First off, let me say that finally Sam Peter fulfilled my pugilistic prophecy from about three years ago when I said he would become the first Nigerian-born Heavyweight Champion, (sorry Ike Ibeabuche but you’re in jail and missed out). Sam stopped the 39-year old, and looking much older, Oleg Masqaev in round six last Saturday night in Cancun to win the WBC belt.
Both fighters looked like they were in Cancun to vacation rather than really fight. Sam who is only 27 looked 39 and Masqaev looked about 59. Peter, whose only loss was to Wladimir Klitschko, showed way more energy and emotion after the fight than during it. His problem is simple. Too much weight and not enough stamina, and I have told him this for three years now, but I guess why listen to me when you can regress as a fighter and still win a portion of the pathetic heavyweight championship.
Now on to what could be a very good breath of fresh air for the heavyweight division, his name is David Haye and he is the Cruiserweight Champion of the World. He solidified that claim by stopping Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli in round two. This was touted to be a great fight, but Maccarinelli never could get started and he has dreadful lack of head movement which cost him dearly against the very fast, very powerful and very athletic Haye.
The London-born Haye fighting at home before what seemed like a partisan Enzo crowd looked very good and very confident all the way. He had said before the fight that this would be his last fight as a cruiser and that he was off the heavyweight division. After the fight he sent a message to the big boys to look out and, you know what, I agree. He has been knocked out before and some question his chin, but the earlier mentioned Masqaev was knocked out FIVE times before losing by yet another stoppage last week. Haye can make some noise and will, more importantly, make it fun and exciting when he steps up to battle the big guys. Much more on Haye in the future and you can expect to see him on a future episode of IN THIS CORNER.
One other quick note from the Cancun card; congratulations go out to Florida boy Nate Campbell who defeated Juan Diaz to capture the in a much deserved 12-round split decision. I said Florida boy, but Nate is 36-years old, and me being a older Florida boy, well he made me proud!
Now onto Saturday night here in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay the rematch of Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. These two as you know battled to a draw back on May 8, 2004 at the MGM Grand right down the strip. Marquez went down three times in round one and then came back to really make it an even fight after 12 rounds. Manny says he injured his hand in that very first round.
I will break this one down quickly. Manny is better and Marquez is older (34-years old) at least as fighters go. Freddie Roach has really helped Pacquiao to improve his skills especially utilization of the right hand off his southpaw style. When this fight was first signed I was about dead even on my pick, because in recent years Pacquiao has been so distracted with his Filipino heritage and love for it via movies, music, TV, and even dreaded politics. Thank God he lost.
I believe in my conversation with him the other day that he realizes this. He knows that if it were not for the sport of boxing no one in the Philippines, other than his family, would even know his name. What a rags to riches story, a young man selling whatever he could in the streets to now having streets lined with millions chanting his name. You see, it’s not only in America, but at least we have helped Manny.
As for Marquez, he is an excellent fighter, I generally pick him to win most of his fights, but I have to say he is still a poor man’s Barrera, Morales or an even poorer Mexico man’s Chavez. Bottom line is Manny has gotten better, Marquez has gotten older and, and Pacquiao appears to be totally focused for this one.
Most likely it will go the distance but that is too boring for this one again, so I will say Pac-Man wins via a ninth round TKO. Be sure to tune in to INTHISCORNERTV.COM for post-fight coverage and the best in big-time boxing coverage.