PHOENIX, Arizona – With what seemed to be somewhat of a lethargic start in boxing during the first quarter of 2014 has totally turned up the heat going into the second.
In the beginning of this year [January], Jean Pascal beat Lucien Bute at Bell Centre Montreal, Quebec, Canada in a one-sided victory that did not seem to please the majority of the Canadian crowd in attendance. Even though Pascal won by a large margin, fight fans there thought both fighters looked less than stellar. The bout did not bring the kind of excitement they had hoped for, especially after being considered the Canadians 'Super Bowl' of fights.
Shortly thereafter, Victor Ortiz took on Luis Collazo at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Collazo shocked the hometown crowd with a second round knockout over Ortiz. That fight was fought on a Thursday night instead of a Saturday, which did not receive the coverage Ortiz's fights normally gets. It was also covered by Fox Sports 1 instead of HBO or Showtime as usual.
The first quarter ended with the March 8th matchup between Canelo Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. This fight was put on by Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions on PPV. It was another one-sided bout won by Alvarez, which most felt had no business being put on PPV. It wasn't worth the money, but if you’re Richard Schaefer-CEO of Golden Boy [if the fans will pay] why not. That's always the 'thought process' of a successful promoter.
None of these first quarter bouts created real buzz in the sport of boxing. The hype surrounding these fights was more bark than bite. The media had to search hard for genuine stories to talk and write about regarding the sport.
There's one thing about boxing that will never change, and that is—it's always one great fight away from being center stage in the media.
The second quarter of this year in boxing is starting to heat up, like the temperatures here in Phoenix. With only three weeks into April, fight fans have had the pleasure of watching some great bouts. The heat has definitely been turned up and the sparks are starting to fly. These fighters are swinging with extremely bad intentions.
On Saturday April 12th at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao met up with Timothy Bradley for a rematch that lived up to the hype. Bradley came into that fight like a 'furious madman' with vengeance oozing out of his skin. The first half of that fight seemed to have been controlled mostly by Bradley.
Second half of the fight Pacquiao made him pay. It was a high pressure energy-fueled fight that made up for the first fight. Even though Pacquaio won by decision and most felt that he redeemed himself from the first fight that he clearly won, but was robbed by judges had a newly profound respect for Timothy Bradley. Bradley dished out almost as much punishment as he took. It was an action-packed fun-filled fight. Looking ahead, the future should be bright for both of these fighters.
This past weekend, April 19th from the State Capitol in Washington, D.C., Bernard Hopkins made history again. He beat 30-year-old, Beibut Shumenov, a fighter who was nearly 20-years younger. Hopkins who is 49 years-old became the oldest boxer to unify major titles. He retained his light-heavyweight IBF title and added Shumenov's IBA and WBA title belts to his collection.
With the combination of limitless experience, excellent footwork and superb talent, Hopkins made a previous good fighter look atrocious. It was education at its best from the ageless wonder. Then, there was the victory of Peter Quillin over Czech Republican challenger Lucas Konecny. Quillin settled for an easy 12-round decision. Even though Konecny fought hard, Quillin was just too much.
Also, there was the brutal knockout of Paulie Malignaggi by Shawn Porter. It came in the fourth round after Porter had hit Malignaggi with many power punches leading up to that round. Too many clean power punches by Porter left Malignaggi laid out helpless under the ropes. He could not make the ten count and barely got back to his feet after the round. Shortly afterwards, an emotional and physically bruised Malignaggi was taken to the hospital for observation.
Here are more notable match-ups starting next weekend to keep things heated as the journey continues through the second quarter of 2014:
April 26th (Showtime) Julio Diaz vs. Keith Thurman <>**Jerry Belmontes vs. Omar Figueroa <> Lucas Martin Matthysse vs. John Molina
May 3rd (Showtime PPV) **Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Marcus Rene Maidana <> Luis Collazo vs. Amir Khan <> Marco Antonio Periban vs. J’Leon Love <> Adrien Broner vs. Carlos Molina
May 17th (HBO) Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Mike Alvarado <> Selcuk Aydin vs. Viktor Postol
May 24th (Showtime) **Adonis Stevens vs. Andrzej Fonfara <> Fernando Guerrero vs. David Lemieux
May 24th (HBO) Brian Jennings vs. Mike Perez <> Matthew Macklin vs. Daniel Geale
May 31st (HBO) **Carl Froch vs. George Groves <> Nonito Donaire vs. Simpiwe Vetyeka
June 7th (HBO PPV) **Miguel Angel Cotto vs. Sergio Gabriel Martinez
June 14th (HBO) **Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Chris Algieri <> **Demetrius Andrade vs. Brian Rose
July 12th (Showtime) Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara
** Title bouts