Weekend Review: Alexander’s big night
Devon Alexander: Alexander demonstrated two things during his knockout victory over Juan Urango on Saturday in Uncasville, Conn.: that he’s an excellent boxer and he’s willing to take risks to hurt his opponent, which is an exciting combination. And hurt Urango he did, with a devastating uppercut and a follow-up flurry that ended the rugged Colombian’s night in the eighth round. Thus, Alexander did what no one else has been able to do — stop Urango. Ricky Hatton couldn’t do it at 140 pounds and Andre Berto couldn’t do it even though Urango moved up to 147. The top pound-for-pound fighters beware: Here comes Alexander.
Juan Urango: This is another case in which it’s difficult to call the loser a loser. The hulk-like Colombian remains one of the most-dangerous fighters in the world. He might’ve beaten Alexander had a few more of those crazy right hooks landed. However, it was demonstrated again that he’ll never be a candidate for the pound-for-pound list. He has now lost one-sided decisions to Hatton and Berto, both of whom exposed his limited boxing ability, and the KO loss to Alexander was a bigger step backward. Urango, 29, will remain a title contender and might win another alphabet belt against the right opponent but nothing more.
Alexander-Urango scoring: I found it hard to believe that one judge had Urango ahead 67-66 and another had Alexander leading by a point when the fight ended. I had Alexander winning five of the seven complete rounds (68-65, the score of the third judge). I saw a fighter in Alexander who was in complete control of a fight with his jab, power punches and movement. Yes, Urango landed some solid punches and seemed to be gaining some momentum but he wasn’t able to establish a consistent attack. People in the business I respect also believed it was a close fight through seven rounds, which means the scoring wasn’t outrageous, but I don’t believe it reflected what happened in the ring. Urango leading? No way.
LEAST AND MOST PREDICTABLE
Darchinyan vs. Guerrero: The result of the Vic Darchinyan-Rodrigo Guerrero fight on Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., was a foregone conclusion. We knew the four-time titleholder was going to win. We didn’t know that the journeyman from Mexico would prove to be so incredibly tough. Guerrero took everything the hard-punching Australian had to offer and kept coming, which made for a very entertaining fight. Darchinyan should be congratulated for a solid victory and Guerrero should be applauded for putting up such spirited resistance.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Martin Honorio: The lanky Mexican proved that his one-sided decision of then-unbeaten John Molina in November was no fluke. Honorio, in scary condition, threw about 900 punches to overwhelm a determined, if limited opponent in Wilton Hilario on Friday night in Temecula, Calif. Hilario also had never lost. Honorio reminds me of one-time titleholder Rafael Ruelas, another tall, lean fighter who outworked most of his opponents. The comparison is meant as a compliment. I look forward to seeing Honorio fight a Top 10 junior lightweight, which could happen soon.
7,000 a day: That’s the number of calories Manny Pacquiao consumes during training, according to strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza. By comparison, heavyweight Chris Arreola, who generally is trying to lose weight, consumes about 3,500 per day. Ariza said Pacquiao consumes the large number of calories to keep his weight near the 147-pound limit, at which he’ll fight Joshua Clottey on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. Pacquiao burns about 2,000 calories per workout, Ariza said. “He couldn’t sustain 7,000 calories for long,” Ariza said. “It would put too much strain on the liver and kidneys, a high-protein diet like that. He has to take liver-support supplements to make sure we’re flushing it out.” Ariza said Pacquiao walks around at 145 when he’s not training and could easily fight at 135.
Freddie Roach: The respected trainer is a refreshing exception in a sport overflowing with malarkey. Roach was asked whether his fighter, Manny Pacquiao, would’ve beaten Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard and gave an honest answer: no. He said Leonard’s ability to counterpunch and his height advantage would’ve been too much for Pacquiao to overcome. On the other hand, Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, said the Filipino star would’ve beaten Leonard. Arum, known to stretch the truth at times, might truly believe that. However, I have a feeling that if the roles were reversed — if Pacquiao were retired and Leonard were active — Arum would have picked Leonard. My pick? Leonard. He didn’t have a weakness.
Mills Lane: The former longtime referee will receive the James J. Farley Award — for honesty and integrity in boxing — by the Boxing Writers Association of America at its awards dinner in June. It is richly deserved. No other referee in the 20-plus years I’ve covered boxing garnered more respect than Lane. And it went beyond honesty and integrity, which was unquestioned. That assessment also includes competence. When he worked a fight, you knew it was in good hands. His most-memorable moment might’ve been the second Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson fight, in which he disqualified the most-popular fighter in the world for biting his opponent’s ear, but he was the third man in the ring for countless more epic fights. He is missed.
Calzaghe’s return? The former super middleweight and light heavyweight titleholder, now retired, was at the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley news conference on Thursday in Los Angeles. “You gonna fight on the undercard?” he was asked. “No, I’m going to fight the winner,” he said with a smile, obviously joking. “So, tell me, is there a chance you’d really come back?” he was asked. “Welllllllll, you never know,” he said. He wasn’t smiling. Calzaghe, who appeared to be in fighting shape, was at the event as the guest of Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and in L.A. because his girlfriend lives there.
Freddie Roach: Roach was asked to name the dumbest question he’s asked about Pacquiao. His answer: “Is he in shape?” C’mon.