Friday, April 13, 2007

:boxing: Calzaghe, Clottey Victorious; HBO Hypocrisy

Last Saturday night brought forth two notable fights on two continents. In the first, WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe made short work of Peter Manfredo Jr. in three rounds in Wales, England. Perhaps "short" was too much of the word, as the referee made the stoppage rather soon to many...just not me. Manfredo looked like he was thinking too much about what to do rather than trying to at least throw something at the wily Calzaghe (which he virtually didn't most of the time). Perhaps it was not having regular trainer Freddie Roach in his corner (busy training De la Hoya), regardless, he still allowed the veteran to have his way, punishing him with his hand speed and size in rounds two and three. It didn't do him any more favors that he was fighting on the champ's home turf and has had trouble before against slick boxers. Sergio Mora, his Contender foil in the championship bout of the reality show, was such a fighter of who faced similar success with similar traits, twice.

Hmm, reality. The HBO commentary team seemed fixated on drawing the line between "real" boxers and "reality show" performers. Never mind the fact that Manfredo was a well-known prospect, and former champion, I believe, before the series. They basically equated him and everyone else on there as "journeymen," which was half-true, as some of them truly were. However, they appeared to relish in the outcome of the bout, that it somehow retained the sanctity of the sport. I mean, let us totally place the weighty promotion of the network's own reality series focused around the combatants of its own overhyped Mayweather-De la Hoya telecast towards the back of our minds. It's nice to see HBO placing its attention on a loudmouth who likes fighting to an easy paycheck and a guy with a fight schedule akin to Santa's work schedule. If "The Contender" were HBO's idea or production, they would have treated Manfredo's annihilation like Ali was getting struck down by Leon Spinks.

*sniff, sniff* Do I smell crazy hippos...or is that just hypocrisy?

In much better action, Joshua Clottey dominated a completely game Diego Corrales in ten rounds in the later bout in Springfield, MO. Corrales was definitely out of his league in his welterweight debut, but nonetheless stuck in there with the skilled No. 4-ranked title contender, who appeared to be two to four punches ahead of him. The style of the fight itself was similar to the classic close-quarters-combating of Corrales-Castillo, only more one-sided and not as enthralling. But hey, I'll take a complete battle between two fighters willing to duke it out rather than an embarrassing "effort" on the other side of the pond.

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