Boxing is alive and well, if you know where to look
After being one of the millions who plopped down $100 on May 2nd to watch Floyd Mayweather dance around the ring for 12 rounds against Manny Pacquiao, I needed a cleansing. Yes, like many of you, I wasted my money and bought into the hype of the mega-fight. I should have known better — we all should have known better.
Mayweather is very good but key words in boxing don’t come to mind in describing him — action packed, power puncher, toe-to-toe, brawler etc.. Mayweather, for all intents and purposes, is an excellent defensive fighter, and that is boring. Try as he may, Pacquiao couldn’t get Floyd to slug it out with him so the Phillipine legend lost a unanimous decision. And we wasted 100 bucks of our hard-earned money.
For those casual boxing fans that believe the sport is dead, this was the nail in the coffin. For the diehards like myself, we got our cleansing over the next two weeks and we didn’t have to pay the big bucks to get it. HBO was showcasing two of the top fighters in the world on May 9th and May 16th. And if you aren’t a true boxing fan you knew nothing about these fights. But if you are, you couldn’t wait to rid yourself of the bad taste that Mayweather-Pacquiao left in your mouth and the hole it left in your wallet.
Canelo Alvarez got things started two Saturdays ago with a thrilling third-round knockout against a game James Kirkland in front of 31,000-plus at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Alvarez is a 24-year-old superstar in the sport — a Mexican power puncher whose aggressive style and raw punching power make him must-see. Alvarez, who fights at super welterweight, is 45-1-1 with 32 knockouts and his only loss coming to Mayweather by majority decision almost two years ago. Alvarez is a much better fighter now and if there was ever a rematch, I honestly can’t see how Floyd would win. Alvarez is too big, too strong and now has some seasoning behind him.
A week later sensational Russian Gennady Golovkin (Triple G) recorded his 20th consecutive knockout with a sixth-round TKO against a quality fighter in Willie Monroe Jr. in Inglewood, California. Golovkin is a machine — he has the highest knockout percentage in middleweight boxing history. Golovkin is 33 so he is not young in the sport, but he is at the top of his game and no one of any significance — including Mayweather — seems to want to fight this guy. I also enjoyed the undercard with young Texas lightweight sensation Omar Figueroa (25-0-1 with 18 knockouts) winning a unanimous decision over Ricky Burns in another action-packed, exciting fight.
What made those fights so great were opponents who were game. Opponents who came to fight and to try to win. Kirkland, Monroe Jr. and Burns are good, not great fighters. They are aggressive boxers who will go toe-to-toe with their opponents. They were just outclassed by superior fighters.
And for those of us who needed that cleansing after May 2nd — we got it. Boxing is alive and well. There are a ton of great fighters in the sport and two of them were on display in the last two weeks. You just need to know where to find them.