Weekend Review: Three great KOs and a boring Mosley-Mora fight
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez: OK, let’s not get carried away. Alvarez beat an old, slow guy in Carlos Baldomir on Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 20-year-old red head from Mexico must step up his opposition before we can say he has arrived. That said, he sure looked good. He methodically broke down a tough, more-experienced opponent and then scored a thrilling knockout in the sixth round, bringing an adoring crowd at Staples Center to its feet. The fans love him. They chanted his name during the Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora fight. They went wild when he re-entered the arena during the main event, which isn’t common. The young man has all the ingredients to become the next Mexican star. All he has to do is continue to win.
Shane Mosley and Sergio Mora: Mosley had hoped to prove that he remains one of the best fighters in the world after his one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May. Mora had hoped to demonstrate that he is an elite fighter who deserves to be in the big-fight mix. Neither left the arena remotely satisfied after a draw. Mosley looked all of his 39 years as he chased his reluctant opponent from beginning to end but couldn’t catch him, although Mora would be difficult for anyone to corner. Meanwhile, a fighter as cautious as Mora can’t complain about the decision afterward. He needed to do more to win. Neither fighter is finished. A rematch with Miguel Cotto still makes sense for Mosley. And Mora at least demonstrated again that he can box well on a big stage.
Mosley-Mora: Golden Boy gave the fans at Staples Center three exciting featured fights ÔÇª and one horrible one. Mosley at his peak would’ve had trouble with a tall, slick boxer like Mora. At 39, this was an all-but-impossible assignment. Mosley thus struggled to earn a draw and looked mediocre at best, which is the last thing he needed after his embarrassing loss to Mayweather. Mosley needs an opponent to come to him at this stage of his career, as Antonio Margarito did last year. We saw what he can do with that type of opponent. And there are other decent fighters out there with style’s akin to Margarito’s. Golden Boy should’ve found him one.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Victor Ortiz: Ortiz’s victory is similar to Alvarez’s in that Vivian Harris, like Baldomir, doesn’t have much left. Thus, we shouldn’t draw any concrete conclusions from Ortiz’s third-round knockout. Once again, though, what we saw was spectacular. The junior welterweight contender put Harris down four times with a fearsome display of speed, power and accuracy. I’ve said all along that Amir Khan is the most-talented 140-pounder in the world — yes, even better than Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander — and I’ll stick with that. However, Ortiz has all the tools Khan has but has a better chin. We’ll see how this plays out.
BIGGEST WINNER III
Daniel Ponce de Leon: Ponce de Leon recorded the most-meaningful victory of the night because Antonio Escalante was a legitimate opponent. The former junior featherweight titleholder physically overwhelmed the more-athletic Escalante, landing hard, accurate punches from the opening bell. The end was dramatic, Ponce de Leon landing a short right hook that relieved Escalante of his senses in the third round. Ponce de Leon’s more-patient style suits him at this point of his career and he has retained his crushing power at 126 pounds. I believe he’s never been better and could give anyone in the deep featherweight division trouble, possibly even Lopez if they ever meet again.
Staples Center fans: First, Daniel Ponce de Leon scores a breath-taking knockout of Antonio Escalante with a devastating right hook. Then Victor Ortiz puts Vivian Harris down four times, the last time for good. And, finally, Saul Alvarez provides the thrill of the night by stopping Carlos Baldomir. The Mosley-Mora fight was a dog but, hey, three out of four ain’t bad. Staples Center was filled with energy because the winners gave the fans exactly what they crave — knockouts. No one cared that two of three featured undercard fights, Ortiz-Harris and Alvarez-Baldomir, were not competitive matchups. And no one left the arena dissatisfied.
Bantamweight tournament: The four-man, single-elimination tournament, which Showtime officially announced last week, is a can’t-miss winner. The single-elimination format is the way to go based on the problems that have plagued the round-robin Super Six tournament. Abner Mares will fight Vic Darchinyan and Yonnhy Perez will face Joseph Agbeko on the same card on Dec. 11, in Leon, Mexico, and the winners will meet early next year. Simple. The tournament would be much stronger if Fernando Montiel, THE RING’s No. 1-rated bantamweight, and Nonito Donaire were involved. I think an eight-man, single-elimination tournament would be the best option if the logistics could be worked out. But, hey, I’ll take this four-man competition any day.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s problems: Mayweather was hit with more felony charges last week in connection with the domestic violence case involving his ex-girlfriend. He now faces up to 34 years in prison if convicted of all charges. Of course, no one knows how this will play out. He could walk, as he did with earlier legal problems. But we have to wonder whether he could actually spend time behind bars this time and, if he does, how much time. We also wonder what impact it might have on his boxing career. Mayweather is 33. He probably doesn’t have many good years left. Fighters who rely on their speed and athleticism, as Mayweather does, begin to decline once they lose a step. Is it possible that we’ve seen the last of him in the ring?
Ricky Hatton, during a video interview on the News of the World Web site: “I am currently in the Priory [clinic] dealing with depression due to the fact I have not been able to cope with my retirement from boxing. I have been binge drinking heavily and dabbling in other daft and silly things. But it will be the toughest fight of my life and I am here to win it.”