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Welcome to the New Year with the second edition of the Club (14th overall) now being featured in Bad Left Hook.
As usual, we have modern jazz, rock, blues, and heavy metal (no Dixieland or New Age is allowed here). Tonight, we feature some smoking guitar work from Ronnie Earl, Jimmy Thackeray, Albert Collins, and Joe Bonamassa. Hey, name your tune, and D.J. Bull will spin the disk. In fact, the first one we have is in honor of the DJ's other moniker, "The Midnight Rambler" by the Stones speaking of whom we also have Fergie and Mick singing "Gimme Shelter," followed by songstress Lisa Fischer. Kim Wilson might stop by and do some harp work along with Mark Hummell, and Charlie Musselwhite just might do "Fat City." Unfortunately, we don't have enough room for the legendary Tower of Power (one of my all time favorites), but they will be featured soon.
In addition to our ever-present Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky (always the best is on hand here), we have some nice Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old Single Malt which is not easy to get so please enjoy it while you can. "The nose releases honeyed nuts and a slightly sea-induced salty tang, followed by hints of rich toffee and leathery oak. The palate suggests sherried nuts and deft oak."
Our cigar is a La Escepcion (edition limitada) - Series V - 2004. It is an old Cuban named cigar by Jose Gener who also registered the Hoyo De Monterrey line. This one will overwhelm your palette with a mixture of marvelous tastes.
Now, on to boxing and, like always, don't hesitate to inject your own boxing topics, opinions, disagreement, or agreement.
1) First, my Pound for Pound top dozen. Again, this is simply a snapshot in time as of January 2, 2009.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr
2. Manny Pacquiao
3. Chad Dawson
4. Shane Mosley
5. Paul Williams
6. Sergio Martinez
7. Bernard Hopkins
8. Juan Manuel Marquez
9. Yonnhy Perez
10. Juan Manuel Lopez
11. Hozumi Hasegawa
12. Nonito Donaire
Others knocking on the door: Celestino Caballero, Ivan Calderon, Koki Kameda, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, and Tim Bradley.
What do you think?
2) The Mayweather- Pacquiao fiasco
People are used to this kind of stuff from boxing...If anything, it just makes more people aware of the fight
--UFC promoter Dana White
This one is grabbing the boxing headlines so I'll reluctantly chime in with my position, but feel free to make your own arguments.
Maybe Manny should step up and do random testing, but wait, there is another side to this: Whether Pacquiao's refusal to agree to the tests are acceptable or not, what right does Mayweather and his camp have to decide whether the sport's testing standards are sufficient? As our own poster Es Milano puts it: "Mayweather and Golden Boy are so deluded as to believe that the boxing world revolves around them. It is arrogance in the extreme. It is also disparaging to Pacquiao, a fighter who commands total respect from all corners of the sport for the entertainment that he provides and the respect he gives his opponents, and who has a spotless record when it comes to drug testing. It is more than likely a clear attempt from Mayweather to once again avoid a dangerous encounter. What a shame that the most talented fighter of the last 20 years lacks the respect and the courage to really test his skills."
I could not have said it any better myself.
"What, fighters decide what fighters are going to do? That's what the commission is there for," commented promoter Dana White and I agree. Look, at the end of the day, this fight will be made. No one in their right mind walks away from this kind of money, but then again, there are some signs, ever-so-small, that maybe these two are not in their right minds.
Still, there are some who make a good case by arguing that Manny has a golden opportunity to take "doping" reforms to a new and higher level by simply agreeing to the random tests.
2010 could well be a time of major transition in boxing
Look for names like Ward, Dirrell, Gamboa, Geale, Cloud, Valero, Mack, Perez, Berto, Rhodes, Angulo, Lopez, Funeka, Khan, Moreno, Kameda, Martirosyan, Bute, Haye, Alexander, Adamek, Nishioka, Agbeko, Bakhtin, Cunningham, Naito, Dawson, Berto, Bradley, and Fernando Guerrero to make their considerable mark on the boxing scene as we switch to new and maybe more exciting fighters. It no longer will be "same old same old" in 2010. Indeed, if Juan Manuel Lopez shines against Steve Luevano, look for the cherished Puerto Rican baton to be passed from "Junito" to "Juanma."
As these shifts take place, names like Roy Jones, Sor Vorapin, Barrera, Morales, Penalosa, Sasakul, Castillo, Diaz (David, Juan, Antonio and Julio), Vazquez, Marquez (Rafael), Hatton, Cotto, Guzman, Briggs, Taylor, Holyfield, Valuev, Margarito, Glen Johnson will fade, and even Kessler, Pavlik and Mosley will need to fight at their very best to stay in the name game while Hopkins cannot afford one loss. Hearns, Leonard, Duran and Hagler did not last forever, nor will Mayweather and Pacquiao, but the Klitschkos just might.
Mark my words; you will see major shifts in 2010, including a continuing resurgence in Filipino, Japanese, and Argentinean boxing, and a break out of Armenian boxers continuing to be led by Vic and "King" Arthur, but followed by Alexander Abraham (25-0-1), come backing Artur Grigorian (38-1), Vanes "The Nightmare" Martirosyan (25-0), Gennady Martirosyan (19-2), Arsen Martirosyan (15-3), Khoren Gevor (30-4), and Roman "Armenian Warrior" Aramian (30-8) and Art Hovhannesyan (10-0). Susi "Killer Queen" Kentikian (25-0) is one of the world's top female pugilists.
4) Mexican fighters have had better years than 2009
Mexican American slugger Christobal Arreola was dismantled by Vitally Klitschko (but he is not done by a long shot), Juan Manuel Marquez was schooled by Floyd Mayweather. Jr., Hector Velazquez lost 3 of 4 in 2009, "Action" Jackson Asiku beat Heriberto "Cuate" Ruiz for the vacant IBO featherweight title via the 3 knockdown rule, Steve Molitor beat Ruiz earlier in the year, Celestino Caballero stopped Francisco "Franky" Leal, Vic Darchinyan crunched both Jorge Arce and Tomas Rojas, Simphiwe Nongqayi then beat a come-backing Arce in September after having dispatched Francisco "Panchito" Arce earlier in the year. Later, the iron chin of Librado Andrade was shockingly dented by Lucien Bute, and even monster Alfredo Angulo suffered an upset defeat at the hands of Kermit Cintron. Juan Diaz was beaten at least once by Paulie Malignaggi.
Victor Ortiz was stopped by Marcos "El Chino" Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera lost a TD to Amir Khan, Jhonny Gonzalez was TKOd by Toshiaki Nishioka before coming back with two wins, Nishioka also stopped Mexicans Ivan Hernandez and Genaro Garcia during the year. Tough Hugo Fidel Cázares was held to a draw by young Nobuo Nashiro in September. In still another shock, Aging Jesus Chavez was brutalized by Michael Katsidis, Edgar Sosa was waxed by Filipino Rodel Mayol and Ulises Solis was sent to Guadalajara dreamland by the "Hawaiian Punch," Brian Vilroia, in April. Julio "The Kidd" Diaz went 0-2 in 2009 and so did Cruz Carbajal, Enesto "Baby Face" Zepeda lost 2 in 2009 as well. And of course, we all know what happened to Antonio Margarito when he fought Sugar Shane Mosley.
It may be up to the likes of Arreola, Antonio DeMarco, Juan Carlos Burgos, Ivan Calderon, Fernando Beltran Jr, Steven Luevano, Cristobal Cruz, Fernando Montiel Abner Mares, Hugo Fidel Cázares, Giovanni Segura, Martin Honorio, Humberto Soto, and David Lopez to restore what seemed to have been a bit of lost luster in 2009--or am I being unfair here?
5) A Good Year Looms for The Brits--Maybe
By the same token, British boxing may be poised for a resurgence with Haye now a force in the heavyweight division and a Roach-trained Amir Khan looking better in each outing. Froch is positioned to make up for his dismal showing against Dirrell, and Matthew Macklin can emerge when he tackles Russian Dimitry Pirog in February. Ryan Rhodes has won 8 straight and packs a mean punch as Jamie Moore found out in October. Kell Brooks is streaking at 20-0, and Nathan Cleverly is at 18-0 and may be the best of the younger ones. Finally, talkative Anthony "The Scream" Small continues to do well and is currently at 23-1. Some of the many things I like about these guys is their relatively high level of activity and their willingness to fight one another when t means something. Matthew Hatton is still in the mix as well. Or am I being too optimistic here?
6) Prospect of the Month
We are developing a fighter the right way....for a guy that isn't on TV, or with one of the so-called "Big Boys", he's doing pretty well as far as the ranking organizations.
Mike Jones from Philadelphia. At 19-0, this patient welterweight has a great jab, solid power, and does good body work (and I don't mean in his garage). He has been flying somewhat under the radar, but if he beats Henry "El Nito" Brussles (28-3-2) on February 27, that will all change. His last victim was none other than Raul "El Tendero" Pinzon, the Colombian who put Ricardo Torres through pure hell in what was a Barranqilla Barnburner earlier this year and my second choice for Fight of the Year. Mike, known as "M.J," has been a fixture at the New Alhambra in Philadelphia and needs more visibility to get his proper due. Keep you eyes on this latest in a long line of "Philly Fighters."
6) Ten predictions....
...for some upcoming fights:
1) Juanma stops Luevano
2) Sam Sexton stops Danny Williams
3) Art Hovhannesyan stops Freddie Norwood.
4) Yuriorkis Gamboa over Rogers Mtagwa
5) Donnie Nietes will stop Ivan Meneses
6) Peter Manfredo Jr. over Matt Vanda
7) Edwin Valero stops Antonio DeMarco
8) Arthur Abraham over Andre Dirrell
9) Carl Froch over Mikkel Kessler
10) Devon Alexander over Juan Urango
7) What about Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vasquez IV?
How do you feel about this one? My thinking is that if they can make Botha vs. Holyfield, then these two warriors are entitled to a great (and likely last) payday. Boxing is a business and these two are boxers. But others have made a good argument that they have nothing more to prove and have taken more than enough punishment from one another. Maybe so, but the problem is that they will not get a solid payday if they fight anyone else. In that regard, they are in a bit of a self-made catch 22
8) If you could promote one fight (besides Pacquiao vs. Mayweather) in 2010, what would it be?
Mine would be a rematch of Sergio Martinez vs. Antonio Margarito. Tony waxed him many years ago (in Las Vegas in 2000 when the Argentinean was 16-0-1 and Tony was 20-3), but that was then and this is now. This time, redemption would be a major factor for both fighters, but for different reasons.
10) International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees
One of the very best in years with Danny "Little Red" Lopez, Jung-Koo Chang, Lloyd Marshall and Larry Hazzard among the worthy recipients. Congratulations to the voters, the inductees, and the Hall.
Speaking of Lloyd Marshall, there is a great trivia question involving him. Do you know what it is?
For a musical and photo tour, visit the author's website at www.tedsares.com