Gatti should consider a new name
Appeal Boxing Columnist
Here are some pretentious pontifications and pugilistic prognostications for a Tuesday morning:
— Arturo “Thunder” Gatti needs to change his nickname to “Lightning.” After dropping tough Leonard Dorin with a left to the liver in the second round of Saturday’s HBO-televised event from Atlantic City, the popular and exciting Gatti now has the pick of the 140-pound litter for his next fight.
— If he wants to keep his spurious WBC title (in reality, Kostya Tszyu is the real champion), Gatti would be best served taking on former IBF lightweight beltholder Paul Spadafora or Ricky Hatton. Forget about Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sharmba Mitchell or Miguel Cotto, among others.
— Speaking of Tszyu, the formerly undisputed 140-pound champion (before the WBC and WBA stripped him), is probably being referred to as “Kostya Who?” by new boxing fans. Although he is scheduled to face Mitchell in a rematch on Nov. 6, due to a torn Achilles’ tendon and torn rotator cuff, Tszyu has fought only twice since knocking down and stopping Zab Judah on Nov. 3, 2001.
— Two fights in three years is not enough activity to face a boxer as skilled as Mitchell, who has fought seven times since Tszyu stopped him back on Feb. 3, 2001. The stoppage was due more to Mitchell’s bum knee and Tszyu’s roughhousing than it did Tszyu’s skill. Mitchell by close decision.
— “Iron” Mike Tyson is back on Friday in Louisville – go watch this one for free at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno – this time taking on Danny Williams. If Tyson had an ice cube’s chance in hell of losing, he wouldn’t be fighting Williams, who is 31-3, with 26 knockouts. Tyson (50-4, 44) with one no-contest, hasn’t fought since stopping Clifford “The Black Rhino” Etienne in one round nearly 18 months ago, and has fought only eight times since dining on Evander Holyfield’s ear on June 28, 1997.
— Williams’ three losses – to Michael Sprott, Sinan Samil Sam (TKO by 6) and former Tyson victim Julius Francis – tells you all you need to know. Tyson in four.
— If you can make it, go to the Silver Legacy and watch this card, which includes Laila Ali taking on Monica Nunez, for free. This card doesn’t belong on pay-per-view. It’s a joke. A PPV card needs to have a compelling matchup. And Laila Ali should be fighting Ann Wolfe at 168 instead of Nunez.
— If a man did what Wolfe, a natural junior middleweight, did in knocking out cold the heavyweight champion (6-foot-6 Vonda Ward), he’d be all over television and a multi-millionaire. Now, if she’s lucky, Wolfe will have to dance to Laila’s tune before and if she gets her shot. Laila, a talented boxer, is still getting by on her father’s name. If Laila and Wolfe fight, I’ll take the underdog by surprise knockout. Wolfe in five.
— On Saturday, pay another visit to the Silver Legacy instead of paying Charter Cable. WBC super featherweight titlist Erik Morales will meet IBF junior lightweight kingpin Carlos Hernandez in a unification bout. Potato, potahto, whatever, it’s a 130-pound fight worth seeing, but until it’s Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera III, it should not be PPV.
— Morales, 46-1 (34), better bring his “A” game against Hernandez (40-3-1, 24). Hernandez is the naturally bigger, more aggressive man. Morales wasn’t looking sharp before stopping Guty Espadas Jr. with a single punch last October and couldn’t knock out a one-armed Jesus Chavez in February. But every time there’s a doubt about Morales, he comes through. Morales by tough, exciting decision.
— There’s a little August bonus for boxing fans on Thursday, Aug. 5, when ShowBox presents “The Knockout Sensation” Samuel Peter taking on Jovo Pudar in heavyweight action. Local fans will remember seeing both boxers in action at City Center Pavilion, where Peter (19-0, 17) devastated Dale Crowe in four on March 7, 2003, and Pudar (22-2, 12) lost a boring decision to the pendulous-breasted Taurus Sykes last February.
— Although the one-dimensional Peter had to settle for a decision over Charles Shufford in his last bout, against the slow-moving Pudar, Peter will have a fighter made to order for his style of fighting. Peter by impressive knockout within five.
— In a fight that could and possibly should be on PPV, WBO lightweight and former WBO-WBA 130-pound titlist Acelino Freitas will meet Diego Corrales on Aug. 7 on Showtime. This should be a war. Freitas (35-0, 31), is giving up at least 5 inches to the 6-foot Corrales (38-2, 31), who should try and press the fight. The pick here is Corrales, the former IBF junior lightweight strapholder, by KO in round eight of an entertaining slugfest which could rival current Fight of the Year, Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez.
— In what ought to be a stinker, undisputed welterweight champion Cory “The Next Generation” Spinks will defend his title against former WBC lightweight champion Miguel Angel Gonzalez on Sept. 4. Look for Spinks (33-2, 10) to score a rare knockout over the long-faded Gonzales (50-3-1, 40). Spinks deserves an easy one after exposing Ricardo Mayorga and successfully defending against Zab Judah.
— Possibly the best fight this year will occur on Sept. 11, when Miguel Cotto (20-0, 16) and Kelson Pinto (20-0, 18), meet for the vacant WBO junior welterweight title. Pinto twice beat Cotto as an amateur and is looking to replace “Popo” Freitas as Brazil’s superstar. Cotto, who has been criticized for fighting lightweights instead of full-fledged junior welterweights, is looking to replace Felix Trinidad as Puerto Rico’s national hero. The pick here is Cotto, who has faced the better competition as a pro, by exciting decision.
— The fight everyone is looking forward to – Bernard Hopkins versus Oscar De La Hoya – is still scheduled for Sept. 18. Hopkins (44-2-1, 31), with one no-contest, is looking to defend his middleweight title for the 19th consecutive time. His recent B.S. decision over WBO middleweight titlist Felix Sturm notwithstanding, De La Hoya (37-3, 29), is looking to legitimately win a world champion in his sixth weight division. The pick here is Hopkins by a clear-cut unanimous decision.
— De La Hoya will try and act like Sugar Ray Leonard when he defeated Marvin Hagler in 1987, but Hopkins won’t chase “The Golden Boy.” Hopkins will fight an intelligent and somewhat boring fight, but should punish De La Hoya, who should gut it out till the final bell. Just one request: a fair and accurate decision.
— On Sept. 25, Roy Jones will challenge IBF light heavyweight titlist Glencoffe Johnson. One question: Why? Jones blamed boredom for his shocking two-round kayo at the hands of real light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. The truth? Roy can’t handle the truth! Tarver is the man and unless Jones (49-2, 38) wants his legacy to go the way of Lennox Lewis, he needs to answer all doubts and face Tarver. Any more excuses, Roy?
As far as his fight with Johnson (40-9-2, 27), goes, it is no fight. Jones by easy kayo.
— On Oct. 2, Felix Trinidad makes his comeback against Ricardo Mayorga. Does it get any better? Trinidad (41-1, 34) made a $100,000 personal bet with Mayorga (27-4, 23). The question is, does Trinidad have anything left? He retired amidst numerous rumors that his health was bad a few months after his 12-round TKO loss to Hopkins. Although the three-division champion destroyed Hasine Cherife before retiring, there are questions to be answered against the free-swinging, chain-smoking, trash-talking Mayorga. I’ll take a chance on “Tito,” who should stop the amateurish Mayorga sometime after round 10.
— Final note: Will somebody please tape ring announcer Michael Buffer’s mouth shut? If I hear “Let’s get ready to R-U-U-U-U-UMBLE!!!!!” one more time, I’m going to throw my TV through the window. Enough is enough. Just announce the fights like M. Mark Beiro and Jimmy Lennon, who just does their job in a professional, entertaining yet tolerable style. It’s about the fighters, not Buffer’s voice chords.