Saturday, July 29, 2006

Time to walk away?

Last Saturday I watched the Arturo Gatti/Carlos Baldomir fight. Now I know little about Baldomir other then he beat Zab Judah but either he's a spectacular name to watch boxer or, more likely, it's time for Gatti to retire. I can say without a doubt Gatti was the most entertaining fighter of the last decade. But, the Gatti I've seen in his last 3 fights is more reminsiscent of the post rising star pre Mickey Ward Gatti who gave it his all but who's style against the best in his class usually ended with him on the losing end and his face looking like something out of Raging Bull.

A lot of boxing "fans" only know Gatti/Ward and don't know much of the pre-Ward Arturo "Thunder" Gatti. We're talking a man who has earned fight of the year honors 5 times including 3 years in a row. If you've never seen these fights, go out of your way to see them particularly Gatti/Rodriguez and Gatti/Ruelas. These fights will tell you all you need to

know about Gatti's style. In both fights he came back from vicious beatings to snare victory from the jaws of defeat. His career seemed to stall after going up in weight to lightweight and engaging in wars with Angel Manfredy and Ivan Robinson (the 2nd Robinson fight was again fight of the year). Experts started thinking his all out style which made him so popular was going to end his career early. After the Gamanche incident (which changed the ruling on fight weigh-ins) and an ill advised move up in weight class to fight Oscar De La Hoya, He returned to Jr. welterweight for the now famous (and profitable) Micky Ward trilogy. Since then, particularly the last 3 fights you're simply not seeing the same fighter.

We saw some of the same Gatti in fights against Morin and Leija but he was made to look foolish agaisnt the skills of the current best fighter in the world in Floyd Mayweather. The Gatti who fought Baldomir was smaller, slower and weaker then his opponent. I almost had to stop watching. He's just been through too many wars. He breaks his hand nearly every fight. Step away Thunder. As one of the many who cheered while you bled for us I say walk away. As one of the many who jumped up and shouted when you came off the canvas with an eye so closed it looked like a special effect to knock out Wilson Rodriguez I say walk away. As someone who lived and died by every round with Micky Ward and had his faith in boxing restored I plead...WALK AWAY. You've got personality and charisma, hopefully you've save some money, and you all but own Atlantic City. Walk away Arturo, walk away. Thanks for all you've done, but please, walk away!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Recent thoughts across the board

Some recent thoughts on all subjects:

1) Silva-Lidell- Wow. I mean, wow. However, they are going to have to promote the crap out of how good Silva is to pop a big buyrate as the live crowd kinda seemed like...who? It's a risk to have Lidell possibly get destroyed and NOT pop a huge buyrate. That said, I think the rules favor Chuck as without the stomping and soccer kicks you take away a lot of typical Silva finishes

2) ECW-I'm in a quandry here. I want to like it, but man, it's hard. I mean, to date Jerry Lawler's old creedo of Extremely Crappy Wrestling is the truest thing about the new ECW. The idea of bringing in mainstream WWE guys every week is great for ratings but is doing nothing to build the fan base they are looking for. I'm looking forward to CM Punk but having seen him live and on countless ROH vids, I fear the long match concept that got him over will never happen here.

3) I have lost a lot of interest in Smackdown (partly because of the night it's on) and rarely if ever get back to watching it (I TiVo it). That said, I think the 2 tag teams of Kendrick/London and Kash/Noble are the most exciting thing on the show and have a chance (however small) to get over.

4) Similarly, I have lost inerest in TNA. They really took the onus off the best part of the company by moving Joe, Styles, and Daniels out of the X Division. I'm hoping Sen She can catch fire and undo the hard the loss of these three guys and the negative rub of Kevin Nash has done to what was the best part of any PPV's

Monday, July 03, 2006

Recent UFC thoughts

Catching up on recent UFC issues:

The Ultimate Finale- Well, man, once again a top notch show. The Ed Herman/Kendall Grove fight was beyond anything I would have suspected. Both guys left nothing on the table and the fight could have gone either way. Both gave out and received tons of punishment. Herman seemed stroger but Kendall's cardio was unreal. I was un the edge of my seat the whole fight. How Ed hung in at the end was amazing. The 2 contract thing will become old the more often it happens, but it was the right call. This was a more ground based version of Stefan Bonner/Forset Griffin and depending on how they do against other opponents, a rematch eventullay would garner a lot of interest.

Michael Bisping may be the find of all 3 seasons. He's fast and strong and if he hadn't messed up on the knee while opponent is on the ground would have easily scored a fast first round victory. He has a little attitude as well which a lot of fans like. With Europe being a major target market, UFC is banking on this guy. Josh Haynes proved to be a tough guy and a great story. I can't beleive he's talking about dropping to 175 as he looks kinda "loose" even at 205. Well, he probably earned himself another fight or 2.

Kenny Florian continues to impress me. I'm amazed how well he did at 2 weight classes above his natural weight. His striking (especially those razor sharp elbows) has improved a ton and his ground and submissions are top notch. I am really hoping they can establish the 155 weight class as the action is unbeleivable.

On the rest of the show, I was pumped Little Evil Jens Pulver was back as he was a personal favorite and a real challenge at 155. The Shamrock/Ortiz dynamic was totally missing from the show. It would have really been the time for one of Ken's pro wrestling promos to sell a few more PPV buys. Keith Jardine got what should have been his second win in a row after getting jobbed against Stefan Bonner and Matt Hammill looked much improved since the show. If he can learn some submission, watch out

Ultimate Fight Night-A much more exciting show top to bottom then T.U.F. While I didn't feel the best fight was as good as Herman/Grove, The Cummo/Goulet fight was off the charts exciting. While by UFC judging the scores seemed about right as Goulet really dominated the action, I feel Luke came a lot closer to actually finishing the the fight and the 2 chokes at the end were unreal. Luke has actually upped his worth in 2 close losses. The rest of the card really seemed to me to be a recent trend of all the T.U.F. guys moving up in competition and really showing where they are at. Bonner has been unimpressive in his last 3 fights including being dominated by Rashad. Rashad has great wrestling skills but is the kind of fighter the fans hate as he simply controls the ground and does nothing from there. Leben was destroyed in remarkable fashion. Joe Stephenson already lost, Brad Immes seems to have disappeared, Nate Quarry got destroyed and may be done. The true stars from the show appear to be Winners Forest Griffin who remains strong despite the loss to Ortiz, Diego Sanchez who remains a top contender despite being very unpopular with the crowd, Kenny Florian a real threat at 155 and Mike Swick who continues to impress. OK, I know that was a real rant. In general tho, I was really impressed with Goulet, Cummo, and Anderson Silva...really impressed with Anderson Silva.

Shamrock/Ortiz 2- I don't think this fight has any chance of living up to the hype and will be a 2 round destruction of Shamrock (a personal favorite) by Ortiz. Ken just hasn't changed his style with the times and at his age, while always having a chance, unless Tito makes a mistake, he's looking at a one sided loss. Arlovski/Sylvia is a tough call. Arlovski seemed unbeatable until the shocking finish against Tim Sylvia last fight. I think Syliva is underestimated a lot but feel Arlovski is just too much. This one doesn't make it past the first round again