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The boxing world was rocked by not one, but two devastating stories.
First, late Sunday night came word that former multiple time champion (in three different weight classes) Johnny Tapia was found dead at his home in Albuquerque, NM. He was 45.
Tapia had a rough life, some of which was out of his control and some of which wasn’t.
His father was murdered while his mother was pregnant with him. Then he was orphaned at just 8-years-old after his mother was kidnapped, raped, hanged, repeatedly stabbed, and left for dead. She died four days later in the hospital without regaining consciousness. It was after all this that he turned to boxing at the age of nine.
He also battled his own demons which usually manifested itself in the form of a cocaine addiction. One instance was in 2007 when he apparently, purposely, overdosed on cocaine and was hospitalized. Just days later his brother-in-law and nephew were on their way to see Tapia in the hospital and while on the way they were killed in an automobile accident.
Tapia had a stellar amateur career with two National Golden Gloves championships (1983 & 1985).
His pro career was just as impressive. He was at different times champion at 115 lbs, 118 lbs, and 126 lbs. Before losing his first fight to Paulie Ayala, Tapia had run his record to a sparkling 46-0-2, with 25 knockouts.
His two exciting fights with Paulie Ayala (their first bout in 1999 was Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year) and victory over rival Danny Romero were career highlights.
Tapia finished his career 59-5-2, with 30 knockouts.
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Kareem Mayfield and Raymond Serrano did a lot of holding, Mayfield did a lot of wild swinging between the hugs. Serrano wishes he held more.
In a so-so fight with more than enough holding/grabbing to make you wonder if anything will even have a chance of happening, BOOM goes Kareem Mayfield.
With the last seconds dwindling down on round four, Mayfield dipped his right should down and unleashed a ridiculous overhand right that crushed Serrano quite literally as the bell rang to end the round.
Serrano ate the punch flush and immediately crumbled to the canvas, with little-to-no movement.
The ref started the count and Serrano staggered (horribly) to his feet. The count stopped and the ref asked Serrano to step towards him. Serrano took one step then literally fell forward into the ref.
How the referee allowed the fight to continue is beyond me and (thankfully) it didn’t end in Serrano getting seriously injured by the head hunting Kareem Mayfield in the 5th round, where the fight ended by stoppage at 47 seconds into the round.
For Serrano it was a disappointing performance and other than a few flashes I didn’t see anything that leads me to believe he can ever seriously challenge for a world title (for whatever they are worth these days).
Mayfield on the other hand showed me something, at times. There were flashes of a fighter that, with more seasoning, could possible contend for a world title. It’s too soon now, but his competition has been strong and he has performed at a very high level in running his record to a now glowing 16-0-1 with 10 KO’s.
He did have his faults though. He needs to fight within himself more. He’s far too wild for long stretches, looking for the homer, when he should work the jab and compose himself for longer stretches. If Mayfield can pull himself together and keep the wild flinging of punches to a low number he can be very good.
Undercard: Read the rest of this entry »
I’m probably more excited than most for this fight. What can I say, I’m a life-long fan of the sport and this sort of event (big PPV matchup between two of the sports best) is something real boxing fans yearn for.
It’s not even the actual fight that gets me all riled up (initially anyway), it’s the build up. The press conferences, the articles, the TV coverage, the weigh-in and then, finally, the “main event of the evening” (said in my best Michael Buffer voice).
When done right, these events collide to build anticipation, an anxiousness that drives you to tell anyone, everyone, “I really cannot wait for this fight…” Or maybe that’s just me. That’s the thing with boxing though. All that build-up, all that talking, all that anticipation and it could all be for naught if the fight is a dud.
A lot of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s (42-0, 26 KO’s) fights are duds these days. It’s mostly a result of his style. A style that he has nearly perfected since moving out of his offensive comfort zone that was 130 lbs. Floyd was never a slugger, but he used to attack, at least try for the kill. He no longer does that. Now he waits. Along with becoming as masterful as you can be defensively, he has become of the greatest counter punchers ever. It all fits into his above 130 lbs style of fighting.
Most of his opponents are forced into a false aggression that usually amounts to very little because when they have a chance to throw, they don’t. The reason being they know how good a counter puncher Floyd is and that he will strike like a viper when given the opportunity. Therein lies what turns his fights from spectacles in the build-up, to dud by the end of the fight. Floyd rarely goes out of his way to be outright offensive and even though everyone he fights knows that aggression is the best way to beat him they refuse to let their hands go when given the opportunity to do so. So Floyd ends up sticking his jab in their face and throwing enough to win every round, while his opponent feints, flinches and flails.
I believe Floyd Mayweather Jr will easily win this fight. My rational brain just keeps telling me there’s no way Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO’s) has what it takes to beat someone so talented.
My emotional heart tells me differently. (This happens often to me.) My rational, logical brain uses reason and common sense, my heart will read into things that aren’t there and imagine, “If he could just do *this* (insert strategy here), he can beat this guy!”
What I have talked myself into this time is that Floyd’s punches, while deadly accurate, don’t hold the power required to discourage Cotto from keeping pressure in his face. I even think Cotto could taste Floyd’s most crisp punch and decide to go balls-to-the-wall after taking the punch and realizing he can absorb what Floyd throws while using his own vaunted body attack.
Cotto is, probably, the best body puncher in boxing. A skill almost no Floyd opponent has successfully applied (to their own detriment). Add that to the fact that Miguel has a very accomplished jab to set up those thudding body shots and we could have ourselves a fight.
If Cotto does manage to degenerate the fight into some sort of war of attrition, how does Floyd handle that? We all know Miguel Cotto has been in more than his fair share of bloody, drag down wars, but Floyd has avoided such fights. In my memory I can only think of two times when Floyd was in real trouble. The first is his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo back in 2002 and in one of his more recent fights against Sugar Shane Mosley. In the second round of his fight with Shane, he took a pair of hard, crisp right hands that shook him and don’t let anyone fool you, he was lucky to survive that round.
My point is that if Miguel Cotto is willing to sacrifice taking punishment to his face in large amounts to beat the shit out of Mayweather’s body, he can turn the fight into something different from a normal Floyd back-pedal fest.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Cotto made this fight close, but I’m going to lean towards the side of common sense and use my brain for my pick; Read the rest of this entry »