It’s a light weekend for fight action, and probably with good reason, with all of the hype surrounding the upcoming Hatton vs. Pacquiao match up, it’d be easy for another fight to get lost in the hoopla. Apparently Friday Night fights was forced to give way to the NBA Playoffs, and neither HBO or Showtime will put anything up against the big pay per view on Saturday. There’s still a SHOBox event on Friday, and of course the big one on Saturday night, and if you have access to Showtime on demand, I suggest going there and checking out Carl Froch vs. Jermain Taylor from last weekend.
If you don’t have Showtime on demand, I suggest finding the fight on the internet, it’s easily the front runner for 2009’s fight of the year. I plan on watching it at least once more before the weekend is up, and look forward to scoring it myself this time around. Although it doesn’t wind up mattering, I find it interesting that 2 of the judges had Taylor up by 4 points on the cards going into the 12th, I’m anxious to decide for myself. Sadly, Taylor may be just a little too much boxer, and not enough fighter for his own good. If he simply had the ability to go in for the kill once he gets opponents in trouble, Taylor would merit mention among the greatest ever, instead he’ll likely be remembered as a skilled boxer who just couldn’t close.
SHOBox – Friday Night on Showtime
Luis Carlos Abregu – 5’ 10”, 147 lbs. – (26-0, 21 KO) vs. Irving Garcia – 5’ 8”, 147 lbs. – (17-3-3, 8 KO) – Scheduled for 10 Rounds
As will be the case with most fights shown on Friday nights, regardless of the network, this match up was certainly made with a specific outcome already in mind. Abregu, regarded by many as a talent on the rise, has hit a couple of bumps in the road recently, but could erase the doubts that have been surfacing with a strong performance in this one.
Ranked 38th in the world by boxrec.com, Abregu was a star on the rise, piling up an impressive string of knockouts in succession, albeit against lightly regarded competition. He was fortunate to squeak out a split decision victory over David Estrada in December of last year, and went to the cards again in his last fight against Americo Rudolfo Sagania in March. In Garcia, the promoters appear to have found a confidence builder for Abregu, but one who’ll be anxious to bring the fight to him, and provide opportunities to showcase Abregu’s power.
Garcia is ranked 51st in the world at welterweight by boxrec.com, and enters this fight on the heels of nearly 7 months of inactivity. 3-0-2 since his last loss in March of 2007 to Said Ouali, Garcia is active and accurate, but lacks the power to be a force in the welterweight ranks. He’ll stay busy though, and provide a tough test for Abregu, as pressing the action will be essential to his game plan. He could frustrate Abregu if he’s able to use the ring, and avoid the big right hand.
My Pick: Abregu by KO – Round 7
On the under card, super featherweight Marvin Quintero (15-1, 12 KO) will take on Wes Ferguson (20-3-1, 6 KO) in an 8-round fight.
My Pick Quintero by KO – Round 4
HBO Pay Per View – Saturday Night on Pay Per View
Admittedly, as much as I love boxing, this will be my first boxing pay per view buy of the year. Although I buy all of the UFC events, I rarely shell out for boxing. There are a bunch of reasons why, and these are probably the same reasons that boxing seems to be losing the pay per view wars.
First and most importantly are the under cards. This boxing card in particular offers little intrigue beyond the main event, which will be fine if the main event is a blockbuster. If the main event winds up being a turd though, it’s always nice to have seen a decent under card for your money. The UFC schedules 5 good fights for broadcast on each pay per view, and further hedges their bets by putting 5 other fights into the can before the actual broadcast begins, the best of those are used as fillers in the broadcast if necessary.
The second, and bigger reason, is that if I miss a UFC card, who knows when it will be broadcast again? Boxing on the other hand usually shows up on HBO or Showtime the following week. I don’t mind watching fights where I already know the outcome, and my wife who sometimes watches with me, usually doesn’t know who won the following week anyway, so for her it’s like a live fight. Most importantly, I suppose, is that it’d be tough to justify paying for HBO or Showtime if it weren’t for the fights.
Manny Pacquiao – 5’ 6 ½”, 140 lbs. – (48-3-2, 36 KO) vs. Ricky Hatton – 5’ 7 ½”, 140 lbs. – (45-1, 32 KO) – Scheduled for 12 Rounds for the IBO Light Welterweight Title
Pacquiao, the 30-year old southpaw, began his career as a 106 pound mini flyweight back in 1995. Over the years he has gradually crept up in size and reputation, eventually leveling out between feather and junior lightweight, where he began to gain his reputation as the world’s best pound for pound fighter. He holds the mythical pound for pound top ranking according to The Ring Magazine, and ranks #1 at light welterweight according to boxrec.com. A transient in weight, Pacquiao is oddly only listed in the Ring’s welterweight rankings, among lineal divisional rankings, where he ranks 5th despite never fighting at a weight higher than 142 lbs.
After basically running over the entire feather and super featherweight divisions in succession, Pacquiao jumped to lightweight for 1 fight, a 9th round KO of David Diaz, before jumping up to 142 for the De La Hoya fight. Despite his pound for pound title, many still have doubts about Pacquiao’s ability to hold that much weight. He looked strong against De La Hoya, but clearly Oscar had more of an issue in coming down for that fight than Pacquiao did going up. In Hatton, he’ll be facing a true junior welterweight, Pacquiao will have to rely on his speed and footwork to set the tone for his game plan in this one.
With Hatton comes the crowd, which may be half of the reason why I buy Hatton fights too. There’s nothing quite like a Ricky Hatton crowd, and this should be the rowdiest yet. Although generally regarded as the bigger man, Hatton stands just an inch taller than Pacquiao, and actually has a 2 inch disadvantage in reach. Still, there’s little doubt that Hatton is the stronger fighter, and if he’s able to corner the Pac Man, he could hit him harder than he’s likely been hit before. And if Hatton is able to lean on Pacquiao and make him carry both of their weight around the ring, it could be too much to Pacquiao to stand up to.
Accomplished as he is, Hatton has only recently gone to the services of a world class corner man in Floyd Mayweather Sr., and could benefit from a renewed approach. But in Pacquiao’s corner, his old standby Freddie Roach will be on hand again, and it’s tough to get a better corner than him. Hatton is ranked 8th in the world himself in Ring Magazine’s pound for pound rankings, he’s also their lineal junior welterweight champ. Boxrec.com has him 2nd to Pacquiao in the light welterweight rankings.
This is as tough a fight to call as we’ve had this year. Pacquiao’s speed against Hatton’s power will likely be the underlying theme here, but the fight will likely be decided by the opposite. If Hatton’s speed matches up better than expected, than Pacquiao will have a rough night ahead of him. If Pacquiao has the power to hurt, or at least cut Hatton, he could turn the fight ugly in his favor. I’ll go with the wildcard, the clinch. I look for Hatton to take advantage of the clinch inside, and bull the lighter Pacquiao around the ring, eventually that should wear the challenger out and slow him down enough to be hit.
My Pick: Hatton by KO – Round 10
Enjoy the Fights!!!