J.C. CHAVEZ JR. GOES SATURDAY IN SAN JOSE!

"LITTLE JULIO" HAS HARD ACT TO FOLLOW

When Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. turned professional, he hadnothing more than his fathers name. But as he is carefully built into acontender, you can see that the 19-year old is coming along nicely. In AtlanticCity a fortnight ago, Chavez Jr. excited the east coast fight crowd with aninside the distance win over Ruben Galvan. With his 21st fighttaking place this Saturday night at the Events Center on the SanJose State University Campus, its time to look at thissecond-generation boxer from Culiacan, Mexico., "LITTLE JULIO" HAS HARD ACT TO FOLLOW

When Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. turned professional, he hadnothing more than his fathers name. But as he is carefully built into acontender, you can see that the 19-year old is coming along nicely. In AtlanticCity a fortnight ago, Chavez Jr. excited the east coast fight crowd with aninside the distance win over Ruben Galvan. With his 21st fighttaking place this Saturday night at the Events Center on the SanJose State University Campus, its time to look at thissecond-generation boxer from Culiacan, Mexico.

BUILT MORE LIKE ALEXIS ARGUELLO THAN CHAVEZ SR!

While his father wasnt tall for his weight, J.C. Jr.stands is a few inches taller than his legendary papa. And he is campaigning at140 lbs., where Julio Sr. turned professional at 122 lbs. The big differencebetween Jr. & Sr. is style. The almost elongated youngster looks to go outthere and land hard shots, while his father was a well-conditioned boxer wholikes to work the mid-section of an opponent until hes coughing up blood.

IS CHAVEZ JR. THE "MEXICAN HITMAN?"

But Jr., he doesnt come with the same style that hisproud papa had. JC Jr., he comes in almost like a Mexican version of TommyHearns. Forget all the stuff about his gettingrounds in, Jr. is looking to end fights seemingly before they start. At 20-0,with 15 KOs, Chavez Jr. has halted six men in the first round, and four in thesecond. Also on the bill, two hot local tickets in RicardoCortes and Jose Perez Jr. Cortes is a crowd pleaser, and Perez Jr., he was an inch awayfrom the 2004 Olympics in Greece.Five fights in all!

CHAVEZ SR. ON THE RADIO, TV, ETC!

The proud father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., he too will be in San Jose beginning Wednesday to promote thefight card on the plentiful Spanish radio and television stations thatencompass the San Francisco-San Jose Bay Area.

PROMOTER MANNY COTA PROMISES TO DELIVER!

Having gotten both emails and phone calls from peopleassociated with the promotion, I can tell you that promoter MannyCota, he expects to have everything ready to goSaturday, with the first bout starting early at 6 PM. Tickets start at$30 and are available at all www.Ticketmaster.comlocations, as well as at the door on Saturday night.

"EVENTS CENTER" IS NOT THE SAN JOSE ARENA!

Having had success in the past at the EventsCenter on the San Jose StateUniversity campus, one show was topped bybantamweight legend Orlando Canizales. And last June, Jose Celaya headlined at the auditorium that can hold about 6,000. Locatedat the corner of 7th and East San Carlos Sts., the doors will open at 5 PM.

Pedro Fernandez

Contact the writer Pedro@RingTalk.com< ![if !supportEmptyParas]>&nbsp;

BASIC "BOXING MATH" FOR "DUMMIES"

WELCOME TO A QUICK COURSE AKA “BOXING 101”

In the abyss that is the world of prizefighting/boxing, there is nothing moreheartbreaking than getting robbed out of a deserved decision. That being said Iwant to be the first to congratulate Bernard Hopkins for beingthe third longest reigning (ex) champion in boxing history. And at the sametime, hail to the new chief and World middleweight champion JermainTaylor. Folks, there was no controversy here. What you had Saturdaynight was a fight in which people saw what they wanted, and not the actual 12round fight., WELCOME TO A QUICK COURSE AKA “BOXING 101”

In the abyss that is the world of prizefighting/boxing, there is nothing moreheartbreaking than getting robbed out of a deserved decision. That being said Iwant to be the first to congratulate Bernard Hopkins for beingthe third longest reigning (ex) champion in boxing history. And at the sametime, hail to the new chief and World middleweight champion JermainTaylor. Folks, there was no controversy here. What you had Saturdaynight was a fight in which people saw what they wanted, and not the actual 12round fight.

GET OUT THE ABACUS, OR TAKE OFF YOUR SOCKS!

If Hopkins loses the first four rounds, and he did without question, Bernard isnow losing 40-36. Call the fifth 10-10 (even) its 50-46 Jermain. And if youtab the sixth, seventh, and eighth rounds for Taylor, you have a pit that onlya series of knockdowns or an actual KO will get you out of as the scorecardreads 80-73 after eight. I may have erred in giving Taylor the ninth, but thereare three rounds left and even if you gave the fifth and the ninth to Bernard,the lead is still an insurmountable 88-83. Put the finalthree frames in Hopkins pocket (the 12th was close), and you arrive at 115-113with Taylor winning, and without even a slight hint of any controversy.

BOXING FANS TAKE NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING

What a lot of you dont realize that fights are notdetermined by which fighter happens to look the fresher, more composed at theconclusion. Not even their controlling the championship rounds will win thefight, not if they dont win a majority of rounds. This was a 12-roundaffair, one in which some of the ringside media incredibly had Hopkins winning.And yet, a good majority of those polled leaving the MGM GrandGarden Arena thought the decision albeit split at116-112 (Jerry Roth-Hopkins),& 115-113 (Dave Smith, Duane Ford) for Taylor was right.

THAT HEAD BUTT WAS ONE THAT BUZZED TAYLOR

Most people have never been head-butted in their lives,but imagine having your head slammed into a concrete wall. Are you picturingthis? Because, thats what Taylor was feeling in the fifth when Hopkins hit himwith his head. The cut, an inch or more into the hairline (above the forehead)was one that was so deep it went to the skull bone! Are we still visualizingthe cut, the pain, confusion, possible blurred vision, etc that is associatedwith running your head into that concrete wall. OK, now imagine having to fightanother seven rounds?

REMATCH “ON HOLD” BECAUSE OF DEEP BUTT/CUT

They were talking about an October 1 rematch. But thatwill have a lot to do with the healing of Jermains cranium. Seeing Hopkins hasmade a promise ot his mother to not box beyond his 41st birthday, he may justhave to break that in order to get two more fights in by February 2006.

LEONARD LEARNED HOW TO FIGHT WITH DURAN

“Sugar Ray” Leonard wasunbeaten when he faced ascending lightweight champion RobertoDuran on June 20, 1980. Ray was decisivelybeaten. And even though judge Angelo Polletti scored 13 of the 15 rounds even, Roberto was the unanimousdecision winner. In that Montreal ring that night, a boy named Ray became a manin losing a fight. On Saturday night July 16, 2005, Jermain Taylor became a manand he won the fight!

Pedro Fernandez

Contact the writer Pedro@RingTalk.com

TAYLOR BEATS HOPKINS FOR MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE!

Las Vegas, NV-If you wanted to describe the Jermain Taylor-BernardHopkins fight, thats how best to do so. The youth, vigor, size, andstrength of Jermain Taylor prevailed in seven of the twelve rounds fought. Butit wasnt pretty, and it wasnt easy for the new World champion from LittleRock, AR. Winning the first four frames as though it was scripted by the Taylorcamp, Hopkins did just enough in the fifth to get a 10-10 call from me., Las Vegas, NV-If you wanted to describe the Jermain Taylor-BernardHopkins fight, thats how best to do so. The youth, vigor, size, andstrength of Jermain Taylor prevailed in seven of the twelve rounds fought. Butit wasnt pretty, and it wasnt easy for the new World champion from LittleRock, AR. Winning the first four frames as though it was scripted by the Taylorcamp, Hopkins did just enough in the fifth to get a 10-10 call from me.

FIGHT WAS JERMAINS TO “WIN OR LOSE!”

Thus, the writing was on the wall right? All Jermain, 160 lbs., had to do waskeep himself composed and hed win going away. Not so fast, after that evenfifth stanza, Bernard, 160 lbs, seemed like he was about to get his groove on. Not so, as he didnt win another round until the 10th. By hiscapturing the final three frames, Hopkins, also 160, would make things closerthan first imagined, but I still had Jermain up 116-113 at the final bell.

ROTH HAS WORST NIGHT IN MANY YEARS

Much to the surprise Im sure of everybody but Mrs.Jerry Roth, judge Jerry Roth had more than just a bad night as he called it for Hopkins 8-4in rounds, or 116-112. Thank goodness Duane Ford and Paul Smith wereon point as they tabbed Taylor a 115-113 winner, thus via split decisionJermain Taylor is the new World middleweight champion. To say this was prettywould be a lie. But a lot of that had to do with a 40-year old man fighting onmemory and fumes. With the exception of some right hands down the stretch,Bernard did little offensively over 12 rounds. Taylor, who also weighed 160, heis now 24-0. Hopkins, of Philadelphia loses for the first time in 12 years todecline to 46-3-1.

BERNARD NOT NAIVE ENOUGH TO THINK HE WAS IN IT!

That little act put on by Hopkins when the decision wasannounced for Taylor was just that, an act. Even Bernard had to realize thathe, like Marvin Hagler with RayLeonard some 18 years ago, its tough to make upground after losing the first four heats somewhat decidedly. As for Taylor, heis as green as guacamole and it showed. By putting his head out over his feet,his balance was at times impaired. The dropping of the right hand whilejabbing, pointed out by Roy Jones Jr., that maybe a flaw so intertwined in the fighters makeup that hecan never correct it.
LARIOS HAMMERS “POCKET-ROCKET” IN STOPPAGE!

If only a few of the heavyweights in boxing had the stonesof a Wayne McCullough, thedivision would be the talk of the sports world. But they would be touting himas the real life Rocky Balboa. Theguy that takes anything you got, and then some more, this was McCulloughSaturday night as he tried for the second consecutive fight to wrest the World122 lb. title from Oscar Larios.McCullough, 120 lbs, originally out of Belfast, Ireland, and now living in LasVegas, he was just too small to have a real impact on Larios who was declaredthe winner after Dr. Margaret Goodman, at the urging of promoter Dan Goossen,called a halt after the tenth round.

PRAISE THE ABILITY OF LARIOS, & THE “STONES” OF WAYNE!

The now 27-6 McCullough, he desperately wanted to finishon his feet. But when you consider the punishment he took over the prior tenrounds, the stoppage may have been a round or two too late! No knockdowns,although there were times when McCullough looked unsteady. Larios, 122, now56-3-1, he threw some tremendous combinations over the 30 minutes of battle.The body shots he let go with were thrown in beautiful combinations throughout,and they made you wince for McCullough who was protesting the in between roundsstoppage vehemently.

MONTIEL NO LONGER HAS THE “SIZZLE!”

HBOs Larry Merchant was right when hestated that 115 lb. Fernando Montiel, he doesnt have the “sizzle” he had before MarkJohnson defeated him a couple of years ago.Against a pedestrian foe in Nicaraguan Evert Briceno, Montiel floundered down the stretch, before prevailing onscores of 118-110, & 117-111 twice! Montiel of Mexico is now 31-1, andBriceno, also 115, he drops 21-3 in this WBO 115 lb. title scrap.

FORREST BURNS BY HAPLESS OPPONENT!

The return of Vernon Forrest was either magnificent, or disappointing, depending on how youlook at things. First of all at 154 lbs, the former welterweight (147) championlooked the part of a junior middleweight. Unfortunately for JoseRios, he either froze like a deer in theheadlights, or he couldnt spell the word f-i-g-h-t period! Needless to say,Rios, 154 1/2, out of Mexico, he was dropped twice in the second by theGeorgian Forrest, this before the referee mercifully called a halt to themismatch at the 2:40 mark. Vernon ascends to 37-2, with KO 27. Rios declines to17-2-1, (15 KOs). Pedro FernandezContact thewriter Pedro@RingTalk.com

FINAL LOOK AT HOPKINS-TAYLOR HBO PPV

ALL THE PRE-FIGHT BULLSPIT IS OVER

When I interviewed Jermain Taylor the very first time, it waslate 2000 at a coming out party for that year’s Olympic hotshots. While peoplewere falling all over themselves to talk to Ricardo Williams,who turned out to be a flop, the now soon to be 27-year old Taylor sat therebasically ignored. &quot;Yeah, I remember that. They didnt think I was goodenough. Hey, (before the Olympics) they sent me a letter saying I wasnt goodenough to box overseas.&quot; Even though he was a Bronze Medallistat 156 lbs, the pundits were from the start calling him a &quot;a project&quot;or &quot;a work in progress., ALL THE PRE-FIGHT BULLSPIT IS OVER

When I interviewed Jermain Taylor the very first time, it waslate 2000 at a coming out party for that years Olympic hotshots. While peoplewere falling all over themselves to talk to Ricardo Williams,who turned out to be a flop, the now soon to be 27-year old Taylor sat therebasically ignored. &quot;Yeah, I remember that. They didnt think I was goodenough. Hey, (before the Olympics) they sent me a letter saying I wasnt goodenough to box overseas.&quot; Even though he was a Bronze Medallistat 156 lbs, the pundits were from the start calling him a &quot;a project&quot;or &quot;a work in progress.&quot;

TONIGHT THE &quot;WORK IN PROGRESS&quot; BECOMES CHAMP

The &quot;building&quot; process is over, and this eveningthe 8-5 underdog Taylor will prove that those who have continued to dismisshim, and now for allegedly fighting &quot;soft&quot; foes, they will recognizethe young man from Little Rock, AR is the stuff &quot;good&quot; fighters aremade of. With the size, ability, youth, speed, and punching power advantagesall with Taylor, it would seem Bernard Hopkins at the age of 40 cannot wintonight. One railbird says, &quot;Hopkins-Taylor is like MarvinHagler-John Mugabi. &quot;TheBeast&quot; had some advantages, but in the endhe was tamed inside the distance.

TAYLOR MORE OF A &quot;FIGHTER&quot; &amp; &quot;BEAST&quot; THANMUGABI

John Mugabi, who lived and died by theKO, well he was nowhere near the athlete, had the amateur pedigree of Taylor.Bernard Hopkins will have to fight at a pace that in 49 prior fights he hasnever been comfortable at. Hopkins will want to slow this fight down as much ashe can, something he should find impossible. Working behind a real piston-likejab, Taylor will popping Bernard hard and often. Look at Hopkins vs OscarDe La Hoya, a match in which Oscar boxed wellfrom the start. In time, he was worn down by the size disadvantage of facing amiddleweight and folded.

OSCAR AND TAYLOR WOULD NOT BE COMPETITIVE

The differences between De La Hoya and Taylor are tremendous.Bernard, having made 160 lbs. for almost 20 years now, he will not be thestronger man tonight. Based on the age factor alone, if you were a fighter inhis prime, and were called upon to face a 40-year old, youd jump at theopportunity. After Taylor dispatched Daniel Edouard, he watched Hopkins go 12 with Howard Eastman in February. &quot;I told Lou (Di Bella) rightthen, lets get Bernard in the ring.&quot;

THIS JERMAIN ANYTHING BUT &quot;GERMAIN&quot;

With Las Vegas ticket brokers calling the 23-0 challenger&quot;germain,&quot; they couldnt be any further off the mark by changing theone letter. You see, there is nothing pedestrian about Jermain. Tonight, hewill find a way to break down the once impregnable wall that Bernard Hopkinshas built around him. The pain inflicted, and the fact that &quot;FatherTime&quot; waits for no man, this marks the end of the Hopkins dynasty. Welcomebe to the new king!

HBO PAY PER VIEW AIRS AT 9 PM ET &amp; 6 PM PT!

Call your Cable Company, or your Satellite Dish providerto see who is exactly is &quot;Next In Line&quot; tonight at 9 PM ET &amp; 6 PMin West Hollywood where trainer Joe Goossen may some day run for Mayor!

LARIOS &amp; &quot;POCKET-ROCKET&quot; ENGAGE ONCE MORE!

If you are into lighter weight brutality, then the OscarLarios-Wayne McCullough 122 lb. encounter of thispast February was your cup of tea! Tonight, the 55-3-1 champion of the World,and the 25-7 Irishman will dance again. Since February, Larios has undergonesome surgery to an arm. And when I last saw McCullough a few months ago, hishand was in a cast, the result of a broken thumb. So even though both guys arecoming off injuries, this fight will start off where the first one left off.

WAYNES PUNCH LACKS POP AT THIS STAGE

McCullough, all of 35 and a 1992 Silver Medallist fromIreland, he will throw lots of punches. But Larios feels the smaller man cannotreally hurt him, thus hes willing to stand and trade, which makes for anexciting fight as long as it lasts! My only hope is that the&quot;Pocket-Rocket&quot; doesnt get hurt here. You see, Wayne is not boxingfor money, he is fighting strictly for the glory that a unlikely win tonightwould bring.

TIME TO BET SOME BEANS!

Id like to drop $1000 beans on Taylor to get back $2500.And Ill drop $600 beans on 3-1 favorite Larios to get back $800.

SEE YOU POST FIGHT AT WWW.RINGTALK.COM

Shortly after the conclusion of tonights HBOPPV card, I will have a story up on the results,and the ramifications of such in the boxing world! Pedro FernandezContact thewriter Pedro@RingTalk.com

FRIDAY’S COLUMN A MIXED BAG OF TRICKS!

HBO LATINO AIRS UPSET FROM VEGAS…If you have DirecTV and the HBO package, it was only in recent monthsthat HBO Latino was added to the mix. Thanks go to HBOSports CEO Ross Greenburg, who told me in November after I complainedabout such that, &quot;Ill take of it Pedro.&quot; Having that done, lastnight I sat there stunned watching HBO Latino as KasimOuma convincingly lost his IBF 154 lb. title to RomanKarmazin., HBO LATINO AIRS UPSET FROM VEGAS…If you have DirecTV and the HBO package, it was only in recent monthsthat HBO Latino was added to the mix. Thanks go to HBOSports CEO Ross Greenburg, who told me in November after I complainedabout such that, &quot;Ill take of it Pedro.&quot; Having that done, lastnight I sat there stunned watching HBO Latino as KasimOuma convincingly lost his IBF 154 lb. title to RomanKarmazin. The scores after 12 were 118-110, 116-110, &amp; 117-11, allfor Karmazin who decked the betting favorite Ouma twice in the third!…GoldenBoy Promotions had just given Ouma a $400,000 signing bonus…MichaelKatz of Max Boxing wrote that Ouma was seen vomitingafter a workout earlier in the week. He must have been sick, because beforelast night, I didnt even have him and Roman in the same tier at 154…FALSEADVERTISING IN CALIFORNIA? The proposed July 23rd card at the SanJose Events Center put tickets on sale for &quot;Bloodlines&quot;last week at www.ticketmaster.com with a main event of Hector CamachoJr. vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Camacho Jr., hewas never going to fight Chavez Jr. period! Even with the change, they arecharging $200 for ringside, yikes! Chavez Jr. on top in a six, with localamateur standout Jose Perez in theco-feature. Neither Top Rank nor FernandoBeltran has anything to do with this show. Thiswas set up by a confidant of Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. It looks like a financial bloodbath as it comes two days afterthe H.P. Pavilion airs one oftheir successful Thursday night cards. And seeing that the actual promoter (seemark or scrub) doesnt have a promoters license, they are using a&quot;front man&quot; in Manny Cota of Burbank, CA! Chavez Jr., with Chavez Sr. supposedly workingto promote the event are going to get between $90 &amp; $110 K…VIACOMSPLITS WITH CBS…SORT OF…Viacom and CBS, a big merger half a decade ago, are being split up intoseparate companies. This comes after the Viacom stock value dropped better than40% in five years! CBS, Showtime,and the UPN networks are one,while Comedy Central, Nickelodeon,and MTV comprise the secondentity…AM I MISSING SOMETHING?OK, I really am not getting the Vitali Klitschko methodology. Granted, Calvin Brock is a deserving challenger, and a traditional boxer per se. Buttop rated Hasim Rahman, he can boxand fight &quot;ghetto,&quot; which makes him the far more dangerous foe rightnow. And lets be honest, Vitali has fought fat guys since becoming the WBCtitleholder. Hey, Corrie Sanders, Kirk Johnson, Danny Williams, all three of them had breasts a lot of chicks would envy!Vitali should fight the #1 rated contender period! LAS VEGASGRAND JURY UPDATE: Theyre still hearingtestimony in &quot;Sin City&quot; about sins committed by people who work at TopRank, this in addition to a number of otherboxing people…My psychic says by the end of summer…MAYWEATHER&amp; GATTI A FORTNIGHT LATER: FloydMayweather Jr. and Arturo Gatti, together they did over 350,000 homes on HBO PayPer View at $44.95 a pop June 25! It would benice to see Floyd and World champ Ricky Hatton face each other. But they tell me that at the very least itwould take over a year to set up. And would the ever so-confident Mayweather goacross the pond and meet Hatton in front of an estimated outdoor crowd thatcould exceed 40,000? DI BELLA &amp; ARUM, STILL THE HATFIELDS&amp; MC COYS: Top Rank promoter Bob Arumis saying that its Lou Di Bellasfault that DBEs newly crowned WBAlightweight (135 lbs) champ Levander Johnson wont meet the ascending in weight Erik Morales. With a purse offer of $600,000, Arum would probably be thefirst to say that Johnson has probably never made a tenth of that prior! WHATSUP WITH &quot;SUPER V?&quot; I called BrianViloria a number of times lately and got noanswer or voicemail…AUGUSTUS IMPRESSIVE LAST FRIDAYEmanuel Augustuslooked like &quot;Sugar Ray&quot; Augustus last week as he hammered Ray Oliveira into submission on ESPN. For the record, Emanuel is 31-24-6, with 16 KOs…See youSaturday morning, right here at www.RingTalk.comwith our final look and prediction on Bernard Hopkins-JermainTaylor. Pedro FernandezContact thewriter Pedro@RingTalk.com

"24-KARAT" ROLD ON YOUTH, REDEMPTION, AND DAMN LIES!

HOPKINS-TAYLOR THE BEST OF ALL CLICHES!

The great thing about a great cliche is the great way it just rolls off yourtongue; it can be applied when nothing else will illuminate a sentence. TheWorld middleweight championship bout scheduled for this Saturday night hasproduced, and will produce by Sunday morning, so many columns riddled withcliches that readers might feel that they have seen the death of all uniquewriting. This is billed as &quot;old lion versus young lion&quot;; it is&quot;the aging warrior in his last stand&quot;; it is &quot;the challengerbiting off more than he can chew&quot;; a real &quot;pick-em&quot; fight., HOPKINS-TAYLOR THE BEST OF ALL CLICHES!

The great thing about a great cliche is the great way it just rolls off yourtongue; it can be applied when nothing else will illuminate a sentence. TheWorld middleweight championship bout scheduled for this Saturday night hasproduced, and will produce by Sunday morning, so many columns riddled withcliches that readers might feel that they have seen the death of all uniquewriting. This is billed as &quot;old lion versus young lion&quot;; it is&quot;the aging warrior in his last stand&quot;; it is &quot;the challengerbiting off more than he can chew&quot;; a real &quot;pick-em&quot; fight. Theonly thing that makes all of this bearable, the only thing that ever makescliches bearable, is the hint of truth embedded in it all…and the truth is?The truth is that even with the plainest of language to describe it, champion BernardHopkins (46-2-1, 32 KOs) versus Jermain Taylor(23-0, 17 KOs) is the most intriguing match-up of 2005.

EVALUATION OF THE BOUT REMAINS TRICKY!

If one man has the edge in size, speed, strength, youthAND the better jab, it would seem in any normal fight that picking the winnerwould be a foregone conclusion; not so in this case. For while Taylor, a 2000Olympian, does hold all of these advantages, he has yet to be tested forintangibles like toughness and resilience. We have been sold that there justwere not enough tough challengers for Taylor on the way up and so hiscareer-long low level of activity and two fights against men barely hanging onas top ten contenders (former titlist William Joppy and Daniel Edouard)are forgiven. After all, he does have in his favor a highlight reel full ofpretty right hands and that telephone pole jab of his (and this is thehighlight reel era in sports).

THE OLD MAN HAS PROVEN IT!

Unlike Taylor, Hopkins has shown talent and intangibles.He got off the deck twice against Segundo Mercado to win a Draw in Mercados hometown; he out-fouled AntwunEchols; he lost maybe five rounds, total, againsthis five best foes (Joppy, Keith Holmes, Glenn Johnson, Oscar DeLa Hoya, Felix Trinidad). Remarkably, Hopkinshas, in 21 title defenses, never was he in need or the benafactor of acontroversial decision; never needed a come from behind knockout; statistically,he is the most dominant long reigning champion in history. Still we know thateven Hopkins is human; the last time this many physical advantages weighedagainst him, in 1993, was the last time he was on the losing end of a decision(to Roy Jones). Add to that hisnoticeable loss of hand speed since the Joppy fight and an increasinglyconservative punch output and the time would seem ripe for a changing of the guard.

MOORE AND MONZON PROVIDE THE MAP TO VICTORY!

So why am I going with the old man? Two reasons…formerlight heavyweight king Archie Moore and former middleweight king Carlos Monzon. Both of these Hall of Fame immortals also faced a Taylor-likechallenge late in their careers; both exhibited that youth is not alwaysserved. Prior to winning the crown in 1952 from Joey Maxim at age 38, Moore split two ten round bouts with the great HaroldJohnson. Harolds youth, though, didnt stopMoore in their championship rubber match in 1954 from rising from a tenth roundknockdown to stop Johnson in 14. Youth also was no aid to RodrigoValdez, a man who had knocked out BennieBriscoe, in his two battles against a 35-year oldMonzon (the man who held the record for middleweight title defenses at 14 untilHopkins came along). Even with a knockdown of the champion in the second fight,Valdez dropped two narrow decisions. Jermain Taylor has done nothing in hiscareer to make me think he is of the same caliber as Johnson or Valdez; Hopkinshas shown himself to be of the same cloth as Moore and Monzon. Hopkins byunanimous decision.

BROCK DESERVING AS ANY FOR SHOT AT VITALI!

It never ceases to amaze me how even the simplest oftechniques still seems to work. In this case it the big lie theory (the ideathat telling big lies is more convincing that a string of little one). Sincebeing declared the mandatory to WBC titlist Vitali Klitschko (and thats all he is), numerous press releases have trumpetedformer World heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman as his most dangerous and deserving challenger. Moving beyondthe stupidity of trying to figure out deserving contenders when there are fourguys running around as champ and no unification bouts on tap, some of therhetoric attaching itself to Klitschko in light of his decision to pursue about with 2000 U.S. Olympian Calvin Brock on September 24 is surprising.

PRESS RHETORIC WAY OFF BASE!

Following his win earlier this year against mid-levelcontender Clifford Ettienne, Brockdefeated Jameel McCline in Aprilat a time when McCline was considered a top five heavyweight contender. Yet ESPN opines that Vitali is &quot;ducking worthy opponents&quot; evenas it notes that Brock is his likely next challenger…and they are not alone.Huh? Fact: the winner of Rahman-Monte Barrett on August 13 will have earned a title shot…but neither hasdone so before they have that fight. Barrett is getting a lot of mileage out ofLOSING to Joe Mesi, beating a DominicGuinn who had not and never did crack alegitimate top ten, and an exciting win against the completely untested andunfathomably rated Owen Beck.

FACTS GETTING IN THE WAY OF THE STORY!

Beginning with his title loss to LennoxLewis in 2001, Rahman has gone 5-3-1 (includinglosses to Evander Holyfield and aunanimous decision loss to the awful John Ruiz that wasnt even close). His five wins wereagainst…um…uh…Alfred Cole, Mario Cawley, Rob Calloway,Terrence Lewis and Kali Meehan (who was marginally a top twenty contender at best and Rahmansbest win since Lennox). If THAT makes one the most worthy opponent, theheavyweight division is worse off than we thought. Only one of the three men inthe Klitschko sweepstakes has beaten a legitimate top ten foe in the last year(actually last four years), and it isnt either of the two guys with the DonKing PR machine behind them. Its CalvinBrock…and anyone who accuses Vitali of committing an injustice for fightinghim before the Barrett-Rahman winner is drunk!

REDEMPTION SONG IN JAPAN?

On Monday, boxing has another Superfight on tap even if noone outside Japan realizes it. Well, no one except 2000 U.S.Olympian Jose Navarro. In January, he was thevictim of this particular pre-contracted bout, a rubber match between linealWorld 115-lb. king Katsushige Kawashima and former champ Masamori Tokuyama, when he was robbed (at gunpoint)against Kawashima. The probablereason for that robbery? This bout will be among the richest in Japanesehistory (not to mention one of the biggest bouts in 115 lb. history) andNavarro has been guaranteed a second title try against the winner. That givesthis fight a special air, with Tokuyama seeking to revenge a first roundknockout loss in the second Kawashima bout (following a close decision win inthe first) and Navarro seeking revenge against the establishment that allowedthis fight to occur in the first place. Keep an eye on the results from land ofthe rising sun Monday night. Cliff Rold

Note: &quot;24-Karat&quot; Rold is not just the best young boxing writer on theplanet. He also holds a Masters Degree in U.S. Foreign Policy from the AmericanUniversity in Washington DC and is an award-winning poet. He can be reachedwith your comments at 24KaratRold@Comcast.net

1 165 166 167