Boxing


Breaking Down the Pay-Per-View Card

22.04.05 - by Chris Ireland: ESPN has delivered sports worldwide, and calls itself the leader in such business. But the network, along with many other major mediums of its sort, has yet to be the worldwide leader in your sport -- boxing. ESPN's boxing program, Friday Night Fights, has regularly offered cards featuring talent a step or two below that of HBO's and Showtime's, and was gradually decreasing its budget for the pugilistic sport until this year..

Saturday Night, however, marks a new beginning for ESPN's coverage of boxing, and perhaps, a new beginning for the sport itself. The network will debut its new Pay-Per-View broadcast, featuring three intriguing and exciting match-ups.

In the evenings heavyweight bout, Calvin Brock (24-0, 20 KO's) takes on the Jameel McCline (31-4-3, 19 KO's). Brock is trying to become a relatively young (30), bona fide prospect in the "Old's Cool" heavyweights. McCline, in more ways the one, represents his biggest challenge. The towering, top ten contender stands 6'6, and weighs 270 pounds. McCline challenged IBF champion Chris Byrd in his last fight, knocking the champion down early on the way to a very close split decision. In Brock's last outing, he knocked out Clifford Ettiene in 3 rounds. The more seasoned McCline figures to be the favorite. Jameel has been in with far better competition and has the advantage in size. If there is a fatal flaw in McCline's game, it's his stamina. In his last fight with Byrd, McCline clearly ran out of gas in the late rounds and gave away the win. If Brock can survive early, he may be able to pull out a decision or late stoppage in the same fashion as Byrd. Look for McCline to jump out to an early lead, fade late, and Brock score a late stoppage in an exciting, ebb and flow fight.

In the evening's crossroads bout, Shane Mosley, once sweet enough to be nicknamed "Sugar," will make his welterweight return against David Estrada. Mosley has lost 4 out of his last 6 fights, and a lose almost certainly means the end of his status as a topflight contender. His move to welterweight is one to rediscover the handspeed and power that eluded him in his trip to 154. Estrada is a product of Angelo Dundee, and comes in as a live underdog. With a record of 18-1, Estrada's lone loss came against Ishe Smith in 2003. Estrada, along with others in his camp, claim that an illness was the reason for his loss. Estrada doesn't appear to be experienced enough to beat a fighter the caliber of Mosley. Expect the complete package that is Shane Mosley at welterweight on Saturday night. The speed and power will return, and his crippling body attack will once again be the key. Mosley walks away with this one.

The main event is easily the toughest pick of the night. In a long awaited, promising welterweight class, young contender Kermit Cintron will take on rugged veteran Antonio Margarito for the WBO welterweight title. The thought here is that Cintron's incredibly hard power shots will get through Margarito's sometimes leaky defense, and score him a knockout. In Cintron's last fight, he won by TKO in a very competitive fight against hard hitting contender Teddy Reid. Margarito recently looked vulnerable in a loss to Daniel Santos last year, though he was at a different weight class. The expectation in this corner is that it will be very exciting early, with Margarito landing a high number of blows, but Cintron landing the harder shots. As the fight goes on, Cintron will slowly separate himself from Margarito and score a late stoppage.

So fight fans, enjoy three excellent fights Saturday and put your hard earned Pay-Per-View dollars to work. ESPN has been marketed as the "world wide leader in sports" for years. On Saturday night, it becomes official. Finally, our sport gets a crack.

Article posted on 22.04.2005



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