A Dog’s Breakfast
By Luke Dodemaide (October 24, 2005)
Well it’s that time again, on today’s menu we have a pinch of Hussy Hussein, a hint of Hasim Rahman, a spoonful of Sugar Shane, a dab of Oscar De La Hoya and to add a little bit of zest, a swig of everybody’s favourite Nicaraguan wild man, Ricardo Mayorga.
But for the entrée, we have something we’ve all had almost a month to familiarise with, being the Antonio Tarver- Roy Jones rubber match outcome. But unfortunately since my mind cooks up analogies more idiosyncratic than anything Jamie Oliver's ever added to a pound of butter, I couldn't help comparing the slipping of supreme superiority of Roy Jones to his four legged counterpart of the same name who happened to bow out of his sport also with the same broken promises of eternal perfection.
Bare with me here.
As I saw it, Tarver just kept going like Birdstone at Belmont two years ago to ensure himself a place in the history books, at least in the chapters of Roy Jones’ career that is. For those of us who had their money on Jones, it was like watching that classy colt at who though obviously physically gifted wouldn’t dig deep enough to release the brilliance buried amongst himself, despite scraping the surface with scarce patches of patent brilliance.
No matter how many verbal whips were laid upon him by those frustrated fans sitting at ringside, Jones just could not hit full stride.
Antonio on the other hand had blinkers pre-applied by his trainer Buddy McGirt and had full focus on winning the bout, all twelve rounds, all thirty six minutes.
In this trilogy Buddy McGirt has performed a true training triumph, he got the optimum efficiency out of who I believe would have been an otherwise ordinary fighter. Besides his tall lanky frame, Tarver is not a man of too many physical gifts, his power is mediocre and his speed frill-less. Antonio’s biggest plus may be his obedience to his trainer, as well as his commitment to the fight. Clearly we saw in the rematch and rubber match, that if these factors supersede your ageing opponent, physical inferiority can prove irrelevant en route to victory.
So as Antonio chased down Jones’ greatness who on this occasion appeared far more handicapped by father time than the “Magic Man” at the same age, Roy was left to succumb to his shattered boxing perfection just like Smarty Jones did two years previous among the “Sport of Kings”. Birdstone was the cruel ingredient that denied Smarty a rare triple crown, and time was the stone in Jones’ works that denied him a third light heavyweight title tilt.
To the potentially perfect, what’s two thirds of a crown without the last? Very few can ever achieve or emulate flawlessness, Jones’ skills were so superior he could have been the sports Secretariat, he was that far ahead of the field. Instead he is left to ponder in a sad stable amongst others who’s careers were also cruelly denied the picturesque images of perfection at the final furlongs, such as Sunday Silence, War Emblem, Funny Cide, and of course Smarty Jones among thirteen others. It has been twenty-seven years since a thoroughbred fulfilled flawlessness in the triple crown ( Affirm ) but it may be even longer until boxing boasts another boundless boxer who's artistry, talents and skills are equal to that of Roy Jones. Mayweather may be on his way, however I still feel he has to lift a notch or two to be on the rare skill and high talent terrain that Roy once occupied.
And I’m sorry to start the next course of ‘A Dog’s Breakfast’ with a sour taste in my mouth, but I guarantee we got something sweet up next.
Despite the Fernando Vargas talks, Sugar Shane Mosley appears to be only a couple of signatures away from one of the most compelling clashes of his career and possibly his last bout of such significance before we see him ride off into the sunset of retirement, his opponent being undisputed welterweight world champion Zab ‘Super’ Judah. Mosley being reluctant to abandon 147 again, the rumour is that early to mid next year, we’ll see Judah defend his three belts against the Sugar man drawn by the opportunity to fight a superstar as well as a believed $4.5 million dollar payday. Should be a great fight, and in the early running, I’m just leaning towards Sugar Shane to pull back an upset and turn back the clock. Mosley’s defense is much sounder than given credit for, and also note that the two men to beat Shane were both master boxers; Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright. Mosley is a man of rhythm, it is technical superiority and fast, firm jab that hinders his fluid fighting style and derails his path to victory. If Judah can exorcise the ghosts of the Tszyu debacle by reworking his 2001 fighting style, I think it would do a lot for not just the confidence, but the potential of the 27 year olds future in the sport.
Zab would be more effective fighting as his previous pre-Tszyu model, his speed may yet be superior to Mosley’s, and if he’s on his toes he can perhaps beat Sugar Shane at his own game. Zab Judah once had the fastest feet I'd seen in the sport. The flat footed post-Tszyu Judah may be a world champion, but I believe the previous version is better suited to Sugar Shane. And if he can outbox Mosley in an impressive display, the increased personal awareness of this neglected string to his bow would only further heighten his pound for pound status and his chances of securing- and winning- a future Floyd Mayweather meeting.
Mosley’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya would achieve both a triumph for his fighter and his promotional umbrella if he was to secure this fight. However with the WBC’s recent appointment of the Golden Boy as mandatory challenger to Ricardo Mayorga’s 154 pound crown, it appears that in 2006 we could see Oscar’s victories once again occur in shorts and gloves rather than in a suit and tie. Ricardo Mayorga isn’t a pushover, and the WBC strap will only help him gather back that allure of confidence that he possessed before the Trinidad travesty last October. This fight would be one the pay-per-view events of 2006, especially if Oscar can also put together a decent undercard with his ever impressive stable of fighters. Two personalities could not contrast anymore than seen here with these two. And don’t underestimate the worth of Mayorga to this sport, boxing needs these kind of guys just as much as it needs the elegance and class of the Golden Boy.
And what's the up roar in Winky Wright opting to fight Sam Soliman all about? Jeez, for one why can't Wright opt for an easier night and for two, Soliman ain't just a dud from Down Under, this dude's been number one contender for the better part of two years. He may not be on Wright's level, but don't be fooled by his record, Soliman is no doubt one of the most improved guy's in the game. And with everybody but Einstein going to the drawing board on ways to beat Wright- fans posting their theories on every forum on the internet- Soliman's unusual unorthodox style will see him test an untried formula on the superbly solid southpaw. I wouldn't put my money on Soliman just yet, but at least he's bringing something new to the table. He ain't a poor man's Trinidad, or a slower Sugar Shane, he's the only Sam Soliman. Being one of a kind doesn't necessarily make him a star like a Mosley or a Trinidad, but it does make this fight interesting.
And on "A Dog's Breakfast" let me just pick a bone. What do you think hit Hussy Hussein harder in his rematch with Jorge Arce earlier this month? The Arce right hand, or Jeff Fenech's towel? Honestly that was unfair, unjustified and plain cruel. Look I'm always that guy- being in the pub, at home or ringside- calling for the ref to stop the fight before anyone else. And my premature stoppage acceptances have only heightened since Leavander was laid to rest, but this was one stoppage that had me really feeling for Hussy and his frustrations. I know he went down twice, but they weren't much more than flash knockdowns, Hussy did not appear hurt, bruised or battered in any way. It is also a known fact that body punchers are typically slow starters, and having seen many Hussein fights, I can concur with others and confirm that he is no exception. Jeff Fenech recently told Melbourne's SEN radio, that his heart was no longer in the sport anymore. And that he needed a break from the sport to do other things, boxing isn't important to him at this point in time as it has been in others. Well if I was IBF flyweight champ Vic Darchiniyian, the first thing I'd do while hearing this- after spitting out my coco pops and spilling my O.J- would be getting on the blower to tell Fenech to forget about guiding his career as well. The first sign of age in a sportsmen, is when passion becomes compassion. If Fenech's heart isn't in the fight to the extent where he's throwing towels in the ring before his fighters are even done, jeez it's all over for Marrickville's finest Mauler turned trainer.
Hell and before this edition of "A Dog's Breakfast" comes the full circle from regurgitated ramble, to horse feed, to a good ole' Aussie BBQ with so many boxing kangaroos crowded around this mornings serving of boxing's favourite verbal canine cook up, let's look over the horizon to see what our sport has in store for us for the rest of the year. Because, in case you've forgotten- and I don't blame you, I had- we have a linear heavyweight championship fight in the not too distant future, November 12th. Vitali Klitschko, Lurch himself, faces off against one time Lennox Lewis conquer turned Donut King's best customer and now back atop the plaine eyeing off a second championship reign, is none other than Hasim "The Rock" Rahman. Lennox Lewis must be somewhere in England, possibly Piccadilly Circus laughing his ass off at the clowns he's left our most prestigious division with. One guy who's reputation runs off being a one hit, one championship wonder and the other who gets his props for gallantly taking a beating from the former champion, Lennox Lewis. Look I'm sorry if you take pride in the atrocity they call the heavyweights, obviously donning the flag of Ukraine above your shoulder, but this is unacceptable. Hey, Sly is getting back in shape and opening up the Rocky franchise for a sixth run around, why not pit this one as a reality series and throw him in there with Vitali Klitschko, how outmatched can Stallone possibly be? He beat Ivan Drango didn't he?
But seriously my prediction for this fight? Get ready to cringe fights fans because this is going to be the sweet science at it's most grotesque. Klitschko has a Ph.D in dissecting pugilism to it's most pitiful and forgettable form. December 3, Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins can't come soon enough, at least the middleweights are holding up their pillar of boxing's other traditionally prestigious division. The 135 and 147 pounders ain't bad either.
In other news, Arturo Gatti comes back January 28th at Boardwalk Hall, New Jersey. Though Thomas Daangard is undefeated ( 37-0 ), he is thirty four years of age, one year elder of Arturo, it would not be inconceivable when looking over his record to dismiss him as another sheltered European boasting another padded record. But to tell the truth I haven't seen the guy so there isn't much currency in my comments, for all I know either dude could be the sacrificial lamb. But with the Arturo Gatti show presumably closing up soon after one of the toughest careers in the history of the sport, let's hope he can go out with a 'W' or two. No man of his integrity and calibre deserves to go out on a public execution like he suffered at the hands of Floyd Mayweather.
Well quite a repugnant rant tonight wasn't it? Agree or disagree, send me an email and maybe I can serve up your say on the next edition of "A Dog's Breakfast"
Until next time...
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