It's Monday. Welcome back for another edition of Observe and Fight, The Boxing Observer's compilation of observations and random thoughts from the week that was in boxing. Get caught up on some of the most recent events you may have missed out on, including the Victor Ortiz debacle and its effect on Golden Boy's plans for a Sept 15th fight with Canelo Alvarez, Antonio Tarver's demise, the most exciting fight this past weekend, and much more. Without further ado, check out the latest observations from The Boxing Observer.
I will not say Victor Ortiz quit on his stool because of a broken jaw, but the writing was on the wall early in the fight. I will not question a man's heart because of a broken jaw. I don't care if fighters like Muhammad Ali and Arthur Abraham were able to persevere through broken jaws in fights. I have never had my jaw broken, but I'm betting if I did, I wouldn't want to continue fighting and risk someone hitting me in the face, so I do not blame Victor Ortiz for quitting on his stool because of a broken jaw. However, I do blame Victor Ortiz for trying to yet again take the easy way out of a fight when he ran into a bit of adversity. I have been one of Ortiz's biggest critics for a long time because I don't believe he has the heart of a champion. Ortiz is a different character and one who has not placed himself in the good graces of the public. I personally believe that Golden Boy Promotions tried to put him up against Saul Alvarez in the hopes that Alvarez would knock him out and they would have justification to get the headache that comes along with Ortiz off of their hands. But I digress. It began in the 2nd round when Ortiz realized that Josesito Lopez actually came to win. Ortiz, who once again realized that nothing was going to be given to him, turned into the Victor Ortiz of Christmas past.
In the 5th round, with Lopez's head clearly down, Ortiz landed a brutal, unnecessary rabbit punch on Lopez that should have been a point deduction. The referee, Jack Reiss, incorrectly stated that Lopez was holding one of Ortiz's hands down. Later, in the 6th round, Ortiz landed yet another rabbit punch in clear view of Reiss, but only received another warning. I am of the opinion that Ortiz actually broke his jaw in the 7th round. As he went back to the corner, he whispered something in trainer Danny Garcia's ear. Garcia then began whispering back. The punch Lopez landed in the 9th round was the one that made the pain unbearable for Ortiz. Once Ortiz realized he had a broken jaw, the possibility of a Canelo fight went out the window because he wouldn't be healed in enough time for a September 15th fight. Again, I'm not blaming Ortiz for quitting because of a broken jaw. I am just disappointed that a guy with this much ability is so weak-minded. As I said before, the writing was on the wall for an implosion of some sort against Lopez. It just so happened that Lopez broke Ortiz's jaw before Ortiz had the opportunity to do something ill-advised on his own.
As for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, this guy cannot seem to catch a break for his biggest payday. First, it was James Kirkland. Next, it was Paul Williams. Then, it was back to Kirkland. Then, it was Ortiz. Who else can this face? He is clearly willing to face anyone. Golden Boy is sticking firm to its plan to have Canelo go head-to-head with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez (even though that fight is still not a done deal). Wouldn't it be something if Golden Boy came in and offered Martinez a better deal to face Canelo? Just saying. At this point, Golden Boy would be best suited to pit Canelo against either WBA champion Austin Trout or the winner of Saturday's IBF championship fight between Cornelius "K9" Bundrage and Cory Spinks. I know Carlos Quintana is being discussed, but does he really bring anything to the table? The fight belongs on CBS and should be promoted as a unification bout. Boxing on network television for the first time since anyone can remember, and a title unification to boot. That's how the fight should be promoted and Golden Boy will reap the benefits. Remember, when Strikeforce made its debut on CBS not too long ago, the ratings were excellent. Boxing has an even larger fan base and fans will flock to network TV. That would also allow fans to order the Chavez Jr. vs. Martinez fight and DVR the Canelo fight (or Golden Boy Promotions could have the Canelo fight take place before the Chavez Jr./Martinez main event). That way, everyone wins!
I guess Antonio Tarver was serious about his trying to win a heavyweight championship. That must be the reason he tested positive for a performance enhancing substance. Can it be explained any other way? I've got news for athletes everywhere, testing is becoming more stringent. If you are cheating, you will eventually be caught. If you aren't sure about what you're putting into your body, take 10 freaking minutes to call the United States Anti Doping Agency and see if that substance is on the banned list. If it's not, you're good. If it is, don't take it. It's not that difficult. Do some research!
Let's show some love to Josesito Lopez! The decided underdog against Ortiz had everything standing in his way, yet found enough internal resolve to overcome the odds and cement himself as a major player. Lopez is best suited at 140 pounds, but can clearly take a punch from a solid welterweight (147 pounds) as evidenced Saturday night. If Amir Khan beats Danny Garcia for the WBC 140-pound title on July 7th, most are expecting Khan to vacate the title and move up to 147. Should that happen, I would like to see Lopez fight #1 contender Ajose Oluegun for the vacant championship in a matchup that stylistically makes for an intriguing bout.
What about Josesito Lopez vs. Lucas Matthysse? Does anyone else not see that as a Fight of the Year candidate?
This Saturday's IBF 154-pound title fight just became a whole lot more interesting. I was in attendance for the first fight between Bundrage and Spinks. Bundrage came to win and Spinks did not prepare properly for the fight. While I don't know if the outcome of this fight will be any different, Spinks seems to be in a better state of mind, both professionally and personally, which should make this fight more competitive. The winner just became a candidate for Canelo Alvarez in a unification fight on September 15th. While it's an outside chance the winner will face Canelo, it's still a possibility. Personally, I feel the winner of this fight will face Erislandy Lara, who is scheduled on the undercard against Freddy Hernandez. I believe Golden Boy Promotions is trying to get Lara a title to build his name a bit more. That's why he hasn't been mentioned as a strong candidate for Canelo. Once he has a title, they could market the fight as a title unification, which makes it a whole lot bigger.
Boxing is not dying, but dueling major bouts are not good for the sport. These rifts between Golden Boy and Top Rank, and HBO and Showtime, are causing fans to have to choose between fighters they all love to watch. It's not fair and it's bad business for everyone. Make it stop, quickly! Where is Switzerland when we really need them?
The best fight this weekend did not take place on Showtime. Don't get me wrong, Lopez vs. Ortiz was entertaining as hell, and Soto vs. Matthysse was fun to watch, but the fight of the weekend took place on Telefutura between former super bantamweight champion Rico Ramos and Efrain Esquivias. Ramos, who has been criticized in the past for his lack of work rate, especially in his previous fight when he was completely outclassed by Guillermo Rigondeaux, looked like a new man as he came out swinging from the opening bell. Equivias was more than happy to oblige and the two traded shots in a phone booth type fight over 8 solid rounds. Ramos earned himself a majority decision win, and in the process, earned back some of the fans he may have lost after the Rigondeaux fight. If you haven't had the chance to watch the fight, I suggest going to find it.
I'm excited to see Gary Russell Jr. back in action this Saturday. Russell is also fighting on the undercard of Bundrage vs. Spinks. Whether fans want to believe it or not, the future of boxing, especially in the United States, is looking very bright. Guys like Andre Ward, Canelo Alvarez, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are already stars. Fighters such as Adrien Broner, Abner Mares, Nonito Doniare, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Austin Trout, Timothy Bradley, and Devon Alexander are on the brink of stardom. Prospects like Russell, Omar Henry, who was also victorious Saturday night, heavyweight Bryant Jennings and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder, who improved to 23-0 with 23 KO's Saturday night, are the next generation of the sport. The best part about these guys is not only are they great performers in the ring, but they are hard-working, class acts outside the ring. I know Gamboa had his issues with Top Rank. I know Broner is a flashy, flamboyant figure. But it is part of an act to try and build himself as the next superstar. Boxing is doing just fine ladies and gents.
Each week, I feature an email from a fan on Observe and Fight. This week's email comes to us from Travis M. regarding judge Duane Ford's explanation of his scoring for Pacquiao vs. Bradley...
"Duane Ford said after 6 rounds he had Manny winning. Not to be mistaken with Manny won the first 6 rounds. Big difference!"
Travis, the actual comment was, "What I personally saw that night is that the first 6 rounds, clearly Pacquiao was the winner." That means, at least to me, that he thought Pacquiao won the first 6 rounds. I understand if he meant something else, because he gave Bradley rounds 1 & 5, but when you are on national TV trying to explain yourself, you better make damn sure you are as clear and concise as possible. I had to play it back 3 times to make sure I heard the quote correctly, and every time, it sounds like he was saying Pacquiao won the first 6 rounds. I understand both arguments, but when there is this much controversy over something, the tiniest slip of the tongue can cost someone. If he didn't mean that, he should have said, "through the first 6 rounds, I had Pacquiao winning 4 of them," or at least something to that effect.
That's all I've got for this week. Email any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer them throughout the week. Your email may be featured in the next "Observe and Fight." Be sure to "Like" The Boxing Observer on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter @BoxingObserver.