The video above (more like “at left” at least on my computer, because of ongoing technical difficulties with the site) starts us off on a good note — it’s the first of three clips you can watch of the stirring Fight of the Year-caliber bout between Ryan Rhodes and Jamie Moore. Later on in the post, you can watch the rest of the video; rounds six and seven in particular are tremendous.
But we’ve got to talk about something serious, and sad, right away. There has been an epidemic of rabbit punching in boxing that has gone unchecked by referees, and it’s no longer just dangerous in theory. It very likely ended a boxer’s career this weekend.
Out of control fouling. Junior featherweight Al Seeger has bleeding on his brain, and, according to a commenter here who identified himself as Seeger’s brother, it is because of the blows to the back of the head delivered by Victor Fonseca Friday night. It was an all around despicably dirty performance by Fonseca, whose elbows and head butts also left Seeger with a fractured skull, according to the aforementioned commenter. I suppose it’s possible that Fonseca’s legal punches did that damage, but considering how few damaging legal blows he landed until the final round of the fight, and considering how Fonseca fouled Seeger dozens of times per round, I’m inclined to blame the fouls. It was, at minimum, contributory. Referees: You must, must, must take control of fighters who are rabbit punching in particular. It is the most life-threatening kind of foul in our sport. And there have been at least three fights this year where boxers landed dozens upon dozens of rabbit punches without ever being penalized — Fonseca-Seeger, Carl Froch-Andre Dirrell (super middleweight) last weekend and Marcos Maidana-Victor Ortiz (junior welterweight) this summer. It’s bad enough that Seeger’s career is done in by it. Somebody is going to end up in a coma or casket unless this stops, and you, referees, will have the blood on your hands. Think about whether you’ll be able to sleep at night when that happens. [Secondary note: This is not me “blaming the victim,” but it’s gotten to the point that I’d encourage all boxers not from Texas, all of them, to never fight in Texas, the scene of the Fonseca-Seeger debacle. It’s not only likely to lead to you getting screwed in your win-loss record, but the jurisdiction is just so poor and sloppy and awful that there’s a chance you’ll end up getting permanently injured, as happened to Seeger. Seeger couldn’t have anticipated it, in his case. After Seeger, everyone should anticipate it. No matter how much you want to provide for your family, you don’t need the money THAT bad.]
Tomasz Adamek-Andrew Golota aftermath. There were friends of the site wondering yesterday whether Adamek’s successful heavyweight debut, where he knocked out Golota, would lead to him staying at heavyweight. He’s indicated he wants to fight one of the Klitschko brothers, albeit in a year — presumably to get more heavyweight seasoning, maybe it was just a poorly translated quote? — so that’s one answer. Another answer was that he’ll just take whatever fights the television networks will buy, be it the cruiserweight division where Adamek is champion or at heavyweight. Golota, for his part, said he boxed “tragically,” and added, “Maybe boxing is no longer my thing.” The answer to that question is “Yes.”
Moore-Rhodes. If you don’t know Moore, he’s the kind of guy who’s regularly in Fight of the Year candidates, so I was rooting for him to win the fight, which would have landed him in position to challenge Sergio Martinez for his junior middleweight alphabet title belt. My disdain for alphabet title belts knows no bounds, and under no circumstances would Moore have beaten Martinez, but it’s a mite bit sad that Moore wasn’t able to at least get a shot at Martinez’ belt. Still, despite his loss, he ought to still be held in high esteem for giving us yet another fantastic fight. And Rhodes, he’s to be commended for slugging it out, too, and for pulling out the win. He also will lose to Martinez.
Pacquiao-Cotto 24/7. I think I’m pretty well over the 24/7 series on HBO as appointment television, and I think it’s just because there are only so many clips I can watch of someone jumping rope without yawning. But it’s still important television, and there are some interesting dramatic elements to the still-well-done program as it pertains to the edition produced in advance of the 145-pound battle Nov. 14 between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, the first episode of which debuted Saturday. The number of distractions in the Pacquiao camp, the overall discord — especially as it pertains to Pacquiao repeatedly disregarding Freddie Roach’s wishes about leaving Baguio — it should all be very worrying to Pacquiao’s fans. That said, it was compelling soap opera stuff. Compelling in a different way was the devastation in the Philippines because of the storms and flooding, which was really heartbreaking. I was aware of that devastation, but I don’t think I full grasped it until I saw the refugee camps and other images. On a smaller emotional level, Cotto’s candid admission about not being a good husband, and about how time away separated from his wife had made them realize how much they need each other, was really touching. Just watching his wife stroke his face, you could see the realness. Again, I don’t get excited about this show the way I used to, but I sure as hell find it to be very good at its best.
Kermit Cintron. Cintron won his 150-pound bout with ease on Saturday, scoring a 5th round knockout. It was Cintron’s first trip to Puerto Rico, and the crowd was said to be sparse. I wonder if it’s because Cintron, who lives in Pennsylvania but has PR heritage, was an unknown quantity there, or if it’s because PR doesn’t embrace fighters who don’t live there, or something else.
Edison Miranda. The super middleweight has a new promoter and a new trainer, and in his first fight with both, he looked as though he was more than just the one-handed lobber of Hail Marys that he’s become. Hard to tell much from one round — all it took for Miranda to score his knockout — and I don’t see Miranda as deserving a spot in the Super Six tournament, but he’s only 28 and he’s a fighter I’d like to see get “it” back. He’s an exciting puncher, but in his losing performance against Andre Ward, he looked like a fighter who had nothing left, who was just going through the motions. Caveat: If it turns out there was something illegal in that bottle that the California State Athletic Commission confiscated, my level of interest in seeing him get “it” back diminishes a good deal. I’ve included a clip of Miranda’s win, and like a lot of Miranda KOs, it’s awesomely nasty stuff.
Tomas Rojas. The junior bantamweight won his fight Saturday, so he’ll stay on track as Vic Darchinyan’s Dec. 12 opponent. Glad of it.
Paul Williams trainer alleges Kelly Pavlik fear, says stuff that is weird. George Peterson, the trainer of Williams, said middleweight champion Pavlik was scared of Williams and that’s why he pulled out of his Dec. 5, and doesn’t buy any of the Pavlik “lies” about why he pulled out. I admit the multiple Pavlik stories are fishy, but I still don’t think Pavlik ever really was scared of Williams — I blame incompetence, even before I blame the rumors of Pavlik’s personal life strife. Also, Peterson said Williams was in the “spank butt business,” which — Peterson, you’ve got to stop talking about “spanking butt” all the time. Pick a different phrase. It’s funny that “ass whooping” sounds so much tougher than “butt spanking” when it’s the same act, but it’s weird anyway and I want Peterson to have used that phrase for the last time.
Mixed martial arts bad decision. I didn’t watch, but I’ve seen it said many times that everyone thought Lyoto Machida didn’t deserve his decision win over Mauricio Rua in Saturday’s UFC event. You’ll hear MMA fans say there aren’t very many bad decisions in their sport, but here’s one, by universal consensus. It doesn’t excuse it, but bad decisions are bound to happen in any sport where judges render decisions. Bad decisions are bad for boxing but there are bad decisions elsewhere, too, and I just think it helps to keep that in context. That’s all. I AM NOT JUSTIFYING SAID BAD DECISIONS.