Ted Sares welcomes you all to the relocated Scotch and Cigar Club with the first edition of the feature at Bad Left Hook. Enjoy.
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The late Mando Ramos, Bobby Chacon, and Danny "Little Red" Lopez. (Photo Courtesy of Frank Baltazar)
This is my first club meeting on Bad Left Hook (and 13th overall), so in honor of this great new site, we will have, in addition to the old standby of marvelous Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky, some nice Dom Perignon Champagne on ice. Hey, nothing but the best tonight. As for cigars, I was able to procure (don't ask how) a supply of Cuban Montecristo Especiales No. 2 (ring gauge 38) where 60 minutes of quality smoking pleasure awaits you. But just in case your tastes emanate elsewhere, I have Rocky Patel's, Bolivars and Cohibas on hand.
As usual, we have modern jazz, rock, blues, and heavy metal, but no dixieland is allowed in this Club. Name your tune, and D.J. "Bull" will spin the disk. In fact, the first one we have is the original "Let the Good Times Roll" by Shirley and Lee in honor of the fight Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez gave us on December 5. John Lee Hooker is poised to sing "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer."
And, like always, don't hesitate to inject your own opinions, disagreement, or agreement.
1) Now then, the next few weeks will offer some interesting stuff, but first, my Pound for Pound top dozen. Again, this is simply a snapshot in time as of December 6, 2009.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
2. Manny Pacquiao
3. Shane Mosley
4. Chad Dawson
5. Paul Williams
6. Sergio Martinez
7. Nonito Donaire
8. Bernard Hopkins
9. Juan Manuel Marquez
10. Yonnhy Perez
11. Juan Manuel Lopez
12. Hozumi Hasegawa
Some might argue with Williams and Martinez, but those two fought at a high skill that, in my view, should not detract from their already solid reputations. JML's has a lot on the line when he faces tough Steve Luevano and a solid win could restore much of his diminished luster.
Others knocking on the door: Celestino Caballero, Vitali Klitschko, Koki Kameda, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Lucian Bute, Andre Ward.
What do you think?
2) Kelly Pavlik in a high-risk low-gain situation
If he blows out Miguel Angel Espino (20-2) early when they meet in the friendly confines of Youngstown, Ohio on December 19, so what? Everyone expects that to happen. Sure, Espino did stop Alejandro "Terra" Garcia in March, but Garcia has never been the same since losing his WBA World light middleweight crown to Jose Antonio Rivera in 2006. Even aging Yori Boy Campas was able to wax "Terra" in one round two years later. Miguel's stoppage over Jonathan "Red Dawg" Reid in 2005 was impressive (on paper) as Reid was 33-2 coming in, but the "Dawg" had feasted on terrible opposition. In fact, he has lost nine of his last ten since the Espino stoppage. No, Espino should present no threat to Pavlik
However, if the former "Contender" extends Kelly and makes the fight reasonably competitive, a host of question justifiably will rise. And if the impossible should somehow occur and Pavlik loses, he could become irrelevant just like that. That's why this is close to a no-win situation. Espino has everything to gain (including a good payday) and little to lose; Pavlik has everything to lose and only the expected to gain. Oh yes, one other thing looms. God forbid, but if Pavlik should re-injure his knuckle in this fight and/or get another staph infection, that could prove disastrous to his boxing future regardless of the outcome.
3) What's in the water?
First Diaz-Malignaggi, then Funeka-Guzman, and now the 119-110 card in the Martinez-Williams classic. Another questionable one occurred in the Mighty Mike Arnaoutis-Pit Bull Coleman fight despite the presence of three very competent judges. What's going on?
4) Two prospects exposed; another makes his presence known.
The New Ray Robinson met someone his own height and was soundly beaten by former amateur star Brad Solomon who now replaces Philly-based Robinson as a solid prospect. Another touted Philadelphia prospect, Tyrone "Young Gun" Brunson, was 20-0-1 with all of his wins coming by KO, but he himself was out-gunned and iced by the always dangerous Carson Jones on December 12. Not a good stretch for Philly fighters, particularly when you throw in Chazz Witherspoon‘s TKO loss. At least Hopkins did what he had to do.
5) Can Kingpin back up his talk?
There are few things that sap the morale of an opponent more than knowing from the start that the most he can achieve is to keep the deficit respectable.
In a word, no. In fact, I see Vitali winning in the same manner as in his last 3 punishing beat-downs. First, he gets comfortable and finds his rhythm. Then, he starts connecting with punishing jabs and sneaky crosses all the time using deceptive movement. Finally, he will break "The Pin" down cutting up his face in the process. By round 7 or 8, "Kingpin" will be gassed and ripe for the kill. By 9 or 10, he will retire on his stool with his corner saving him from himself so he can come back to fight another day. Johnson will win fans, however, with his game effort.
6) The New "Event" Fighter
When Oscar De La Hoya retired (quite literally) in his corner after being dismantled by Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand, it also retired him from his mantle of Event Fighter Deluxe.
Then, when Pac Man, the perennial underdog, disposed of Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto in surprisingly dominating fashion, he quickly became the NEW event fighter, though some might say he was that after the De La Hoya win. When he fights, people get together and make it an event, social activity picks up, crime is virtually non-existent in the Philippines during fight night, Las Vegas buzzes, hotels are booked to the max, talk of Henry Armstrong abounds, and big, big money passes through the turnstiles.
When he fights Floyd Mayweather Jr., he once again will be the underdog, but it will be Manny who will make the fight an event; not Floyd. It will be Manny who creates the excitement, not Floyd. And it will be Manny who transfers his innate charisma to the fans, certainly not Floyd. That's because Manny Pacquiao is the "Event Fighter" who now has the allure of the fans in his corner.
7) The David Lemieux Watch
This Canadian middleweight is due to fight limited Delray "The Rainmaker" Raines this Friday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Look for him to improve his record to 20-0 with all wins coming by way of stoppage and look for this one to end within 3 rounds. Time now for David to step up to the next level of opposition.
8) Khan, Prescott, and Mitchell
With Kevin Mitchell's win over Breidis Prescott, the argument that Prescott's one-punch win over Amir Khan was a bit of a fluke gets some oxygen, not that that the "Dagenham Destroyer" is a softie. But with few exception like Yonnhy Perez, Juan Urango, and Edison Miranda, I have serious doubts about so-called Colombian bombers taking their vaunted power with them when they fight outside of Colombia. And I think I can back that up with stats if necessary. In fact, I think I can do that with Thai fighters as well.
Take a tour with me at www.tedsares.com for stories, photos, and music.