Martin Wade's New Year's Pad work Part II
By Martin Wade, submitted to (Jan 16, 2009)  
Psssssssssssst, it’s me your boy and I’m back with that swagger like Mick Jagger! I promised ya’ll I’d come with some sharp work on the pads to get you into the new year of boxing. Now it’s time for part 2 to get ya’ll ready for Andre Berto’s little step up against Luis Collazo on Saturday. I’ll also let you know how I really feel about the Heavyweights and where I think the division’s two young guns. I’ll probably put my self in danger with Jin Mosley with my analysis of Mosley vs. Margarito but I believe all objective boxing writers should have some Chris Rock in them. What’s Chris Rock? The ability to laugh, look in the camera and say “that’s right, I said it”. So enough of the small talk, are ya’ll taped and laced up? Good, then let’s hustle.

Heavyweight shuffle

Word is Chris Arreola and David Haye are both jockeying to get in the ring with either one of the “Brothers Champion” Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko. Why the hurry? In my opinion I believe they should fight one another to establish a clear consensus challenger to the throne. I understand it’s a promoter’s job to maximize earnings while minimizing punishment but if you step a kid up too soon (See David Reid) you stand the chance of damaging him. After both brothers have had setbacks we (in the US) seemed to endorse this myth that it is so easy to repeat the trick. We are now in our 4th year since both brothers were so called “exposed” and they’re still here. All of the fighters that exposed them were bludgeoned by the other brother. Ask David Tua and Michael Grant how that “just catch Lennox with a good shot” theory worked out for them. A victory over one another (Arreola or Haye) would create massive buzz along with an infusion of confidence that can only be given by competitive battle. Timing is everything when it comes to making sure a bout is greeted with the proper response by fans. I just don’t think beating Monte Barrett (Haye) and coming weighing in at 254 (Arreola) is a recipe for a success.

And speaking of 250lbs

At this point I would pick David Haye to beat Chris Arreola on conditioning alone. Is anybody alarmed by this? Or is the sight of an out of shape heavyweight something we’ve learned to tolerate- like the lack of mid range game in the NBA. The funny thing is a lot of guys love to use the Klitschko brothers as an excuse to start packing on the pounds. Like fat is an absorbent useful in offsetting the Klitschko attack .I’m not a fan of big heavyweights ( Lennox was the first to dominate) and I believe it will take a conditioned fast twitch guy like David Haye to beat either brother. David Haye, “chinny” and all is probably best suited to put a “Jack Dempsey” on the heavy-handed PhD’s. Both guys are gifted specimens (baby brother’s short left hook is “nasty”) so a plodding heavy guy won’t have the goods to make them fight. After tasting the “jab 2.0” both Klitschko’s possess, out of shape fighters like Samuel Peter and Hasim Rahman were content to save necks and cash checks. How can a 254 lb pound version of Chris Arreola do any better? Trust me on this one he can’t and he won't.

That’s right I said it.

A public service

Heavyweight Champion of the world used to hold an air of distinction similar to that of elected office. I believe Vitali and Vlad can go a long way in gaining approval ratings if they served as a sanitation specialist. What happened between Evander Holyfield and Nikolai Valuev was wrong and I believe it’s the responsibility of the Heavyweight champs to rid us of this garbage. Don’t wait for bogus mandatory ranking fellas, get your Obama on and take the initiative to clean this nonsense up now. Because this monumental waste of time was considered “disputed” these two men will probably step in the ring together again. I propose a twin card whereby the Brothers Klitschko face Holyfield and Valuev to eliminate the delusional duo from discussion. Obviously Valuev was too inept to put an end to the beloved (I loves me some Holyfield) saga so it’s up to the real champions. Country strong and Georgia Proud, my boy Evander will not leave the stage by way of a slap or noodle jab- somebody (sadly) is going to have to beat the breaks off his ass. Mississippi style. Valuev (a sweet, intelligent guy) on the other hand can move on with his life; seriously how do we know Don King isn’t holding him hostage somewhere.

Yeah I Said it.

Pacquiao wants Margarito!

Just as soon as I write it, Freddie Roach shoots it down-damn you Freddie Roach! Apparently the Filipino icon would not shy away from a fight with the Tijuana Tornado. What? No who’s he? No if it don’t make $ it don’t make sense? Man I don’t know if I can get used to this pound for pound fighter wanting to challenge himself and define his legacy stuff. It’s too much for one year; couldn’t he have waited until after January 20th to let a brotha get his bearings?

Berto faced with a stern test

Luis Collazo has an opportunity to remove poison from career snakebite with a mild upset win over ultra talented WBC welter boss Andre Berto. Kudos to the Berto camp for allowing this fight to go down, it’s a great match up with upside for both. Collazo had the unfortunate fate of learning firsthand just how badly HBO needed Ricky Hatton to be a star in Boston a few years back. Then, Shane Mosley went all Benjamin Buttons on the New Yorker and legitimately “outquicked” the southpaw in February 2007. If Collazo is to be more than gatekeeper/ trialhorse he has to pull off the upset. A good showing will keep the New Yorker in good dough-but it won’t be long dough. Berto needs to show some pop and gain confidence, so we start to view him as a legit champ instead of sushi waiting on the bigger fish to swim upstream to 154.

FNF and the Cuban invasion?

I was surprised to see Bernard Hopkins on “First and Ten” amending his past criticisms of Donavan McNabb. Like the typical cynical Philadelphian he is Bernard trashed the accomplishments of an already great QB. Maybe that was Hopkins Donovan called on the sidelines during Sundays upset victory in New York. I figured B-Hop was just doing the usual round of Bristol and he would be a “guest” on Friday Night Fights. I was pleasantly surprised to hear he was going to be a regular on the show this season. He seemed out of his element but don’t worry boxing fans he’ll loosen up and once he does you’ll be screaming at your set. After watching sorta young gun (age 27) Yourkis Gamboa dust himself off (again) and win another scrap by stoppage I have this to say. He’s not a mini Tyson; the younger version of “Iron Mike” had underrated defense and attacked responsibly behind a stiff jab. By 27 Mike had already maximized his gifts and was on the slide, Gamboa on the other hand is in sore need of intervention from the Catskills. Gamboa seems to be so kinetically gifted that his body wont allow him a jab, jabs seem to morph into hooks before they reach target. The fact that he’s getting timed and caught coming in does not bode well for the Cuban in my opinion. Modern featherweights and super featherweights are running taller nowadays; a guy like Jorge Linares with excellent technique would put on a clinic against Gamboa.

Oliander Solis is “exhibit A” to my gripe about modern heavyweights coming in out of shape. It’s like these young men have no grasp of the physical arch of a mans body-they jump right to middle age and never bother with the lean (&) hungry years. To say a heavyweight matures in their 30’s is a harmful blanket generalization that produces more victims of (complacency) than contenders.

Margaritoville, No place for old men

There are fighters in boxing you just don’t want to fight past a certain age unless you’re being cashed out, or crazy. Antonio Margarito is one of them. Don’t get me wrong I’m excited by the site, the pricing and how well fans are responding but I don’t see it as a competitive fight. Out of sentiment I was tempted to float the Mosley by upset prediction but I can’t see it. Two things concern me about Mosley, his pitter patter of a jab and the myth of his ring generalship. News flash Boxing fans, Shane Mosley is a fighter with a boxer’s athleticism and nickname-that’s it. What kept him in with Cotto will get him killed against Margarito. Add to that Shane’s jab is not very stiff; it’s a range finder that allows him to open up his power shots. Unlike fellow athletic boxers Shane is also ineffective going backwards, they didn’t call him the black Mexican for nothing. Another thing that Shane can’t do is throw punches with the intent on utilizing escape routes. Mayweather would beat Margarito by squaring up (getting low) and jabbing to the body with the intent on getting out of trouble and forcing Margarito to restart his pursuit. Mosley is too tough for this, and I can see him staying too long in exchanges with a guy that can fight all day. Nazim Richardson was a shrewd move, the guy is a cool, concise between round strategists who can convey clear instruction. The pairing would have been amazing together had it occurred in 2004. But that was then, and Richardson won’t make a difference on January 24th. For all of his gifts Shane Mosley unlike a Leonard or Mayweather is not a guy revered for “on the fly” adjustments that alter big fights. He’s better known for guts and heart, two qualities that play right into Margarito’s hands. At this very moment Shane is probably mixing it up with light heavies and giving no quarter which strategically is at the root of his problems.

Margarito by late stoppage.

Trends I’d like to see end in 2009

Fans who talk like managers- I know it’s a cyber tool utilized to defend “your guy” but there’s something lame about looking after another mans money. I mean seriously, what you care about a fighter maximizing his earning potential. There are fighters we feel deserve to get paid but when they do, don’t flip it and use it as an excuse to defend the silk sheets. Yeah, I know that offering a dissenting view to blackberry zombies will easily be dismissed with the proverbial “stop hatin” but it’s my microphone to which I spit. Hopefully those who do this can calm down and accept that the fighter has management to take care of his value, so “man up” and count your own paper.

Announcers who ask fighters who they want next….minutes after a fight! - Uhhhm, I would imagine 12 rounds (of being hit) is a traumatic experience and I probably can’t be depended on to make any career decisions after that. Some announcers even try to split the fighter and promoter by ignoring the promoter when directed to ask him the question. Fat chance that trend will end; we all know that the network asking the questions may have an idea who they want the fighter to fight, because they too promote. Fighters are human, and I’m sure being caught in the middle of this dynamic is like having your parents include you in an argument. You’re bound to piss somebody off.

Catch weight Money Grabs- The only catch weight option I want to see in 2009 is in EA Sports Fight Night Round 4 ( Ali vs. Robinson at 180lbs hell yeah!). In real life fans are usually jilted into poneying up to see a diminished version of a name fighter attempting to get PAID. Sluggish versions of Winky Wright and Felix Trinidad are not my cup of tea, nor do I want to see a shriveled version of the Golden Boy. The sad part of this trend is the under cards are even more putrid than the legitimate big money fights. We can’t even debate the outcomes because of the handicapped state of one or both fighters. There’s always this awkward, what the hell did we just see? moment after the 12th round. There’s usually no pound for pound significance as most catch weight fights are designed with hostility toward sanctioning bodies. They never offer any real clarification which compromises an integrity mainstream sports fans already believe we lack. Now we have to endorse Kelly Pavlik “finding religion” and cleaning out his weight class with visions of him getting beat down at 170lbs. (by Hopkins) dancing in our heads. We also have to listen to Joe Calzaghe talk like he’s top 5 all time after beating up a Roy Jones who beat Felix Trinidad (at 170) to get to him!.

Trends I’d like to see take off in 2009

Rebirth of the Fight town- I am not a promoter but I would guess they don’t appreciate being bound by Vegas, the Networks or any other entity when it comes to getting the job done. I understand the viability of Vegas and I’m sure my readers can make the connection between “high rollers” and big money. But, this game was built on the average guy and for years now the average guy is being shut out from quality live boxing. Part of MMA’s strength is they really take it on the road much like professional wrestling. I love being in downtown Minneapolis (a vanilla market) when the UFC circus comes to town. Vegas High Rollers are not the core audience for boxing, they just happen to have the means to be in Vegas a lot. They don’t LOVE boxing, you do-that’s why a lot of shows in cities like Biloxi (MS) have louder crowds. The year for whatever reason is starting out in the right direction with promotions that make sense. Mosley and Margarito are in LA where they belong and Diaz/Marquez are dueling in Houston. Kelly Pavlik will do his thing in Youngstown and Cotto will seek revenge in front of New Youricans if he can get by Jennings. Now if we can get Tomasz Adamek (vs. Wlodarczyk) in front of Polish fans in Chicago with Tom Zbikowski on the under card.

Cruiserweight Madness- After what Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham did on the VS Network in December I would hope we finally get it. The “big” heavyweight is not the end all be all in Boxing. Here in the US, we are so obsessed with size that we’d rather watch two big guys do nothing than two smaller guys do something. Lennox Lewis and the Klitschko’s are the exceptions, not the rule. When we evaluate Heavyweights we have to stop allowing Manny Steward to influence our perception. The Heavyweights that mattered (Louis, Marciano and Frazier) that fought action packed legendary fights are still among us-we just gave them a silly name. Cruiserweights. Make it your business to check out fighters like Guillermo Jones and stop giving them a reason to become mediocre punching bags (with love handles) for much larger men just to make a buck. Remember when Magic Johnson came along and everyone predicted that point guards (on average) would be scaling 6’9 by the year 2000? A lot of those same “experts” are sitting by the tube watching Steve Nash and Chris Paul do their thing. There will always be room for the 6 foot point guard, just as there will always be room for the Classic Heavyweight

Ring Magazine apparel

As if Oscar De La Hoya needed more money than he already has. When GBP swallowed up Ring Magazine and went into joint ventures with affliction clothing the writing was on the wall. I love Affliction T-shirts as do a lot of Boxings greatest fighters. Pure MMA fans (that don’t watch boxing) would be surprised to see their “signature” apparel practically everywhere around the ring before and after big fights. I own the Ricky Hatton, Kelly Pavlik, and Hopkins shirts as well as MMA stars. Having said that when I wear my Affliction shirt it usually will spark a conversation about MMA to which my appreciation is secondary. When watching the 24/7 series, the Golden Boy and team were blazing with hot Ring apparel that blew up boxing message boards. Brand identification/affiliation are not just marketing essentials, fans are emotionally connected to certain brands as well. Fans of MMA wear Affliction shirts to make more than the general “this shirt is hot” statement. They wear the shirt because they want to be identified within a certain niche- they want you to know “I am a fan of MMA”. As I sit here rocking a hot Ring Magazine Ike Williams t-shirt I’m letting you know where I stand-I am a fan of boxing.

Affordable, Jam-packed PPV cards with streaming under card bouts online-No genius required. Promoters can provide low priced cards loaded with great matches, once purchased through subscribers fans receive a key/ login # to the promotion company website. Once on the site fans can watch streaming video of the complete off TV under card bouts. Fans receive value, and learn more about products Promoters want to market to us much later in much bigger fights.

My Moment of 2008: Bernard “The stare”

As he stood there glaring, lip quivering with his hands on his hips I totally “got” where Hard Nard was coming from. You don’t have to be a fighter in the ring to understand that look; it was a look that all of us at some point in life have to make. I am sure many of you have survived many “no you can’t” moments and you understand what it feels like to say “yes I can”. At that moment Bernard embodied a spirit we’re all going to need in the tough year ahead. So allow me to be the first to say-stand up and shine and get on your grind in 2009.


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