Weekend Review: Agbeko’s big night
Joseph Agbeko: The Ghanaian’s title defense against Vic Darchinyan on Saturday in Sunrise, Fla., was only his second foray against an elite opponent, so he had a great deal to prove. And he proved a lot. THE RING’s No. 6 rated bantamweight gave a crude, but very effective performance. He was simply too strong and too good – particularly in his ability to avoid punches – for one of the most-feared little men in boxing. He’s one tough customer. Now, if he’d work on polishing his skills, he could become a dominating force and more of a hero than he already is in Ghana.
Vic Darchinyan: The brash Armenian had grand designs on becoming a world titleholder in numerous weight classes. Agbeko brought him back down to earth, which undoubtedly pleased those who find Darchinyan’s motor mouth annoying. He said afterward that he used the wrong strategy. In fact, he just got his you know what kicked by a bigger, tougher guy. His battered face was proof of that. Let’s not get carried away here, though. Darchinyan remains a very good fighter, even if he didn’t show it on Saturday. He probably will remain a force below bantamweight.
Agbeko-Darchinyan, Round 7: First, referee Tommy Kimmons made what appeared to be a mistake when he ruled that Drachinyan knocked down Agbeko. Replays seemed to show that Agbeko went down as the result of a push. And, second, the timekeeper mistakenly allowed the round to go four minutes, one minute longer than it was supposed to. Kimmons’ mistake is understandable; he has to make a tough call in real time. And, luckily, the point deduction played no role in the scoring. The timekeeper’s mistake is less defensible. How difficult can it be to monitor a stop watch? I presume that the Florida officials will look into it and take appropriate action.
Arturo Gatti: First Alexis Arguello, then Arturo Gatti. The boxing world is reeling. Arguello will be remembered for his sublime skill, punching power and the graceful way in which he carried himself outside the ring. He was a legend even before his passing. Gatti will be remembered not so much for his innate ability but the utter mayhem he brought to the ring. His series against Micky Ward and so many other epic battles will never be forgotten. “Thunder” never cheated the fans, a fact for which they will be forever grateful. He will be greatly missed.
Showtime’s super middleweight tournament: The six-man, 12-fight competition, set to be formally announced at a news conference Monday in New York, won’t solve all the ills of the sport. However, it certainly is a refreshing idea. The boxing world is buzzing over the idea of the elite 168-pounders – Arthur Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Jermain Taylor, Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell – engaging one another in the round-robin-style tournament over the next two years. Let’s hope it goes as planned. It should be a lot of fun.
Adamek KOs Gunn: The Adamek-Gunn fight, shown only on MainEvents.com in the U.S., was worth watching because any fight involving THE RING cruiserweight champion is worth watching. However, there was never much doubt about what would happen. Gunn is a tough guy who comes to fight but not even close to Adamek’s class. Fortunately, Adamek’s next fight should be much more interesting. Steve Cunningham also won on Saturday night, outpointing Wayne Braithwaite on the Agbeko-Darchinyan undercard. That sets up a rematch between Adamek and Cunningham, who engaged in a fight-of-the-year candidate in December.
BEST HEAVYWEIGHT NEWS
Vitali Klitschko-David Haye: The news that the elder Klitschko brother will face the former cruiserweight champion from England on Sept. 12 in Germany is exciting. Haye probably won’t have any more luck against Vitali than he would have had his fight against Wladimir not been cancelled after he injured his back. However, Haye brings charisma and an entertaining fighting style to the table. That, combined with Vitali’s name-recognition and reputation, makes this one of the best-possible matchups in the division. Let’s just hope they both remain healthy enough to actually meet that night.
Mosley vs. Berto: The handlers of Shane Mosley and Andre Berto are in negotiations for a welterweight unification matchup before the end of the year. The matchup isn’t as exciting as Mosley-Pacquiao or Mosley-Mayweather but the fight would be fun to watch. Mosley would force Berto to exchange him, meaning the fight could resemble the thrilling give-and-take Berto-Luis Collazo fight that took place in January. Of course, Mosley is better than Collazo, whom he easily outpointed in 2007. So this fight would show us once and for all what Berto is made of.
Micky Ward: After hearing the news of Arturo Gatti’s death: “It is unreal. I can’t put it into words how I feel and how it happened. We’re hearing he may have been murdered. That’s extremely hard to deal with, because the man I knew was a great man and a great friend. He should be remembered as one of the toughest and greatest fighters who ever fought. But he was a lot more than just boxing. Arturo was a real man, a great man. He was more than just a fighter. We lost a great person.”
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]