As I watched recent fights that featured current Hispanic greats, it is only befitting that I write my final boxing column during this special time; Hispanic Heritage month.
While I don’t consider myself a boxing prognosticator, I have been known to predict the outcomes of many bouts, with an average of eighty five percent accuracy; knockouts out of nowhere, or unruly judging, notwithstanding. But, my predictions are not limited to fights alone, but to boxing’s immediate future. This leads me to one of my most prolific predictions; the meteoric rise of Golden Boy Promotions.
After losing three of his last five fights, I knew Oscar De La Hoya’s boxing career was over, and a new progression was to be born. Mr. De La Hoya was jockeying into position, to become a premier boxing promoter, overshadowing Don King, Bob Arum, and Goossen Tutor Promotions. I predicted Mr. De La Hoya’s endeavor over ten years ago, and it has since materialized into what it is today, Golden Boy Promotions. I take pride in Mr. De La Hoya’s success as a smart Hispanic businessman. Inarguably, not many former fighters could achieve such success outside of the ring, Hispanic or otherwise.
Like the Mike Tyson, James “Buster” Douglas bout from 1990, no one could have predicted that a Rocky-like story would come out of the “Vicious” Victor Ortiz and Josesito Lopez bout from this past June. After taking the fight with a few weeks notice, Mr. Lopez derailed Mr. Ortiz’s plans to move up in weight, and contest the junior middleweight champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Instead, it was Mr. Lopez, who after breaking Mr. Ortiz’s jaw, and stopping him after nine rounds, went onto center stage, to fight the young, wrecking ball of a champion, Mr. Alvarez.
Regrettably, Mr. Lopez was not able to duplicate the same success in the Alvarez bout as he did against Mr. Ortiz. Mr. Alvarez proved to be much too strong, leveling Mr. Lopez with devastating punches to the liver that ended the bout after five short, one-sided rounds. To his credit, Mr. Lopez was able to put together a few quick combinations that would have stopped a smaller man dead in his tracks. But Mr. Alvarez was not to be that smaller man. In my assumption, Mr. Alvarez is to be Mexico’s next great champion. Fighting with the calculated measure of a fighter far beyond his twenty-two years, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Not since Carlos Monzon, have I seen not one, but presently three, Argentinian champions; Marcos Maidana, Lucas Mathysse, and Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez.
Under the tutelage of future hall-of-famer, Robert Garcia, Mr. Maidana, no longer the brawler, used his newly acquired piston-like jab to destroy Jesus Soto Karass, over eight punishing rounds on September 15, 2012, to win the WBA Inter-Continental welterweight title.
On the same night of the Maidana/Soto-Karass bout, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez was exposing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., in a lopsided bout. I use the word exposed, because, prior to their bout, Mr. Chavez Jr. boasted a 48-0 record, and equally boasted that he would easily defeat Mr. Martinez. That was not to be the case, though. Mr. Martinez, who had fought much tougher opposition than Mr. Chavez Jr., completely dominated the fight from the opening bell. When discussing this fight, I like to jeer Mr. Chavez’s performance, by stating that he must have thought that he was fighting all three Argentinian fighters at once, because he was getting hit from every possible angle. Only in the twelfth round did Mr. Chavez score a flash knockdown on a very exhausted Mr. Martinez, but not enough to win him the bout. Mr. Martinez was rightfully re-crowned the WBC middleweight champion.
Similarly, Lucas Mathysse battled the Nigerian warrior, Olusegun Ajose, on September 8, 2012. Although staggered several times, Ajose would bounce off the ropes with startling combinations. Ajose showed heart, dedication, and a never-say-die-attitude. But it was a war of attrition. In the end, Mr. Mathysse’s steady onslaught earned him a technical knockout victory in the tenth round, and the interim WBC light welterweight championship.
My apologies to diehard Miguel Cotto fans (I am one of them), but I believe Mr. Cotto’s best days are behind him. The punishment Mr. Cotto withstood at the hands of the cheating Antonio Margarito, and the fair, Manny Pacquiao, have left him a shell of what he once was. Puerto Rico must now clamor for another great fighter to assume the mantle; the likes of Wilfredo Gomez, Juan Laporte, Wilfred Benitez, Alfredo Escalera, Esteban DeJesus, Jose “Chegui” Torres, Edwin “El Chapo” Rosario, and Felix “Tito” Trinidad. I have been known to be wrong, and I could possibly be wrong about Miguel Cotto. In fact, I hope I am proven so. However, it is promising to see that like Mr. De La Hoya, Mr. Cotto has started his own boxing promotion company. Please visit http://www.promocionesmiguelcotto.com/ for more information.
My second apology goes out to all the Hispanic nationalities not mentioned in this column. There is only so much room. Please know that you are all in my heart and my cherished memories. However, I would be remiss if I did not mention my all time favorite fighter, the dearly departed gentleman of the sport, Alexis Arguello, from Nicaragua. May you forever rest in peace. Thank you for all the wonderful ring memories.
I must end my column with a plea to aid the ailing Wilfred Benitez in Puerto Rico. Mr. Benitez, who suffers from dementia and diabetes, could use any help your heart can muster. Let us not forget this fallen champion, and remember all the pleasure he has brought to our lives. Even a check for five dollars would be greatly appreciated. All donations are tax deductible. Please mail donations to Ring 10, 30 Bowdon Rd., Greenlawn, NY 11740.
Thank you and God bless