Heavyweight history is littered with former light heavyweight champions who tried unsuccessfully to win a world title in boxing’s big-man division. Vitali Klitschko had little trouble adding Tomasz Adamek to that list Saturday at Miejski Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland where the WBC heavyweight champion defended his title in abbreviated fashion by stopping Adamek at 2:20 of the 10thround. READ MORE...
It’s a bit unconventional for a boxing press conference to kick off with a song, but when Manny Pacquiao is involved, boxing is anything but business as usual. Continuing the worldwide press tour for his upcoming bout on November 12 against Juan Manuel Marquez, the Filipino fighter/congressman came to New York City, where he took the stage with Dan Hill to sing a duet of their hit song “Sometimes When We Touch.”
But don’t think that a little breathy harmonizing means that he’s taking his third bout against Marquez lightly. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum announced that Pacquiao will be training for ten weeks, instead of his usual eight, in anticipation of another battle against the three-division champion. “Our previous fights against each other brought out the best in us,” said Pacquiao. “Of all the opponents I have fought, Juan Manuel Marquez is the only one who was able to anticipate many of my moves and effectively counter most of them, not unlike a chess match; but instead of exchanging pieces we exchange punches. Freddie Roach and I will need to make the most of every training day to prepare for Juan Manuel.”
Always the counterpuncher, Marquez has a plan of his own. “I beat him the first two fights but did not get the decision,” Marquez said. “This time I'm looking for a knockout with more intelligence and patience.”
Like the first fight in their trilogy (a dramatic draw), the November 12th fight for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The event will be preceded by the 11th installment of the 24/7 franchise, with the debut of the first episode on October 22nd at 10:00 PM ET/PT—Pacquiao’s fifth appearance on the program and Marquez’s second. The series will no doubt focus on the intense rivalry and respect between the two fighters, “each with a nation of support behind them,” in the words of Mark Taffet, Senior Vice President of HBO Sports and HBO Pay-Per-View.
For a taste of that drama, take a look back at the full video of the second match-up between the two. A super featherweight title bout that was decided by the absolutely thinnest of margins:
With the potential superfight with Juan Manuel Lopez temporarily off the table (thanks to Orlando Salido), Yuriorkis Gamboa turns his attention to another southpaw slugger in Mexican Daniel Ponce de Leon, who is seeking the ultimate rebound following his disputed decision loss to unbeaten prospect Adrien Broner. The styles indicate a high-octane slugfest but which man will prevail and why? Gamboa is an 8-1 favorite. The following CompuBox factors offer these clues:
Nearly a decade ago, HBO ran an ad depicting the Klitschko brothers plotting world domination -- in boxing terms. The dream of four major belts in the family came true July 2 after Wladimir defeated David Haye to add the WBA belt to the IBF and WBO straps and swatted away one of the two biggest threats to their empire. On Saturday, WBC king Vitali takes on the other in Tomasz Adamek -- in Adamek's native Poland. Vitali is attempting to become only the second 40-or-older heavyweight champ to successfully defend his title. The 46 yr-old George Foreman is the other (4/22/95 W 12 Axel Schulz). Adamek is attempting to become the sixth cruiserweight/light heavyweight champ to win the heavyweight title (Michael Spinks, Roy Jones, Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer & David Haye).
Will Big Brother maintain the siblings' iron grip or will Adamek shake the world by slaying this giant? The oddsmakers say Vitali, installing him as a better than 5 ½-1 favorite. These CompuBox factors lay out what each has done recently and the challenges that face them.
There seems to be a glut of talent in the boxing world right now and it's concentrated in and around the welterweight division. It includes the fight game's two biggest names in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, as well as the participants in a leading fight of the year candidate, Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz. And it may just be a matter of time before the top-tier junior welterweight Amir Khan joins them there as well.
Who currently stands atop the welterweight division? What fights do you want to see get made there (in addition to the obvious one everyone wants to see)? How does this batch of fighters compare to other historically stacked divisions of the past?
Sound off on the welterweight division in the comments.