2008 is Shaping Up!

We are off to a nice start to 2008 in the world of Pugilism with the exception of the heavyweight division.  We had a nice rematch with Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor last month and this past weekend, we had a fantastic rubber match between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez. The fistic fireworks should continue the next two weekends. 

This weekend Showtime Championship Boxing has what could turn out to be a great Cruiserweight Fight pitting WBA and WBO champion David Haye from London defending his crowns against once beaten power puncher Enzo Maccarinelli of Wales.  The fight will take place in what surely will be a sold out and raucous Millennium Dome in London. 

The following week, here in Las Vegas, will be another sellout at  Mandalay Bay with the rematch between ‘The Pacman’ Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, who battled to a draw back  in 2004.  

Before we get to any of that, let’s go back and take just a few seconds or few words about the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Sultan Ibragimov fight that took place February 23 at Madison Square Garden in New York.  Klitschko, as expected, won the fight, but was very unimpressive winning a 12-round unanimous decision.  The best punch that Wlad demonstrated the entire fight was slapping down Ibragimov’s right hand with his left hand.  It looked silly because he did nothing behind it.  It is OK to slap down a fighters lead hand if you follow up with something, but to just slap and slap is a joke. 

You know this fight followed a very nice special HBO put together about Joe Louis, and I had to think to myself what Louis would think if he were watching this.  Louis had such a great arsenal of punches.  What can I say about today’s big boys of boxing…not much. 

They could really learn a thing or two from watching the little guys, Vazquez and Marquez, who battled for a third time in less than a year this past weekend.   The two little fighters from Mexico City put on yet another thrilling, ebb and flow battle with Vazquez pouring it on in the last round, scoring a late knockdown and sealing the fight in what turned out to be a split decision.  

Marquez boxed well throughout the fight and scored a knockdown of his own but just could not keep the ever pressing forward Vazquez off of him.  Vazquez has now won the last two fights of this trilogy.  It begs to answer will there be another, a 4th fight?  Well, if there is one, they better give these guys a little time to recover.  They should both take some time off and come back with just a warm-up fight.  Thanks guys for three great fights! 

On to this weekend and what should be a barn burner for as long as it lasts between Haye and Maccarinelli.  Let’s break these two down statistically.  Haye is 27-years old, is 6’ 3”, with just over an 80” wing span in reach.  His record is 20-1 with 19 knockouts. He is coming off a 7th round TKO over Jean-Marc Mormeck in November of last year. 
Maccarinelli is also 27, stands just an inch taller than Haye and has a record of 28-1 with 21 knockouts.  Enzo is coming off a TKO in 4 rounds in November of last year over Mohamed Azzaoui. 

I have not seen either one of these two in action.  I met Enzo here in Vegas when I was shooting an episode of In This Corner with Joe Calzaghe, his stable mate.  Enzo is trained by Joe’s papa Enzo.  Haye, I have been told by some of my British boxing pals, is quite the specimen and has tremendous athleticism and big-time power.  He is slated to move up to the heavyweight division after this fight.  I have been told he may be a bit chinny. 

Enzo should be able to test that with his big-time power they tell me he has.  I have been told that Maccafrinelli has really shown improvement of late, as he was a bit too mechanical earlier on.  Haye is the favorite and most expect him to win.  Since I have not seen either guy in action, I cannot make a pick, but I will predict it will be an exciting fight. Again it will be on Showtime Championship Boxing. 

This all leads to the following weekend and the Pacquiao vs. Marquez rematch here in Vegas.  I should be able to spend some time with both fighters soon.   I will break down the fight and give you my prediction next week. 

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