Boxing


Golden Age at 140

28.06.05 - By Michael Montero: Call it “junior welterweight” or “super lightweight” or just plain old “140”. Call it whatever you want – but there’s no denying that it’s the most loaded (and most exciting) division in the game today. There are vets on their out (and to the hall of fame), young lions taking over, and up and comers making a name for themselves. The best part is – these guys are actually willing to friggin’ fight one another! This June, with four fights (including two mega-fights) at 140, has given us a “changing of the guard”. Let’s review shall we?

First the Kostya Tszyu–Ricky Hatton scrap on Showtime. I have to admit that I wasn’t quite sold on Mr. Hatton before the fight – but I was well informed that he is for real as I watched him beat Tszyu. Call me crazy, but I would LOVE to see a rematch in Australia. Part of me still wonders if the late fight time, that intentional low blow and the Manchester crowd took Kostya out of his game plan and aided Ricky to victory.

If there isn’t a rematch then King Kostya should retire – but going out the way he did (quitting on the stool) seems like a let down. There’s no dishonor if he rematches Hatton and loses again by knock out or decision. Either way you slice it – Hatton beat the man so he is now the man, until somebody beats him. . .

Then there was the Miguel Cotto–Muhammad Abdulaev bout. A lot of people tuned this one out to watch some guy named Kevin McBride defeat Tyson (who I hear used to actually be a professional boxer in the late 80’s) – will people ever learn? Anyway, I tuned in to this FREE fight on HBO and watched Cotto avenge his Olympic loss to Abdulaev. Miguel looked good, but I’m still not quite sold that he can get in there and compete with the top three fighters at 140. He looked good, but not really good. However, if he keeps improving at the level he has been, the guy is going to be really good in the near future. . .

Then there was this past Saturday’s PPV event extravaganza. To my surprise (and let down) – the fight of the night was the under card. After Vivian Harris stormed the Gatti-Mayweather press conference, jumped on stage, called Mayweather “Gayweather", and proclaimed himself to be the best at 140 – he got chumped by Carlos Mauzza! The Columbian is a funny looking man - and I’m not afraid to admit that I found myself laughing at him shouting out loud with my boys “what the hell is that guy’s problem? Did his mommy drop him on his head as a baby or something?” – but he made a fan out of me real quick. He slipped and ducked and taunted Harris and then caught him with a good left hook that sent him to the canvas. Just to make sure that he did indeed knock him down - he ran up and tried to hit him again as he lay sprawled out on the canvas. Is Carlos a better fighter than Vivian? Nope. But he won the fight, has the WBA belt and forced us to all take him seriously. Look for Harris to exercise his rematch clause and win the next bout by late TKO or one sided decision.

Oh yeah – Gatti and Mayweather – how could I forget? Is it just me – or did Gatti’s game plan suck? I figured he’d try to smother “Pretty Boy” Floyd and lean all over him; while throwing little baby hooks to the temple, uppercuts and body shots. I though he’d back him against the ropes and try to pound on him, while protecting his eyes (which just love to swell up) in the process. But for some reason Gatti tried to stand outside, jab here and there, and wait for the “one big punch” to end it. News flash – you can’t knock a guy out with one big power punch if you can’t land it. I am a big time Gatti fan, but let’s be real - Mayweather’s just on another level. . .

In less than one month, and four title fights, we have three new belt holders (and a lot of excitement). When’s the last time all four heavyweight “champs” put their belts on the line in the same month? Hmm……..

So how does is all break down? Who’s the new number one? Who should fight next? Well this is the fun part where we all bitch about these questions until they are finally answered for real. Me personally – I want Hatton to either go after a Manchester fight with Mayweather, or a rematch in Aussie-land with Tszyu. Harris needs to immediately rematch Mauzza to try to take his belt back, and then maybe try for Miguel Cotto? If I were Miguel I’d keep fighting top ten guys and get a few more notches on the belt before going anywhere near Hatton, Mayweather or Tszyu. There needs to be a tournament to determine a unified champ (gee, those words are starting to get very redundant). At this time the only linear champ is Hatton because he beat the last unified one, so everybody else falls in order after him. The top five is quite simple:

1) Ricky Hatton – like I just stated above, he’s the only linear champ so he’s here as a matter of principal.

2) Floyd Mayweather – the top spot is his for the taking. If he actually travels to Manchester and hands Ricky Hatton’s ass to him – then we HAVE to put him number one on the pound for pound list.

3) Kostya Tszyu – will he retire? Will he rematch Hatton? The only thing we do know is that for now he’s still in the elite of the division because he’s still Kostya Tszyu.

4) Miguel Cotto – You have to put him here because he’s passed every test so far, and hasn’t lost that title belt (if you even consider the WBO title an official title – which I don’t).

5) TIE: Carlos Mauzza/Vivian Harris – if Mauzza can beat Harris again, then we REALLY have to take him seriously. Until then, he just caught Harris on a bad night, and executed a beautiful game plan.

I do think that the mega fight of the year is Hatton-Mayweather in Manchester this December. It would be a huge PPV event and make both men a lot of money. This fight just has to happen - although I’m sure that Don King and the heavyweight establishment doesn’t want it to - as it threatens to take away what little interest the public has remaining in their product. I mean come on – are any of you excited about Rahman-Barrett? I’ll be busy that night.

So what’s the point here to my rambling? Well all of you out there waiting on a heavyweight tournament, all of you who actually paid money out of your pocket for Tyson-McBride, all of you keeping up with Riddick Bowe’s comeback – get a friggin’ clue! The division to watch is 140 – save your money (and time for that matter) for these guys. It’s an exciting weight loaded with great fighters from all over the world. Boxing is usually a very biased sport, especially when it comes to nationality/ethnicity, and in this everyone has a guy to root for. So in these dark ages that are the heavyweight division – rejoice fight fans – for there is a golden age at 140!

Comments can be emailed to mike@michael-montero.com

Article posted on 29.06.2005



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