and “Mile High” Mike Alvarado looked outstanding this past weekend on the most recent edition of “Top Rank Live.” Garcia, who blew out veteran Tomas Villa in one, is an impressive, all-around offensive machine. If he has the ability to catch (we already know he can pitch), he will be a handful for any fighter between 126-130 pounds in the very near future. As for Alvarado, who caught a case, if he can keep himself out of trouble, I think he's another boxer that will be thrown into the mix in what is a very deep 140-pound division.
- Speaking of junior welterweight, I'm told that all that's keeping a showdown between Tim Bradley and Marcos Maidana from moving forward is about $50,000 on the Bradley side. If this becomes a reality, it will take place on June 19th at the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino in Rancho Mirage, California. Yeah, Luis Abregu, who was originally slated to face Bradley in a welterweight contest, is a fun fight, but it's not nearly as significant as Bradley-Maidana.
- And once again, Gary Shaw proves that on a consistent basis, by willing to make bouts of this nature, he is the most fan-friendly promoter on the planet. But the comment I really wanted to make about “The Shaw-riff” is that I wondered, in the aftermath of his father’s death a few weeks back, if he would perhaps mellow or become a more contemplative individual. Well, judging by his e-mail sparring with David Itskowitch of Golden Boy Promotions last week, and watching the latest “360” (where he pulls no punches during the promoter summit) I'm glad to report that Shaw is as fiery, passionate and pugnacious, as ever. He is still filled with piss-and-vinegar.
- Again, don't want to give away too much, but after watching episode five of “360,” if you still think Dirrell was acting, then you either A) had a wager on Abraham or B) just have it out for “The Matrix.”
- I know Top Rank is looking to put welterweight Mike Jones on as the opener on HBO on June 5th before WBA junior middleweight titlist Yuri Foreman defends his belt against Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium. I know some of the names that are being kicked around, but how 'bout Delvin Rodriguez? “D-Rod” is a guy who's legitimately a top 15-20 147-pounder, has fought for the world title, has been a regular performer on TV, can bang a bit and has decent boxing skills. Most importantly, Rodriguez is usually a pretty entertaining fighter. Just my opinion, but I think this is an appropriate match-up for a young prospect making his debut on this platform.
- Yeah, I'll say it right now; Erislandy Lara is a slick, effective boxer who will be a tough out. But he bores me to death. Now, give me Omar “Oh” Henry any day of the week. This kid is exciting, can really bang and has been really impressive as of late. I don't care that maybe Lara would always give Henry fits. Ask yourself this question: who would you rather pay money to watch fight?
Henry's most recent outing can be viewed at Top Rank's website:
-Yeah, I know this may sound cold or harsh, but I'll say it anyway; it will actually make me chuckle a bit if Roy Jones doesn't end up making a dime for his fight against Bernard Hopkins. The bottom line is simple; he's made a lot of money in this game and really hasn't give much back (certainly not the way a Thomas Hearns- another fighter who is facing some major financial difficulties- did), but here's a guy who never really cared what the public thought and, only when he had to, cooperated with the media. Although that may have not been the best idea in retrospect:
(And now that I think about it, he also shoved Derrick “Second Hand” Smoke down our throats, incessantly)
But seriously, based on that “fight” with Bernard Hopkins, Jones is probably getting what he deserved. As for Square Ring, well, it couldn't happen to a better company.
BLUE DEVIL FLURRIES
Hey, if the Simms brothers can fight each other, why not the Klitschkos?...Sergiy Dzinziruk makes his stateside debut on the May 14th edition of “ShoBox” against Sherzod Husanov at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California...Thompson Boxing celebrates his 10th anniversary on April 23rd as the return to the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California, with a main event featuring Mauricio Herrera and Efren Hinojosa. If you haven't been to one of these shows, I suggest you do. It's a great atmosphere, with very good fights. This program has developed the likes of Bradley and Yonnhy Perez...Was it just me, or was “One Shining Moment,” with Jennifer Hudson, lacking something. Nothing against Hudson, but it just wasn't the same without Luther Vandross or Teddy Pendergrass...How long before John Ruiz is the mandatory challenger for the WBA again?...Would Jimmy Chitwood have hit that half-court short for Butler?...Any questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me at Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing .You can also join our new Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing * Special Thanks ToMaxBoxing.