I advise you to contemplate the words of my sage colleague Sean for extensive examination of the Showtime card Saturday and the ESPN2 card Friday. I offer myriad thoughts on myriad fights up to and including those ones.
Ishe Smith – Pawel Wolak
I agreed with Ishe Smith beforehand that if he couldn’t beat this dude, he didn’t deserve to fight at a high level again. I’d forgotten who Pawel Wolak was until just before the fight, so poor an impression he had made. No offense to the very game, determined mofo that is the Polish junior middleweight (154 lbs.) of great popularity in New York City, of all places, but he just ain’t that sweet. Smith was all around better Friday night, and I ended up giving him all the rounds but two. That he was in NYC, I think, accounts for the close scorecards. I don’t like Ishe’s game at all, but if the judges had taken that one from him, I would’ve been pissed. Justice is justice. I don’t have to like you to want you to get it.
Andre Dirrell – Mike Paschall
Woe be Andre Dirrell, so loaded up with talent but so flummoxing is he. The 168-pounder was having some trouble with Mike Paschall before catching him with some kind of crazy face-lacerating blow that gave his opponent a massive cut in the middle of his forehead. I wish this one had gone on longer despite the cut. What was the harm of it, to just give Paschall another round? How was he in danger? Paschall might’ve caught Dirrell with something big, who knows, because he’d stunned him in the penultimate round. Dirrell frustrates the piss out of me. He’s so good, when he wants to be. I wish I understood what the problem was, exactly.
Vic Darchinyan – Dimitri Kirilov
Vic Darchinyan fights like a crab! What more do you want? He’s unique as hell and he knocks people out, which is what he did to marginal 115-pound title-holder Dimitri Kirilov in the 5th. Don’t get me wrong, I think Kirilov is a sympathetic figure, what with the ripoff the judges handed him against Luis Perez a couple years back. BUT GIVE ME A MAN WHO FIGHTS LIKE A CRAB, AND I WILL ROOT FOR HIM MOST ANY TIME EVER. I love Darchinyan. I just do. Cristian Mijares, Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire all knock him out in this stone-awesome division, and Donaire already has. Let’s make Jorge Arce-Darchinyan happen, already. It’s one of the best all-action match-ups in the sport, period.
Joshua Clottey – Zab Judah
Here’s another one where I thought it was a totally obvious victory for one dude but the judges saw it pretty close. I had Clottey up 7 rounds to 2 before the doc stopped it on account of the judge ruling a clash of heads that in turn led to what the doc determined was Judah’s inability to see sumpin. The saddest part is that not only should it have been scored a TKO, because the cut was from a punch, as HBO’s replays determined clearly, but we were deprived of what looked like a for sure Judah KO loss. Sad, sad. Hardly anything funnier in boxing. Max Kellerman, an early Judah booster, was determined to make it seem like Judah fought well, but, frankly, aside from a few nice body shots, Judah was getting stomped and was gonna go down in flames. He should count himself lucky. Third best fight for new welterweight (147 lbs.) #1 Antonio Margarito, after Paul Williams rematch and Shane Mosley, is Clottey rematch. Yeah, back then, Margarito was rusty and injured to offset Clottey’s second-half hand injury. But as Margarito himself showed against Cotto, sometimes, a dude just has your number. Clottey looked like he had it early in their 2006 bout.Let’s find out if it was an illusion, K? Alternately, Clottey wants Andre Berto, and I’d take that for sho.
Antonio Margarito – Miguel Cotto
All right, I take it back. Cotto was trying to quit. He glanced over at his corner in a way I didn’t see originally, as if to signal that they should throw in the towel. Orginally, I’d denied that he was looking for a way out. He was, per the replay. Now, that amplification made clear, I must also amplify on the bravery he showed for lasting as long as he did. Margarito f’ed up Cotto’s nose in the 2nd round, which means Cotto fought with an f’ed up nose for not just five rounds, but nine. I gave Israel Vazquez (122 lbs.) a pass for quitting with a broken nose in his first fight with Rafael Marquez, so I gotta give Cotto a pass for lasting even longer, right? Remember, it’s extra credit to fight on under extraordinary circumstances. In my worldview, quitting when your body’s all screwed up is far more acceptable; it’s neutral, even.