It was never my intention for two weeks to pass without doing some boxing coverage here (I usually do live coverage on Twitter, though), given the amount of marquee match-ups that have gone down…it's been an odd week. But hey, that doesn't we can't do anything at all about it, though!
Manny Pacquiao UD Antonio Margarito
In perhaps Pacquiao's most impressive victory to date (taking Margarito's size and strength in consideration), the Pacman endured some good shots to shut out his tough opponent (and his eyes) in a one-sided, but still entertaining and competitive, bout. He really had to work for it, as the Tijuana Tornado took the fight to him in a new, more offensive style. His speed and maneuverability were the keys to success, however, and it worked quite well for him when he was in some trouble in the 5th (where it looked as if he was about to go down) and 10th. Margarito did what he could, but Pacquiao was too much for him to handle in the end, and if it wasn't for his mercy, would have been stopped prior to the twelfth. (Mentioning this fight now since it was replayed two Saturdays ago.)
Sergio Martinez K(TF)O2 Paul Williams
Already covered first-hand in the write-up, but what else is there to say? Started hot with Williams taking the edge in the first by pressing the action (though Martinez responded well to the sudden upstart in it) and when the fight was just picking up again in the second, Martinez iced Williams with a perfectly-landed and -executed left hook. Punch of the Year (…so far), perhaps Fighter of the Year when coupled with his handling of now-former threat Kelly Pavlik, and still second only to Pacquiao as the best P4P fighter on the planet (Mayweather beat a Shane Mosley coming off of an 18-month layoff with no "warm-up" bout).
Jason Litzau SD Celestino Caballero
What makes the once-credible Caballero's loss even more pitiful is that he wasn't even fighting the once-laudable form of Jason Litzau. The one that appeared this past Saturday was a shell of the hot prospect that he once was, with his skill level clearly reduced following his setbacks. I was never high on Litzau and thought that he, while having some show of talent, was overrated, but he earned some of my respect by going out there and trying to bring it as best as he could to the dismissive and cocky Caballero (well, that description sounds familiar…). It wasn't pretty, but at least he was clipping him and putting him to shame, as Caballero looked paltry and completely unprepared. It was like watching Litzau putting two-and-two together and rebuild his skill set piece-by-piece, and past the halfway mark, actually looked like a credible fighter again. He deserved the win over Caballero, whose overconfidence and smug attitude prior to the bout cost him big paydays in the future. As for the winner, who truly knows, but at least he has reignited a dimming career and gained some of those paydays for himself…
Juan Manuel Marquez TKO9 Michael Katsidis
What else can you say about Marquez? Another fight, another thrilling night, this time against Katsidis, who always pours it on. But, in all of the action, pinpoint barraging, and calls for Pacquiao-Marquez III…I wasn't really bowled over by any of it. That may seem like blasphemy, but there were a number circumstances that made me feel detached from it:
--Getting worked up over Marquez going down. It's rarer when he doesn't go down from a flash knockdown. He wasn't in trouble, as usual, nor was it a sign that momentum was going Katsidis' way all the sudden. It just happens. He goes down--not very hurt--gets back up, and keeps going.
--Katsidis himself. He can go, but let's be honest: that's basically it. He's all-action to the core, but also very one-dimensional and only knows how to come forward (and stay there, even when he is absorbing a beating). And when things go downhill for him, they go down fast. He's like a long-distance rocket that fizzles out before reaching its target, dropping out of the sky and to the earth below in a big bang. Or to pile on the blasphemy, he's like an old MMA fighter that gets laid out by the simplest of shots in the twilight of their career. Sure, Katsidis can be exciting to watch, but personally, I like more skill and savvy with my brawler. The fight was comparable to Pacquiao-Cotto, in that the better fighter had his way, but despite the action, it was too one-sided and uncompetitive to make it a truly exciting fight. The gap between Marquez and Katsidis was too great and made the outcome all too easy to see, making it kind of dull in the end. The former is just too inferior (no fault of Marquez's).
--"Pacquiao should come down and fight Marquez." More like, "Marquez should go up to fight Pacquiao". If Marquez was really committed to cornering Pacquiao, he should have kept tailing him into welterweight or should have stayed there after of the Mayweather bout and tried to get acclimated to it. It's clear that Pacquaio would rather not face Marquez a third time, so why would you think he would him drop down from near 150lbs to even do so, especially if he is the top guy in the sport (and to reiterate my views from the past, I had Marquez winning the first fight and Pacquiao the second, both by a round)?
I think Pacquiao would take the match for the right money if no other option was available to him outside of a match his own vs Mayweather, but don't expect it take place under 143lbs, and Marquez is below that now. And while Marquez's fast, accurate counterpunching style is a superb antidote to Pacquiao's "punches-in-bunches" and has nearly beaten him twice, Pacquiao is much improved and much smarter than in 2008. I don't believe he will fall prey to the same traps and issues that Marquez presented in their previous outings. Not an easy bout, regardless of weight, but I see Pacquiao winning by close, but clearer, unanimous decision.
So, in short, decent brawl from Marquez and Katsidis, but nothing special, either.
Carl Froch UD Arthur Abraham
-After anticipating this match for so long, I just had to forget about it being on last weekend and instead watched HBO's tripleheader (which wasn't so bad). Probably more surprising was Froch's domination, as I was expecting a close, brutal contest. Abraham has been demystified for the second straight time, but since both were already in the semis of the Super Six and were largely fighting for seeding, #4 now faces #1, Andre Ward. You never know what the desperate types will do… (Froch vs. Glen Johnson. Very interesting…)
Andre Ward UD Sakio Bika
Speaking of…Ward seemed to have a good fight on his hands with Bika in "stay busy" bout, his first in a year due to the Dirrell dropout and the contract wrangling over the match beforehand (not that this one has any bearing on the Super Six, which Ward already advanced to the semis of due to the circumstances and points lead).
Andre Berto TKO1 Freddy Hernandez
So quick, I missed it while I was busy, but the stoppage seemed awfully quick (and Larry Merchant was nonplussed)…make of it what you will.
Walter Estrada SD Nate Campbell
-Campbell struggles once again in defeat, but retires afterwards. If only the 38-year-old grandfather with the super-cool nickname and fighting mastery had started his career earlier…
Giovani Segura TKO8 Manuel Vargas
-Still haven't seen Segura fight, but definitely want to…
Erislandy Lara TKO1 Tim Connors
-The only recent Cuban export that I care about, or think is special…