Sunday, December 6, 2009

Paul Williams: Who Punishes The Punisher?

“Look man, I'll fight 'em all. Anybody from '47 to '68 that wants to fight me, all they gotta' do is say the word and I'm there. If they want me in there, I'm all game." – Paul “The Punisher” Williams

The best fighter in the game. It’s a term thrown away around a lot these days, to people from all weight classes. The Klitschko’s, B-Hop, Pacquiao, Mosley, Money May…the list is ever changing. Being that 6'71/2'', 250 pound Klitschko versus 5'61/2'', 147 pound Pacquiao is crazy talk, we create this pound for pound index where size is redundant and speculation is the only logical framework. Always on the fringe of this list, but never in a big enough pay-per-view to showcase it, sits Paul Williams with 38 wins (27 by stoppage) and a solitary loss.

A 6’1’’ southpaw, The Punisher is a genetic anomaly and could well be a modern day incarnation of Thomas Hearns. His 82-inch reach is longer than the Klitschko’s and he throws more punches in a fight than a lightweight. Williams will also (literally due to his height) drop a left hand like Zeus drops lightning bolts. P-Will is a boxing nomad in that he is out to fight anyone from 147-168. Seriously. Isn’t that crazy? The real problem is that no one really wants it.

Berto? Don’t want it.
Mosley? Don’t want it.
Pacquiao? Don’t want it.
Pavlik at 160? Don’t want it. In fact, pulled out of a planned bout with Williams. TWICE.
Money May? Doesn’t want to fight full-grown adults. So DEFINITELY don’t want it.

Even Margarito won’t entertain a return. In fact, the story goes, when Margarito was due to face Daniel Santos, back in ’04 for a version of the 154 pound crown, he bought in Williams as a sparring partner. The Punisher beat Margarito so bad that he refused to spar with him again and Williams was sent home with full pay.

To get a better idea of the work-rate of someone who could probably get by just using his reach, let’s look at his recent history.

In mid-2007 Margarito actually dared to defend his WBO welterweight title against Williams. The Punisher threw an astonishing 1,256 punches over twelve rounds to take the title. That output ranks him second all-time for punches thrown by a welterweight.

Following his win over Margarito, The Punisher, somehow in a severe ‘wtf moment’, dropped a decision after being outboxed by Carlos Quintana. To give you an idea of what an aberration that was, here is the rematch. You only need to watch the first three minutes.

He then bounced up to middleweight to destroy the once defeated Andy Kolle in under a round then went back down to 154 to stop Verno Phillips in 8. Stopping Phillips, given that he had 9 losses on his ledger, doesn’t sound that impressive. However Phillips had only been stopped once before. In only his fifth pro contest. In 1988. Once again Williams was an absolute workhorse averaging 85.2 punches per round – far above the middleweight average of 56.5. That’s three knockouts in three different weight divisions.

In April this year, once AGAIN at 160, he shut out former undisputed 154 pound champ (and pending hall-of-famer) Winky Wright over twelve rounds throwing an incredible 90.5 punches per round. The 1,086 shots he threw that night ranks second all-time for punches thrown by a middleweight.

And then, just this last weekend, Williams waged an absolute war with WBC interim 154 pound champ Sergio Martinez, at 160, and came out with a majority decision throwing 631 power punches (of 979 total), to Martinez’s 638 total punches, in a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate.

How much longer can the commercial upper echelon of the sport deny Williams a shot? For I can’t think of a more deserving candidate. Wins titles? Check. Willing to face tough opposition? Check. Aggressive fan pleasing style? Double check (then maybe check it a couple more times in the morning before you leave). Ultimately, Williams victories are pyrrhic in nature. His victories only lead to him being dodged by the big money opponents he craves....

....and that is what punishes The Punisher.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Straight Outta Compton and the N.W.A MVP

"Rock & Roll is more about rebellion than guitars. N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton officially took that baton away from rock: It's the album that made hip-hop the new rock & roll" - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, The Roots

“You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.” It’s hard to quantify what those eleven words meant to rap music as the release of N.W.A’s seminal 1988 album Straight Outta Compton changed the script. Hip-Hop had been largely based on the East Coast with New York its unofficial headquarters. Suddenly, jazz related samples were replaced by Dr. Dre’s West Coast G-funk grooves, and lyrical content changed from social commentary, retellings of the sexual frustrations of teenage life and “flossing” to raising hell and the grim portrait of gangsta life.

By 1992, Straight Outta Compton had sold over three million copes and was certified double Platinum. A short list of its effect, not only on rap music but also on popular music in general, runs as follows (taken directly from Wikipedia);

  • VH1 named Straight Outta Compton the 62nd greatest album of all time
  • Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 144th of its list of of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
  • First rap album to gain a five star rating from Rolling Stone
  • TIME magazine ranked as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time

More notoriously, it was also one of the first albums to garner the ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker. Quite paradoxically it was this notoriety that would provide an integral part of its mass appeal as media coverage made up for the lack of airplay. Made up of DJ Yella on turntables and emcees Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren and Dr. Dre (who also handled production with Yella), N.W.A released two more albums after Straight Outta Compton (which was their second effort N.W.A and the Posse from a year earlier) both of which failed to recapture their commercial or critical success.

So – with all that in mind. I decided to question who was really the MVP for N.W.A. The criteria for my rankings are as follows;

Lyrical Ability: Seeing as there are no songs on Straight Outta Compton with all four (five if you include Yella who only raps one verse on ‘Something 2 Dance 2”) emcees rapping, the logical alternative was to compare tracks where there is only one emcee.

Contribution: Really what they bought to N.W.A. This included how many tracks they rapped on, whether they wrote their lyrics and how involved they were in production.

Post Script: Looks at their solo albums and other ventures

The four emcees were ranked 1-4 in each of these categories with 4 being awarded to whoever the first placed and 1 to the last placed.


DR. DREExpress Yourself

Given the lyrical content of Straight Outta Compton something must be said that Dre doesn’t curse once on this track where Dre preaches about the use of rap as a means of self-expression. Issues of lyrical authenticity or “keepin’ it real” also feature.

What let’s Dre down is that it is well known that he doesn’t write his own lyrics (Ice Cube wrote this track)

2nd - but is let down by lack of authorship

ICE CUBEI Aint Tha 1

Ice Cube’s mysogynistic view of female motivation on this track contains just that. He also makes it known that he is “only down for screwin’”. Lyrically, Cube comes off pretty weak on this track and it is unfortunate that my criterion for lyrical flow is based on the solo joints rather any of the other tracks. Cube also wrote this track.

4th – disappointing release for someone who deserved the chance to shine

EAZY-E 8 Ball

8 Ball provides insight into a night with Eazy himself to almost Hunter Thompson proportion. Eazy gets drunk, shoots at someone, is abrasive to females, throws up a lot then ends up in a fight. It pretty much sounds my regular Saturday night (sans the shooting and fighting….but definitely including the messiness and epic girl fails). Eazy co-writes this with Cube

3rd – as much as I love gonzo journalism, E does himself no favours and is not poetic at all

MC RENIf It Aint Ruff

I think it goes to show the completely underrated lyrical strength of Ren that, not only does he get two solo joints, but he also writes them both. After much deliberation, I have decided to go with 'If It Aint Ruff' over 'Quiet on tha Set' just because 'Ruff' is by far my most favourite track on this album. MC Ren is a pure emcee. Flossing party rhymes with mucho bravado. There isn’t much to say about it really. In my view, the best emcee in N.W.A




Dre produced the whole album with DJ Yella. Something which would be almost incomparable as far as contribution goes. A relatively weak emcee, Dre raps on 6/13 tracks and wrote no lyrics.

2nd – purely on the basis of production


Cube’s main contribution to this album had to do with the writing, of which he did on 9/13 tracks which included not only all his own verses, but most of Eazy’s and Dre’s. This is massive when you look at in the context of the diversity of the flows of the members. He also raps on 6/13 tracks. Solid contributor who was, effectively, backbone of it all



Eazy’s role seems to have been to contribute the ‘shock factor’ to the group. His flow is high pitched and rhymes seem juvenile in comparison. E raps on 8/13 tracks and writes on 3/13.

4th – too little in every respect


Ren is to N.W.A what the Gza is to the Wu Tang Clan. He simply holds it down and represents in the purest sense. Raps on 7/13 and writes on 8/13

An unlucky 3rd



After N.W.A Dre almost single handedly defined West Coast G Funk. He co-owned Death Row Records and founded as well as being the current CEO of Aftermath Records. In 1992 he released The Chronic, an album considered one of the most important and influential of the 1990s. The Chronic sold over eight million copies and went six times platinum as well as peaking at #3 on the charts and won a Grammy for the single ‘Let Me Ride’. Kanye West (who is a total douche but gets it right here) stated that “The Chronic is still the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life”. And it is. He also discovered Snoop, signed Eminem, 50 cent and the Game. Dre shone after N.W.A



Cube has released numerous solo albums (his first four went platinum) and appeared in many Hollywood films. The funny thing is, that is entering Tim Allen/Bill Cosby territory with his acting whereas he was downright scary in N.W.A. As far as albums go, Lethal Injection seems to be the apex and every new album seems to be lacking something more each time. He should really apologize to the artistic community for his acting career with only Boyz N Tha Hood, Trespass, Higher Learning, Friday and Three Kings (5 films out of 28) being anything worthwhile. If he could apologize for the rest then it would be awesome.

2nd - Just plain outshone by Dre


Eazy’s solo work seems to be the same old. Juevenille songs. Founded Ruthless Records. Ummm….I don’t really know what else he offered. Ohhh…he discovered Bone-Thugs N Harmony. Got AIDS. Died. Like most artists who die before their time, their artistic influence seems to be remembered in gross values rather than real.

3rd – Only because MC Ren had such a disappointing solo career


Ren had the most potential as an emcee after N.W.A disbanded in 1991. Unfortunately, he dropped the ball. He guested heavily on Eazy Duz It and his first solo joint, Kizz My Black Azz was severely disappointing and sounded like it had been written by Eazy. This was difficult to watch as he was definitely my most favorite member of N.W.A.

4th – What could have been?

….and the results are

4th – Eazy E (5/12)

Lyrically, Eazy E congealed somewhere between 2 Live Crew and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Mild success with Ruthless Records and on solo joints.

3rd – MC Ren (7/12)

Best emcee on show that also wrote all his own stuff. Blighted by awful solo career.

2nd – Ice Cube (9/12)

Pretty much wrote Straight Outta Compton. Although prolific in writing, it must be said that his lyrics were all ‘not quite there’ as far as being top tier goes. Sustained success as a solo artist, a couple of great roles but prototypical rapper-trying-to-be-an actor as an actor.

1st – Dr. Dre (10/12)

As much as I would have like the best lyricist to be in this position, I can’t deny what Dre brought to the table. Changed the face of the game with slow, heavy, synthesizer-based beats.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Scorecard: Mayweather – Marquez

From the MGM Grand, Las Vegas

I really touched on this the morning before the fight in my previous post. If you don’t know, then you better ‘aks’ somebody. This ppv card looks fairly strong with three titles being contested and the other bout having serious effect on the pound for pound debate.

Featherweights: Cornelius Lock (18-4-1, 11 KOs) vs. Orlando Cruz (16-0-1, 7 KOs), 10 rounds

In a battle of southpaws, undefeated Cruz locked horns with Cornelius Lock for the vacant WBO NABO featherweight title. Cruz’s last contest was a stoppage victory over the undefeated Leonilo Miranda whilst Lock had dropped a decision to Antonio Escalante. I don’t know quite what to say about the WBO, for they seem to rank hyped up fighters beating up nobodies rather than on any legit criteria.

As soon as the fight starts the three-inch height disparity (in favour of Lock) is all the more apparent. Lock smartly looks to jab with Cruz looking to go inside. Lock hurts Cruz with a right then has him down with a left, and in trouble when he rises, but somehow he escapes the opening stanza. In the third Lock starts to bang the body and Cruz looks like his punch resistance is back. This round is hard fought with both rallying hard in the final 30 seconds. Lock begins to look tired and Cruz is able to come forward until the fifth when he is just stretched out by lead right hook.

Lock’s career seems to be very inconsistent and thus the fight played out the same way. After a massive opening round, and a fairly strong second, he seemed to become weary and let off the pressure. Thank god he landed that hook…

Lightweights: Vicente Escobedo (21-1, 13 KOs) vs. Michael Katsidis (25-2, 21 KOs), 12 rounds, for vacant interim WBO lightweight title;

This fight was for the interim WBO lightweight title. Aussie banger Katsidis has a high knockout ratio, but seems to stumble in every big test as he dropped decisions to Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor. In comparison, Escobedo’s, a 2004 US Olympian, biggest wins were over aging Kevin Kelley and Carlos Hernandez. As the fighters enter, yours truly is made to look like an idiot. For I had just ranted to an MMA loving friend (I also like MMA) about how MMA fighters walking into the ring in ‘bogan couture’ t-shirts and hats showed a severe lack of class. Enter Katsidis, in a Spartan helmet. Ugh….

The fight begins with Escobedo jabbing and Katsidis darting in and out and landing power punches. Katsidis is exterting a massive amount of pressure and you almost hope that he had more on the end of the punches. Katsidis is cut in the from an accidental headbutt. Katsidis seems to be slowing in the second and third as Escobedo’s countering stifles any attack. Katsidis needs to give him more angles as he just bores in. He starts to land hard shots at the end of the third, fourth and is just bulling him around the ring by the fifth. Every time Katsidis gets in the clinch he makes Escobedo pay, who now is looking sheepish and like he is being overwhelmed by Katsidis pressure. Escobedo has no jab (to establish) in the sixth and is starting to look weary. He manages to steal the seventh however and starts to counter effectively. This is shortlived as Katisidis pressure is simply too much for Escobedo, who just can’t keep him off. The rest of the fight plays out exactly the same with Katsidis coming forward and landing and Escobedo looking to simply survive.

Katsidis was in control for almost the entire distance of the fight. He just comes forward and applies pressure – hard. Which is entertaining however his punches have no where quite the sting that his record suggests. Hopefully more serious foes are his reward but anyone who can box is simply gonna be too much.

Featherweights: Chris John (42-0-2, 22 KOs) vs. Rocky Juarez (28-4-1, 20 KOs), 12 rounds

The generally accepted best featherweight in the world, John, last fought Juarez in February and was completely screwed in getting a draw. This rematch was for John’s WBA featherweight strap and, hopefully, to correct a wrong.

The bout starts slowly with Juarez coming forward and John putting on a textbook boxing display. It’s a shame that John, in his second fight in the US, has so little power (despite 22 stoppages on his ledger) as he boxes beautifully and is soaking up everything Juarez can throw. Rocky is starting to catch John a little more by the fourth but John’s boxing is simply too strong. Juarez kicks up the pace in the fifth and is clearly frustrated with John’s class. As the fight progresses John looks to be willing to trade with Juarez who just can’t make him pay. Middle and latter rounds are more of the same however John starts cracking Juarez with right hands in the 11th. Juarez is still moving well but he is clearly being outclassed as John is beating Juarez to the punch every time he tries to mount an offense. The final round sees John starting to tire and Juarez still coming forward, he manages to rock John but can’t close the show as John stifles the momentum with return fire. Another round would have seen John down.

John wins a unanimous decision to right the awful draw Juarez was gifted in their last bout. With this, John has now made 12 defenses of his featherweight crown and is clearly the best in the division.

Welterweights: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KOs) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KOs), 12 rounds

Former pound for pound king Mayweather returns to warm up against present p4p #2 and lightweight titlist Marquez, who owns a draw and a split decision loss to Pacquiao. Although both great fighters, and with Mayweather returning from a long layoff, no matter how much they promote this fight (which was a bunch) will make me think that Marquez is big enough to compete at 147.

Money is moving surprisingly well in the first round and staying well out of reach of Marquez. He is clearly stronger and looks unfazed when Marquez lands a three punch combo. Marquez wants to brawl in the 2nd stanza and lands a great right hand, Mayweather responds by sitting him down with a left hook. Marquez is up, and looks ok but Mayweather is already in total control and Marquez is already winging ineffectual punches. Mayweather looks fast, sharp and like the layoff hasn’t affected his movement at all as he avoids Marquez’s flurries with ease. Marquez is still chasing but can’t catch Floyd, even when he corners him. The middle rounds see Floyd boxing superbly, countering the daylights out of Marquez – who is being straight dismantled. Although game, there is no way Marquez can hang with this. Rounds eight and nine sees Floyd further exert his will, potshotting, countering and generally showcasing his skills with great efficiency. He buckles Marquez in the ninth with a one-two. Money has no respect for Marquez’s offense by the 10th and is been able to come forward with ease for the last three rounds. Marquez seems desperate and knows that he is not of this class (or size). The final round sees Floyd land at will but not with the intent of finishing this. Marquez is simply too proud to go down.

Easy decision for Floyd – who about won every round (120-107 by my card). Mayweather looked absolutely spectacular as he took Marquez to school. If Money could please use these skills on someone his own size (although Pacquiao is smaller I would totally take it). The best part of this was watching Mosley confront Mayweather at the post fight interview and then seeing Floyd drop his nuts live on ppv. You know you won’t fight Sugar Shane till he is older than 40 Floyd – so please don’t act like you will.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Opinion: Mayweather-Marquez

This….really caught me off guard. It always seemed like the return of “Money May” was just a matter of time and now it is only hours away. For undisclosed reasons, my lyrical badness has been on hiatus.....

September 19th marks the return to the ring of “Pretty Boy” Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who must be the only fighter in the modern era to have more than one ring name. Since last dropping Ricky Hatton 21 months ago, Floyd has stayed actively in the spotlight. Stints in the WWF, Dancing with the Stars and his general diva persona has meant that he has been consistently on our radar. Which is good, for him, as now he returns without losing any real public exposure, which will undoubtedly help him make “that money” and solve his issues with the taxman. Now, Money May is ending the nearly two-year retirement few thought would last in order to face lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez at a catch weight of 144 pounds Sept. 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Marquez comes with it. Since drawing with Pacquiao in mid 2004 he has fought a veritable who’s who of the feather/super feather divisions including wins of Barrera, Juarez, Casamayor, Juan Diaz with only disputed losses to Pacquiao and Chris John. The winner of this fight is sure to face the winner of Pacquiao-Cotto in establishing the best fighter at 147.


Mayweather is a once in a generation fighter. Stupid fast, superb technically, fantastic defensively and with a great boxing mind. He has won titles in five divisions (130-154) and was long considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the game. His speed and movement make him a pure boxer, who can still be the aggressor when backed into the ropes. In fact, so schooled is he in the noble art of self defense that he can turn your aggression against you and make those who come to fight look crude. These qualities couldn’t be more apparent when you look at his extraordinary efficiency. He counters well which limits his opponents offense and he is strategic in setting them up. Although behind, Ricky Hatton wasn’t being outclassed until Money May caught him wading in with a left hook that signalled the beginning of the end. In saying all this, it must noted that Mayweather only has 2 stoppages in his five fights above 140. He also has an excellent chin and has only been taken off his feet officially once by Carlos Hernandez (he touched down against Judah but it wasn’t counted) but this is probably more indicative of his defensive skills.

Although Floyd is coming off a 21 month layoff, he never strays too far from his fight weight, is always active, has stamina to boot and always in great shape.

Rather than any glaring technical weaknesses, Floyd seems to have been hampered by the toll boxing took on his body itself. Nagging hand and should injuries have had time to heal during his “retirement” however, (supposedly) injuring his ribs in training may provide Marquez with a target. Zab Judah showed us that constant pressure and some body work were a way to go forward and De La Hoya, when he used it, jabbed effectively and ended up losing a split decision.

Roger Mayweather’s (his uncle and trainer) legal issues may have been a distraction but, really, when aren’t the Mayweathers involved in some kind of shit?

Watching Money May get pedicures and hearing him play the race card isn’t really endearing him to anyone. He also dodges any legit welters, he would NEVER fight Mosley, P-Will, Margarito or Cotto. Maybe Cotto now, but never the pre-Margarito pressure machine that Cotto was. On top of all of this, whilst I respect him as an athlete, he just comes off as pompous and as someone who has no respect for the gentlemanly aspects of the sport. So take that Floyd! Craig doesn’t like you!!…and that's officially a weakness….


Marquez is a great counter puncher who is versatile in being able to also initiate the action, has fast hands, stamina to boot and an iron constitution. You only had to watch him drag himself off the canvas three times in the opening stanza in his first meeting with Pacquiao to know he is tough and an embodiment of that fierce Mexican fighting spirit. So much so that he is jumping up two weight divisions to fight somebody who is, arguably, still the best fighter in the sport today. Marquez is a good technician with a remarkable boxing brain as he is able to adjust his game plan mid-round without any intervention from his corner. He also packs a bit of power in his fists, although he jumped up a division in his last two bouts, they were both stoppage wins.

Although with four losses on his ledger, he has never been stopped and can weather a storm when needed (previously stated Pacquiao bout and the Diaz stoush are great examples). Both the Pacquiao fights were highly controversial and could have gone Marquez’s way.

The postponement of the fight, due to Mayweather injuring his ribs, was only ever good for Marquez. Trainer Nacho Beristain stated that there was no way Marquez was ready by that point and his body has now grown into a legit welter’s. Marquez has not made it a secret that he will look to be aggressive to the body.

Watch out Mayweather – this guy drinks his own pee!

Jumping up a class is always a big ask. Jumping up two, to fight perhaps the best boxer in the world, is epic. How this weight gain has affected his speed remains to be seen as it is entirely plausible that it has slowed him down some. Something which Marquez can’t afford to have happen. Coupled with this, although Marquez is a complete fighter in his own right, he isn’t exceptional in the same way Money May is. So he will be coming into it being smaller, slower, weaker and older…and not as smart according to Floyd Sr. His (supposed) tactic of chasing Mayweather down will leave him open to quicker, more powerful counters.

Even though Marquez has a good chin, it needs to be noted that he is hittable has never been hit by a legit 147 pounder. Even someone as relatively feather fisted as Mayweather. Mayweather has taken shots from guys his size but never the other way round. He would also need to impose himself physically which he looks far too small to do. There is no way he could rough him up inside.


In order for Marquez to have a shot, he needs to take advantage of Mayweather’s ring rust and press early. He simply does not have the power to stop him however and would need to be progressive in his game plan, adding wrinkles as the bout progressed and keeping him off balance. This looks terribly unlikely and it really is too much to ask him to beat a bigger, younger, quicker, stronger and (now) rested fighter at a weight 9 pounds above his heaviest (at which he had one fight).

Money May to win, but whether he can be emphatic in doing so will be the real question. He has the skill set to exert the pressure or, like usual, pick him apart. It should only take a couple of rounds but it is entirely possible that he could stop Marquez. If I was pushed to narrow it down, I think he will win a comfortable decision.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

O Anthropology, Where Art Thou?

Set in Mississippi in 1937 the Coen brothers’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a contemporary retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey that has Ulysses, Delmar and Pete escape from a prison work camp in order to quest for the treasure that Ulysses had buried after robbing an armoured car. This film was indeed made for the purpose of mass consumption and is art who Morphy and Perkins define as “associated with bodies of knowledge, technologies and representational practices that provide insights into the whole life world of a society” (2006: 2). The film uses ‘traditional’ or ‘old timey’ bluegrass, gospel and blues in its’ soundtrack help to provide both lyrical and textural support for the historical and cultural aspects of the rural south in the depression era United States. This is used both as background and as a performance by a character in order to validate a sense of authenticity to their character and suggest the “cultural heritage of ‘the South’ is itself constantly evolving and constantly new” (Chadwell 2004: 3). This assigning of “qualitative values to properties of the material world” is how Morphy defines aesthetics and ideas of power, class, race, gender, economic practices and religious beliefs are all represented (1994: 7). The benefits of film are obvious, its’ dynamic nature is a better format for a range of representations rather than the static forms of sculpture or painting. The emergence and explosion of visual global mass media in the form of television, video and film have meant that artists now have a greater dynamic canvas in a which a plethora of representations can be not only embodied, but interact.

The film negotiates power relationships through its’ use of music. Even in the early days of recorded music in the southern United States a certain level of authenticity was attached to ‘old timey’ and bluegrass players, seen as a rejection of an emerging mass culture which threatened their own, regardless of their actual background or where their music originated (Chadwell 2004). The association of music being ‘old timey’ suggests nostalgia and heritage however this construct is flawed due to the fact that “technological progress was part and parcel of the professionalisation and popularisation of country music” with over five hundred radio stations transmitting in the South from the 1920s” (Gonzalez 2003: 102). Conversely, ideas of mechanical reproduction were utilised by ethnomusicologists like Alan and John Lomax allowing them to document, study and preserve American folk history (Gonzalez 2003).

O Brother, Where Art Thou? gives an insight into social relations during the time with there being limited acceptance of the growing black minority. Our protagonists, being convicts, have more in common with African Americans than their ‘cleaner’ living counterparts, something which Content refers to this as “the natural solidarity of universal brother hood” that “arises out of shared suffering” (2001: 44). Yet still there is a sense of prejudice when they initially meet a blind, black oracle who’s predictions of the future are scoffed at by Ulysses who says, “How does he know? He’s a negro…and an old man!” An indication that race would be somewhere on the same level as senility as a basis for deriding someone’s opinion. The oracle also exclaims that he has no name which illustrates the administrative practice of the time of rural blacks not registering births. The use of traditional bluegrass, gospel and blues songs also give us lyrics for interpretation. The performance of ‘Po Lazarus’, a tale of a black fugitive who is hunted down and killed by a deputy, by the black chain gang at the beginning of the film is a typical ‘work song’, used by the oppressed black minority of the time as a form of rebellion. A certain authenticity is given to the ‘old timey’ music being propagated in the film, a music supposedly representative of white values and culture however, as Chadwell notes, “the discourse authenticating this music as ‘old time’ manages to elide the connections between African American and White Southern cultures” (2004: 3). He also points out the irony in which “authenticity is invoked by cultures actively engaged in erasing or avoiding their actual roots” (2004: 4). During the film the trio attempt to record (with the help of black bluesman Tommy Johnson) a song for a radio station for monetary gain, something they are only able to achieve once they conform that they are indeed white and are willing to perform something ‘old timey’.

O Brother, Where Art Thou? also gives us clues regarding (assumed) gender relations during this point in history. Strang explains that “gendered categories of material culture and gendered social identities and roles are ubiquitous: there is no culture in which they cannot be observed” (1992: 77). Upon finding his ex-wife, who is now due to remarry, Ulysses objects and refers to himself as ‘paterfamilias’ indicating that males are the head of family units. The film also seems to be male gendered, our protagonists are all male, the lead female is objectified as a ‘wife’ or someone who needs male support in order to survive. Ulysses quest for treasure itself can be seen as him fulfilling the role of the contemporary hunter-gatherer whilst Penelope desire for a mate that is “bona fide” is a maternal wish for a honest, stable provider that is committed to raising a family.

As this was set during the great depression economic practices are represented through both the film and through the soundtrack. The opening credits are supported by Harry McClintock’s 1928 version of ‘Big Rock Candy Mountains’, a tale of hobo heaven that describes “a land that’s fair and bright, where the handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night” and also “where they hung the jerk that invented work”. Economic hardships felt in this, largely agrarian, environment are also expressed by a desperate need for landowners to hold onto their property. Upon visiting Pete’s relatives the trio find themselves threatened by a young boy who queries “Are you men from the bank?” then later reveals that his father had told him to shoot anyone from the bank. Later on, when questioned over what he was going to do with his share of the treasure, Delmar indicates that he would buy back the family farm from the bank adding “you ain’t no kinda man if you ain’t got no land”. This hardship is also expressed by Tommy Johnson when he sings a version of Skip James’ ‘Hard Time Killing Floor Blues’ which contains the lyrics “And you say you had money, you better be sure, 'Cause these hard times will drive you from door to door”. The Coen’s also use body composition to enunciate class with the more rich and powerful being far larger in girth than our malnourished protagonists. Content adds that “in the lean years of the depression, double chins and big bellies brand these villains as ‘fat cats’” (2001: 46). He also adds that this difference between the “exploiter and the exploited” is far more pronounced than differences in race and gender (46).

Being set in Mississippi, the ‘deep south’, we see religious representation play a major role in O Brother, Where Art Thou?. After escaping from the prison work party Delmar becomes baptized, an act that he sees as comparable to a pardon until he is informed otherwise. The music of O Brother, Where Art Thou? is littered with religious overtones such as ‘Down To The River to Pray’, ‘In The Highways’ and ‘Angel Band’ showing that Christianity was certainly central to their community at the time. Cosmological understandings are also expressed here with a Ku Klux Klan meeting being in opposition to “all the people say that we come descended from monkeys” pointing to a direct belief in creationism and a rejection of theories of evolution. Upon being picked up by the trio Tommy Johnson explains that he was at the crossroads last night where he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for skill in playing the guitar. Both the crossroads and deals with the devil feature in both white and black cultures (as Satan and Papa Legba respectively) with the crossroads being an environment where barriers between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead are blurred (Pearson and McCulloch 2003). The lawman, who is the personification of Satan in O Brother, gives us clues to his otherworldliness when he attempts to hang the trio after they have been pardoned of their crimes by the Governor. The trio protest on the ground that they have been pardoned to which the lawman replies, “the law is a human institution”. They are inexplicably saved by what Cant refers to as “the flood of modernity” (2007: 66).

The Coen brothers film’ O Brother, Where Art Thou? gives us an insight into attitudes toward race, gender, class, religious beliefs and economic practices that existed in the Southern United States during the depression. The film uses music, both diegetic and non-diegetic, as both lyrics as text for interpretation and for a sense of cultural authenticity to give support and validity to the experiences of our protagonists. The fact that our protagonists seem to share more in common with criminals and blacks rather than those of similar social groups and standings speaks more of the “universality of human experience” rather than lines drawn between people on the basis of race, gender (Strang 2005: 2). Cant sums it up best by saying that the Coen’s have “shown us a way in which both geography and history are impregnated with culture in the Deep South of Mississippi during the depression, an area sure inseparable in our minds from the images of the region created by literature, music and film” (2007: 63).


Cant, J. 2007. ‘Homer in Tishimingo: Eclecticism and cultural transformation in the Coen
Brothers’ O Brother Where Art Thou?’, in Comparative American Studies 5 (1): 63-79.

Chadwell, S. 2004. ‘Inventing that “Old-Timey” Style: Southern Authenticity in O
Brother, Where Art Thou?’, Journal of Popular Film & Television 32 (1): 2-9.

Content, R . 2001. Review of O Brother, Where Art Thou? By Rob Content. Film
Quarterly. 55 (1): 41-48.

Gonzalez, E. 2003. ‘The Motif of Music in Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art
Thou? And Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train, Revue Francaise D’Etudes Americaines 98: 99-110.

Morphy, H. and Perkins, M. (eds). 2006. 'The Anthropology of Art: a reflection on its
history and contemporary practice', in The Anthropology of Art: a reader, Oxford;
Malden, Mass.; Carlton, Vic.: Blackwell. pp 1-32

Morphy, H. 1994. ‘Aesthetics is a Cross-cultural Category’, in J. Weiner (ed) A Debate
Held in the Muriel Stott Centre on 30th October, 1993. John Rylands University Library of Manchester: Group for Debates in Anthropological Theory

Strang, V. 1999. 1999. ‘Familiar Forms: Homologues, Culture and Gender in Northern
Australia’ in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, 5 (1): 75-95.

Strang, V. 2005. ‘Common Senses: Water, Sensory Experience and the Generation of
Meaning’, in Journal of Material Culture 10 (1): 93-121.


Coen, Joel and Ethan Coen. O Brother, Where Art Thou? DVD. Touchstone Pictures. 2000.


Various Artists. O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Mercury Records. 2000. Compact Disc.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Anderson Silva Vs. Manny Pacquiao: A Comparison

If you haven't guessed by now, I really get down on contact sports. To a lot of people this is seen as brutish and violent which, to a point, I guess it is. The grim reality that is two men in combat save any weapon but his body and his skill set. The picture is a whole heap grimmer when you consider the idea of a stoppage, that the physical aspect of a game is so great that you can hurt someone so bad that it overwhelms their mental resolve to want to compete. In a game.

What critics of combat sports fail to recognise is that, when it really comes down to it, it's a sport where you couldn't win without the requisite skill set. Sure, you get freaks with such comparative advantage of one aspect or with one skill that they prevail over novice foes (Kimbo Slice, Bob Sapp, Butterbean et al). But these one note players never end up as anything of note and are usually dissected spectacularly by no one in particular. Extraordinary natural gifts are usually offset by some relative weakness that they never bother to fix, for they have never needed to develop the necessary character or well rounded skill set it would take to be considered great.

Coupled with skill set, and in viewing this as a sport rather than just a brutal pursuit, we realise that someone weighing 147 is just not going to beat someone 220. By creating the mystical title of "Pound for Pound" we create an index of skill regardless of size. From the two most popular combat sports, boxing and mixed martial arts, Manny Pacquiao and Anderson Silva have emerged as the generally accepted Pound for Pound Kings.

First, a little (recent) history....

Last weekends UFC 101 featured long time middleweight king Anderson Silva stepping up to face former light-heavy champ Forrest Griffin in only Silva’s second outing at 205. Silva struck gold against Griffin, hurting him with overhand lefts before slipping an onslaught to deliver a precision counter left that cut Forrest down to the stump in just 3 minutes 23 seconds of the opening stanza. Make no buts about it, this was an awesome performance. Silva’s striking and movement was way too much for the powerful yet relatively cumbersome Griffin. This win nullified Silva’s last two performances, which were lacklustre in comparison, and reasserted him as the best pound for pound fighter the sport has to offer.

In May, Manny Pacquiao became the only fighter in boxing history to win titles in six divisions when he blasted Ricky Hatton in two rounds to win a version of the light-welterweight crown. Also considered the best pound for pound fighter in his sport, Pacquiao’s recent opponents read like a list of fighters that one would avoid unless you are looking to make a point. Good thing for us he is.

Although completely different sports, the nature of their wins, and what it meant to their respective codes, were eerily similar. So… the spirit of the time I thought I would throw a little analysis at it to determine who’s accomplishments were greater. Let me note that, both of these fighters will go down as the greatest in this era and we should all feel honoured that we are able to witness the beauty and mastery of what they do. In analysing the two I took into consideration the following factors;

Stepping Up: How difficult it would be to step up a division
Last opponent: The reality of who they fought
Nature of last win: How physically dominant a performance it really was
Development: How they have changed their game

Stepping Up

Silva has been a long time holder of the middleweight crown and made a record 5 defences. His last two bouts had his critics questioning his pound for pound status. He answered big against Griffin where he had to step up 20 pounds to the light-heavyweight limit (205). This is a phenomenal jump in weight however, at 6'2'', Silva is large for a middleweight and therefore has the frame to put the weight on. That said, he didn't look terribly well conditioned against Griffin. Good thing it didn't matter. Silva is one of the only fighters to have wins in three different weight classes (170, 185 and 205). That's a span of 35 pounds.

In comparison, Pacquiao weighed 106 pounds in his pro debut and as much as 145 when he faced De La Hoya. His last four fights were fought at 130, 135, 147 and 140 which were all wins and he collected three titles in the process. At 5'6'' and a half, he is about the right height for a lightweight (135 pounds) but has still managed to crush naturally bigger foes which makes things a whole lot more impressive. Pacquiao's span has been 41 pounds.

Advantage: Pacquiao

Although Silva did make the larger marginal leap in weight, Pacquiao did it tough by winning titles on the way.

Last Opponent

Both their opponents could have been separated at birth. Limited but gritty fight dogs who love nothing more than a war. Attrition is their currency and both have been known to end fights covered in, their opponents or their own, sanguinary fluids. Both also have relatively slow hands and can be limited offensively.

Even though he was stopped by Mayweather in a welterweight bout, Hatton was still considered the top fighter at 140. Hatton's chin, however, is suspect at best whilst, the Silva fight aside, Griffin seems to relish in the punishment. Also, Griffin was champion at light-heavy until being dethroned by Rashad Evans in his last bout. The light-heavy division in the UFC is the sports premier division and is stacked with fantastic fighters. In comparison, light-welter in boxing is a good division, but no where near as full as 147.

Advantage: Silva.

Development of fighters

Interestingly enough, both these fighters are southpaws. Pacquiao used to one shot with the left hand but has developed into more a complete fighter with a wide array of punches. He has lost no speed whilst coming up through the weight-classes whilst his power has come up. Trainer Freddie Roach, seems to have maximised Pacquiao's skills

Silva has always seemed well rounded (great Muay Thai skills and a black belt in BJJ) and is remarkably adaptable. Every time someone throws a new wrinkle he seems to have an answer. A creative striker, Silva can throw shots off balance or switch hit from an orthodox stance. His head movement is second to none in the sport. He used to relish in the clinch but, of late, he seems to prefer to counter and move.

Advantage: Pacquiao.

Quick dispatches

Both these two came to the table with a fantastic stoppage. If you haven't seen Pacquiao drop a left hand on Hatton like he stole something then you need to youtube it right now! It was a classic case of both trying to throw but one landing first. On the button.

In contrast, Silva was silky smooth and more deserving of the name 'Sugar' than that dude who got rolled on the undercard of UFC101. Silva used his superior reflexes and head movement to keep Griffin poking at shadows. Overhand lefts rattled Griffin before he was caught wading in, which makes the exchange sound relatively simple but Silva avoided three shots with ease before throwing an innocuous looking left hand. It was like the end of the first Matrix movie where Neo's movements make the agents look like they are moving in slow motion.

Both Griffin and Hatton hit the deck three times. Silva's stoppage was very classy and skilful whilst Pacquiao's was far more brutal and way cleaner.

Advantage: Even


Pacquiao takes it 2-1-1. This is in no means a slight on Silva's accomplishments or me showing bias to boxing but you would have to give Pacquiao the decision.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Opinion: Pacquiao-Cotto

Even though I have already touched on the subject of this fight, with it now a reality, I thought it may deserve more in-depth analysis. I mean, do you take a woman back home with the intention of cuddling and hearing her hopes and dreams? No freaking way, you go in there to turn that thing inside out! So......scheduled for November 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto will square off in a match between two of the sports biggest stars in it's best division. Both fighters have a huge fan base as Pacquiao has reached demi-god type status in his native Philippines after becoming the first fighter in history to win titles in six divisions whilst Cotto is the current pride of Puerto Rico and carries a lot of clout in New York.

Although classed as a welterweight fight, it is being fought at a catch weight of 145 pounds. This is wrong. Really wrong. If Pacquiao wants to lay claim to being a welterweight champion then he should be fighting at the 147 pound everyone else. What this reduced weight clause really says to the world is that Pacquiao is not prepared to fight real welterweights at their peak condition (or even Shane Mosley at 140). Weak sauce dude, weak sauce. You could argue that he started at 106 pounds and is therefore naturally smaller but, if that is the case, what the H.E double-hockey-sticks are you doing campaigning at welter? It would be like me going to fight a heavyweight and stipulating that they could only use one hand (they would still quick stoppage...Craig's opponent ftw!).

MANNY PACQUIAO (49-3-2, 37 KOs)

Pacquiao's major strength is his speed, which is absolutely blistering and has magnified his power as he has came up through the weight classes without losing any his quickness. He is a whirlwind of activity in that he can fight the last round just as hard as he fought the first.

Pacquiao comes out to throw and his left hand, from his southpaw stance, is dangerous as hell. You only have to watch the footage of him hitting the snooze button on the lovable-but-limited Ricky Hatton to see what it is capable of. Earlier in his career this was all he was looking to land but, under new trainer Freddie Roach (three time Trainer of the Year), he has developed into a complete boxer who can throw the right hook almost as well as the left hand and jab, counter and throw straight shots should the situation call for it. He has also improved in every fight and beat the top guys in every division he has competed in. His wins against Hatton, De La Hoya and Diaz were magnificent displays of dominance. Furthermore, Roach is a superb tactician who was, in no doubt, somewhat responsible for Pacquiao's biggest wins of late.

Defensively, Pacquiao is very good having only been stopped once (when he was struggling to meet the 112 pound flyweight limit) and lost just once in the last ten years. He has excellent head movement and foot speed to boot.

Pacquiao has been known to struggle against counter-punchers. Juan Manual Marquez held him to a draw and a split decision, both of which were debatable. Cotto can be slick and counter punch well but whether he can hang with Pacquiao's speed remains to be seen. Having started his professional career age 16 at 106 pounds, there must also be questions of how he is going to handle a real welter as opposed to a faded De La Hoya. The way to beat Cotto is to put him on the back foot and I don't know if Pacquiao has that kind of strength.

MIGUEL COTTO (34-1, 27 KOs)

Cotto is a precision puncher who viciously works the body before turning out the lights. He throws the straight right like he is trying to knock your head off your shoulders and hits like a sledgehammer when going to the slats. Boxes and moves excellently, the first six rounds of the Margarito bout were fantastic displays in the art of hitting and not being hit. Aggressive as all hell, he brings a lot of pressure and, even if there is only a slight disparity in skill between the fighters, Cotto’s pressure will make it all the more apparent.

He has also faced some of the top fighters the division has to offer in Mosley, Margarito and Clottey. All these fights were tough with Cotto enduring a (probable) glove loading by Margarito and fighting through a nasty cut with Clottey. Both these fighters are huge welterweights who could bounce up to 154 without a problem, which is the reason they could back Cotto up and Pacquiao just doesn’t seem strong enough to do so. Against smaller fighters like Judah (who is more relative in size to Pacquiao), Cotto was far stronger and could exert his will.

The big question that hangs over Cotto is how he will respond to a big test like Pacquiao after his loss to Margarito. Cotto has seemed less confident following this and, when faced with a stern test, he abandons the body attack all together. Why? I mean, your one of the best body punchers in the game and, against Pacquiao, you are gonna need to try and slow him down.

The 145 pound weight limit will be the lightest Cotto has weighed in at for more than three years and he was struggling (and subsequently seemed drained) in his final junior-welter bouts. If he is drained at 145, it is severely going to affect his ability to throw and apply pressure. Cotto wins by applying pressure.

Pacquiao’s work rate may also give Cotto fits as he can throw all night. We have seen Cotto fade late in his three biggest bouts (Mosley, Margarito, Clottey) which will play right into Pacquiao’s favour.


Both fighters come to swing, both have great chins and if Pacquiao wants to trade early it will be to his detriment. Freddie Roach won't let this happen. I still think Pacquiao will start fast but he will look to box and counter until the middle rounds. Cotto can't match Pacquiao's speed and should go the body early, if he can pin him down. This approach will leave him wide-open upstairs. Cotto will be stronger over the first half of the fight with Pacquiao darting in and out with lightning combinations. After six we should see Pacquiao become a whole lot more aggressive and Cotto start to fade. Cotto won’t be able to back up or move out of the way and will start getting caught by left hands only to capitulate inside of 10.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Natasha and Anthony

This was another thing I put together about people I know. The real life 'Natasha' and 'Anthony' (names were changed to protect the innocent) commute with me to work and are fairly close, (not just) my own speculation inspired me to write this concerning their dynamic. Hopefully they feel a lot more awkward about it. I got to give it up to 'Natasha', for we are tight, I have a lot of respect for her and she tolerates me admirably....

"...every pair of tits comes with a gaping hole of need that even Kenny Powers can't fill." - Kenny 'Fucking' Powers, Eastbound and Down

Natasha’s nerves rise with every creeping kilometre. The radio, whilst supposedly providing light relief, has now become an eerie testament to the task at hand. For Anthony is a married man, with a family, and now the innocence of the initial chemistry has boiled over into a passion that cannot further be contained.

The escalation caught even Natasha herself by surprise. A chance encounter whilst commuting to work revealed a certain ideological synchronicity and, given that they were both pleasant individuals with open minds, conversation came easy. This dynamic extended to outside their regular commute and they soon found themselves spending time together during the weekends, still innocent, they traded thoughts and generally enjoyed each others company. Then things started to change. The more they spent time together the more it became apparent. Physical contact became more free and regular and the innocent playfulness crossed that grey area and became flirting. Whenever Natasha would turn up to Anthony's house his wife and family would normally joke about them both, however lately those jokes had a malicious tinge and they both knew that his families' derisiveness was more prophetic than mocking. Then it happened. After work drinks on a Friday escalated into shots and cocktails which, in retrospect, provided them both the nerve and the initial foreplay. A night turned into a second as she was suddenly in his mouth, in his arms, in her bed. Three months had now passed and the original chemistry and passion had become sinister, the motivations became clouded, the lovemaking became fucking. And, as she pulled up to the motel, that sense of anticipation became foreboding.

The motel is exquisite in its suburban mediocrity, brown and orange cubes with what is supposed to be an awning constructed in a horseshoe shape. It's post-lintel, but the absolute antithesis of the beauty of either the Ionic or Doric modes. Hidden within this community, it's functionality only serves to hide the relative horrors of inside.

Natasha can see that his car has already arrived. The silver seven-seater a constant reminder of what is at stake here. Not just hurt feelings, not just a broken heart, but the disintegration of the family unit she had long rejected. The walk between the car and the room allows her a brief moment to collect yourself. Steady her mind, straighten her clothes, accentuate her cleavage. One last deep breath before opening the door.

Inside is bland and provides everything it's one-and-a-half star rating promises. A double bed that appears clean to the eyes but not to the brain, a wooden bedside table with television remote velcroed, a small tv and the walls are adorned by what can only be described as 'motel art'. These crudely painted monstrosities of vases and woodland landscapes were probably labelled as 'impressionist' by the artist, a term they most likely used to hide their pedestrian ability. The general vibe of the room makes her believe that it is hiding something and her mind races with possibilities. A murder? No. Then she comes to the realisation that what it is really hiding is exactly what she came there for. As, although the act itself is somewhat ordinary, the context, the motivations, are dark and ugly.

She walks in to find Anthony sitting on the bed, his expression is a mixture of excitement and relief. She sits next to him and the silence is broken awkwardly with them both trying to speak at the same time. General pleasantries follow however he breaches the subject of his family and she reacts.

"Listen, when you are with me you are with need to leave them at the door!"

He counters;

"I know, it's just hard y'know. Every time I come home and they are pleased to see me. Like they look at me as a saviour. They are just....unaware...naive...and...and I'm scared that they will find out and suddenly they won't look at me like that anymore."

And she baits him,

"If you want to stop then you need to speak up and stop being a pussy. I'm sorry - I thought I was dealing with a real man!"

The conflict is rising, and with that Anthony grabs Natasha by the shoulders and hoists her to her feet. He thrusts her against the wall holding her by the neck and it's only when he sees that fear in she eyes that he kisses she. Violently so, and Natasha gets the slight taste of blood. She is thrown to the bed with force enough that she bounces. The look in his eyes is a cocktail of intensity and purpose and buttons fly as he tears his shirt. In the brief seconds before he approaches, Natasha allows her mind to wander and she deliberates on how he is going to explain that to his wife, for it is a consequence that speaks of incidence rather than any ordinary everyday type occurrence.

What started as passion in the initial instances had slowly become a type of aggression for Anthony who, by now, had totally disregarded all duties of care and the love and warmth that she had initially felt from him had been replaced with belligerence. There is a usual disconnect between the genders in ideas of intimacy however Anthony had always been considerate, too considerate if anything, which now makes her think that maybe this aggression is something he originally planned to hide only to have the beast rear its ugly head.

Anthony tears at her clothes, an action that she tries to match yet her efforts are overwhelmed. Natasha suddenly comes to the harsh realization that the relationships sinister turn has now reached a new level. An awareness she has come to too soon, as now she must just endure and hope to survive. They are both finally naked and Natasha chuckles ever so slightly on the inside about Anthony's ‘old man balls’. She is then unceremoniously mounted, like an old chair in the lounge that you keep as the comfort it provides far outweighs the aesthetic. He is rough, really rough and her mind would go elsewhere if it weren’t for the intensifying rhythmic thudding.

Suddenly the assault is over and he collapses on top of her, limp, sweaty but somehow still overbearing. Both their hearts are beating full speed, his from exertion, hers from fear. There is quiet now after the storm and Natasha knows that she can only be comforted by her safety for so long before she can escape somewhere and inspect the damage.

After he rolls off Natasha does not know what to expect. His rage subsided, Anthony returns to his calm business like demeanor and suggests another meeting. She wants to decline, she needs to decline, however she can only accept. Despite the bruises, the degradation, the physical and mental pain, Natasha knew why she kept going back. The reason for coming back was exactly the reason why she should leave, she came for the abuse and she stayed for the cock.

You see, men had always fallen at her feet. For she was very attractive, unassuming and with an air of arrogance that guys would fantasize about taking from her. Their efforts were fumbling though and if any of these suitors could show any poise and restraint then they would succeed. Thus, after a lifetime of the type of privilege that a woman's beauty entails, this kind of rejection only served to validate her attraction to Anthony as legit.

They both leave the room at the same time and become strangers with the same cold directness that it all started with. The sunlight, and the warmth it brings, seems harsh and foreign. Anyone from the outside would have thought that these two individuals were unrelated in every aspect. However, like the deep sea on a calm day, its outward serenity is offset by what exists in its murky depths.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sullivan and the vagrant

If your anything like me, the stuff you write is really spur of the moment. You have an idea or a gripe, start to write then all of a sudden you got about 1,000 words. Barring spur of the moment type stuff (and boxing), ripping on my friends also provides endless material. Your friends usually appreciate the hell out of it especially if you manage to capture the inherent-ness of their essence. I wrote the following at work after an e-mail ripping session about my ace boon coon;

Late last Thursday evening, Sullivan left the The Sausage-arium on his way to find the nearest speak easy (that sold party pills). He'd had a few under his belt and, as a result, his path was no where as direct as intended. The air sent shivers down his spine and he cowered into his overcoat trying to hide from the unforgiving wrath of summer.

He was suddenly approached by a vagrant who's voice delivered a simple request in a most grizzly and lackluster fashion;


"Change?!" was Sullivan's reply. "Why should I change?...What is that supposed to mean?!?"

The homeless man looked befuddled which was rare as his life was one of rejection. From those who refused his uncomplicated yet necessary request to those who pretend that the margin he exists in itself does not exist, he had never faced the raw aggression and indignation that was seething right in front of him.

By now, combat was unavoidable and the two foes were nose to nose in a classic staredown. The smell was overpowering, a combination of old cigarettes, cheap liquor and awkward sweat. The bum smelt also, with the musk that only extended stays on the street can provide.

Sullivan feigns tipping his hat and swings, his left hand promising pain. The swing does not connect however as his lead foot had unwittingly planted on a banana skin and he tumbles to the ground, his pants spewing the very staples that were holding them together. His complaint of "uh-oh spaghetti-ohs" falls on deaf ears as the homeless man lunges onto his fallen prey. His punches are wild and Sullivan manages to dislodge him easily. Back on his feet, and with his pants freed up to a more 'athletic' function, Sullivan, having taken no truck with the wine-breathed degenerate, proceeded to smother him with his own overcoat. For he had grabbed the first thing available and, all rational people in times of need, will utilize what is most available. With his sight and movement restricted, the vagrant is no match for Sullivan's BZP-enhanced blows and he is clubbed mercilessly.

The fight is over, the only sounds that remain are Sullivan's heavy breathing and the painful moaning of his fallen foe. After collecting his coat (and staples) Sullivan tips his hat to no one in particular then departs.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Opinion: The Welter-Wait

The welterweight division is arguably boxing's premier division. Since the retirement of Lennox Lewis (and probably much before) the heavyweight division has been parched of great matchups, dynamic fighters and excitement in general. The cruel illusion of it as the measuring stick of the sport has long been debunked. Really, when was the last time you saw a legitimately great heavyweight stoush? If your answer contained Lewis and either the names Holyfied or Tyson then you need to get your head checked out. Watching Lewis beat up on faded names does not a good bout make.

I could complain about the heavies all day long but the bottom line is that 147 is stacked with fighters, all of whom want a crack at each other. Not only that, but it epitomises the spirit of the sport. The art of hitting someone and not being hit. Most boxing bogans (or sports bogans in general) only want to see the brutish elements. Crushing knockouts, crashes in motorsport, rugby league. Sure these elements may be visually appealing but in all instances they are not in the real essence of what is trying to be accomplished. Cheap thrills for the great unwashed and those too ignorant to appreciate the finer points. This is where the 'real' divisions come in. I mean, what kind of division is 'heavyweight' anyways? " Oh...I'm big and my fights are three rounds of winging awkward punches and seven rounds of clinching". At least that is the way it is these days....

Aside, with the huge movements in the welterweight division within the last year only too apparent, I have compiled a list of fights that have to happen. I realise my tastes aren't for everyone (they're better! ROFLcopter) so I have divided them into;

Have to Happen: Big names, great matchups and, in a sport with three major sanctioning bodies, help to clear the picture a little

I'd like to see: Matchups that satisfy my morbid curiosity for such bouts (and Paul Williams).

Certain fights: Bouts that are bound to happen, and are good matchups, but are missing something

Have to Happen

Cotto-Margarito II

Their first fight was an instant classic. After boxing strongly in the first six rounds, Margarito seemingly got stronger as the fight progressed and chased Cotto round the ring banging him like a drum on his way to an 11 round TKO win. After Margarito's glove loading came to light, and the way this fight played out, it is entirely probable that he did load his gloves for this fight. The other side of the coin is that we have seen Cotto fade severely also in his fights with Mosley and Clottey which could mean that the rematch will play out exactly the same. This is unlikely due to the fact that I believe Cotto will be fairly enraged by the supposed glove loading of their first fight and would probably triumph in the return.


The fight the world wants to see. Pacquiao, after career defining stoppage wins of De La Hoya and Hatton, is now the king of the sport, a title Mayweather used to hold. Mayweather, in signalling his return to the ring, says he wants Pacquiao, Cotto and Mosley however the latter is unlikely to happen soon as he would want a tune-up bout and probably to wait for Mosley to get a little older. Both fighters are stupid quick however Pacquiao is out there to sling leather whilst Mayweather boxes from the outside and uses his astounding defence when in tight. In my eyes, a Pacquaio win and very possibly a stoppage.


The fight I really wanna see and probably the biggest fight in the game as far as legit fight fans are concerned. Mosley has done everything to make this happen; said he would drop weight, gave Pacquiao 60 percent of the purse and even went so far as to give him a rematch clause. You gotta love Sugar Shane, for he wants to fight everyone and will do what it takes to make it happen. Unfortuantely he seems to be too big, too small or too good for his contemporaries. God I hope Pacquiao just sucks it up and fights him at 147. Sugar Shane FTW!


This fight has been brewing since the late 90's when Mosley was lightweight champ and Mayweather ruled the junior-lightweights. Mayweather talks, and cries..then does some more talking but the bottom line is that he knows he is in for a 'L' on his record. If Mayweather cared about actually being the best rather than just maintaining an unbeaten record (so he can pose as the best) then this fight would have happened some time ago.

I'd Like to See


Williams is an absolute anomaly. This huge welter has a reach longer than the Klitchko's and throws more shots than a lightweight. So good is Williams - that no one from 147 to 160 wants a bar of him. Bring in Clottey, who has two gritty and disputed losses to both Cotto and Margarito and needs someone who will want to take the big risk-small reward payoff of meeting him, and this is definitely a fighters fight between two guys no one wants to face. Williams should really dominate anyone from 147-160 (how he lost to Cintron is beyond me).

Berto-Collazo II

Berto, the heir apparent of the welterweight division, owns a close and highly disputed win over Luis Collazo. Before he gets in with the big names of the division he needs to dominate the contenders. A rematch should see him do so more convincingly.


I just want this to shut Mayweather up. It would never happen (and not because of Williams).


I know - this is not a welterweight fight. This, at 160, would be awesome. Both are huge guys with long arms who look to throw shots. The clinches would resemble some kind of spaghetti dinner and I'm sure each fighter could still land jabs from the other side of the ring. Williams to outhustle.

Certain Fights

Berto-another undersized welter

Step up and face an adult Andre! Dominating Steve Forbes at 147 isn't quite the accomplishment Oscar De La Hoya makes it out to be. If you want to be a force in the division then you are gonna have to collect the scalp of someone reputable.


This fight is now being slated for November and looks to be a very good fight however better could be made. Whilst Pacquiao has looked mercurial in despatching De La Hoya and Hatton, Cotto has looked uncertain in crushing the overmatched Michael Jennings and barely outlasting Joshua Clottey. The loss to Margarito clearly did something to Cotto's head and, unless he can fix it, he looks to suffer a mid round KO at the hands of the PacMan. If Cotto had never lost to Margarito then it could go either way.


Originally scheduled for July, Mayweather’s injury has now pushed this back to September. Originally seen as a comeback fight and a warmup for Mayweather, durable counterpuncher Marquez may just prove to be too stiff a challenge for “Money” who has set this bout at 144 (the highest Marquez would have ever weighed). As great as this fight should be, both are counterpunchers and this fight could become a grindfest if both revert to it. Mayweather will get the decision regardless of who deserves it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Scorecard: Cotto - Clottey

From Madison Square Garden, New York

Leading up to this bout, I got the feeling that this fight was going to be severely underestimated. Since Cotto’s brutal (and highly controversial) beating at the hands of Margarito last July (in a fight that would have to be considered one of the best in welterweight history), Cotto had taken some time away from boxing to recover came back to look impressive (although never really tested) in despatching Michael Jennings for the vacant and lightly regarded WBO crown. In his first real test since his stoppage loss he comes up against the tough-as-all-get-out Clottey. Clottey, whose only previous losses were a DQ loss to Carlos Manuel Baldomir and a unanimous decision loss to Margarito, is practically undentable and generally avoided for being on the wrong end of the payoff/effort ratio. His last bout was a nine round techinical decision win over Zab Judah however this bout against Cotto would be his first “big fight”.

Middleweights: Matvey Korobov (6-0, 5 KOs) vs. Loren Myers (7-4, 2 KOs), 4 rounds

I can’t seem to turn on the tv now without seeing Korobov in action. Seriously – it’s like something out of The Truman Show. This has always been a good thing as the former Russian Olympian’s aggressive style and heavy hands make him a joy to watch. I didn’t know a thing about Loren Myers but, with a 7-4 record, I thought it was probably more likely that he had heard of me.

Korobov quickly establishes control of the centre of the ring. Myers is looking to throw but Korobov moves and counters well first with a straight left and then he wobbles Myers with a two piece. Korobov brings his usual aggression and high punch output and Myers looks overmatched as he is being hit and hurt almost at will. Myers seems game though and, although he is sloppy, is looking at Korobov’s body. The second round sees more of the same with Korobov hunting down Myers and landing crisp combinations. A great uppercut lands yet Myers doesn’t seem fazed. Korobov’s head movement and defence look fantastic in this round as he dodges well leaving Myers seem ineffectual. This only serves to motivate Myers and he starts to bring, albeit wild, pressure in the third. Korobov seems bigger and a lot stronger and he is able to manhandle Myers in the clinches. Korobov’s work rate has slowed down considerably and you begin to question whether he is just fighting too often. I mean his punches are landing but not with the same impact they had in his previous bouts, which I guess could in part be attributed to the gameness of Myers who just won’t quit. Korobov lands a couple of good hooks and Myers offence just seems to be about throwing without trying to establish any kind of calculated assault. As the fourth and final round starts you know that this fight is in the bag. Korobov is too far ahead and, with the uneducated handbags being thrown by Myers, you know that he is not going to be stopped. Korobov lands a great three punch combo and spends the entire round throwing single shots, all of which land. Myers still believes like the way a kid thinks he could fly if he just believes enough (which is cute) and is looking for one big shot. He is just trying anything including drawing Korobov into a brawl, a ploy which is only going to work against his cause. He finishes the fight trying to bull Korobov around the ring. The result is never in doubt – 40-36 to Korobov.

Myers gains the distinction of the first person to finish standing against Korobov as a pro. You expected a lot more of Korobov in this fight who almost looked too relaxed in dominating from start to finish. Only being four rounds, and against a 7-4 opponent, this was a backward step for Korobov who seemed to be just getting the rounds in. The Russian’s future looks bright however he either needs to be stepping up in opposition or stretching out lesser opponents in exactly these types of fights. The consolation is that, with still half a year left, he could and will probably have another 4 or 5 fights before 2009 is out.

Welterweights: Miguel Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) vs. Joshua Clottey (35-3, 21 KOs), 12 rounds for Cotto’s WBO Welterweight title

Listening to the commentary before this fight would make you think that the result is a foregone conclusion. It’s all pro Cotto who is a regular fixture on the eve of the National Puerto Rican Day parade. Close to every one of the 18,000 at the MSG are chanting his name and you are almost shocked to see Clottey supporters and the Ghanaian flag. You just can’t stop Clottey however and I reason that this fight is going to be fairly close with Cotto still dominating. If Margarito (and the possibility of loaded gloves) can’t stop him then I doubt Cotto will do likewise. Clottey gives up his IBF welterweight title in order to facilitate this bout between two of the top fighters in the sports premier division.

Both come out trying to find their range and establish the jab. Cotto seems to be doing much of the coming forward and lands a nice counter right. Clottey lands a hard jab and Cotto comes back with a great combination to the body. Clotteys jab looks sharp and he manages to land a couple of counter rights. Clottey is off balance as Cotto lands a jab that puts the Ghanaian on the seat of his pants near the end of the round. Clottey is up and doesn’t look hurt. The second sees both fighters go to the body with Cotto landing a good combo and Clottey looking to rip. Cotto seems to be doing the majority of the work and pushing the pace of the fight. The round ends with both fighters looking to be aggressive. The next round sees Clottey’s defence tighten up, he looks strong when he is throwing but it is not doing so nearly enough. When he does finally come forward he does well but is picked off by the sharper Cotto. Cotto is cut above his eye by an accidental clash of heads.

At the beginnging of the fourth Cotto is bleeding profusely which must be affecting his vision. I reason that Clottey must be at least half vampire as seeing all this blood spurs him into action (no one finds me amusing). Both fighters wing punches and Cotto manages to land with some jabs and uppercuts. The cut above his eye just looks nasty and there is blood everywhere. Clottey catches Cotto and backs him into a corner but doesn’t follow up and Cotto unloads a good combination before the round is out. Clottey begins to turn it on over the middle rounds as he tags Cotto and paws at the cut over his eye. The drop in vision means that Clottey’s right hand is starting to find it’s range, especially if it is on the back of one of those hard jabs. During a clinch in the fifth, Clottey takes a tumble to the ground where he writhes in a pain that could only be experienced by an actress or a professional soccer player. The referee obviously isn’t into either drama or comedy and he gives Clottey a short breather then urges the bout back on. Clottey initially seems to be favouring his knee, however that seems to come right when he lands punches. Clottey is bringing more leather but never seems to be capitalizing. Cotto lands which backs Clottey up and the rest of the sixth round is Cotto teeing off on Clottey in the corner. Clottey’s workrate takes a dive and you just don’t understand the reasoning. There are not many fighters out there who can win by throwing less punches. A Cotto uppercut gets Clottey’s attention but he is making no effort to get out of the corner. Cotto looks sharp and strong during the sixth and is able to land punches that would down a lesser opponent.

Clottey snaps Cotto’s head back with an uppercut during the seventh and takes control by backing up Cotto with hard, straight shots. Cotto seems a little out of gas and you know the cut is bothering him as he uses his feet to escape the oncoming Clottey. This is by far Clottey’s best round thus far (after his worse round in the sixth). The fight swings back and forth during the eighth with both fighters having offensive periods. Clottey is getting the better of these exchanges and he bangs Cotto with two uppercuts. Cotto is starting to look a little weary, like the ghost of Margarito is putting the wind up him, and for brief periods he seems to doubt himself. He starts to move a lot more and is avoiding any heavy exchanges. At the end of the round Cotto backs him into a corner and unloads however Clottey shakes his head in defiance as nothing seems to have had an affect.

Clottey looks much stronger as the fight progresses and is now coming forward the majority of the time. The fight has indeed swung his way but Clottey needs to have more output if he wants to take control. Cotto starts to box cleverly during the tenth and never really lets Clottey set himself and snaps Clottey’s head back at the end of the round. The championship rounds see Cotto stick and move well, when Clottey is actually able to set himself and throw he is picked off. Cotto is really trying to win these final rounds and is landing fantastic straight shots both upstairs and down.

Going into this final round you had the feeling that both fighters needed it but only one really wanted it. Clottey, who had taken control from the seventh, is coming forward but without any real desire. It’s almost like he thinks he can sleepwalk his way to a decision. Clottey once again gains my ire when he turns his back to Cotto then complains when is hit in the back of the head. He is at it again after a Cotto shot lands slightly south of the border. You get the feeling that his theatrics are part of his frustration as Cotto’s middle round hiatus is well over and he effectively transitioned from puncher to boxer. The last ten seconds of the fight sees Clottey throw caution to the wind but it not enough.

Cotto gains a split decision win in his most gruelling test since the Margarito bout. Clottey is complaining about the decision but, although it was a close fight, he seemed both unable and unwilling to take definitive control when he had the chance. His flopping and excessive complaining have no place in the ring and probably only made it easier to score the fight for Cotto. For the record, I scored it 117-114 for Cotto and can appreciate the argument that it could have gone either way. To say that it was a clearly a Clottey win suggests foolishness, excessive drug use or both.

Although a loss, this bout was good for Clottey who proved himself on the big stage. It’s unfortunate that he is so tough as he is clearly avoided by the biggest names but he could probably campaign for bouts against Mosley and Paul Williams, both of whom will fight anyone (and hopefully each other soon). Cotto managed to shake off the demons of his sole loss and once again established himself as one of the top fighters in the division. A bout with Pacquiao, who was in attendance, looks to be more nigh than ever and is one of the top bouts the sport can make.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Scorecard: Pacquiao - Hatton

From the MGM Grand, Las Vegas.

The boxing fraternity, nay the world, had been buzzing for weeks about the prospect of a Hatton-Pacquiao stoush. After massive problems in negotiating the fight, the date was set and I spent everyday since hoping that nothing could derail it. The day finally came and I was prepared to simply be entertained.

Junior Middleweight: Erislandy Lara (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. Chris Gray (11-7, 1 KOs), 4 rounds

Cuban prospect Lara comes to the ring and looks ripped up and tight whilst Gray looks the journeyman and every bit his 11-7 record. Lara is aggressive from the bell, establishing the jab and moving well. He drives Grey to the ropes with straights to the body and seems intent on exploiting the soft body of Gray. Grey is staggered by a left in the second and reverts to survival mode without any real intent on establishing an attack. Lara seems to be landing straight shots at will whilst Grey paws. Grey comes to fight in the third going to the body and head, although not many of his shots are penetrating Lara’s guard. The fourth is much like the third, the gulf in class is apparent as Lara works the one-two and looks for the uppercut. Gray ends the round, and the fight, winging wild shots to no effect.

You have a feeling that this would have been more of a contest if Gray had came in shape – but the reality of it is that he didn’t. All three judges gave Lara the nod and every round – 40-36. I also gave it by this margin. Lara is ready for the next step.

Super Middleweights: Matt Korobov (4-0, 4 KOs) vs. Anthony Bartinelli (20-12, 13 KOs), 8 rounds

The last time we saw Korobov he looked impressive in toying with, then dispatching, Cory Jones in four rounds on the Pavlik-Rubio undercard. He is aggressive and strong – a real crowd pleaser. Replacement Bartinelli comes to fight and, although he has twelve losses, only has 3 losses by stoppage. He will be tested by Korobov.

Korobov starts the fight with a big right that gets Bartinelli’s attention and spends the rest of the round jabbing and going to the body. Korobov looks relaxed and shows a remarkable amount of poise considering this is only his fourth pro bout. He connects with a big left then, later, a big right and Bartinelli responds. Bartinelli doesn’t look like he will be with us for long. He starts the second aggressively and Korobov matches it. Korobov dishes out a four-punch combo that has Bartinelli on the deck and he makes it up by 8. He revisits said deck after a powerful flurry but is up again. Korobov completely disregards Bartinelli’s power and is serving up fast, powerful combos. Bartinelli is trapped in the corner and taking shots as the referee takes mercy.

You gotta love Korobov, for he is a great finisher. After only five pro fights, where he is stepping up the opposition every time, he looks like a fighter who is going to catapulted into the world rankings. Fights well, finishes spectacularly, exciting to watch. ‘Nuff said.

Middleweight: Daniel Jacobs (15-0, 14 KOs) vs. Michael Walker (19-1-2, 12 KOs), 8 rounds

Undefeated prospect Jacobs took on the once defeated Walker over 8 rounds at 160. Jacobs starts the fight throwing good combinations that are picked off well by Walker. Jacobs continues to throw leather but unfortunately not much lands. The second sees Walker throw more but he looks sloppy compared to the crisp punching of Jacobs. Jacobs combos are effective and end on Walker’s body. Walker begins to come forward a lot more as the round progresses. This continues in the third and Jacobs spins him into a corner and starts going to work but his punches are coming one at a time. Jacobs is using his height and movement well until Walker clinches and throws him to the ground. He is warned by the referee and threatened by disqualification. Walker is particularly more aggressive now however he can not take the round from Jacobs. The fourth sees Walker trap Jacobs on the ropes but his offense is almost completely picked off. Jacobs strikes low in the fifth and Walker has reverted to winging wild shots. The next couple of rounds are sloppy and you wish that Jacobs had more power to end it but he just can’t dent Walker’s jaw. The eighth and final shows Walker coming fired whilst Jacobs looks uninspired and closes the fight avoiding the action.

Jacobs comes away with a unanimous decision (80-72 twice and 79-73) in a tough match which tested both Jacobs skill and will. Jacobs would need a far stronger performance against a guy the same level as Walker in order to be considered anywhere near the top of the middleweight division. Walker’s 0 will fall sooner rather than later.

Super Featherweight: Humberto Soto (47-7-2, 30 KOs) vs. Benoit Gaudet (20-1, 7 KOs), 12 rounds

Soto, the WBC Super Feather titlist, took on light punching Canadian contender Gaudet over 12 rounds. Soto comes to swing and has had an impressive run of stoppages over the past four years. Gaudet, by comparison, hadn’t faced anyone really of note and this was to be only his second fight outside of Canada.

Soto starts hard dropping Gaudet with a three-punch combo that ended with a lead hook in the opening stanza. He continues to look strong and seems intent on hurting Gaudet who is doing a lot of moving. Gaudet continues to run well into the second when he finally starts throwing. Soto is aggressive as hell and their exchanges intensify until into the third. Soto seems so much stronger than Gaudet and stalks him around the ring. Gaudet is moving and mounting useful attacks to the body until he is staggered by an overhand right. He continues to go to the body whilst Soto is looking to lay a hurting down. During the seventh a low Gaudet blow drops Soto, who is given a minute to recover whilst Gaudet is warned. Soto is immediately back on the offensive and, although Gaudet is slowing down, he has been most durable considering what has been thrown at him. His chin can only hold so long as he is dropped by an upper cut in the ninth during an exchange. Gaudet is back on his feet but is dropped again by a straight shot and the referee has seen enough.

Junior Welterweight: Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 KOs) vs. Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32 KOs)

Does this fight really need any kind of intro? After collecting the heads of JM Marquez, David Diaz and Oscar De La Hoya in his last three bouts Pacquiao has staked a claim to being the best pound for pound fighter in the world today. With a win today he will tie the record (held of De La Hoya) of winning titles in six divisions and set the record with his fourth lineal title. Hatton, the champion, had recently stopped Paul Malignaggi. Both fighters bring a lot of power to the ring but the question was whether Pacquiao’s speed would be too much for Hatton’s intensity.

Round one couldn’t come soon enough and both fighters are looking to let their hands go. Pacquiao gets in a couple of good lead hooks and Hatton is looking to push the much smaller man around the ring. Both men let a hook go but Pacquiao’s gets home first and Hatton is down. He makes it back to his feet but is forced back into the ropes by the crisp, straight punching of Pacquiao who looks sharp as hell. Hatton tries to hold but Pacquiao breaks free and pops a pair of two-punch combos that have Hatton on his back again. Hatton is lucky to survive the round. He looks a lot better at the start of the second however Pacquiao is coming on strong and winning all the exchanges. Hatton is backed up by a straight left when suddenly Pacquiao lets a left hook go that turns out the lights. And I mean really out. The referee takes a momentary look at Hatton stretched out and unresponsive on the floor and decides not to kid anyone with the count.

Well, what can I say? From a fight that promised fireworks it delivered, however nobody expected it to be this one sided. Pacquiao was mercurial in easily dispatching the best fighter at 140 and the sky looks to be the limit. Already recognized as the pound for pound king, Pacquiao must now be recognized as the best fighter in the world - bar none. The final note I made on this fight reads simply, “Pacquiao is awesome”.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Opinion: The Prospect of Tua-Cameron

With heavyweight contender Shane Cameron’s 11th round stoppage over the ordinary Robert Davis still fresh in our memory (as opposed to David Tua’s last fight which seems to have happened somewhere before Christ). The much hyped and anticipated showdown with former heavyweight contender David Tua is now a reality. First, let’s get this straight, although their (slated for) June contest should be a good bout by two fighters who are bound to go at it, it is no where NEAR the international boxing community’s radar. New Zealand fight fans? Sure….but it’s effect on a division desperately searching for it’s savior? Barely a ripple…

The New Zealand public is just fiercely divided over the outcome. Being a man of logic and reason I threw together the following analysis.

SHANE CAMERON: (23-1, 20 KOs)

Cameron is not an overly big heavyweight and usually comes in around 230. This is always a good 230 and we are yet to see him out of shape or fat. He has 20 stops in 23 wins in which he has just worn down his opponents before turning out their lights. When he hurts an opponent he knows to turn it on, once your tagged it’s pretty much a guarantee that he is gonna get you out of there. Bob Mirovic (Cameron’s biggest win to date) was punished then straight stretched out by a left hook. Even if it is late in the bout he knows how to rally for the stop. His body attack of late has been most impressive as he is just punishing the mid, as shown in his last bout against Robert Davis.

As terrible as this sounds…well….Cameron is a white heavyweight. I know, I know. Fighters from the former Soviet Bloc (also white) have stamped their mark on the division of late and are currently holding all the belts. Cameron is a prototypical white heavyweight, little lateral movement, bleeds when exposed to open air and has a suspect chin (as shown by Ahunanya ) which can be magnified by his average defense. When Cameron bleeds it’s like someone burst a dam and there is no way he is going to be able to stand right in front of Tua. Although his stoppage of Mirovic was impressive, he does not possess one punch knockout power and relies on wearing people down with a bombardment of hooks both upstairs and down. His strategy just seems to be about getting people out of there and, when faced with stern opposition, he can look lost.

DAVID TUA (49-3, 42 KOs)

Tua’s left hand must as or, if not, close to as destructive as Mike Tyson’s in his prime. If he lands it, it means someone is getting stretched out. He possesses late power and has a string of late round knockouts of some credible heavyweights (Maskaev, Rahman, Oquendo..). He has also fought much better opposition than Cameron and, more often than not, proved himself in these contests. Tua’s chin has been the best in the heavyweight division for a long time and he has never been seriously wobbled or down (the after the bell knockdown by Rahman doesn’t count) which is also tribute to his not-often-discussed head movement and defense.

For all of Tua’s power, he is rather one-dimensional and even fighters with moderate boxing skills, who are smart enough to stay away from the hook, can frustrate him as Chris Byrd showed us. Tua can also come in seriously out of shape and this has shown in his punch output. In fact, Tua’s punch output has been on the decline in general. This puts him in a very precarious position of being a world class puncher who doesn’t want to punch. When Tua fights Cameron he will be close to 37 years of age which can be old for a fighter and ancient for a slugger, take your Holyfield/Foreman/Hopkins arguments elsewhere, these people are freaks. Tua has also been relatively inactive, not having a fight since blowing out poor Cerrone Fox in September of ’07. Although he did have three fights that year, he has since done nothing.


You’re not going to be able to stand toe-to-toe with Tua. There is a book on how to beat him; stay on the end of the jab, move around so he can’t set his feet, stay away from the left and tie him up on the inside. Simple. Unfortunately Shane Cameron has never shown us that he is remotely capable of doing this and just bores straight in - this will be his downfall. You hope that this fight is going to be two-sided slugfest but the harsh reality is that it is entirely possible, if Tua lets his hands go, that Cameron won’t even get the chance to bleed. Like all of New Zealand, I want to believe in Cameron – I really do, however, unlike the rest of New Zealand, I deal in reality.

Tua KO.