Uh…What The Hell Happened Here?
By Debbie Duran (March 27, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
So a lot happened in boxing over the weekend but nothing beats a couple of great upsets (or maybe one upset and something not so surprising, depending on who you ask).

OK, maybe Andreas Kotelnik beat Gavin Rees for the WBA junior welterweight title and Librado Andrade beat Robert Stieglitz for IBF “contendership”, but did anyone honestly imagine predicting a win over highly-hyped middleweight Andy Lee courtesy of “The Contender”-era Jaidon Codrington victim,
Brian Vera? I didn’t.

I didn’t catch the fight live but thank goodness for 2:00am replays! The thing I had to make sure I didn’t do was hit the internet after getting home from karaoke (pick on Coyote for that one. I just sit there and watch) and get my expectations spoiled. If I was going to be surprised, then it was going to feel live…somewhat.

And talk about a surprise! If watching Aaron Pryor Jr. struggle against Alphonso Williams wasn’t crazy enough (and there were times I thought that chin wasn’t going to make it – but it did and that’s pretty damn impressive), imagine my shock when Andy Lee, Pride of Limerick, Ireland, fell to Vera, 16-1 (10), in the seventh round of their battle at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. But, why on Earth did Lee lose?

Wasn’t Lee supposed to be the man that was ready to face middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, like yesterday? Yeah, I thought I heard that too but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to laugh. Lee’s trainer Emanuel Steward said that and he knows
what he’s talking about 99% of the time (But I still don’t want to laugh. Steward yelled at Lennox Lewis during the Tyson fight six years ago like he spilled a juice box on the Sunday paper. Can you imagine what he’d say to a writer who’s a chick?). What went wrong?

Could it be that Lee, 15-1 (12), finally squared off against an opponent that didn’t buy into all the hype? Well, of course. You don’t have to be Bert Sugar to figure that one out. But the hunger! Oh, the hunger that Brian Vera showed was only eclipsed by the savvy he showed in figuring out how to make Lee miss after the 4th round, subsequently opening up Lee to power shot after power shot. In the end, all that was left was the fighter who wanted it more and that was the man who knew how to lose in the first place.

I’m sure Andy Lee’s not out. Not this early. He’s built up but not THAT built up and he sure showed he had no quit whatsoever by taking all the punishment he could stand and then some. When you think about it, Vera-Lee wasn’t much different than Nate Campbell vs. Juan Diaz in the fact that the fighter who dominated his opponent took away that opponent’s style and made him virtually powerless by fight’s end. The only difference is that Diaz didn’t get stopped and that’s a harder bed for Lee to get out of now. Especially since referee Tony Chiarantano did stop the fight a little too early.

Can he handle a tough challenge for a comeback opponent? I don’t think many who watched the fight thought Vera was such a tough egg to crack so the selection process will be a lot harder the next time out. Maybe next time, the ref won’t be so jumpy and let Lee really finish firing on all cylinders. Yory Boy Campas, anyone?

Lightweight champion Joel Casamayor shocked me. I’m sorry. I was just floored by the 180 he took in taking out Michael Katsidis on Saturday night at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, CA. What’s totally confusing is the designation each man had going into the fight and leaving the ring. Casamayor is who The Ring considers their champion at 135 pounds but he also holds the WBC’s interim lightweight belt (which wasn’t on the line?!) which is really weird because David Diaz is the WBC’s “real” lightweight titlist. Katsidis, 23-1 (20), was the WBO interim lightweight titlist because Nate Campbell holds the “real” WBO belt along with the WBA and IBF straps. (So for those not keeping score, that’s 7 lightweight belts floating around. And for the record, I think Nate Campbell is the real champion. So there.)

Was there a different Casamayor in the ring with Katsidis? If you saw Casamayor “lose” against Jose Armando Santa Cruz then you’d think so. Casamayor, 36-3-1 (22), was everything he was supposed to be against Katsidis and he showed us early by making “Michael the Great” eat the canvas twice in the first round. What was vintage about Casamayor’s performance was when he got his second wind in the 7th round and put those damn good boxing skills to use. And if the boxing wasn’t good enough, then the dirty fighting was when referee Jon Schorle took a point away from “El Cepillo” for an obvious low blow. Didn’t matter. Casamayor happily took that round too.

Plain and simple, Michael Katsidis forgot who he was fighting. Maybe he bought his own mystique and went ga-ga over the odds in his favor. He forgot Casamayor’s caginess and willingness to be the mongoose when Katsidis thought being the cobra was all that mattered. And that anthropomorphic example played out in the 10th round when Katsidis’ eagerness to strike became his undoing when Casamayor laid him out like a throw rug with a left hand that only made things worse after Casamayor pounced with 30 seconds left. Oh, I forgot. He got another stupid interim belt too.

Note to Joel Casamayor: Good work, Brush. Now hit up Nate Campbell and prove you’re the real lightweight champion of the world. Hey, he wants the fight. Dude, you might as well go for it.

So what the hell happened here (besides all the stupid interim belts flying around)? Honestly, it was nothing we didn’t expect. We just didn't expect it to happen with or to the variables in these particular equations. It was just boxing on the hyped level and we gave the golden children the benefit of the doubt. Nothing more. Nothing less. The End.

Questions or comments,
e-mail Debbie Duran at: Fisticutie@yahoo.com
Visit Debbie at: myspace.com/jdsr92

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