Just a few quick notes before I jet out of here in a few hours for the luscious beaches of St. Thomas (Can I get an Amen?).
I had tonight circled on my calendar weeks ago. Just in case none of you knew, I am a rabid boxing fan. In fact, I plan to lobby Fan Nation for a separate page for boxing blogs. Anyway, tonight's lineup was worldwide, featuring Roy Jones, Jr., Vassily Jirov, "Irish" John Duddy, Derrick Gainer, Tony Thompson and Luan Krasniqi. And oh, I forgot to mention the great HBO welterweight tripleheader featuring Kermit Cintron vs. Walter Matthysse, Arturo Gatti vs. Alfonso Gomez and Antonio Margarito vs. Paul Williams.
Cintron's second-round destruction of Matthysse will probably find its way onto boxing's next "Greatest Knockouts" DVD. That last left-right combo was brutal, absolutely brutal. I was sorry to see Gatti end his career on such a sour note. It may be awhile before we see another like him. But the gem of the night was Paul Williams masterful decision over Antonio Margarito for the WBO welterweight title. Looking at the fight, it kind of made me wish these fights went 15 rounds like the old days because Margarito was starting to really find the range. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rematch in the near future.
Looking at the names in the welterweight division before and after tonight's fireworks leads me to believe that that division is the strongest in all of boxing right now. At the very top is Floyd Mayweather at 38-0, Miguel Cotto at 30-0, Shane Mosley at 44-4, Williams at 33-0, Cintron at 28-1 and Margarito at 34-5. That's a pretty impressive group by itself, but when you add names like Carlos Baldomir, Zab Judah and comebacker Vernon Forrest to the mix, it gets even stronger. But what really sends it over the top is the apparent rumor that Oscar De La Hoya is moving back down to 147 to close out his career, and there is talk of Ricky Hatton moving back up as well. I think we all know what this means.
Many of these fighters have already fought one another. Even in his loss to Williams, Margarito is still in line for another big fight, which he had lined up with Cotto if he had won. Cintron claims to want Mosley. Baldomir and Forrest are fighting in two weeks. Here is how I think this whole bracket should play out.
1. Let Margarito-Cotto go ahead. 2. Cintron gets first crack at Williams. They're both tall and very athletic punchers 3. Mayweather and the sparring partner, uh, I mean Mosley. 4. De Lay Hoya celebrates his return to the division against Judah. 5. Hatton stays at 140 long enough to dispose of Paulie Malignaggi, then moves up to fight Mayweather, provided he gets past Mosley.
Finally, kudos to Jermain Taylor for deciding he has the guts (or is it nuts? Or both?) to fight Kelly Pavlik this September. In the words of the great Tom Green, it's gonna be a bloodbath.
Not bad for a first round. As I'm writing this, Roy Jones has beaten Anthony Hanshaw for the vacant IBC light-heavyweight title. He is also the leading contender for the WBA version and should be getting a shot at Stipe Drews sometime next year. There is also a funny rumor that he will fight Felix Trinidad, who is attempting his own comeback. I just don't see it. Felix fought at 154, and the fight would have to be at 168, tops. Unless Tito goes Kobayashi at the buffet, all that's good for is a hysterical roll on the floor.
By the way, any help in lobbying Fan Nation for that boxing page would be greatly appreciated. But for now, the beach awaits.