Hello fight fans! The champ is back, and we are not talking about John Cena. Vegas is still abuzz about Mayweather-Ortiz. More on that later, but let's talk first about Sergio Martinez vs. Darren Barker. No not Bob Barker. Or Travis Barker. Or Billy Bob Barker, your favorite second cousin. We are talking about the undefeated European champ. This is for the WBC diamond middleweight title. Huh? What? Confused? Read on....
As long time readers know, I'm not really big on European fighters. The heavyweight brother combination of Wlad and Vitaly Klitschko has grown on me, albeit really quite unwillingly. I still refer to them as the Quitschko bros, for obvious reasons. I hate Nigel Benn for crippling my favorite fighter, Gerald McClellan. Frank Bruno was chiseled, but that was about it. David Haye? Don't make me laugh. The only Euro fighter I have real respect for is Lennox Lewis. However, he is also Jamaican and Canadian, so go figure.
So who is Darren Barker?
threat or just another euro?
Barker is 29 and hails from Barnet, London, United Kingdom. His nickname is Dazzling. He is undefeated at 23-0 with 14 KOs. A typical European, he has fought his entire career across the pond. A look at his record and I don't immediately recognize anyone(pumped up record?). I hear he is a solid boxer, the best they have to offer and he is a "live dog."
Really? If that's the case, it's going to be a long day for Mr. Barker.
Personally, I feel this is a mismatch that will not last the 12 heats. Martinez should stop him within the distance, so I really feel a bet on the under is a good one. I may just throw a 20 spot on Barker for entertainment purposes only. It is too bad Martinez, at age 36, is in the twilight of his career. I feel he may be a bit overrated as well. He did lose to Antonio "plaster casts" Margarito and while he has won lately, I just feel he is not as good as advertised. It seems everyone has jumped on the "bandwagon." It will empty soon. He wants fights with Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. I don't see that happening.
Let's get to Floyd-Victor.
We are still talking about this fight! Some say it was a cheap shot. Others will say "Protect yourselves at all times." Me? I have no problems with what transpired that night—time was in. My problem lies more with Joe "fair but firm" Cortez. He was incompetent to say the least. This is not my first time complaining about this guy. He has a history of bad decision making. Evander Holyfield-John Ruiz II comes quickly to mind.
I was in press row for this event. I had a big bet on Holyman. What transpired was disgraceful to say the least.
Cortez, and his tag team partner John "Louise" Ruiz, who would later go on to lose to "ol" Roy Jones Jr, giving Jones Jr. an undeserved heavyweight title. That was bad enough. The "team" of Cortez/Ruiz, along with Don "Only in America" King, helped John get the belt and hold it.
It was a bad WWF script. Because on that night, he missed the belt line shot that put down Ruiz for the count. Instead, out of position, he called it a low blow and bought into Ruiz's acting skills. John should have been nominated for the Oscar that night. If that doesn't happen, I win my bet, Ruiz-Jones Jr. never happens and we forget about John Ruiz.
Instead, like a cockroach, he continued to fight, ruining the division until he finally retired. All because of one Joe Cortez. Why is Cortez even getting these big main event matches? There are younger, better referees like Kenny Bayless or even Tony Weeks. I would even take Jay "A cabs" Nady over the Puerto Rican. Go away, Joe!
But getting back to Mayweather/Ortiz. You must protect yourselves at all times. Time was in. This all started with an attempted head butt by Ortiz . His repeated attempts to apologize were ridiculous. Once was enough. It appeared Floyd got irritated then saw the opening as Cortez looked towards the officials outside the ring. You can see Floyd glance over to the distracted Cortez, then give Ortiz the one, two. Good night, Gracie. And the fans lost again.
However, as I said before, Floyd was within the rules technically, so he was not disqualified. But let's look closer at the bout, before the "cheap shot."
First I hope you took my advice to bet on Floyd. Ortiz had no shot here. As I mentioned, class applies here like in horse racing. Ortiz had not fought anyone like Mayweather. He is young and did not handle the moment. Worse he seems to have a history of "questionable" behavior. We saw it first against Marcos Rene Maidana. He was looking for an opportunity to quit. Then, there was this incident with the headbutt.
As famed trainer Teddy Atlas said to Percy Crawford of fighthype.com, "I feel like Ortiz looked for a way to get out of the fight and his way to get out of the fight was a headbutt."
This way, Ortiz doesn't quit and lives to see another day. A KO loss (which was only a matter of time), would have set his career back. Now people want to see "Vicious" Victor Ortiz again. And they will. Floyd on the other hand?
He was well on his way to victory, no doubt. I had it a shutout. The only question was would Floyd have let Ortiz survive. So instead of another Mayweather decision victory *yawn*, we have controversy. Which is good for boxing, because that's all we have until Pacquiao-Mayweather. "Another black eye for boxing," rings true, again. Oldest cliche? Sure. But it seems boxing only gets press when something awful happens.
Unlike the UFC, boxing is in the stone ages. Floyd plays the villain role well, however, his treatment of Larry Merchant was disgraceful. Merchant, while perhaps old and cranky at times, is a great link to the past, when fighters actually fought the best competition available on a consistent basis. I loved Larry's retort back to Floyd. So Mayweather is still undefeated, and again, the only fight we care about is Money vs. PacMan.
So will it happen?
All everyone who is anyone cares about is the mega fight, the fight of the century, Floyd vs. Manny. I'm not so sure it is close to happening, however. I was hoping for a spring/summer of 2012 fight, but listening to Floyd's post press conference, both sides remain far apart. Floyd is still crying about drug testing, and Manny is getting ready for his trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez. Money may finally get these guys in the ring, but don't hold your breath. I can name so many fights that didn't happen for so many reasons. Hopefully, they get it done.
Amir Khan or Andre Berto are being rumored as possible Mayweather opponents. Let's hope not. As for Ortiz, he needs a cupcake to destroy, gaining his confidence back will be step one. Hopefully he is not a mental case as I think he is, and is just young and will mature as he goes on. Let's hope so.
Champ's Flurries: Povetkin vs. Holyfield? Really? Is that the best you can do? Hopefully we will finally find out the truth about Arturo Gatti. Was it suicide or homicide? Stay tuned. Speaking of suicide, Ricky Hatton admitted to having a real hard time following his loss to Pacquiao. Glad he is still with us. Looking forward to the Chuck Wepner documentary and movie. The "real" Rocky, who finally got paid after a lawsuit. Shame on you, Sly Stallone! Toshiaki Nishioka vs. Rafael Marquez could be quite the barn burner. Khan vs. Peterson set for December 10th.
And Oscar, what were you thinking? After all these years, I thought those photos were shopped!
Well that's it, fight fans!! Keep your hands up and keep punching for the stars!
Ron Champ Miller