Nobody asked me, but I think boxing’s return to The Forum in Inglewood, California is wonderful. Juan Manuel Marquez cut his fistic teeth inside those walls having fought there a dozen times back in the '90s. It will be like old times seeing him there again and who says you can’t go home again? The only thing missing will be Tom Kelley and Rich Marotta calling the action from ringside like they used to do. The Forum was always a great fight arena and kudos to Bob Arum and Top Rank for making a great effort to bring back the glory days.
Nobody asked me, but I think this weekend’s fight at The Forum between Marquez and Mike Alvarado is not going to produce much in the way of fireworks. Quite simply Marquez is a Ferrari and Alvarado is a Chevy Cobalt. The difference in class is stark and that will be the difference in this fight all night long. The only big question mark is whether Marquez, who is 40-years-old, is slipping. My hunch is no as if he were too far gone or not looking good in training then Nacho Beristain would tell JMM to call it a day and hang up the gloves.
Nobody asked me, but I think Kelly Pavlik could have been a great middleweight champion had he been able to keep his personal and professional lives together. To continually see his name in the news for various infractions primarily having to do with drinking is sad. Pavlik was a great middleweight puncher and in the beginning he was a very serious about his career. He was at his apex in 2007 when he beat Jermain Taylor for the title and then knocked out Gary Lockett in 2008 to notch his first defense. Pavlik was 33-0 after the Lockett win and his future was wide open. He could have cleaned out the middleweight division and then gone on to the super middles if he stayed serious. Even becoming the train wreck that he did he ended his career at 40-2, 34 knockouts.
Nobody asked me, but I thought the WBC heavyweight title fight between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola was mildly entertaining. Arreola had the fight won in my book but he got caught in the sixth round and that was that. The thing is, Arreola could have won that fight by utilizing his overall boxing skills while working behind a left jab. It was troubling to see him struggle and also perplexing to see that his right hand is weak and amateurish. Stiverne definitely has his number so a third fight would be fruitless and a fight against Wladimir Klitschko would be a wipeout replay of Arreola’s fight with Vitali Klitschko. It’s not clear what the future will hold for Arreola in terms of boxing. He basically fought the Stiverne fight for free as his one-hundred thousand dollar payday will not take him far at all after the IRS receives it’s chunk and his manager and trainer take their piece of the pie. Expect to see Arreola back in the ring before the end of the year.
Nobody asked me, but with a plethora of strength and conditioning trainers and dietitians that are kicking around the sport these days I often ask myself whether it has made the fighters any better? What would be wrong with going old school? Roadwork, sparring, medicine balls, sit-ups and push-ups seemed to work quite nicely for over a century for fighters from the era of John L. Sullivan to Mike Tyson. But it seems to me that many of these fighters have gone so far off the rails when it comes to “strength and conditioning” that it muddies up the waters. I say give a guy a steak and some eggs, teach him how to fight and put him on the heavy bag for a while. If the kid can actually fight the rest will take care of itself.