One of our goals for 2009 is to get more people talking actively, and I've learned over time running blogs that one thing people love to do is vote in polls. America loves polls. I'm not sure if England or anywhere else loves polls, but by God, in America we love our polls.
So to get a monthly open discussion and debate and poll-voting bonanza kicked in, I thought it'd be cool to let everyone decide the Fight of the Month for all 12 turns of the calendar pages.
January was kind of a slow month in terms of volume, and when August rolls around it'll basically turn into head-to-head unless something changes, and I'm also always going to include an "Other" option for those that may have seen an overseas fight that kicked the crap out of what we were presented on American TV, or just an unsung bout that was available on American TV. Sometimes you get a Mtagwa-Villa and if it happens late in the month, half the people that love it won't see it until two weeks later or so.
Exercise your right to vote. Explain your pick. Argue. Debate. Do it to it.
Yuriorkis Gamboa v. Roger Gonzalez, January 9
Gamboa-Gonzalez was the main event of the season premier of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights, and we got an interesting little scrap out of the deal. Gonzalez decked Gamboa in the second round, but other than that Gamboa won pretty much the rest of the fight. Still, it was intriguing in some ways to watch Gonzalez try to constantly bait Gamboa, who was closer to biting than it may seem looking at the final tally of the scorecards. The 10th round stoppage was questionable if you ask me, but it was a Gamboa win either way. [Full coverage of this event]
Andre Berto (c) v. Luis Collazo, WBC Welterweight Title, January 17
25-year old WBC welterweight titlist Andre Berto met the stiffest test of his career against former titleholder Luis Collazo in Biloxi on the 17th, televised by HBO on Boxing After Dark. Berto won the fight handily when he could establish distance and use his natural speed and reflexes, but when the fight went into close quarters, Collazo dominated. His defensive tricks were a handful for Berto, who also got caught hard and staggered in the first round. Berto was also docked a point in the fourth for holding, the only time we've ever seen him hold noticeably. After 11 rounds of action, I had it 104-104, with the winner of the 12th and final round the winner of the fight on my card. Berto came out guns blazing, took the round, and two of the three judges were in my boat. It won Berto the fight, with 114-113 scores on two cards and a 116-110 Berto card (get real) on the third. It was a highly interesting fight and once again, many will argue that Luis Collazo should have taken someone's "0." It was good enough that a rematch is desired. [Full coverage of this event]
Antonio Margarito (c) v. Shane Mosley, WBA Welterweight Title, January 24
There is such a thing as an entertaining one-sided fight, and I think this was one of them. Mosley's domination of Margarito was shocking, similar to watching Hopkins pick apart Pavlik last October, but not on the same level. For that fight, Hopkins won the Bad Left Hook "Performance of the Year" award for 2008, and if Mosley takes that one this December for this fight, it won't be surprising. To be blunt, he beat Margarito's ass, knocking him down in the eighth (with only the bell really saving Margarito that round) and finishing him off in the ninth. All the post-fight controversy may paint this in a different light for some, but Mosley deserves great credit for manhandling Margarito the way he did. [Full coverage of this event]
Herman Ngoudjo v. Juan Urango, IBF Junior Welterweight Title, January 30
It definitely would win the award for strangeest fight of the month, what with the timekeeper apparently passing out in the 11th round, leading to an extra two minutes and ten seconds of action. Actually, I guess Barrera fighting a complete bum and getting headbutted to death might challenge this one for strangest. But Ngoudjo-Urango was a good fight with a fantastic crowd in Montreal. Urango's video game boxing won him the fight with two knockdowns in the third round, and it also felt like Ngoudjo (though he had his moments) simply wasn't as hungry as Urango was. One of the three judges' (Robert Hoyle) scorecards was horrendous (120-106 Urango?), but it can't mar the in-ring action. Urango swung for the fences for 36 minutes, and Ngoudjo desperately tried to find ways to stay in the fight without getting creamed. [Full coverage of this event]