Rigondeaux and Kirkland Dazzle in Atlantic City
Guillermo Rigondeaux is just too good. Sometimes it happens in sports. Secretariat winning triple crown races by 20 lengths. Rafael Nadal winning the French Open eight times in nine years. Jimmie Johnson dominating NASCAR....
The way Guillermo Rigondeaux boxes, deserves mention into that elite category of great champions. His boxing is pure domination. He's always in total control, every second, every minute. Though he does not possess any exceptional advantages like height, power of reach, he combines everything with his intelligence.
No matter who he fights, after a round or two, you can see the poor opponent doesn't have a chance.
Last night in Atlantic City, some fans and media started to depart the arena after round three. It was as if they had grown tired, not unlike how watching a cat play with a mouse or a ball of yarn becomes boring.
Rigondeaux himself wears an expression on his face where it looks like he's actually bored sometimes. It's just too easy.
Guillermo Rigondeaux is one of the finest boxers I have ever seen. With his uncanny talents and low key charisma, he seems almost freakish, not quite human. And I say that with total respect.
Kirkland vs. Tapia
One of the best fights I have ever seen. Tapia wanted the early KO and almost got it. But Kirkland was determined. He weathered the storm and turned the tables on the kid in the second round. Tapia landed his best punches but they didn't have the expected effect. There was no Plan B. I noticed at the start of each round, Kirkland took the lead and was at ring center, ready and eager to get back to work. Tapia, always late, only came out a few steps, the signal sent was that he was backing off. At the beginning of each round I noticed Tapia did not come out as far, he retreated a step or two of territory to start each round. And Kirkland seized the advantage in the mental warfare, he attacked Tapia like a raging bull in each round.
Incredible fight and victory by James Kirkland who can give any man from junior middle on down a nightmare, Pacquiao and Mayweather included. James Kirkland is one of the most exciting fighters in the business today.
Julian Rodriguez scored a shutout decision over Ryan Picou of Las Vegas, 40-36. Hammer Hands is now 2-0 and showed excellent skills, speed, combinations but Picou was too tough to stop. I spoke with Picou after and he gave full credit to Rodriguez. Picou said he has sparred with Gamboa in Vegas, so despite his 0-2 record, he's no pushover.
Egor Mekhontsev opened the night with a pro debut KO of Peter Cajigas of Illinois. The Russian is a former Olympic gold medalist and looks like a future world champion. There early to watch Mekhontsev was Sergei Kovalev.
A Russian media man told me the Russian Boxing Federation has not donated anything to help the family of Mago Abdusalamov, who is still suffering in a coma after losing to Cuban Mike Perez at Madison Square Garden. Mike Tyson has give $l0,000 to the family.
Jesse "Hard Work" Hart, son of former Philly star Eugene Cyclone Hart, KOed LA's Tyrell Hendrix in the first round of a super middleweight bout. Hart is now ll-0. He had a very enthusiastic fanbase in the house, with one especially vocal fellow sitting right behind hollering a lot of excitement, such as, "Ask Andre Ward, he got his eye on Hart."
Long time Top Rank middleweight Matt Korobev, has been slow to develop as a pro after an illustrious amateur career. Korobev is now trained by Charles Mooney and is based in Palm Beach, after previously working with other trainers including Dan Birmingham in St. Pete three years ago. Korobev looked very muscular and tried for the first round KO, staggering Derek Edwards of NC. With ring observers shouting for the bout to be stopped, Edwards was taking a pounding, suddenly the American landed a left hook which froze Korobev on his feet against the ropes. Somehow the stiffened Russian lasted the round and regained control of the fight, cautiously dominating until getting the stoppage in the tenth. Good win for Korobev (22-0), he overcame a big challenge (Edwards is now 26-3) and could get a title shot next year.
In the house, Larry Merchant working for Top Rank TV. Jameel McCline, fitness consultant for Matt Korobev. Leon Muhammad who told me Carl King, the son of Don King, recently suffered a heart attack. Prayers go out for Carl King, always a nice guy.