A curmudgeon's view of boxing's Christmas jollies

Dec 23, 2008 5:10 PM
Pulling No Punches by Michael Katz |

Tis the season to be jolly because:

• There are plenty of areas of comfort and joy in boxing.

• We can’t talk about heavyweights.

• There was no recession when it came to fight-of-the-year candidates. I’ll let the "experts" pick one, but if it doesn’t feature one of the Marquez brothers, the best losers of 2008 (Rafael to Israel, Juan Manuel to Manny Pacquiao), it had better be that 61-second donnybrook between Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres.

It was Torres that floored Holt twice before being knocked out himself in not only the Fight of the Year, but maybe the round and knockout, too. There was some last-minute shopping in December when Tomasz Adamek dethroned Steve Cunningham.

• Oscar de la Hoya could be laughing all the way to the bank.

• Bernard Hopkins proved again he was a man for all seasons, especially winter.

• The Executioner’s upset of Kelly Pavlik wasn’t the only exhibit of experience trumping youth. Joel Casamayor stopping previously undefeated Michael Katsidis (before losing his lightweight title to Juan Manuel Marquez) and Nate Campbell doing the same to Juan Diaz.

• We can ignore any cards from Joe Calzaghe, whose many British friends thought the Welshman was outpointed by B-Hop and then concluded the sport was dying.

• We don’t need to look at all the conflicts of interest that abound – like "writers" working for a promoter in the guise of Ring magazine.

• We won’t overlook the superflyweights, a bunch of 115-pound warriors who comprise one of the game’s most talented divisions. How about Vic Darchinyan’s upset of Cristian Mijares?

• We can tip our snow caps to the unstoppable Antonio Margarito for his brilliant performance against the brilliant Miguel Cotto in another Fight of the Year that also made the Tijuana Tornado a legitimate candidate against Pacquiao for Fighter of the Year. He earlier took care of another welterweight champion in Kermit Cintron.

 • Andrew Golota’s latest quit job on the premise should be the last we see of him, and that the only thing Don King seems to be promoting these days is the Foul Pole.

 • We can try to forget that Jose Sulaiman was inducted into the Canastota Hall of Fame.

• We can welcome to the big time, Juan Manuel Lopez.

• We can welcome back Paul Williams and may your gifts include some big matches, like a second one with Margarito.

• We were treated to Ivan Calderon, who has finally been "discovered."

• We are wondering if Floyd Mayweather Jr. is really missed?

• We should give Floyd Sr. some credit for making Ricky Hatton into a reasonable facsimile of a boxer, at least one good enough to get a shot at Pacquiao.

• We could ignore Joe Cortez blowing the first Humberto Soto-Francisco Lorenzo fight by disqualifying Soto. And let’s also forget Sulaiman ignoring the legal jurisdiction of the state of Nevada. Two wrongs don’t make a right, not even in the WBC.

• We can thank goodness that Arthur Abraham gives Kelly Pavlik a real rival at 160 pounds.

• It was nice seeing David Diaz hold a title, even if for so short a time.

• We don’t care what Joan Guzman weighs.

• We wonder why some people think Calzaghe is a great fighter when his legacy consists of Jeff Lacy (we saw what he was against Jermain Taylor), a Dane (Mikkel Kessler) and a couple of old men? If he’s a great fighter, maybe boxing is dying.

• This curmudgeon will survive to give you more winners (and losers) next year.