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.