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Hopkins -vs- Calzaghe only weeks away: Pound for pound, where should the winner be placed?

Over the course of the past year, the race for the position of best pound for pound fighter in the world seems to be narrowing. Floyd Mayweather, with his wins over Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Oscar De la hoya, and Ricky Hatton rightfully earned him the position at the top of Pound for Pound lists.

However, Bernard Hopkins, having lost controversial decisions to Jermain Taylor in 2005, returned in 2006 and 2007 to defeat betting favorites Antonio Tarver and Winky Wright. Tarver and Wright were both respectively top five pound for pounders at the time that Hopkins beat them.

Should Hopkins prevail against reigning undefeated Super Middleweight king Joe Calzaghe in their light heavyweight showdown on April 19, that will mark the third top five pounder for pounder he has defeated. That would mark the third consecutive time the 43 year old, a betting underdog, has defied logic and beaten one of boxing's outstanding performers.

Where does Calzaghe rank if does what's expected on paper and beats Hopkins? However, if Hopkins upsets Calzaghe and gives him his first loss, does he deserve to replace Mayweather as the Pound for Pound best fighter in world?

In terms of the fight on April 19, I've been back and forth quite a bit on who I'm picking to win. Watching Calzaghe in his performance against Kessler last November, and Hopkins less than inspiring victory over Wright last July, I was initially picking Calzaghe. But after weighing experience and their history, Hopkins has so much more experience over Calzaghe in every facet of the game. He's fought in America, he's fought overseas, and I can name five great fighters (win or lose) that Hopkins has been in the ring with. I can't name one on Joe's record. Calzaghe is an excellent fighter, don't get me wrong. The man can fight, but he's shown that how well he fights against the quality of opposition that he's faced up to this point, in the comfort of his home town and country.

Calzaghe is going to throw a lot of punches, which will leave him OPEN for many shots in return. Hopkins throws more punches than people give him credit for (he outworked Wright, when many felt it would be the other way around), and his defense is underrated as well. Look for Calzaghe to take the first few rounds or so, as Hopkins adjusts to his activity level, but as the fight progresses, Calzaghe will get sloppier and sloppier, as Hopkins (who will actually be the puncher in this fight) begins to counter with crisper and more accurate shots that will take their toll on the Welshmen.

As this happens, you will see 43 year old begin to outwork the workman-line Welshmen in the championship rounds (similar to Nate Campbell vs Juan Diaz). Hopkins won't stop Calzaghe, but it is my belief at this time that he will whoop him over 12 rounds.

Calzaghe is an excellent fighter - with potential for greatness.
Hopkins is an excellent great fighter - with potential for all-time greatness and is a guaranteed Hall of Famer.
Hopkins is going to take Calzaghe to Hell and back.

While Hopkins is the ripe old age of 43, Calzaghe is no spring chicken himself at 36 and he doesn't have the punching power to hurt Hopkins. Calzaghe is just going to be latest of a series of southpaws that Hopkins feasts on. Might not necessarily be the cleanest, prettiest or most pleasing thing to watch, but Hopkins will get the job done. Welcome to America, Joe.

Just weeks away from the fight, I like Hopkins by unanimous decision.
116-112 on all three cards.

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Differences between Mosley and Judah: Why Mosley should emerge victorious come May 31!

Throughout the week, Shane Mosley and Zab Judah have been promoting their fight on their press tour. This fight is a 12 round welterweight bout (but no title on the line!?) and it's being televised on HBO PPV.

Both fighters are coming off losses to Miguel Cotto in the last big fight that they have had. Each combatant is fully capable of selling a PPV fight against a bigger name or superstar in the sport (such as Oscar De la hoya, Floyd Mayweather, or Miguel Cotto), but it remains questionable as to how well they'll do at the box office in a PPV against one another in the absence of those bigger names.

HBO World Championship Boxing or even Boxing After Dark may very well have been the better looks for the telecast of this event, as it is definitely not a PPV quality fight, but I won't complain either way due to the fact that I rarely pay to watch PPV boxing matches. I usually watch them for free at my local sportsbar, which is by far the best sportsbar in my state and probably one of the top sportsbars in the country.

I view this fight as an opportunity for Mosley to make one last great stand for a run at greater opportunities, as the clock is ticking on the career of the 35 year old Hame of Famer. He wants another run at a championship or a big money fight, so he knows he has to beat Judah impressively. I believe he is going to do just that. Mosley is on another level from Judah in almost every facet of the game except for age and power.

Judah's power might be be neutralized by Shane's toughness and how well Shane can take a punch. Cotto hit Mosley with some murderous shots both to the head and body and he still couldn't break Mosley's will. With the shots that Cotto did land on Mosley in the first seven rounds, he still found himself hurt, on the receiving end of some fire that was coming back at him, and he was in retreat the last four rounds trying to run out the clock and finish the fight.

With Judah, it was just the opposite against Cotto. Judah had a good first round when he rocked Cotto with an uppercut and was hit with a low blow shortly thereafter, but after that Cotto pretty much assumed full command of the fight. By the 6th round, Judah's will was broken, he was taking a beating, and had the look of a discouraged and defeated fighter by round 9. When the going was getting rougher and rougher, the tough certainly did not get going. Instead, it crumbled to the canvas in the eleventh round.

I'm not just using the Cotto fight as my basis for picking the winner here either. History does not tell lies. Look at Judah's recent big fights. From Baldomir, to Mayweather, to Cotto, they all have the same pattern. Judah gets off to a good start, the opponent adjusts to what Judah has done in order to start so well, and Judah doesn't have a plan B, C, or D after that. He then loses focus and is broken down as the fight goes progresses.

Mosley is the exact opposite. If what he is doing is not working for him in a tough fight, he will move to other plans to get himself back into the fight. He did it against De la hoya both times, coming on in the 2nd half of those fights. Particularly in the first fight with Oscar, Mosley switched to southpaw in the eighth round and confused Oscar for the remainder of that fight by fighting from a new position and switching up. Against Cotto as well, he was taking a beating in the middle rounds, but got up on his toes at about the 7th round, moved around a little bit, and started setting Cotto up for the power shots that hurt Cotto in rounds 9 and 10.Judah is more skilled and more athletically gifted than most fighters who are active in the game today.

Judah can talk to Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright all he wants in order to get tips on how to beat Mosley, but skills are one thing and intelligence is another. Judah has some tools to work with, but we've seen what happens when his opponents take away his toolbox. What happens? He can't work and doesn't know what to do, and in essence, slips into survival mode and gets broken down. Judah's weaker mindset and limited ability to adapt in a challenging fight are made to order for Mosley in this case.

My impression early on is that Mosley should knock Judah out in about eight rounds or so.

Bundrage outpoints Ouma; gives former champion third straight loss!

SALAMANCA, N.Y. (AP)—Cornelius Bundrage unanimously outpointed Kassim Ouma in a 10-round light middleweight bout Friday night.

Bundrage had winning scores of 96-93, 95-94 and 96-93 from the judges.

After three rounds of relative inactivity, save for a low-blow warning on Bundrage (28-3), the action intensified when Ouma (25-5-1-1), born in Uganda and living in West Palm Beach, Fla., opened up a large cut above Bundrage’s left eye with an inadvertent head butt. Ouma tried to work the cut but could not force a technical knockout.

Bundrage, from Detroit, took control of the fight in the seventh round with a big right hook and several more direct punches to Ouma’s face. Bundrage’s victory appeared in jeopardy after he received a point deduction for holding in the eighth round, but he continued to land big punches until the fight’s end.

Sources: AP, Yahoo


My two cents worth:

For K9 Bundrage, this marks the biggest win of his career to date. Coming off the KO loss to Joel Julio, Bundrage needed a signature win to keep him in contention. Coming off two straight losses, perhaps it was the former IBF Jr Middleweight Champion, Ouma, who needed to come out victorious even more so than his opponent. The loss puts Ouma's career in serious jeopardy, as he must now go back to the drawing board. Bundrage, on the other hand, may be able to capitalize on this win and get himself a big fight (by his standards) down the road in this 154lb wasteland division. The fight was televised live on ESPN Friday night fights.

Verno Phillips dethrones Cory Spinks for IBF Jr Middleweight Title!

Phillips regains title, in a jr middleweight division that has become a wasteland.

I didn't actually see the fight, but it remains shocking that Verno Phillips went into defending IBF Jr Middleweight Champion Cory Spinks' backyard and left the Scottrade Center in St Louis with the title by a split decision. Live feed of this title fight was broadcast on Don King's website. If Phillips won a split decision in Spinks' backyard, then there's a chance he won the fight convincingly. Spinks' fight against Karmazin in 2006 was debatable in some people's eyes, but I would have to see last night's fight for myself before I make any assumptions.

Spinks may have seen better days, as he's been an inactive fighter as of late who has gone 0-2 in his last couple of fights. He labored in obscurity for months waiting for guys like Vernon Forrest (WBC champion) and Joachine Alcine (WBA) to unify, believing that they should be doing all of the work to unify the division. Spinks had basically been looking for reasons NOT to fight.

Add to the fact that he previously fought the defending Undisputed Middleweight Champion Jermain Taylor in May of 2007 at 160lbs, remained inactive for nearly a year following the split decision loss he suffered to Taylor, and then probably had to work extra hard to shred the accumulated weight gain to come back down to 154lbs to defend his title there. It's not exactly an appropriate formula for victory.

Having said that, the 154lb division has really become a wasteland - it's what the cruiserweight division used to be. Cruiserweight, 200lbs, was either a wasteland to stop off at on fighter's treks from 175lbs to heavyweight, or a wasteland that was to be skipped all together. Recently, the cruiserweight division has seen some good action from its champions and top contenders such as Steve Cunningham, David Haye, Jean Mormeck, and O'Neil Bell. What the cruiserweight division used to be, prior to the comeuppance of the names mentioned, is exactly what the jr middleweight division has become.

At welterweight, we have Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Carlos Quintana, Paul Williams, Antonio Margarito, and Kermit Cintron. Middleweight does not have nearly as much of an adundance, with Kelly Pavlik, Arthur Abraham, Felix Sturm, Winky Wright (coming back down) and Giovanni Lorenzo, but there's more there than there is at 154lbs, which is a division that has practically nothing.

At this time, the titleholders are Forrest (WBC), Phillips (IBF), and Alcine (WBA). That combination does not make for lucrative mega fights by any means. Perhaps when Cotto grows out of the welterweight division and moves up to 154lbs, and he'll have those three guys waiting for him.

In any case, congratulations to Verno Phillips.

Boxing Chronicles Q/A: Roy Jones, Jr!

Thanks to Boxingtalk having him as a guest in the chatroom, Boxing Chronicles had the chance to get share a few words with Former Pound for Pound King Roy Jones, Jr. The following is what he had to say about his proposed UFC battle with Anderson Silva, Hopkins vs Calzaghe, the upcoming light heavyweight fights on Showtime, and more!

Bryan Bradley: Roy, welcome to the chatroom. Great to see you in here with us. I’ve been a fan of yours since I was in high school. Obviously you have interest in a proposed UFC fight with Anderson Silva. In boxing, however, we got the Showtime light heavyweight tournament coming up. We got Hopkins/Calzaghe. You’ve mounted a nice little winning streak since the third Tarver fight. What are your goals for the remainder of the year? Where do you want to be, lets say mid 2009? Light Heavyweight Champ of the world?

Roy Jones, Jr: My main goal is to first fight Silva, then move on to fight the winner of the Hopkins-Calzaghe fight. If it's Calzaghe I could make the fight, if it's Hopkins he don't really fight me. And then maybe I'll fight the winner of the Showtime light heavyweight tournament next year. I also heard Danny Green gave up his title and I might be in the running for that right now too.

BB: Roy, in the Showtime light heavyweight round robbin, I recall you saying that the result of that could be a big mess, because we could potentially get Woods/Johnson IV or Tarver/Johnson III which is are fights that the people don’t necessarily care to see. Who do you believe comes out of that on top? Who do you want to come out of that on top, because Johnson is probably a rematch you really want from a revenge standpoint. Thanks!

RJ: Not just for revenge, I just want the rematch with him. If you look at the big picture none of those guys are the former heavyweight champion of the world.

Boxing Chronicles Scorecard: Casamayor -vs- Katsidis

Round 1: 10-7 Casamayor
Round 2: 10-9 Casamayor Total: 20-16 Casamayor
Round 3: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 29-26 Casamayor
Round 4: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 38-36 Casamayor
Round 5: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 47-46 Casamayor
Round 6: 10-8 Katsidis Total: 56-55 Katsidis
Round 7: 10-9 Katsidis Total: 66-64 Katsidis
Round 8: 10-9 Casamayor Total: 75-74 Katsidis
Round 9: 9-9 Total: 84-83 Katsidis
Round 10:

Casamayor wins by KO.

84-83 Katsidis
84-83 Katsidis
85-82 Casamayor

Casamayor stops Katsidis in an exciting war!

Joel Casamayor turned back clock a bit tonight against Michael Katsidis, stopping the younger fighter in the 10th round of what was a sensational crowdpleasing affair. In the first round, Casamayor stunned Katsidis with straight left hands and managed to drop him twice. A brave Katsidis rose from both of the flash knockdowns and managed to finish the round.

Casamayor displayed his cageyness in dealing with the incoming rushes of Katsidis by settling down into more of a counterpuncher's role in round two and catching Katsidis as he would attempt to close the distance. Katsidis showed more effort in rounds three through five, as he applied constant pressure and fired hooks to Casamayor's body. His style, the way he applied pressure and threw shots in this fight, somewhat reminded me of Ricky Hatton. Casamayor looked to be gradually slowing down (due to the body shots, from my view) by the 6th round, when Katsidis stunned and off balance Casamayor, hurt him with a body shot, and knocked him through ropes!

Casamayor made his way back into the ring by the count of the nine and made it out of the round. In rounds eight and nine, experience and skill became major factors in the fight as Casamayor began to turn the tide back into his favor by utilizing the space in the ring and outboxing Katsidis. Referee Jon Schorle docked Casamayor a point for low blows in round nine. In round 10, Casamayor dropped Katsidis and had him in on wobbly legs when Schorle opted to rescue Katsidis from taking any further punishment and declared Casamayor the winner by TKO. As it turns out, I was wrong in my analysis. I was very very very wrong.

Official scores prior to the knockout were 84-83, 84-83 Katsidis and 85-82 Casamayor. Boxing Chronicles had it 84-83 Katsidis at the time of the stoppage. The scoring was irrelevant, however, as Casamayor retained his linear lightweight championship. The only fight that matters at lightweight right now is Casamayor vs Campbell II for all of the marbles!

On the undercard, former world title challenger and television favorite Librado Andrade stopped Michael Stieglitz in the eighth round of a twelve round IBF super middleweight elimination fight.

Casamayor, Katsidis square off tonight for linear lightweight title

Greetings, fight fans. We are faced with yet another lightweight fight of significance this month. Two weeks ago in Cancun Mexico, we saw Nate Campbell upset previously undefeated lightweight titleholder Juan Diaz for three of the lightweight titles in a fight that is already a candidate for fight of the year. Coming off such a big win, Campbell is now widely regarded as the best lightweight in the world. Who exactly holds the title as the people's lightweight champion of the world is still up for debate at this moment. Tonight, the linear lightweight championship is on the line in a fight between Champion Joel Casamayor and Michael Katsidis.

Casamayor looked horrifically faded when he fought Santa Cruz this past November. He clearly lost that fight, but was awarded a gift split decision (you may recall I put this in the highway robbery category and rightfully so). It may have been an off night, but I don't think that's the reason for his performance. Casamayor is a mere shell of his old self. Lately when I look at Casamayor, I see an old fighter whose skills have erroded considerably. If it was the younger Casamayor, who beat the likes of Roberto Garcia and Diego Corrales, the result of tonight's showdown might indeed be a different story. But against Santa Cruz, Casamayor looked like an amateur who was fighting on spaghetti legs. He couldn't pull the trigger, either, and those are the signs of an aged fighter.

Dating back to his fight against Lamont Pearson in July of 2006 on an edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights, in what was supposed to be a tune up for a proposed title fight against Corrales, Casamayor looked very ordinary and flat. Pearson was actually winning rounds early. Casamayor stopped him late. Prior to his fight with Pearson, Casamayor was probably fortunate to get a draw with Almazbek Raiymkulov in a fight that he probably should've lost. That was the same guy whom current lightweight titlist Campbell smacked around, dominated, and stopped on the Tarver/Jones III undercard. Against Corrales in October 2006, Casamayor barely won their third fight on a split decision and looked flat doing so. Corrales, rest in peace, had not the been same since he fought Castillo in their first fight in May of 2005.

Katsidis, the younger and stronger fighter, will put an exclamation point on what Santa Cruz previously exposed. The jury is still out as to whether Katsidis is the next big thing in the lightweight division. He might be just a bit overrated, so I don't know he's the next special fighter to emerge on the scene, but he could very possibly be the next big attraction in the lightweight division!

Maybe Katsidis is the next Arturo Gatti??? He cuts and bleeds like Gatti, and he's fun to watch, but he's also won all of his fights up to this fight (even if it's been against somewhat limited opposition) and he can punch. Hopefully we get just as exciting of a fight tomorrow night as we got 12 years ago when Gatti fought for and won his first world title against Tracy Harris Patterson.

Surely Casamayor will come into this fight more motivated than he was for Santa Cruz, knowing that Katsidis is a strong relentless brawler who is young, undefeated, and hungry to win a world title. Motivation only does so much to strengthen the mind, but when the flesh is weak and worn down at the end of a long career, the mind has limited capabilities. Casamayor did handle a skilled slugger in Corrales in three fights (taking two of the three in their memorable trilogy), but unfortunately for him, he's all the more shop worn as a result of those tough fights and it was painfully obvious in his fight against Santa Cruz.

Lets face it. Santa Cruz, who was such a substantial underdog in a fight of that magnitude, practically shut out Casamayor! Casamayor was tripping all over himself as he ran aimless around the ring, and mostly importantly... NOT throwing punches. Casamayor's only chance, in my honest opinion, is to stop Katsidis on cuts.

Prediction: I have to pick Katsidis by split decision is an excellent fight, that should probably be unanimous. In this case, will beats skill being that the will is greater and the skill is substantially diminished.

Mosley -vs- Judah done deal for May 31 in Las Vegas!

On Saturday May 31, former welterweight champions Shane Mosley and Zab Judah will meet in a 12 round welterweight contest that will be televised live on HBO PPV. Both fighters are coming off failed title challenges to undefeated WBA welterweight champion Miguel Cotto. Judah stunned Cotto in the first round of their title fight in June of last year, but was twice hit below the belt, and was gradually punished as the fight wore on. Eventually Cotto dropped Judah and stopped him with a barrage of punches in the eleventh round. Mosley was the next opponent for Cotto in November, in a fight in which Mosley was much more competitive against Cotto than Judah was. In what was a great welterweight championship battle that provided fireworks and high volume contact, Cotto won a close unanimous decision. Some viewers scored the fight a draw (such as yours truly) while others even believed that Mosley did enough to win the fight. For now, Cotto is in the past for both Mosley and Judah, as the two former champions prepare to square off against each other in hopes of landing another big mega fight of significance.

Boxing Chronicles Scorecard: Pacquiao -vs- Marquez II

Tonight on HBO Boxing After Dark, linear lightweight champion Joel Casamayor will meet undefeated WBO interim champion Michael Katsidis in lightweight fight scheduled for 12 rounds. Prior to the live telecast, however, those who did not see the rematch on HBO PPV from last week between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will have a chance to see the replay on HBO tonight. As we all know, Pacquiao emerged victorious by a razor thin split decision victory that has been debated amongst boxing experts, media, and fans all week. The three official judges scored the fight 115-112 Marquez, 115-112 and 114-113 for Pacquiao. If you are watching the fight for the first time and would like to score it for yourself, feel free to compare your score to mine. Here is how I scored Pacquiao/Marquez II, round by round, in what was a see saw battle with a number of hotly contested close rounds.

Round 1: 10-9 Marquez
Round 2: 10-9 Marquez Total: 20-18 Marquez
Round 3: 10-8 Pacquiao Total: 28-28
Round 4: 10-9 Pacquiao Total: 38-37 Pacquiao
Round 5: 10-9 Marquez Total: 47-47
Round 6: 10-9 Marquez Total: 57-56 Marquez
Round 7: 10-9 Pacquiao Total: 66-66
Round 8: 10-9 Marquez Total: 76-75 Marquez
Round 9: 10-9 Pacquiao Total: 85-85
Round 10: 10-9 Pacquiao Total: 95-94 Pacquiao
Round 11: 10-9 Marquez Total: 104-104
Round 12: 10-9 Marquez

Total: 114-113 (7-5) Juan Manuel Marquez

Pacquiao edges out Marquez for Super Featherweight Championship

Pacquiao says no to third fight with Marquez!

Last night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV Manny Pacquiao won a disputed split decision over Juan Manuel Marquez for the WBC Super Featherweight Championship.

Pacquiao scored a knockdown of Marquez in the third round, which is what made the difference in the decision for the Philipino superstar. The judges scored the fight 115-112 Marquez, 115-112 and 114-113 Pacquiao. Boxing Chronicles gave Marquez a slight edge, scoring the fight 114-113.

This fight was a rematch of their classic battle from May 2004, which ended in a questionable draw. Following their first fight, it was my belief that Pacquiao deserved the decision based on the three knockdowns he scored in the first round. In the rematch, however, I felt as though Marquez was the one who had done enough to win the fight. You won't hear me cry robbery, though, as this was fight was extremely close and the decision could have gone to either fighter.

In reality, this fight was a one point, two points at the most, win for either fighter. It all depends on what style you preferred. You either liked Pacquiao's clearer power shots and Marquez's counterpunching style. In any case, this was a terrific seesaw battle that will surely be a fight of the year candidate for 2008. The fight was televised on HBO Pay Per View.

Pacquiao made it clear in the post fight interview and press conference that he will not give Marquez a rematch. His business with Marquez is finished and he looks forward to moving up to 135lbs. Pacquiao is tentatively scheduled to face Lightweight titlist David Diaz on June 28 later this year.

Playing catchup: Results from Cancun, Mexico last weekend!

Sam Peter KO6 Oleg Maskaev
Wins WBC Heavyweight Championship.

Decent win for Peter, who firmly and confidently chanted after the fight, "Who's next" to Max Kellerman. The WBC will probably push for a fight between the newly crowned Peter and WBC Champion Emeritus Vitali Klitschko. In my opinion, that is the wrong Klitschko. I don't see Vitali coming back any time soon. If he does, I want to see him make it through a training camp injury free. Give us Wladimir Klitschko vs Sam Peter, the rematch, for all the marbles at heavyweight. That's the only heavyweight fight that matters at this moment. Although Peter lost a unanimous decision to Wladimir over two years ago, in a fight in which Peter dropped Wladimir three times in the fifth round, Peter created a mandate for a rematch by twice defeating James Toney for the WBC mandatory spot and knocking out Maskaev for the title. With the win, Peter becomes the first Nigerian to win a heavyweight title belt.

Nate Campbell WSplit12 Juan Diaz
Wins IBF/WBA/WBO Lightweight Championship

What a career defining performance and upset title-winning victory by Nate Campbell. This man came to Mexico on a mission, which had been documented months leading up to the fight in interviews with a bunch of journalists. He appeared to be super confident going into the fight and did everything he said he would do. He threw more punches than Juan Diaz, worked Diaz body from the outset, and virtually took Diaz out of his element over the course of the last six rounds. After five give and take rounds, Campbell pretty much dominated the fight from the sixth round on. Campbell was deducted a point in round six for a headbutt. In the end, the point deduction was immaterial as the judges awarded Campbell a close split decision. Scores: 114-113 Diaz, 116-111, 115-112 Campbell. While I failed to score the fight round by round, it appeared to me as though Campbell won the fight handily. I probably agree most with the score of 116-111 for Campbell.

Both fights were televised on HBO World Championship boxing.

Next weekend, on HBO Boxing After Dark, linear and WBC Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor is scheduled to defend his title against Michael Katsidis. Whoever wins that fight should be mandated to face Campbell. While Casamayor is the linear champion, Campbell is clearly the number one guy in the division based on his win over Diaz last weekend. Give us the winner of Casamayor and Katsidis against Campbell. That's the only fight that matters in the lightweight division.