It’ll be a slow weekend for the boxing only fight fans. It would seem that going up against Dana White and the UFC just isn’t good business. Whether intentional or not, what had been a calendar month filled with compelling fights, suddenly put the brakes on for the weekend when White’s UFC showcases it’s premier fighter. White may have proven his point, in scheduling a free event against the Mayweather vs. Hatton pay per view, and has since seen boxing promoters seemingly schedule around his events.
Oscar De La Hoya dominated boxing headlines this week, and broke the hearts of a few fight fans in announcing that he’s riding off into the sunset. It’s nice to see a boxer get out ahead for a change, and in a condition where he can still speak and interact intelligently. After preparing the world for an announcement last Friday night, Oscar went on Friday night fights and promised an official announcement this Saturday. Still, it was an easy read at the time that De La Hoya was headed to retirement, stating several times that he was comfortable with his decision.
In getting out ahead, De La Hoya has done to the game of boxing, what it has done to fighters for years. De La Hoya held his own against the best in a sport that routinely chews up and spits out fighters without regard for humanity. De La Hoya used his atypical stature and strength to command big pay days when he was on top of his game, and willingly accepted his fate when his skills began to diminish, and used the last years of his credible fighting career to begin amassing a stable of fighters that will insure that the name “Goldenboy” remains synonymous with boxing for years to come.
De La Hoya’s stable of fighters has certainly grown far beyond his original cash cows of Shane Moseley and Bernard Hopkins. Including Moseley and Hopkins, Goldenboy currently boasts a total of 6 of The Ring Magazine’s top 10 pound for pound fighters. Outside of the pound for pound rankings, Goldenboy also has more than a handful of other fighters either holding titles or ranked in the lineal top 5 in their weight classes. Oscar has definitely set himself up for success in his now eminent post boxing career, and in doing so has maybe finally brought a credible name to the game of boxing promotions. Don King, Bob Arum, Gary Shaw and the rest had better take notice, there’s a change in the wind. I can feel it.
SHOBox – Friday Night on Showtime
There’s no Friday night fights on ESPN2 this week, but a familiar FNF face will be in the ring on Showtime on Friday nonetheless. Saturday nights are for the big money fights, but fans who tune in on Fridays, usually get a good idea of what kind of talent is headed up the pike. There are a scarce few fighters in the game right now, 35-years old or less, of any relevance, who didn’t come up through the circuit and make and appearance or ten on one of these Friday night venues.
Selcuk Aydin – 5’ 7”, 147 lbs. – (17-0, 14 KO) vs. Said Ouali – 5’ 10”, 147 lbs. – (25-2, 17 KO) – Scheduled for 12 Rounds for the WBC International Welterweight Title
In a battle of two fighters with careers headed in different directions, Ouali at 29 years old is trying to make one final attempt at seeing what he’s got left for the ultra-competitive welterweight division, and the 25-year old Aydin is taking a step up in class of opponent, and should be in for a test.
Ouali, the taller southpaw, is the 11th ranked welterweight in the world by boxrec.com. He comes into this fight having won his last 11 contests in a row, 8 straight by KO. His last loss was a narrow 8-round unanimous decision at the hands of Manning Galloway in August of 2004, and his only other loss came at the worthy hands of Kermit Cintron, to date Ouali’s best opponent, in August of 2001.
Aydin, the younger, shorter, orthodox fighter, carries around the title that will be contested in this match and the nickname Mini-Tyson, and that may be all you need to know about his style. The Turk is ranked 34th in the world among welterweights by boxrec.com, and has a string of knockouts as long as his slight reach. Still, 2 of the 3 fights that Aydin has allowed to go to the cards in his professional career have been within his last 4 fights. In his last 2 fights though, Aydin has disposed of basically carefully chosen opponents, in the 1st and 2nd rounds.
Both guys should be swinging for the fences in this one, and ring size probably won’t be much of a factor, as on paper it looks like it could be fought in a phone booth. The lefty/righty match up could open the door for a few head clashes or other awkward moments in close, but likely won’t be the deciding factor. Aydin will carry his right around like a club, and look for opportunities to land the overhand, and Ouali will look to frustrate his shorter opponent by outworking him with the right hand jab, and pepper him when opportunities to close the ring arise.
My Pick: Aydin by KO – Round 5
Yuriorkis Gamboa – 5’ 5”, 126 lbs. – (14-0, 12 KO) vs. Jose Rojas – ?’ ?”, 126 lbs. – (25-6-1, 17 KO)
If Mini Tyson isn’t enough to get your juices going, the main event may feature the best pure puncher in the game, and the kicker is that he’s only 126 lbs. Gamboa is the real deal, and if you blink while you’re watching him fight, you’ll probably miss it.
In Rojas, Gamboa appears to be taking a step up in competition, but it’s still a relatively safe fight for him. Rojas has credentials tough, having knocked out Celestino Caballero, and stood with Chris John for 12-rounds in a tough unanimous decision loss.
Don’t expect much compelling action in this one, and likewise don’t expect the announcers to make you feel like it will be much of a fight. Although stranger things have been known to happen, there won’t be many people in the building not named Rojas who think that the cagey vet has a shot in this one.
My Pick: Gamboa by KO – Round 1
UFC 97 – Saturday Night on Pay Per View
The UFC’s monthly pay per view is on this weekend, and the promotion’s premier fighter and arguably MMA’s best pound for pound, Anderson Silva looks to make his 5th successful defense of his UFC Middleweight title, and his 8th straight win since joining the promotion. In Thales Leites, the UFC has done a good job in manufacturing a contender, if not a fighter capable of testing the Spider.
Former light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell will look to get himself back to relevance, and if the rumors are true, may be fighting for his UFC future in a tough match up against Mauricio Rua. There are 5 fights scheduled for broadcast, and 7 more, fought earlier and on standby in case the main card is quick. Here’s a rundown of the card:
Anderson Silva – 6’ 2”, 185 lbs. – (23-4) vs. Thales Leites – 6’ 1”, 185 lbs. – (14-1) – Scheduled for 5 Rounds for UFC Middleweight Championship
My Pick: Silva by TKO – Round 2
Chuck Liddell – 6’ 2”, 205 lbs. – (21-6) vs. Mauricio Rua – 6’ 1”, 205 lbs. – (17-3) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Rua by Submission – Choke – Round 1
Krysztof Soszynski – 6’ 1”, 205 lbs. – (17-9-1) vs. Brian Stann – 6’ 1”, 205 lbs. – (6-1) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Stann by KO – Round 3
Cheick Kongo – 6’ 4”, 240 lbs. – (23-4-1) vs. Antoni Hardonk – 6” 4”, 245 lbs. – (8-4) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Kongo by KO – Round 1
Steve Cantwell – 6’ 2”, 205 lbs. (7-1) vs. Luiz Cane – 6’ 2”, 205 lbs. – (10-1-1) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Cane by KO – Round 1
Eliot Marshall – 6’ 3”, 205 lbs. – (6-2) vs. Vinicius Magalhaes – 6’ 3”, 205 lbs. – (3-3-1) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Magalhaes by Submission – Choke – Round 2
Denis Kang – 5’ 11”, 185 lbs. – (31-11-1) vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam – 6’ 1”, 185 lbs. – (20-9) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Foupa-Pokam by TKO – Round 1
Jason MacDonald – 6’ 3”, 185 lbs. – (22-11) vs. Nate Quarry – 6’ 0”, 185 lbs. – (16-3) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: MacDonald by TKO – Round 3
David Loiseau – 6’ 0”, 185 lbs. (18-8) vs. Ed Hermann – 6’ 2”, 185 lbs. – (16-6) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Herman by TKO – Round 2
Mark Bocek – 5’ 8”, 155 lbs. – (6-2) vs. David Bielkheden – 5’ 10”, 155 lbs. – (13-6) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Bocek by TKO – Round 2
Ryo Chonan – 5’ 9”, 170 lbs. – (15-9) vs. TJ Grant – 5’ 10”, 170 lbs. – (13-2) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Grant by Submission – Arm – Round 2
Sam Stout – 5’ 9”, 155 lbs. – (14-5-1) vs. Matt Wiman – 5’ 10”, 155 lbs. – (10-4) – Scheduled for 3 Rounds
My Pick: Wiman by TKO – Round 3
Enjoy The Fights!!!