Boxing


The Sun Rises Again*: Boxing Commentary, Calzaghe vs. Hopkins & More

bernard hopkins15.11.07 - By Christopher Roche: Boxing Questions (and answers) -1) Is Joe Calzaghe vs. Bernard Hopkins a fight that we really want to see? In a past column, I echoed Hopkins’ proposal for a bout against Calzaghe in Yankee Stadium, at 161st and River Ave., in the Bronx, NY. The South Bronx would be an amazing venue for a marquee boxing show. With the imminent closing of the venerable House that Ruth Built, Hopkins and Calzaghe would cap the building’s history with an international stamp of greatness that hearkens back to that facility’s Golden Era when boxing ruled the world.

In addition to the pomp and circumstance and the nostalgia of a match in Yankee Stadium, a Hopkins vs. Calzaghe pairing would be a great fight. Hopkins is a backyard brawler from Philadelphia who will roughhouse and intimidate. Calzaghe is a cagey boxer who is immune to intimidation. Hopkins recently dominated a tall, rangy southpaw in Antonio Tarver, and he has never had trouble against unorthodox fighters.

Calzaghe is the best southpaw that Hopkins will ever face, and he can make adjustments to match the resourceful Hopkins in the ring. A Calzaghe vs. Hopkins match has everything the boxing public can wish for: it is a match of two superstars with contrasting styles, and the outcome and nature of the fight is very difficult to predict.

Both Hopkins and Calzaghe have proven everything in boxing, and there is no need for them to face mandatory challengers or even up and coming contenders anymore. Hopkins and Calzaghe have earned the right to handpick their last couple of opponents, as long as the matches are compelling.

Calzaghe vs. Hopkins is much more exciting than Calzaghe vs. Lucian Bute or Hopkins vs. Glen Johnson, for example. Further, Hopkins and Calzaghe will make a lot more money by fighting each other then they will if they troll through the list of contenders, and after long, grueling careers, they deserve a little 401(k) cushion.

Calzaghe proved to the world that he is at the top of the pound for pound list with his convincing win over Mikkel Kessler. Hopkins continually proves that he is a freak of nature, and in his early forties, he too is in the pound for pound rankings. I hope they can get together and fight for world bragging rights.

2) Has Miguel Cotto gone to the next dimension?

Back in the spring, I predicted that Miguel Cotto would lose to Zab Judah. I was grossly mistaken.

After that bout, however, I realized the error of my ways and recognized Cotto as the juggernaut that he is, and I hopped on the Top Rank fueled “Cotto Express”. There are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

Cotto’s hard fought victory over “Sugar” Shane Mosley was impressive in so many ways, but perhaps the greatest thing about it was Cotto’s willingness to change his game plan and box. Cotto pumped a painfully hard jab in Mosley’s face over and over again, and Mosley’s face emitted some dejection by the fifth round.

Mosley, who has a great chin, stood in against Cotto and gave it back to him with his hard right hand, but Cotto would not be denied. Cotto showed some of his trademark pressure, but he also displayed a nice array of counter-punches. Cotto occasionally turned southpaw, and his different looks definitely helped him overcome the tough and talented Mosley.

Normally Cotto bulls through his opponents like a buzz saw, but last Saturday, he showed the world that he is not a one-dimensional fighter. Cotto has many dimensions, and against one of the all-time greats, Cotto pulled out all the stops and stayed undefeated.

I would love to see what Cotto could do with Floyd Mayweather. I know the old adage is that “speed kills”, but Cotto contradicts that cliché as evidenced by his wins over Malignaggi, Judah and now Mosley. While none of those fights were easy for Cotto, he proved that even the fastest men cannot elude him.


Fight I Would like to See and Why

Sakio Bika vs. Edison Miranda: Bika gained a ton of respect by overcoming the vicious assault of Jaidon Codrington, and Miranda is trying to establish himself in the super middleweight division. Both men throw a lot of wild, looping shots, and they both have a ton of strength and heart. The match would not be a technical masterpiece, but it would provide fireworks and a lot would be on the line.

The fight is logical for both men, and it would draw a wide audience. The winner of this bout would be worthy of a world title shot, and the fans would be rewarded with an amazing show.


Quote of the Week

“If the people of Wales want their champion to still look handsome and pretty tell him to stay at home…But if he wants a face-lift, then come over here to America and I’ll re-arrange it for free.”-Bernard Hopkins, speaking to the UK Sun regarding Joe Calzaghe (quote appeared on Doghouseboxing.com).

Injustice of the Week

The injustice of the week is the decision that Joel Casamayor received when he “defeated” Jose Armando Santa Cruz. To paraphrase Manny Steward’s commentary on HBO, it is decisions like those that ruin boxing.

Non-Boxing Thoughts

As we slide into the end of the year, I am trying not to get caught up in the hype that happens during November and December. While I am eagerly anticipating the Hatton vs. Mayweather fight, I am staving off all of the other hype, which seems endless.

This year, in the U.S.A., we have a presidential election heating up, so everyday we have to hear about who said what to whom, and we are bombarded with the latest polls, advertisements and focus group results. While it is important to follow this stuff, it, like most other things, is beaten to death by the media.

On top of the election, we have the annual Heisman Trophy sweepstakes, the battle for No.1 in College football, the NFL playoff race and of course the annual Christmas (“Holiday” for the PC Crowd) rush. This year I have noticed that nobody wants to win the Heisman Trophy and no team can stay number 1 (or 2 for that matter) in College Football for more than one or two weeks.

In the NFL, there are so many bad teams that some divisional races are already decided, and in the Christmas rush, there is not one “must have” item this year. Yet, despite all of that, the media will pound us with hype, and this year most of it is just that…hype.

For the remainder of 2007 I would like to sit back and watch some good football, buy a few nice Christmas gifts and enjoy Ricky Hatton’s demolition of Floyd Mayweather. Most of all, I want to enjoy it in peace.

Reader Submissions

I will be taking reader submissions and answering them in this space. Please e-mail me at chrisrockk@hotmail.com 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.


*This column is inspired by the premier novel of the twentieth century, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway 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 the column.

The next edition will appear in two weeks.

Article posted on 15.11.2007



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