Friday, April 25, 2008
To steal my father's patented exclamation: "HOO-AH!"
Friday, April 18, 2008
Seriously though, nothing too big happening in my boxing conquests, but want to work in some quick hits.
- The Cotto card last weekend was well worth staying in for, although my picks were a bit off. Miguel Cotto was just too bad ass for Gomez, completely outclassing him with a dominant win that resulted in a doctor's stoppage midway through the fight. I don't think Cotto broke a sweat (literally) until the 4th round.
On the undercard, I was wrong in predicting that Kermit Cintron would be able to stick around long enough to outbox and overpower Antonio Margarito to win the big rematch. Margarito was just too aggressive and is clearly the stylistic nemesis for Cintron - a strong puncher that constantly comes forward and makes his opponents box like amateurs. (Seriously! You would have thought Cintron had a 20 lb. dumbbell attached to his head for how much he dropped it.)
While both fights were somewhat lopsided in outcome, they were very entertaining and set up a potential classic in July when Cotto/Margarito square off. Should be orgasmic.
- I'm going to skip over the plot of Bernard Hopkins fighting Joe Calzaghe this weekend - if you don't know the history of each fighter (correction: legends) then shame on you. (Check out the articles at ESPN.com's chic "Fight Credential" to be brought up to speed ASAP.) B-Hop has been one of my favorite fighters for a long time, but I think this will be a tough fight for him to win. "Slap"zaghe has mind-numbing hand speed, and likes to square up on opponents and let his "double barrel" action pick them apart. He has dispatched some of the best super middleweights in the world and just seems like a nightmare for Hopkins.
...but that's what experts have said about many a confident champ before they duel with B-Hop. As much as I can see Calzaghe winning a decision simply by beating Hopkins to the punch (literally) for 12 rounds, I just think Hopkins is too crafty, experienced and in-shape (do you realize what this man's camp is like?! and he's 43!) to not weather the barrages and land enough of his patented counter rights to win a CLOSE decision. Whatever the outcome, this fight is a once-in-an-era match-up between two of boxing's best living legends.
- There's really not a lot to report on my front - probably why there's so much above about the pro fights I've been excited for. I've been to Allston twice the past two weeks, but have been working out on my own the targeted 6x/week, so at least I'm still progressing. (I like to think so, at least.) I think my mixed motivations (not wanting to ride the bus for 1 hour round-trip but still wanting to work out) comes from the lack of a mentor-like trainer at my new gym. I keep harping on this, but, well, if my technique is going to plateau right now, I feel like I can get myself into better boxing shape on my own schedule than working around the commute to the gym. We'll see what happens to my schedule as the weather continues to warm up and I'm not having to battle the miserable Boston winter on my way to/from the gym.
- I'm sparring with Antonio tomorrow, and we're planning on going pretty hard. This will be a good measuring stick for how far my fitness and athleticism will take me while my technique stagnates. (Sorry, I just can't shake the feeling I'm developing bad habits. My previous trainers made me a machine and gave me the confidence, ability, and raw boxing skill and know-how to pummel people. It's not a coincidence that my best boxing has been when I, um, have a trainer investing himself in me...) It'll also be good to see whether or not my work ethic can trump Antonio's speed. Pound-for-pound I'm one of the strongest and hardest-hitting fighters in the gym, so if I can just get my body to the point where my hands and angles are a wee bit quicker and sharper like his...ooo-wee, look out.
Have a good weekend, y'all. Go Royals.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
So this time it hasn’t been a lack of activity so much as a literal lack of Internet that has kept me from posting in a timely manner. My roommate and I canceled our Internet service because it didn’t work half of the time and, even when it did "work," one of our neighbors had an unprotected signal that somehow trumped the connection our router provided. So since there was no reason to continue paying for our crappy Internet, I called and disconnected it. And of course, as soon as I cancel our service, the nice, reliable, unprotected connection…disappears. The only Internet connection I have at home is when I take my laptop over to Fenway (yes, the ballpark) and sit on the sidewalk and use their free Wi-Fi, and work has been crazy so I haven’t had a chance to put together a post until now. Thank goodness it’s warming up outside - probably going to be on my computer outside the ballpark quite a bit.
But yeah, that’s my no-Internet situation. And despite my stinginess leading me to remain disconnected, I still went ahead and got MLB Extra Innings and HBO the other day. Hmm...I'll pay for Royals games and boxing, but not the Internet. Ah, priorities.
Anyway, on to boxing….
- So Antonio has essentially become my training partner, which is working out great in a number of ways. We only meet 2-3x/week, but he has a set of keys to the gym so our workouts are usually at non-peak but super convenient times. We’ve been sparring more and more often, and it’s great work for both of us – Antonio being quicker and taking better angles, me continuously coming forward and keeping the pressure on. We’re at the same skill level as well and we both want to get back to competing ASAP, so our work in the ring is great. Ironically, we also touch base with texts throughout the week when we’re slacking, lamenting about class workloads (Antonio is a fellow BC Eagle and would have graduated with me if I didn’t graduate early) or draining, late days and nights in the office. In short, the support, structure, and intensity of having an unofficial training partner has been awesome thus far.
- I’m starting to vary the weight of gloves I use more and more, and I’m noticing the results. Traditionally I’ve trained with 20 oz. gloves all of the time, only switching to lighter gloves for bouts. Lately I’ve been using 16-ouncers when I work the focus mitts or spar. Not only is my speed and stamina noticeably increased (as it should be) but I’m having better success coordinating my footwork with my upper body movement. I definitely need to keep altering my glove weight with my workouts to develop consistency and continue to keep my body, timing and technique on the same page.
- The lack of a trainer who’s involved with my day-to-day training and workouts (like the ones I’ve had, um, everywhere else I’ve trained) is really starting to become frustrating. I’m getting back into competitive shape and the quality of my sparring is definitely getting me back to where I want to be, but there’s no way I’m going to truly peak at this place until a trainer, well, trains me. There are a couple of “assistants” who are helpful holding focus mitts, but there are only 2 true trainers here, and they’re always on their way out the door by the time I arrive around 8 on weekdays. Some of the competitive guys are helpful when they’re watching or in your corner, but at the same time, it’s just not the same as having a good trainer, let alone a trainer at all. More on this again soon…
- There are two fights this weekend that I’m incredibly excited about: Miguel Cotto vs. Alfonzo Gomez and Kermit Cintron vs. Antonio Margarito. Not only are these fights on the same card, but they’re sure to be entertaining barnburners – enough so that they prompted me to get HBO to make sure I could watch them. I think Cotto will outclass a game Gomez (I don’t know whether I underestimated him against Gatti or Arturo was just that far past his prime) and knock him out late or win a pretty lopsided decision. I'm a big Cotto fan, and would love to see him dominate Gomez and get a shot at Mayweather. Lots of people like Margarito to win again in his rematch with Cintron, but I think Cintron is an infinitely better boxer than he was in 2005 and will put Margarito on the canvas. This fight should be a war, and I think Cintron’s strength advantage will be the difference. You heard it hear first, but also check out this MVN.com blog (great site - I check it out all the time) for a more detailed analysis. I agree with their breakdown completely, but disagree with their prediction that Margarito will KO Cintron again. Whatever the case, if you’re a fan of the sport or at least remotely interested in great fights, this card is for you.
Until I’m able to connect again to the World Wide Web, take care and God bless.