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Weekend Review: Super Six lives on

27
Sep

Andre Dirrell and Andre Ward were all smiles after Ward beat Allan Green on June 19 but they will be straight faced on Nov. 27, when they meet in the Group Stage 3 of the Super Six World Boxing Classic. Photo / Rachel Charles

MOST RESILIENT

Super Six: Showtime’s six-man super middleweight tournament lives on. The network announced on Friday that its Group Stage 3 would take place after all, with the Andre Ward-Andre Dirrell and Arthur Abraham-Carl Froch fights rescheduled for Nov. 27 at separate sites. Allan Green also remains in the tournament, although he still needs an opponent after Mikkel Kessler pulled out and a fight date. Some speculated that Showtime would eliminate Green and go directly to the semifinals but apparently that was precluded by contract obligations. The departure of Jermain Taylor and Kessler, among other problems, have been painful to follow but we’ll forget about that once the fighters step into the ring in November. These fights, as well as then semifinals and final, should be gripping.

BEST UNDERCARD

Pacquiao-Margarito: The undercard of the Manny Pacquaio-Antonio Margarito fight on Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium is shaping up to be deep and compelling. Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik returns to the ring for the first time since his one-sided loss to Sergio Martinez in April, although Pavlik’s opponent — Bryan Vera — probably isn’t much of a threat. Former Cuban amateur star Guillermo Rigondeaux faces capable Ricardo Cordoba. And rising welterweight Mike Jones takes on veteran Jesus Soto Karass. Prospects Robert Morroquin and Jose Benavidez also are on the card. Promoters obviously are making an effort to stack undercards to bring more value to pay-per-view customers. We won’t complain.

MOST EXCITING

5TH Street Gym reopens: No one knows how many once-bustling gyms across the country have closed down over the past several decades. Suffice to say the number is high, which is heartbreaking. That’s why news that Angelo Dundee’s 5th Street Gym in Miami Beach is reopening after it was closed 17 years ago is so exciting. This was where fighters like Luis Rodriguez, Willie Pastrano and Cassius Clay — later Muhammad Ali — practiced their trade in the 1950s and ’60s while many other greats used the facility when they had fights in South Florida. Now Dundee and partners have brought a bit of boxing lore back to life. The legendary trainer hopes it will reclaim its prominent position in the sport as it serves a new generation of fighters. We hope he succeeds.

MOST OVER-ANALYZED

Mosley-Mora: The majority of observers couldn’t believe anyone would question that Shane Mosley beat a retreating Sergio Mora on Sept. 18 even though the fight was scored a draw. After all, Mosley was the aggressor throughout and (at least according to CompuBox statistics) landed more punches. Those in the minority pointed out that Mosley missed most of his punches and Mora landed enough clean shots to make it close. I had it 114-114 but leaned toward Mosley if I had to pick a winner. The bottom line for me was this, though: The fight was so lousy that I couldn’t summon the passion to get involved in the debate. Even Mosley seemed more disappointed that he couldn’t finish the job than he was in the decision. “I wanted a knockout against someone like Sergio Mora. I think I won the fight but ÔǪ that’s what happens when you don’t knock people out.”

BIGGEST WINNER

Daiki Kameda: The colorful 21-year-old flyweight from Japan recorded another significant victory in his first title defense on Saturday, easily outpointing former belt holder Takefumi Sakata. THE RING’s No. 3-rated 112-pounder has accomplished quite a bit in a short time. He fought for a world title at 18 and after only 10 professional fights, losing a decision to Daisuke Naito (who later lost his title to Koki Kameda, Daiki’s brother). He narrowly lost a majority decision to veteran Denkaosan Kaovichit in his second try for a title last year. And he finally won a belt when he outpointed Kaovichit in a dull rematch in February. He and Koki, who lost his title but will have more chances, could rival the best brother tandems ever when they’re finished.

BIGGEST WINNER II

Krzysztof Wlodarczyk: Wlodarczyk is no Tomasz Adamek, the most-accomplished Polish fighter of all time. The Warsaw native is carving out a nice niche in the sport, though. THE RING’s No. 3-rated cruiserweight is both a consistent winner and entertaining, which is the formula for success. He is now a two-time titleholder, having taken Giacobbe Fragomeni’s belt in May and successfully defending it by easily outpointing Jason Robinson on Saturday. He has had some big fights, including a victory and loss against the same Steve Cunningham who gave Adamek hell. However, at 29, his biggest fights probably are ahead of him. It will be interesting to see what happens when he faces significant challenges outside of Poland.

BIGGEST WINNER III

Kassim Ouma: We shouldn’t make too much of Ouma’s sixth-round TKO of Joey Gilbert on Saturday in Reno, Nev., because Gilbert is a fringe contender at best. That said, the Florida-based Ugandan was able to stop a capable and naturally bigger opponent in his hometown after losing five of his previous six fights. It certainly was a step in the right direction. Ouma, whose struggles in life have been well documented, actually has done better than his record might indicate. All but his loss to Jermain Taylor during the recent stretch were close, competitive fights. That includes a decision loss to Vanes Martirosyan in January that many believe Ouma won. Thus, he might have more left in him than we realize. We all would love to see him find more success.

BIGGEST WINNER IV

John Murray: The unbeaten heir apparent to Ricky Hatton in Manchester, England, added another title to his collection when he stopped Andriy Kudryavtsev in nine rounds to win the European lightweight belt on Saturday in the UK. Manchester fans have reason to be excited about their hometown boy, who is a good, aggressive fighter and in his physical prime at 25. And it shouldn't be long before we see THE RING's No. 6-rated lightweight tested against one of the many big-name 135-pounders, possibly on this side of the Atlantic. Then we'll know exactly how good Murray really is.

MOST PERSISTENT

Emanuel Augustus: Augustus is the type of fighter who gives every ounce of his soul every time he steps into the ring. He made a name for himself not by winning consistently — he’s 38-33-6 (20 knockouts) — but by giving even his best opponents all they can handle. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has always said that Augustus was his toughest opponent. And apparently he still has something left at 35. He gave former amateur star Charles Hatley a tough time, even putting Hatley down, before going down twice himself and losing an eight-round decision Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas. Augustus is 35 and has lost four consecutive fights, which might indicate that the end is near. On second thought, Augustus is a born fighter. And born fighters don’t give up easily.

BEST QUOTE

Showtime’s Ken Hershman, on Super Six: “We have asked these fighters to challenge themselves against the best fighters in the world, not in one megafight, but in a consecutive series of career-defining fights. Injuries and delays are inevitable. ÔǪ We are still on pace to complete the tournament in 2011, at which time we will have delivered to boxing fans around the world a number of the most compelling and meaningful matches in the sport. So, the drama continues with all the fighters still alive heading to Group Stage 3. I couldn’t have scripted this any better.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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