BY PHILIP H. ANSELMO
While I can’t say I was completely surprised by this past weekend’s events inside the ring, some moments did stir some emotion out of my elderly guts.
First off, I quite enjoyed the scrap for the vacant EBU heavyweight title (and IBF International strap) between long-time fringe contender Alexander Dimitrenko and undefeated riser Kubrat Pulev. Both guys came to actually fight and for what it’s worth, the overall quality of its contestants served notice to us folks here in the US that the European heavyweight scene is thriving, unlike our domestic best at the same weight. And yes Seth Mitchell I’m talking about the likes of YOU.
Pulev, who remained undefeated by stopping Dimitrenko in the 11th round, looks to be a contender that will be eventually reckoned with. Pulev weathered early aggression from Dimitrenko and fought back with pretty quick hand speed, a tight defense and utilized semi-excellent footwork in the process. To Dimitrenko’s credit, he FINALLY utilized a long, stiff jab that found it’s home early on and often. There didn’t seem to be an enormous amount of punching power on display (but the punches were still solid) until Pulev landed a perfectly-timed jab that Dimitrenko walked directly into in serendipitous fashion. Dimitrenko fell straight back on his ass while the ref observed his distress and waved the fight off at the end of the round. At first glance, I thought the fight might’ve been stopped prematurely, but Alexander gave no complaint, and was obviously done. Dimitrenko fell to 32-2, 21 KO’s with the loss. Where he goes from here is anybody’s guess, but his performance was still good enough to earn him so
me decent paydays down the road, that is, if he continues to box.
Good win for Pulev, now 16-0, 8 KO’s, who by all accounts should be in line for another big fight up the ladder of success. Whether he wants to, or is ready to take a shot at one of the Klitschko brothers remains to be seen, but Pulev, once again, is a force to be reckoned with, no matter who is next in line for him.
On the same card, albeit the undercard, I was left scratching my goatee in amazement when undefeated heavyweight Edmund Gerber, now 20-0, 13 KO’s, got the nod over savvy veteran Mo Harris who fell to 25-16-2, 11 KO’s. I’m not sure anyone present at the fight or watching the stream saw what the judges saw, but from where I was sitting, it sure looked like Harris did enough to win the fight. Tough loss for Mo here. Boxing judges never cease to amaze me at how inept they can be. How can a constant diet of bad decisions, or at least, inconsistent scoring benefit the sport? I have an answer: It can’t. This was a straight-up bad decision.
In the main event of this same card, WBO Cruiserweight Champ Marco Huck, now 35-2-1, 25 KO’s, retained his title via 12-round DRAW in a wild back-and-forth brawl with underrated Ola Afolabi, now 19-2-4, 9 KO’s. This fight was a brawl. Both guys can punch too, so it was evident they were in excellent condition as they traded bombs throughout. The final round was epic as both fighters were rocked, but still swinging for the fences. I had Huck winning by a point or two after 12, but the DRAW seemed justified as well. This was “Fight of The Year” material no doubt. A rematch wouldn’t be out of the question, and I’d pay as much as the US PPV card cost later in the night to see it again.
Which brings me to that very card fought on US soil. In an undercard bout, Saul Alvarez’s one-sided 12-round decision victory over a very, very faded Shane Mosley bothered me somewhat.
This resembled a sparring session for the young Alvarez, who is now sporting a glossy record of 40-0-1, 29 KO’s. Mosley meekly dropped to 46-8-1, 39 KO’s. I really don’t want to open a can of worms here, but Shane looked suspiciously awful in this fight. And isn’t it just a bit curious that Mosley, who is an invested co-partner in Golden Boy promotions, was “fighting” his own client? Kinda seemed to me like Mosley was going through the motions, throwing mostly arm-punches, and making a paycheck. Tough way to make paycheck, but Oscar De La Hoya takes care of his own. Alvarez remained flat-footed all night and Mosley walked directly to him. The Mosley of young would have used a greater deal of lateral movement, but that’s beside the point. Here’s to hoping Shane retires, and NOW. He has been a great warrior for years. Seeing him absorb shots he couldn’t get out of the way of was painful. On the other hand, Alvarez looked solid to me, but not spectacular in any particular area. Sure the kid has nice handspeed, quick, creative combinations and thumping body shots, but I’m not sure he can be judged thoroughly in this performance, mainly because of Mosley’s lack of fire power and desire. Lets see how Alvarez does fighting what’s left of the “elite” at 147-154 lbs. before passing too much judgment on “Canelo”, good or bad.
And finally, as I predicted 3-months ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr., now 43-0, 26 KO’s, dethroned WBA “Super” Jr. Middleweight Champ Miguel Cotto over 12-rounds. But the fight was much tougher for Floyd than expected from my viewpoint. Mayweather was pressured and had his back against the ropes for great lengths in several rounds. Floyd’s excellent, opponent-maddening defense kept most of Cotto’s spirited flurries from landing flush, and Floyd fought well off the ropes. But I couldn’t help but wonder how Mayweather would fair against Manny Pacquaio put in the same situation. There is a definite FACT that styles do indeed make fights, and I’m not so sure Floyd would be in the same situation should he fight PacMan, but the questions will linger, especially after this fight.
There is no doubt Floyd is one of the game’s greatest boxers in the current state of the game, but I still have to question his greatness when it comes to “All time greats”.
There was a point at the end the 11th round, when I thought the fight could still be somewhat close, where Floyd stunned Cotto and had the Puerto Rican on wobbly legs. But instead of pouncing, like a prime Sugar Ray Leonard would have done, Mayweather chose to bounce on his toes with both hands down directly in front of Cotto, seemingly allowing Cotto to regain his senses. Why? Well, maybe we’ll never know the answer to that one. If Floyd’s purpose was to “give the crowd a great show” as he said in his post-fight interview with Larry Merchant, then I’d say fair enough. But wouldn’t actually stopping Cotto have been more viewer friendly? Maybe that’s just me, but such is the bizarre world and reasoning of Floyd Mayweather Jr…
Hope you all enjoyed the weekend’s fights!
Please leave comments on how you saw things from this weekends fights!
– Philip H. Anselmo is the singer and song writer for multiple Heavy Metal acts (Pantera/Down/SJR/Arson Anthem) and the new Down EP will be out this Fall 2012. And watch for Philip’s solo record, “Philip H. Anselmo: ‘Walk Through Exits Only’, out later this year, or early next. Also keep up with Anselmo’s record label, housecore records at thehousecorerecords.com.