The inaugural edition of Folo Punch proved so popular I've decided to take a break from opening fan mail and giving advice to prestigious BWAA members to bang out a sequel. This week's opus touches on surprisingly lucid commentary from Joe Cortez on Showtime, Jim Lampley's poignant, homoerotic tribute to Hector Camacho, and Robert Guerrero's thrilling win over Andre Berto and how it might strengthen his bromance with Green Mile's James Cromwell.
I'll remember Camacho as much for his flamboyant ring entrances and incredible costumes as his fights. Every man should have a Pharaoh's headdress, a medieval suit of armor, and a modern infantry uniform in their closet. He was a bona-fide character and a damn good fighter. HBO's tribute to Camacho was effective but, despite my role as treasurer of the James Clifford Lampley Fan Club, I could live without hearing him utter the phrase "his body was beautiful" for just about the rest of my life.
The much-maligned Joe Cortez managed to improve on his sputtering debut with a genuinely insightful opinion during the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout scrap. I went into the Cortez experiment with expectations lower than Bob Arum's testicle compartment and nothing in his debut performance swayed me the other way. He stammered out a few unintelligible words and was gone. This time, however, I must note he was dead-on with his comment about Cotto turning his back after believing he was hit with a low blow. At that point, referee Charlie Fitch appeared not to notice and had yet to signal a break. It would have been entirely fair for Trout to take a cheap shot while Cotto turned away and lowered his guard. I also agreed with Cortez that it was prudent of Fitch to opt against deducting a point for the unintentional infraction. Hey...is that Don Dunphy over there? This guy might have a career in broadcasting after all!
The fight was a tough pill to swallow for an avowed acolyte of Miguel. I've wanted to see Cotto fight Saul ‘Canelo' Alvarez for a year. It could have been an absolute mega-fight, the two best guys in the division, Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, young star/savvy veteran, red-head vs. baldy, the whole shebang. But the bottom line is Trout was the better man. He fought his ass off and he deserves the Canelo fight, not Cotto. So, everyone looking forward to Canelo-Trout? What's that? They're gonna make Canelo-Cotto anyway?! You gotta be...oh, I forgot, it's boxing. Moving on...
Some have theorized Cotto is too small for 154, not a "true" junior-middleweight. I don't know what the hell that means. If a guy can't make 147, he's a junior-middleweight. I understand he's on the small side for the division. So what's the solution? Does anyone think boiling down to welterweight is a good idea? Putting more wear and tear on an already ravaged body? If Cotto wants to continue, he can still be competitive with some guys and make good fights. He probably won't win on the elite level again, but he's fucking Miguel Cotto. He'll sure as hell try.
Guerrero proved me completely wrong, so I'm gonna do a complete 180 and swoon on him. I knew Guerrero could fight but I just couldn't see a guy who jumped up from lightweight taking shots from a solid, muscle-bound welterweight like Berto. Robert, I'll never doubt you again. Not only will I concoct an elaborate bribery/blackmail scheme to sway BWAA voters into your corner for the Fighter of the Year, I also plan on campaigning across the country to bring a massive Guerrero fan-base to Las Vegas to cheer you on while you kick that evil "Pretty Boy" Floyd Mayweather's ass in 2013! (Note-I may just be attempting to land a spot in Guerrero's entourage so I can brush shoulders with celebs like Secretariat's James Cromwell.)
Of course this weekend offers the latest installment of Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, the rivalry that won't die because these two are too damn evenly matched and/or those pesky judges won't give us the definitive outcome we want. Gotta be honest, not really feeling it. They've given us two great fights and one good fight. But in this era of big names fighting once or twice a year, I'd prefer to see something fresh. You know, they fought three times, it was dead even, get over it. That's admittedly tough to do when you're naked with a sombrero on your lap, half a fifth of Patron deep, bemoaning the fact that you were tactically superior and those dick judges failed to reward you for a third straight time.
Regardless of my taste, Pacquiao-Marquez 4 is what we're getting. I'll hand over my 70 dollars to Mr. Arum and company and hope for another great fight in the vein of the first two. Boxing has had a nice run over the last couple months: Ward-Dawson, Martinez-Chavez, Rios-Alvarado, Mares-Moreno, Marquez-Viloria, Berto-Guerrero, and Cotto-Trout were all memorable and exciting and made us feel gushy to be fight fans.
Each one of those contests featured top-ten fighters at a certain weight. There are some who appear to want only violent brawls between action fighters in the vein of Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward. But the sport has proven time and time again, when you make fights between the best fighters, good things happen. In that sense Pacquiao-Marquez fits right in, showcasing two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Oops, I referenced pound-for-pound. How dare I? Goddang lowly bloggers and their stupid lists. I'm out.
Photo of Robert Guerrero and Six Feet Under's James Cromwell courtesy Mario Serrano.