The Sun Rises Again*: Boxing Commentary
15.05.07 - By Christopher Roche: Boxing Questions (and answers)
Article posted on 15.05.2007
1) Why am I so lonely on the Jermain Taylor Bandwagon?
The American Boxing Public groans that we do not have a signature American champion. The heavyweight division is dominated by the Eastern Europeans. The super middleweight division features Europeans Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler. The lighter weight classes are dominated by Latin and Asian fighters. I am puzzled that the American public has not caught the fever for Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor.
Taylor is young, athletic, marketable and undefeated. Taylor is the champion in a traditional premier division. Taylor's signature victories are two decisions over Bernard Hopkins, and two significant TKO wins over Raul Marquez and Daniel Edouard.
Taylor also came out on top against William Joppy and Kassim Ouma in decisive unanimous decisions, and he looked better against Winky Wright than any fighter has in a long time.
I have been on the Taylor bandwagon for many years now. I believe he is a personality that boxing should build itself around. The only reason he does not get the resounding respect that he deserves is that his victories are not decisive enough in the eyes of his critics. I have heard those critics point to the fact that Taylor has not had a knockout in several years. However, Taylor's last four fights have been against Ouma, Wright and Hopkins (twice). Guess how many times those opponents have been knocked out? The answer is once. Ouma was knocked out eight years ago. Between Ouma, Wright and Hopkins, they have had 141 bouts, and they suffered 1 KO between them!
I am willing to concede Taylor did not look spectacular in any his last four bouts, but there are not many fighters who look good when they fight Ouma, Wright or Hopkins. However, Taylor fared better than most, as he was 3-0-1 against those top-tier fighters, and he still has the title.
I am looking forward to a sensational knockout victory for Taylor this Saturday against Corey Spinks. I suspect there will be a lot less room on my bandwagon, if my prediction holds true.
2) Should "Yory Boy" Campas hang up the gloves?
"Yory Boy" Campas made his 10,000th television appearance two weeks ago on ESPN's "Wednesday Night Fights". Although I had to DVR it because I went to see middleweight James Moore fight in Manhattan that night, I still watched the Campas fight in its entirety.
Campas has lost two straight bouts, but he always gives the fans their money's worth. Campas is as tough as they come, and he definitely is on my top five list of "Men I never want to meet in a dark alley".
In his bout last year with "Ireland's" John Duddy, Campas showed amazing chops. He cut Duddy badly, and he landed solid shots on Duddy several times. No matter what Duddy hit him with, Campas would not go away. The decision was close, and as Joe Tessitore recently stated, it could have gone either way.
In his latest clash, on "Wednesday Night Fights", Campas dropped a lopsided decision to former two-time Nigerian Olympian Eromoesele Albert. Albert reportedly has over 500 amateur fights, and his pro record is a nifty 20-1 (9 KOs). Campas came forward for all ten rounds, and he made the rounds very close. Although he lost, I can say that Campas is a fighter I want to see more of, and I hope he stays with us for a few more years. Campas shows no signs of slowing down. He is already scheduled to go again on June 15th against Billy Lyell.
On the under card of the Albert vs. Campas bout two weeks ago, the Velasquez twins made strong statements. Carlos Juan and Juan Carlos both scored KO victories. I was fortunate enough to be ringside for both of their pro debuts back in February in New York's Roseland Ballroom. They fought in the early stages of that massive card, which was part of Cedric Kushner's Gotham Boxing series. Coverage is here: ( http://www.brickcityboxing.com/index.php/a/2007/02/23/p765#more765 ).
The Velazquez twins were both very impressive on ESPN, and I was glad to see them get some airtime.
3) If Jerson Ravelo can defeat Paul Buchanan with one hand, what can he do with two?
Jerson Ravelo scored a unanimous decision over Paul Buchanan on the Contender's "U.S. vs. U.K." series two weeks ago. Ravelo broke his right hand in the middle rounds, but he still managed to gut it out and defeat his British foe. Ravelo showed the heart of a true warrior, and he all but sealed the title for the U.S., at a time when the Sugar Ray Cup was still in doubt.
Ravelo is a Newark, NJ product who fought for the Dominican Republic in the Olympic games. He is an athletic super-middleweight who has the talent to make some serious noise in the division. Ravelo is a tall, crafty boxer. His only downfall is that he sometimes trades toe-to-toe, instead of using his athleticism, as he did when he was stopped by Allan Green last year, in Providence, RI. Ravelo has since bounced back and showed he still has a lot of gas in the tank by defeating Buchanan.
Green, meanwhile, recently proclaimed that he has a medical condition. Green was ringside in Miami, OK for the Sam Miller vs. Brian Vera bout, last Friday. Incidentally, Vera defeated Miller, in that clash on ESPN. Despite the cheerleading for Miller by Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore, Vera squeaked by with a majority decision. In the early going, Atlas declared it was obvious Miller learned a lot from his last bout with Darrell Woods, and he rectified all of his mistakes and shortcomings as a fighter. Tessitore gushed that Miller was so exciting that we would see him on "Friday Night Fights" for a long time to come, and Atlas stated that Miller could hit Vera with anything at anytime. Well, when it came down to it, the Austin, TX native Vera walked away with the decision, and he is slated to fight again on June 15 in the same card as Campas vs. Lyell in Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini's hometown of Youngstown, OH.
During that telecast, Green told ESPN's crew that he had an undisclosed medical condition, and he was not able to focus on Edison Miranda. Green also previously complained that he had to lose too much weight to fight Miranda at middleweight. The public still does not know the real story behind Green's lackluster effort. Despite Green's plethora of problems, he managed to plant Miranda hard in the eighth round, which raises questions about Miranda. Miranda, of course, will answer most of those questions Saturday night on HBO.
If Green recovers from his illness, the boxing public would probably like to see a rematch with Ravelo. Ravelo has the skill and talent to match the top super-middleweights, and a victory in a rematch with Green would be a nice coming out party for Ravelo and vault him to contender status.
Top Five Pound for Pound
Readers are encouraged to send in their picks, with one or two sentences backing up each one. Please send submissions to email@example.com with "Top 5" as the subject.
While I do not have a Top Five Pound for Pound at this moment, I will disclose that my favorite Heavyweight Champion is Larry Holmes.
Fight I Would like to See and Why (1 Reason)
Joe Calzaghe vs. Jermain Taylor
Fans deserve to see this bout. It would be a fight for the ages. The match features two champions in their prime, and the whole Europe vs. America storyline can be played up big time. The bout also features undefeated records, title belts, bragging rights, money, and passion.
I would prefer to see this bout take place in London, in front of 50,000 fans. This way, if Taylor wins, which I believe he would, the European media and fans would have no excuses. If Calzaghe came to America and lost to Taylor, the headlines from across the pond would undoubtedly chirp that Calzaghe lost because he never fought outside of the UK before. I want the fight to be in the UK, but after that debacle in Wales last month, it would have to be in London. If Taylor beat Calzaghe near his home turf, Taylor would earn the unanimous respect of the entire world and rightfully cement himself into the annals of history as an all-time great.
Quote of the Week
"He is just a sparring partner."-Floyd Mayweather, Jr., as told to ESPN, regarding a possible fight with Shane Mosley.
Injustice of the Week
The Injustice of the week will occur on Saturday night. HBO is only televising the Taylor vs. Spinks fight and the Edison Miranda vs. Kelly Pavlik fight. Vernon Forrest and Carlos Baldomir are being shafted and so are boxing fans around the world.
DiBella Entertainment has spectacular welterweight Andre Berto on Saturday's under card, and Ronald Hearns is fighting tough Dennis Sharpe, in what will be a great test for Hearns. I guess the only issue I have with DiBella's card is that there are TOO MANY great matches, and there is apparently not enough airtime available for all of them.
Non Boxing Thoughts
The Taylor vs. Spinks bout will be taking place during "Memphis in May", concurrent with the World Championship Barbecue phase of the month-long festival. I always heard great things about that annual festival, but I never attended. Having a boxing show in the middle of the madness is a great idea, and I am sure the show will be a massive success.
I also heard great things about the city of Memphis. I have colleagues there who are always a pleasure to do business with, and I look forward to visiting really soon.
Non Boxing Thoughts II
New Jersey columnist Ahn Behrens passed away unexpectedly last Thursday. Behrans, who was only in her fifties, had an eclectic column based on the art world and she often featured unique shops and boutiques. While I am not a particularly artsy person, I always felt like I learned something from reading Behrans' column. While I did not know her personally, I will miss her column, "Urban Diary" tremendously.
The last column I read appeared May 10 in the Waterfront Journal. May God bless her and her family.
Non Boxing Thoughts III
R.I.P. Diego "Chico" Corrales. May God bless you and hold you forever.
We will be taking reader submissions and answering them in this space. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and commentary, and we will include as many as we can. Please include your first name and hometown for publication and type the word "Column" in the subject line; otherwise, we will not publish it. Also, please no attachments or pictures, as we will have to delete them.
*The title of this column alludes to the premier novel of the twentieth century, and it is written by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway often spoke highly of the sport of boxing, and he participated as both a fighter and a referee. Every other week this column will humbly pay homage to the man who helped glorify the fight game back in its early stages. With a little hard work, the Sun Will Rise Again for Boxing, as together we can restore the sport to the top, one fan at a time. Thank You for reading our column.
The next column will appear on May 30, 2007, which is one day late due to the Memorial Day Weekend Holiday.
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