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Why Cotto -vs- Mosley is the most significant fight of 2007!

On November 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY, WBA Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto and Former Two Division World Champion Sugar Shane Mosley will square off against one another in one of the biggest super fights of this year.

Not only is this match up a super fight, but it is also in this writer's opinion "the most significant fight of 2007." Now that the match is set to officially happen in a few months, I can break down my reasons for the substantial significance of this compelling matchup. This is a very important fight, not only for the 147lb weight class, but also for the sport of boxing as a whole.

Yes, De la hoya vs Mayweather was the biggest money making super fight between the biggest star in boxing and the best pound for pound fighter in boxing. Significance? Cotto vs Mosley bares more significance than that fight in my eyes and I am going to explain why.

1. Welterweight division...
is by far the hottest division in boxing right now. This is the division in which Cotto vs Mosley is taking place. This is a division, at this very moment, that is talent rich and money filled. There is a lot of money to be made in this division, with all of the names and super fights that can be made between those big names. Look at who campaigns at welterweight: Floyd Mayweather Jr, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, Kermit Cintron, Oscar De la hoya is coming back down to welterweight, Ricky Hatton (facing Mayweather on December 8) is coming up to welterweight, Zab Judah is still around (although he's gone 0-3 over the last year and half, Luis Collazo is still a top second tier contender, etc. The division is hot right now.

2. Floyd Mayweather, Jr...
who happens to be the best Pound for Pound fighter in the world today, has chosen to vacate his Super Welterweight belt to campaign in the welterweight division, where the biggest match ups can be made. Floyd has never taken an L before and has won titles in five different weight classes, remaining unbeaten in doing so, over a span of nine years. Fans want to continue to see the Pound for Pound Picasso in the best match ups possibles. The most significant and most exciting match ups possible. In choosing to remain at welterweight, the winner of a Cotto vs Mosley fight becomes the heir apparent and most deserving challenger for Mayweather in 2008.

3. Styles of the two fighters...
make this match up intriguing. It's a classic match up of puncher vs boxer - physical determination vs speed of hand and foot. Cotto is that guy who does whatever it takes to win his fights. He fights with heart, applies pressure, and throws punches non stop until he accumulates enough punishment to prompt his opponent's demise. He's also a devastating body puncher. Mosley is the counter puncher. He fires quick combinations, displays beautiful ring generalship, and takes advantage of his opponent's openings and leaky defense. Not only do you have the contrast in styles, you have two guys who will let hands go. Therefore, expect these two competitive warriors to beat the living hell out of each other. Great fight style-wise.

4. Virtual toss up.
Although Cotto is the younger undefeated fighter and Mosley is 35 years of age yet more proven in the ring, neither fighter has a decisive edge going into this fight. Fans and experts are split down the middle as to who they believe has the edge between these two boxers. The element of unpredictability makes this exciting showdown all the more intriguing.

5. Pound for Pound candidacy...
is on the line in this match up. As you all can see, Cotto is currently number 10 on the Boxing Chronicles Pound for Pound List. With Vasquez getting revenge over Marquez (who himself was a pound for pound entrant and will likely face Vasquez in rubber match), he's barely hangs on at number 10. The winner of Cotto -vs- Mosley becomes a sure fire Pound for Pound candidate, especially if the winner makes a bold statement with his performance and the way he wins. When is the last time anybody saw Mayweather, the Pound for Pound king, in the opposite corner of a ring from a fighter who was also a top ten pound for pounder????

(Mayweather has faced some really good opponents, but top 10 pound for pounders???? Gatti, not even close. Mitchell, no! Judah - had just lost to Baldomir. Baldomir, might've been top 20 if that. Oscar De la hoya was probably the closest at t0p 12).

Exactly! It's been a while since we've seen Mayweather in the ring with a fellow Pound for Pound entity. The winner of Cotto -vs- Mosley surely gains a solid Pound for Pound spot on the general consensus Pound for Pound lists.

5. If Cotto wins...
this sets up a huge match up between two undefeated Welterweight titlists, in their primes. Mayweather is the Pound for Pound king, and more or less, the modern day Golden Boy. Cotto, in many ways, is emerging as the Felix Trinidad of this era. He's Puerto Rican, undefeated, fights with relentless aggression doing whatever is in his power to emerge victorious in his fights, and has a nice fan base on the East Coast. Mayweather has his own following and is probably the 2nd highest grossing money maker in boxing underneath De la hoya. Both fighters have their respective fan bases, and this would be BOTH the BIGGEST and the MOST SIGNIFICANT welterweight fight since De la hoya vs Trinidad in September of 1999.

6. If Mosley wins...
he further solidifies his argument that Mayweather picks and chooses his opponents, should Mayweather still refuse to face Mosley because of his earning potential in comparison to himself, or lack thereof. As Mayweather stated, he made almost three times as much for his fight against Oscar De la hoya (approximately $21 million) than Mosley did in two fights with De la hoya (approximately $4.5 million for each fight). The fact would still remain that Mosley would be the most viable challenger to Mayweather. In my opinion, because of styles, he already is. A victory over Cotto, pinning the first loss on the undefeated Puerto Rican superstar's record, would give Mosley every reason to chase down Mayweather - much Antonio Tarver did for years with Roy Jones when Jones was the seemingly invisible Pound for Pound king.

7. Madison Square Garden...
is the Mecca of Boxing. This fight is happening at Madison Garden Garden. The Garden is not far from where I live, so I could easily commute to NYC to attend this fight. Given the significance of this match, and the fact that I have not been to a fight in almost four years (Hopkins vs Joppy in Atlantic City - December 13, 2003), there's an excellent chance that I will be present at the Garden on the evening of November 10.

Folks, if you can make it Madison Square Garden on November 10, do so. This is a very important fight in boxing. It will likely be a memorable fight - a memorable super fight. If you can't make it, order this fight on HBO PPV. I personally can't wait!

Mayweather -vs- Hatton lands at MGM Grand!

The records are pristine and spectacular – a combined 81-0 with 55 knockouts. However, the stage is now set for “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather or Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton to face a blemish on their record Saturday, Dec. 8, something both men are willing to go to war to prevent. Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions are proud to present “Undefeated”, a historic night of boxing featuring two undefeated champions battling for Mayweather’s World Welterweight Championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Tickets will go on sale Monday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. PST and will be available at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations (including select Las Vegas Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Macy’s West in the Fashion Show Mall). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000. Tickets also are available for purchase at or

A fast sellout is expected as the fight already has the world buzzing in anticipation of seeing two of boxing’s premier, undefeated superstars finally meet in the ring.

“Even though this fight is months away, everyone is already talking about it and breaking it down, trying to figure out who has the edge,” said Oscar de la Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s a great clash of styles between Mayweather and Hatton and I think that translates into a memorable fight that will go down in history as one of the great ones.”

Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions agreed, “Mayweather Promotions is very excited to host our first fight at MGM Grand. This will definitely be a great battle for the fans and the MGM Grand is the perfect place to host this fight.”

Richard Sturm, president of Sports and Entertainment for MGM MIRAGE, stated, “What an exciting way to end 2007. This thrilling match-up between two sensational and undefeated champions, Mayweather and Hatton, will certainly bring an unprecedented and electric atmosphere to the MGM Grand Garden Arena and to the fans from around the world who will be witnessing the event.”

Mayweather, who most recently defeated de la Hoya at the storied Las Vegas venue, can’t wait for the big event, “The MGM Grand is like a second home to me and I’m going to make my fifth appearance here my most spectacular and memorable. I love Vegas, I love the fans at the MGM Grand and I’m gonna show Ricky Hatton that he can’t come into my house and try to take what’s mine.”

Hatton, a native of Manchester, England, followed by saying, “It’s always been a dream of mine to fight at the MGM Grand and now I’ll finally get my chance. The MGM Grand has been the home to so many great champions and so many great fights. To fight Floyd Mayweather in that famous ring will push me even harder to live up to such a legacy.”

Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer of Golden Boy Promotions, said, “The demand for tickets for Mayweather-Hatton has been amazing and our office has been flooded with requests from both here and the UK. This is not only a spectacular fight between two undefeated champions, but it’s an event that will get the entire world’s attention on December 8.”

“UNDEFEATED”, featuring Floyd Mayweather’s defense of his World Welterweight Championship against the universally recognized World Junior Welterweight Champion Ricky Hatton, will be promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather Promotions at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The event will be produced by and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View. For more information visit

Madison Square Garden lands Cotto -vs- Mosley!

Super fight dubbed "Fast & Furious"

Press Release: "Fast & Furious" is the only way to describe this epic rumble between two of boxing's top pound for pound superstars -- undefeated WBA world welterweight champion Miguel Cotto and four-time world champion Shane Mosley. Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, in association with Madison Square Garden, "Fast & Furious" will take place Saturday, November 10, at the "Mecca of Boxing," Madison Square Garden. The 12-round world welterweight title fight will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

The undercard and ticket information will be announced at a later date. Cotto (30-0, 25 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has headlined at the 'Mecca of Boxing' on the eve of New York's annual National Puerto Rican Day Parade the last three years. On June 9, in front of a capacity crowd of over 20,500, Cotto, 26, knocked out two-division world champion Zab Judah to retain his title and improve his Garden record to 3-0.

"I am very excited to be returning to Madison Square Garden and I will be completely prepared for the biggest fight of my career," said Cotto. "Shane is a great fighter but he will not be the better fighter on November 10. I will be leaving the ring the same way I will be entering it – undefeated and still world champion."

A man who needs no introduction to fight fans is three-division world champion Sugar Shane Mosley, 35, (44-4, 37 KO's), from Pomona, Calif., who is firmly established as one of the greatest fighters of this era, having defeated Oscar de la Hoya and Fernando Vargas twice each, as well as world champions Phillip Holiday, Raul Marquez, Jesse James Leija and John John Molina. Most recently, Mosley decisioned Luis Collazo for the WBC Interim Welterweight title and plans on adding the WBA Welterweight belt to his collection this fall. "Cotto is a great figh ter, but so am I, and we're going to light up the Garden on November 10," said Mosley. "I don't think I've ever been more excited for a fight. I can't wait to get in the ring and get it on."

"The welterweight division is the most exciting in boxing today and when two great champions like Miguel Cotto and Sugar Shane Mosley agree to fight each other, you virtually guarantee the fans an amazing fight," said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions.

Added Bob Arum of Top Rank, "We are looking forward to this fight which we truly believe will be one of the greatest boxing events of the year." "Cotto-Mosley is a must-see matchup between two of the best fighters in the sport today," said Mark Taffet of HBO Pay-Per-View. "For the young champion Cotto, it is the signature fight that could launch him to superstardom. And for the future Hall of Famer Mosley, it's the most important fight since his battles with Oscar De La Hoya."

The Garden is a home away from home for both fighters as both Cotto and Mosley have been headliners in the historic building three times each. Mosley fought his Garden battles scoring TKO wins over Eduardo Morales in 1998 and Antonio Diaz in 2000 before losing his welterweight title to Vernon Forrest in a hard-fought decision in 2002. Cotto was the main event at the Garden when he stopped Mohammad Abdullaev in 2005, scored a decision win over Paul Malignaggi in 2006 and most recently, his thrilling stoppage of Zab Judah earlier this summer."

A fight of this proportion deserves The World's Most Famous Arena," said Joel Fisher, SVP Madison Square Garden Sports Properties. " Madison Square Garden has a rich tradition of hosting historic championship bouts and Cotto versus Mosley will undoubtedly add to the arena's legacy."As the old saying goes, styles make fights--

Both Cotto and Mosley have proven to be aggressive punchers who leave it all in the ring and that can only mean a dream come true for fight fans.

The Cotto vs. Mosley pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 61 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For your Cotto vs. Mosley fight week updates, log on to

The Diaz trifecta! Diaz vs Diaz in Diaz hometown!

On October 13, at a venue in Chicago, IL, the Lightweight Unification title match between WBA/WBO Champion Juan Diaz and IBF Champion Julio Diaz is set to take place. The fight will be televised on HBO Boxing After Dark. How coincidental that this championship fight is taking place in the hometown of WBC Lightweight beltholder David Diaz. Let's not kid ourselves here, though. This fight is being fought for three of the major sanctioning body titles, but the real Lightweight Champion of World is Joel Casamayor. Let's hope Casamayor gets a shot at the winner of this bout. The winner of Juan and Julio will no doubt be the heir apparent to the Lightweight throne.

R.Jones -vs-Trinidad set for January 26!

Earlier today in Don King's office in Miami, FL, Felix "Tito" Trinidad signed the contract to face Roy Jones Jr at a catch weight of 170lbs. The fight does not have a venue or a TV network, but it will most likely be Pay Per View event. Madison Square Garden has been discussed as a potential venue. In Miami, King and Trinidad called Jones on the phone and Trinidad threatened to knock Roy out, implying that he would deliver Roy the third knockout of his career. Third, because Tarver was the first with his 2nd round KO of Jones back in May of 2004 - four months later, Glen Johnson produced the 2nd KO of Jones, this one coming in the ninth round. The fight is still a ways away, but it should be quite an event.

Mayweather -vs- Hatton still venueless!

Press Release: According to Ricky Hatton's spokesman Paul Speak, a venue has not been chosen yet for Hatton's December super fight against Floyd Mayweather. "The venue has still not been finalized. I have liaised with Richard Schaefer, Chief Executive Officer of Golden Boy Promotions. Richard has informed me that it is hoped a venue will be confirmed within the next week. Once the venue has been confirmed, there will be a 2-3 week count down to the global release of tickets for the fight. Golden Boy Promotions has confirmed that there will be a large number of tickets for fans travelling from the United Kingdom and Europe. Once an allocation of fight tickets for the United Kingdom has been agreed with Golden Boy Promotions, a box office, based in Manchester, will release the tickets on a date to be agreed with Golden Boy Promotions."

De Leon destroys Bautista; Penalosa shocks Gonzalez!

From the Arco Arena
Sacramento, California

Daniel Ponce-De Leon KO1 Rey Boom Boom Bautista
Retains WBO Super Bantamweight Championship

Daniel Ponce De Leon came out swinging, and swinging HARD against Rey Boom Boom Bautista. A right-left combination from De Leon dropped Bautista and hurt him badly. Bautista barely made it to his feet, but was still badly hurt. The referee let the fight continue and De Leon moved in to drop Bautista again and the referee immediately stopped the fight. Bautista appeared to come out cold, as he did not properly warm up in the dressing room for what was the 21 year old's first world title fight. That's no excuse, though. What a statement from De Leon, in a fight that figured to be a barn burner on paper. The fight turned out to be a one round blowout. Bautista, in the Medina fight, was somewhat exposed for being chinny and having a shaky defense, but I did not expect this fight to end in one round. Let's see De Leon and Israel Vasquez!

Gerry Penalosa KO 7 Jhonny Gonzalez
Wins WBO Bantamweight Championship
Was I ever wrong about this fight! I expected Jhonny Gonzalez to outbox and beat down the older and smaller Gerry Penalosa. Gonzalez appeared to be on his way to outboxing Penalosa, as he was up on the scorecards through six rounds. In the seventh frame, however, Penalosa suddenly knocked out Gonzalez with a bodyshot. In a stunning upset, Penalosa is the new WBO Bantamweight Champion! Props to the older seasoned Philippino Champion!

Television: HBO Boxing After Dark

Joel Casamayor signs with Golden Boy!

Inactivity is plaguing the Lightweight Champion's career! Hopefully now, he'll be more active!

World Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor has recently signed with Oscar De la hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. Smart move on his part, knowing that the champion has not fought since his title winning effort over the late Diego Corrales back in October of 2006. Casamayor has done more interviews with media and boxing websites than he has been fighting. When a fighter reaches Casamayor's age and status, he needs to stay as active as possible. He gained some momentum with the win over Corrales, but he is losing it with the inactivity. This October will be a year since he's stepped foot in a ring for prize fight. The WBC even took his belt away, sighting the inactivity, and gave it to David Diaz, who defended that belt with a win against Erik Morales last weekend. But as we all know, belts do not make champions. Champions make belts. Joel Casamayor beat the legitimate Lightweight Champion and has not lost a fight since that win. Yet, he hasn't FOUGHT since that win either. Hopefully, signing with Golden Boy will change all of that for Casamayor and we will see the lightweight champion in the action more often.

Golden Boy/Top Rank truce will do wonders for boxing!

Ever since the executives of Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank have called a truce and squashed their beef (at least momentarily), it appears that boxing has taken a turn for the better.

Now that the beef is squashed, Golden Boy and Top Rank will be able to work together to bring boxing fans the most significant and exciting match ups that can be made in the sport. As many of you probably know, most of the best boxers in the world fight under the banners of Golden Boy and Top Rank.

Since the truce, many of the matches that can be made, but couldn't be made prior to the bad blood between the two firms, are either in the process of being signed or are set to happen. On October 6th, Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera are set to fight their rematch at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. Pacquiao is a Top Rank fighter. Barrera is a Golden Boy fighter. This is a fight that could not happen, had Golden Boy and Top Rank refused to come together for their meeting and agree to work with each other rather than remain prideful and bitter towards each other's success, accomplishments, and boxers fighting under each other's banners.

Another fight, between fighters who fight under the two respective banners, is set to happen at Madison Square Garden on November 10. As I reported at this site a couple days ago, WBA Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto will defend his title against Former Welterweight and Super Welterweight Champion Sugar Shane Mosley. As you probably realize, Cotto is Top Rank's latest bread and butter boxing attraction, while Mosley is one of the executive partners who works with Golden Boy as well as fights for Golden Boy. Yours truly is delighted that this matchup is happening, due to it's significance and and potential for being a great fight. Both fighters let their hands go, so they're great for each other stylistically in terms of producing an action packed fight.

On September 8th, Champion Joan Guzman and Humberto Soto will most likely be facing off for Guzman's WBO Super Featherweight Championship. The fight will likely be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing and could be staged in Atlantic City, NJ. Soto is a fighter who has made noise in the sport, following his upset win over Rocky Juarez a couple of years back. Joan Guzman is one of the most talented boxers in the game today. He won the title with a narrow split decision victory over Jorge Barrios last September. Most importantly, Guzman is a product of Golden Boy, while Soto fights for Top Rank and this is yet another attractive matchup.

Although both are Golden Boy fighters, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Juan Marquez and Rocky Juarez will fight each other on September 15 on an HBO PPV card. Originally, it was Jorge Barrios who was set to face Marquez, but he was forced to withdraw due to a physical condition that would've prevented him from passing his physical for that fight. Enter Juarez, who was originally going to fight IBF Featherweight Champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero for his title.

How does the Marquez vs Juarez fight contribute to the great news of the Top Rank/Golden Boy truce? It contributes immensely, because the winner of that fight will be able to face the winner of the Pacquiao/Barrera rematch regardless of who the winners are. Logic says that Pacquiao will repeat his victory over Barrera from four years ago and Marquez will beat Juarez to retain his title. That could set up a big rematch between Marquez and Pacquiao in 2008.

Just as Marquez and Pacquiao were the two best Featherweights when they squared off against each other in May of 2004 in a fight that ended in a draw, they are now the two best Super Featherweights in the game. This is a fight that I would love to see happen, should they both emerge victorious in their respective bouts this fall.

This could just be the beginning of great fights that are made between Golden Boy fighters and Top Rank fighters. Any progress that is made that places boxing under a bright light is great news for us as fans.

De Leon -vs- Bautista tonight! HBO's Mexico vs Phillipines Annual World Cup

The Jr Featherweight Division beginning to heat up now!

Mexico vs Phillipines
De Leon vs Bautista
Gonzalez vs Penalosa

Tonight, WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Daniel Ponce De Leon defends his title against undefeated top contender Rey Boom Boom Bautista in a fight that could produce fireworks - fireworks that might actually rival that of Vasquez/Marquez. Like Vasquez and Marquez, the combatants in tonight's match also campaign at the weight limit of 122lbs. There are a number of fighters there who could fight each other on any given day and give boxing fans the type of crowd pleasing action that they want to see.

Fighters at 122lbs include Vasquez (currently the World Champion), Marquez, De Leon, Bautista, and another titleholder (WBA version) by the name of Cellestino Caballero, who pinned the first and only loss on the record of De leon.

De Leon in on a seven fight win streak (7-0, 5 KOs), since suffering the first loss of his professional career almost two years ago. In September of 2005, Cellestino upset the De Leon with a unanimous points win. Since that fight, Cellestino and De Leon have both moved on to win title belts in the 122lb weight class. Cellestino won the WBA belt with a unanimous decision over Yobert Ortega in October of 2005, while De Leon picked up the WBO strap with a unanimous decision victory over Sod Looknongyangtoy in that same month two weeks later.

Tonight, a young undefeated contender in Bautista looks to win his first world title and add his name to the top of the list in a division that is beginning to heat up in its own right. One week removed from the Vasquez/Marquez rematch, De Leon and Bautista look to give the viewing public their own memorable display of fireworks.

Bautista fought Sergio Manuel Medina on the under card of the De la hoya/Mayweather fight on May 5, in a battle of young undefeated jr featherweights. Bautista controlled the action for the most part, hurting and dropping Medina in the sixth stanza, but was hurt by Medina himself in the 11th round, at which the referee administered a standing eight count. Nonetheless, Bautista survived that nervous moment and went on to win a unanimous decision over Medina and remain undefeated. The Bautista/Medina fight may very well have been the most entertaining fight on that card. That win put Bautista in the position that he is in tonight.

This fight between De Leon and Bautista signifies boxing's typically classic matchup of boxer vs. puncher. De Leon is the puncher, while Bautista is the boxer. Bautista has the ability to outbox De Leon, much like Caballero was able to do two years ago, but as he showed in the Medina fight, his chin and defense are also a bit shaky. This could spell his demise against De Leon who has the ability to end his fights with one punch.

Tune in to HBO Boxing After Dark tonight to see this awesome match up. as it is the type of even matchup between two young puglists that Boxing After Dark was initially created to present over ten years ago. A star or two could be born tonight, as has happened on Boxing After Dark throughout the years of its existence. Statistics in recent years have shown that the lower weight classes, because of the action packed fights that have been happening in those classes, have drawn more viewers and generated more revenue (yes, even PPV revenue), than has been the case with the heavyweights and the higher weight classes.

Also, on the under card, WBO Bantamweight Champion Jhonny Gonzalez defends his title against the ancient Gerry Penalosa. Penalosa, while durable, is still too small and way too old to compete with Gonzalez at this stage of his career. I expect to see Gonzalez outbox him, beat him down, and either stop him late or win a unanimous decision.

Fighter Bio: Oleg Maskaev

It has been said in athletics, "When you have someone's number, you always have their number," and that was certainly the case when it came to heavyweight Oleg Maskaev in his two fights with Hasim "The Rock" Rahman..

When they met in Atlantic City in 1999, Rahman was 31-1 and Maskaev was 17-2, and much was expected of the winner. Rahman was ahead on the judges' scorecards 70-63 and 68-65, twice, going into the eighth round before one of the most stunning knockouts in boxing history took place.

Maskaev tagged Rahman with a right hand that left Rahman in serious trouble. Moments later, he landed another thunderous right flush on the chin. Rahman bent down and slipped through the ropes, grazing a television table before landing on the floor of Boardwalk Hall. Maskaev scored one of the most noted knockouts in boxing lore.

Rahman appeared to have the last laugh after going on to become a two-time heavyweight champion before Maskaev earned another shot at him-and his WBC heavyweight title-in the Las Vegas rematch seven years later on Aug. 12, 2006. Maskaev's promoter Dennis Rappaport couldn't resist petitioning the Nevada State Athletic Commission for "extra padding" to be added to the floor surrounding the ring at the Thomas & Mack Center just in case his charge were to strike with lightening again. For his part, Rahman used every excuse in the world to explain away being knocked out of the ring, but those inclined to rely on history to help predict the future weren't so sure.

Rahman appeared to be the better physical specimen between the two, but in the fight itself it became clear in a close, hard-hitting affair that Maskaev had the bigger heart and will to win. The momentum shift became obvious in the later rounds when Maskaev displayed great stamina and courage while landing the most telling blows.Going into the twelfth and final round the judges were divided. Two had Maskaev on top, one 106-103 and the other by a razor-thin 105-104. The third had Rahman in the lead 106-103, which meant Maskaev need only win the round to capture the world championship.

Midway through the final stanza, Maskaev landed a short left hook that sent Rahman to the canvas after a delayed reaction. A dazed Rahman attempted in vain to erase the knockdown by gesturing that he had slipped, but when the fight resumed Maskaev smothered him with a barrage of punches that left referee Jay Nady no choice but to wave off the action with less than a minute to go in the round. A Cinderella story was born.

Not only was the fight remarkable and one of the best heavyweight fights in recent memory, the win also gave Maskaev "Comeback of the Year" nods in the sports pantheon.Maskaev's story is much more that just another boxing story. It is a saga of an indomitable human spirit overcoming the anguish and agony of adversity. It's an inspirational story of a human being turning a living nightmare into the fulfillment of a lifetime dream.

Until about five years ago, Oleg's career could be described as perhaps one of the most mismanaged in boxing history. In his first professional bout, he was pitted against Alex Miroshnichenko-undefeated in 21 professional fights-who had an illustrious amateur career defeating both Lennox Lewis and Riddick Bowe.

Oleg stopped him in three rounds.

In his fourth professional fight, he faced undefeated Robert Hawkins, who held the distinction in 30 fights of never having been stopped in spite of facing formidable opponents like Samuel Peter, David Tua, Eddie Chambers and Jean Francois Bergeron. Oleg knocked him out in round four.

In his fifth fight, Maskaev faced Joe Thomas, a fighter many heralded as a future champion with a record of 23-1. Oleg won a six-round decision.

In only his seventh bout, he was put in his first 10-round match against former heavyweight champion Oliver "The Atomic Bull" McCall, who had knocked out Lennox Lewis 17 months earlier to become WBC heavyweight champion, successfully defended the crown in a 12-round decision win over Larry "The Easton Assassin" Holmes 10 months earlier, and just after losing a decision to Frank Bruno 5 months earlier.

McCall stopped the green and inexperienced Maskaev, but the question at the time really was, "Who in their right mind would have matched Oleg with an experienced former champion like McCall in only his seventh pro fight." It was a travesty, unconscionable and a display of total incompetence at best-and seemingly criminal at its worst.

This was indicative of how Maskaev's career was being handled or mishandled. He went on to knock out Alex Stewart (41-6), Courage Tshabalala (23-2), Hasim Rahman, (31-1), and Derrick Jefferson (22-1). He had peaks and valleys. Ready or not, his horrendous management threw him into the ring like a lamb going to slaughter.

He experienced the thrill of victory and knew only too well the agony of defeat. He suffered devastating setbacks and frustrating disappointments. Fair weather friends deserted him like rats fleeing a sinking ship. His trainer told him that he had no future and should retire from boxing. His promoter released him from his promotional contract. He was told he had no future, just a past. He was traveling the boulevard of broken dreams and blighted hopes. He felt emptiness and a void, but deep down he knew quitters never win and winners never quit.

Maskaev wanted to continue his career as he believed there was a better Oleg that had yet to be seen. But how could he put all the broken pieces back together at this gut-wrenching low point when his life and career were experiencing extreme depths, untold havoc, and widespread misery?

A telephone rang. Victor Valle Jr., a trainer at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., called a promoter by the name of Dennis Rappaport and said, "Dennis, I'd like you to meet Oleg. He has huge potential, he is extremely intelligent, he learns and picks up new boxing techniques easily, and with patience and a proper team behind him, he can become a champion."

A little more than 5 years ago a new team was assembled with Valle, Rappaport, manager Fred Kesch, strength coach Harrison Skeets, and sports psychologist Robert Palumbo. The improvement Oleg showed was nothing less than miraculous. He won his next 9 fights, 8 by knockout, including the undefeated Olympian David Defiagbon, who was 21-0.

On Nov. 12, 2005 Oleg faced the No.1-ranked WBC contender Sinan Samil Sam in a WBC heavyweight title eliminator. He was a 3-1 underdog, few gave him a chance, and he was fighting in Germany. (How many foreigners in the last 30 years received a decision in Germany?)

Sam, his promoter, and trainer were expecting a slow, plodding fighter. They were shocked when Maskaev danced, weaved, slipped, and put on a masterful boxing exhibition. He moved more like a lightweight than a heavyweight. The fight went to a decision, and even in Germany Maskaev won an overwhelming decision by scores of 116-111, 118-109, and 118-111.

In his next fight, Maskaev would become the WBC heavyweight champion. In his first title defense on Dec. 10 at Olympiysky Sports Arena in Moscow, Oleg decisively defeated the No. 10-ranked WBC heavyweight Peter Okhello in the first heavyweight championship ever staged in Russia. The enthusiastic sell-out crowd of over 15,000 fans produced a live-gate gross of over $4.5 million.

Is there any wonder why Oleg is being called boxing's Cinderella story? This proud Russian-American (he became a U.S citizen in 2004) is the father of four daughters who is married to his childhood sweetheart Svetlana. He is a strong, compassionate and devoutly religious man. This past July he was invited as a special guest to participate in a church gathering in Kiev, Ukraine. Over 250,000 people assembled and listened as Oleg spoke.

He is an astute and sophisticated real estate investor, owning properties from New York to California. The frustration and disappointments of the past have become a faded memory. His future is both precious and priceless. With his new team around him, he has remained undefeated for over 5 years. On October 6th at Madison Square Garden, he faces the WBC No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger,Samuel "The Nigerian Nightmare" Peter. As the old song goes:"

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you…". Is there any doubt that when a nightmare enters a Cinderella story, Cinderella will prevail. In fairy tales and in life, boxing's Cinderella Story will have a happy ending.

Fighter Bio: Samuel Peter

Those looking for the next Mike Tyson should keep their eyes on Samuel Peter. There is no hotter heavyweight prospect in the fight game today. When his boxing abilities catch up to his vaunted punching power, The Nigerian Nightmare may be unstoppable. At age 26, with a 76-percent knockout ratio, the time for him to win his first world title may be now.

He grew up in a loving, religious family in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria with two brothers and a sister in a home with no running water. Little did young Samuel know he was honing his natural athletic ability-not to mention a 19" neck-when he hauled huge jugs of water on his head from the nearest well located miles away from his home.

Like many boys growing up in Nigeria, young Samuel grew up playing soccer until a foot injury sidelined that pursuit. At 16, he became interested in boxing after a fateful visit to his school by the country's national team."

I watched them and I said, 'I can do that,'" Peter said. "I went to go and train with them to see what was going on. When I went the coach told me, 'OK, come on.' He put me in with a guy who had been boxing for about six months before me and I just knock him out."

Peter trained with the Nigerian national team and participated in the 2000 Olympics where he made it to the quarterfinals before losing to future Italian champion Paolo Vidoz. This brought Peter to the attention of many prospective managers and promoters in professional boxing, most notably Ivaylo Gotzev.

Even though Peter had only participated in 20 amateur matches, winning 18, Gotzev saw raw athletic ability he felt could be molded into a future champion.

"I knew Samuel lacked experience but I could see he had athletic abilities," Gotzev said. "I also noted the fear in his opponents' eyes after he hit them, which told me his punching power was very real."

"When I met him, he had no interest in turning professional. He was just a good-natured guy that liked athletic competition. I explained to him that I felt his potential in boxing was unlimited and could be a profession for him. Others couldn't see through his unpolished skills but I did."

Gotzev soon had 19-year-old Peter training in Lennox Lewis's gym in London. Gotzev noted when Peter would sprint to the finish line at the end of a typical training jog, he would leave the others behind as though they were standing still. Gotzev was so curious, he later timed him in the 100-meter dash."

I was blown away when he ran 100 meters in less than 11 seconds," Gotzev said. "I instantly realized how athletically gifted Samuel is. He could have competed in track and field on the world stage. Had he been born in America, I'm sure he could have been wildly successful in the team sports played here."

Peter won his first professional fight with a first-round knockout in 2001 at age 20. Going into his fifth fight, Gotzev brought in trainer Andy "Pops" Anderson, who was training Calvin Brock at Johnny Tocco's Gym in Las Vegas at the time.

Gotzev had created enough interest in his young prospect that highly respected promoter Dino Duva agreed to sign Peter just prior to his seventh fight.

"When I started working with Sam beginning in November 2001, he only had three pro fights," Duva said. "There wasn't much of a buzz coming out of the Sidney Olympics. The word was that he had good power but was raw. What I saw was amazing hand speed, power and determination when Ivaylo brought him to the states."

If it was professional experience he needed, Peter certainly wasn't getting a lot of it during his first 18 bouts. He won them all by knockout, and, incredibly, he had taken care of all his business in just 41 rounds.

Word of Peter's punching power was making the rounds as evidenced by the fact in his next two matches-with Charles Shufford on May 17, 2004, and Jovo Pudar on Aug. 5, 2004-boxers began to stay away from his blows, seemingly happy to lose lopsided 10-round unanimous decisions to the young Nigerian.

Now just 24, Peter won the vacant North American Boxing Federation continental heavyweight title by defeating veteran Jeremy Williams (41-4-1) by scoring a stunning knockout just 27 seconds into round two in Las Vegas on Dec. 4, 2004. His devastating left hook left Williams out cold.

Peter added the United States Boxing Association national belt by defeating Yanqui Diaz (13-1) by technical knockout in round five. Peter scored five knockdowns in this destruction, which took place in Miami on Jan. 22, 2005.

After scoring a third-round technical knockout over Gilbert Martinez in Las Vegas on April 29, 2005, and disposing of Taurus Sykes by knockout in round two on July 2, 2005, Peter took on the toughest challenge of his career.

Former World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko had rebounded from a knockout loss in 2004 at the hands of the notoriously tough "Relentless" Lamon Brewster by notching wins over DaVarryl "Touch of Sleep" Williamson and Eliseo Castillo. Klitschko now had to get by the still-undefeated Peter to win another world title shot in an International Boxing Federation and WBO eliminator.

The two met in Atlantic City, N.J., on Sept. 24, 2005. Klitschko was, like many before him, wary of Peter's power. The giant Ukrainian was content to out-box Peter through the first four rounds of the contest.

Peter rallied in the fifth round; stunning Klitschko by scoring two knockdowns, but the 25-year-old knockout artist lacked the ring savvy to finish his foe. The veteran Klitschko not only survived the round but returned to boxing and winning rounds.

Peter's vaunted punching power revealed itself again in round 10, when he sent Klitschko back to the mat but was unable to finish him.

After the full 12 rounds, it went to the scorecards for a decision. Peter almost scored an upset but fell short by identical scores of 114-111 favoring Klitschko. Suffering your first loss is never easy, but Peter had the consolation of knowing he had floored his opponent three times while he has never been knocked down in his career.

Peter rebounded with a unanimous-decision win over Robert Hawkins at the Hard Rock Live in Hollywood, Fla., on Dec. 15, 2005, and a first-round knockout over Julius Long at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., on April 28.

Peter had earned his way into another world heavyweight elimination bout, this time to determine the No. 1 position for the World Boxing Council against one of the craftiest pugilists in history, James "Lights Out" Toney.

They squared off in a classic match-up between boxer and puncher at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 2, 2006. From the outset, it was obvious that Peter's boxing skills had improved. Where others had failed the Old School boxing test that Toney always gives, Peter earned passing grades.

Peter also came into the fight in better condition. Toney gave him the tough looks, the rolling-shoulder defense and cat-quick precision punching from all angles that are his trademarks after a life spent in the ring.

Through it all, Peter gave more than he took, often wobbling the notably durable Toney with his powder blue and white gloves that matched his trunks. In a testament to how far he has come, Peter won the decision with two judges scoring it for him 116-111 and the final judge favoring Toney 115-112.

Toney immediately appealed the decision and the WBC Board of Governors voted 21 to 10 on Sept. 26 in favor of an immediate re-match. In their ruling, the WBC cited divided opinions among the media and fans, and the fact that it was a good fight the first time.

Their second meeting took place four months later on Jan. 6 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a South Florida hotspot that helped to attract celebrity attendees like Shaquille O'Neal, Hulk Hogan, Fat Joe and Anna Nicole Smith-who made one of her last public appearances prior to her death by drug overdose on Feb. 8.

For the first time in his career, Peter took the positive step of secluding himself in a South Florida training camp. Each day when he came to have his hands wrapped prior to training, he watched a continuous loop of his first fight with Toney over and over. What better way to learn Old School boxing techniques than watching the master James Toney?

The dedicated training regimen and studies paid off for the Nigerian knockout artist. He came to the scales at 249 pounds, eight pounds lighter than in the first fight. It was obvious a great deal of his fat had been converted into heavier muscle. He was sculpted. For his part, Toney came in one pound heavier after a much-publicized nutritional diet of what Toney called "green drinks" and training with Billy Blanks of Tae Bo video fame.

From the outset, it was apparent that Peter's footwork and stamina had improved greatly. He was simply much lighter on his feet. It was also clear that Peter wanted to show all of his newfound boxing skills.

He started fast, landing heavy jabs in the opening round. Then he rocked Toney with an overhand left, but his follow-up shot clubbed Toney behind the head, and referee Jorge Alonso warned him for the illegal blow.

Peter came out fast again in the second and knocked Toney down with a left jab to the chin five seconds into the round. It was the first time Toney-who is known for his granite chin-had been down since his 1994 super middleweight title loss to Roy Jones Jr.

Peter continued to pound on Toney during the round, bulling him to the ropes and unloading a series of rights and lefts. When Toney finally was able to land a hard right hand in the third round, Peter didn't flinch. Instead, he marched forward and threw back.

By the fifth round, Toney's left eye was swelling. He was standing flat-footed and taking lots of punches. He was tired, too, fighting with his mouth hanging open. The defensive wizardry that made Toney so effective was nowhere to be seen. All the while, Peter slugged away, looking like it was only a matter of time until Peter scored a knockout.

It was more of the same in the seventh and eighth with Peter landing a few big shots and the 38-year-old Toney throwing one punch at a time and breathing heavily, never able to mount a serious offensive challenge or damage.

There were no questions when the scorecards were read. One judge scored it 119-108 while the two others had it 118-110, all for Peter.

Peter was humble in victory. When asked if he was the best, his answer was refreshing. "I'm not the best yet," he said. "The champions have the belts, so I have to give them credit first. But I will be the best. You saw what I did tonight. I taunted him [Toney]. I gave him the Muhammad Ali shuffle, with a little Floyd Mayweather, too.

"This was my best fight. I fight the best. The South Florida camp Don King made me do was great. He didn't let me stay in Las Vegas. I had a great training camp. I even missed Christmas. I ran on the beach for the first time and I loved it. I had a great team.

"It will be sweet to be the very first heavyweight world champion from Africa."

Duva points out that he believes the best is yet to come from Peter.

"Sam has made tremendous progress over the last few years. He has developed boxing skills to go along with his power, great chin and heart of a champion. The scary thing is that Sam hasn't even come close to reaching his potential. I think Sam Peter is going to rule the division. The best is still to come.

"When not in the ring, Peter often wears the colorful and traditional clothing of his native Nigeria. His favorite food is also from his continent: fufu. It is an African staple formed with a starchy foundation that is eaten all over sub-Saharan Africa. Fufu is usually prepared in a process that is pounded, boiled or stirred until it is a very thick, sticky mass-much thicker than mashed potatoes, which is its nearest American counterpart.

Peter and his wife Enobong married in 2002. They have a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-and-a-half-year-old son.

World Boxing Council No. 1-Ranked Heavyweight Mandatory Challenger
Born on Sept. 6, 1980, in Akwa Ibom, Nigeria; now Residing in Las Vegas
Height: 6' 1"Weight: Heavyweight (249)
Record: 28-1, 22 KOs

Cotto vs Mosley set for November 10!

WBA Welterweight Championship scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden! Sweet music to my ears, good chance I will be in attendance!

It looks like the WBA Welterweight Championship match between defending undefeated champion Miguel Cotto and Former Welterweight and Super Welterweight Champion Sugar Shane Mosley has been finalized for November 10 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, NY. The fight will be televised live on HBO Pay Per View, but if all goes well, I will be attending this one live at the Garden.

This is sweet music to my ears, knowing that the fight is highly significant and Mosley has not had a fight on the East Coast in many moons it seems. I am a fan of both fighters, but I grew up watching Sugar Shane Mosley and I will never forget his first fight with Oscar De la hoya from June 2000. Miguel Cotto is an emerging Puerto Rican superstar, becoming the country's next budding icon following the great career of their previous hero Felix Tito Trinidad. Cotto vs Mosley is the most significant fight of this year in my opinion.

I promised that I would explain to you my reasoning behind this statement, I will do so very soon, but I just wanted to wait for the official announcement of the fight before I did so. Keep on the look out for my analysis and explanation behind the significance of Cotto vs Mosley - the most significant fight in 2007!

Vasquez, Marquez now 1-1! Rubbermatch in Mexico City?

As you all know, Raphael Marquez and Israel Vasquez fought their Super Bantamweight Championship rematch this past weekend. Vasquez exacted his revenge on the defending champion Marquez, who had dethroned Vasquez of the title five months ago, stopping him in six exciting rounds. These two combatants were made for each other, as the greatest Mexican rivalry since Barrera/Morales has already emerged. Now that these two guys own one victory a piece against each other, should their be a rubber match to break the tie???? Absolutely! Should it happen right away? Definitely not. These two gladiators have fought two debilitating wars against each other in a short span of five months. Let these guy rest for the remainder of the year, and come back to give fans - especially the die hard Mexican boxing fans - the third and final installment of their trilogy that they rightfully deserve. After a year of rest, may Vasquez and Marquez each be rested up enough to put forth one last heroic effort against one another. Jose Sulliaman, President of the WBC, would like to see the rubber match happen in Mexico City, and in reality, that is where this great fight belongs - in the home country of these two brave warriors. I would like to see Vasquez/Marquez III happen sometime in March or even April of next year, and in Mexico City, on Showtime Championship Boxing.

A thank you to the readers for their comments!

I would like to take this time to thank everyone for the nice compliments on my blog and for tuning in to what I have to write about the sport. Believe me, I am checking out your blogs as well and leaving some comments.

I believe true fanatics of the sport of boxing should blog about it and create sites that represent the sport to the fullest because it is so under appreciated and overlooked. The sport needs more fanatics such as us who can represent and promote this sport, attempting to bring it to the watchful eyes of mainstream sports fans. In my humble opinion, boxing is the best sport there is. There's no teams, there's no tap outs, and there are no seasons. It is a year-round, one on one physical sport and that's what I love about it.

Again, thank you all for the terrific comments and I will be updating this more often now with boxing news. The year 2007 has been sensational for the sport of boxing, and judging from the news I am reading from reliable sources, this year is going to finish as strong - if not stronger - than it has begun. Stay tuned!