Round by Round – Weekly Boxing Notes

Four on the Floor ↵
↵After a bit of a lull for sweet scientists, big-time boxing is back tomorrow night with not one, not two, but four title fights, and all of them with big consequences for future bouts. ↵

↵It’s also the first HBO/Showtime showdown of the year, as HBO televises the Miguel Cotto v. Alfonso Gomez / Antonio Margarito v. Kermit Cintron card from A.C., while Showtime gives us a night of light heavies from Tampa, Bad Chad Dawson v. Glen Johnson and Clinton Woods v. Antonio Tarver. ↵

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↵Of this foursome, Cotto has the most to lose, but also probably has the least to worry about – many people close to both camps believe that Cotto could beat Gomez without training at all. ↵

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↵As for Margarito/Cintron, Margarito will be trying to get himself Cintron’s IBF belt and become a major player in the increasingly lucrative welterweight sweepstakes, while Cintron will seek to undo the ignominy of his first loss to Margarito and set himself up for a decent bout this summer, possibly against the winner of the Carlos Quintana/Paul Williams rematch. Margarito is riding high after a brain-blasting first-round TKO of Golden Johnson on the Cotto/Mosley undercard last November. Check it out below – the brutality begins at about 3:35. ↵

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↵In Tampa, it’s the old guy versus the young gun, and then old guy versus not-quite-as-old guy. Thirty-nine-year old Glen Johnson will try to regain a share of the title at 175 by taking on the highly-touted Chad Dawson. Light heavyweight is increasingly looking like a glamour division with guys like Joe Calzaghe, Jermain Taylor and Felix Trinidad moving in, and Dawson will be in line for fights with any of that bunch with a convincing victory over Johnson tomorrow. As for the Clinton Woods/Antonio Tarver bout, the 35-year-old Woods evidently has a bout made with Calzaghe already for the summer that is conditional on his beating the 39-year-old Tarver. Oddly enough, despite Tarver’s highly suspect recent outings, Vegas has this as a pick’em. We’ll certainly see if the Magic Man has any tricks left up his sleeve, because a loss to Woods tomorrow night will send Tarver packing off into the Land of Utter Irrelevance. ↵

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↵I Coulda Been a Contender
↵As you’ve probably heard by now, ESPN has cancelled The Contender. The show’s producer, Jeff Wald, says that talks are already under way to move it to another network. ↵

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↵Ever since The Contender began on NBC back in 2005, people have written to me presuming that, as a boxing writer, I watch and love the show. In fact, though I did ultimately enjoy the fact that it generated some buzz about boxing in the mainstream media, on the whole I hated The Contender and everything it stood for. ↵

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↵As a guy who’s done a lot of television writing, I can tell you that (if you haven’t already gleaned this for yourself) reality TV is a complete sham. 90210 had about as much reality as, say, Top Chef. To see boxing (which as far as I’m concerned is the ultimate in reality, period, as far as sports go) reduced to the bland plot-lines and dramatic platitudes of Survivor and all of its bastard children was painful. I particularly hated the way they edited the fights into montages and set them to music. This may not be patently obvious to people who have no experience in the genre, but you can edit anything to look like anything on the screen. It’s a hall of mirrors, the whole editing hustle. ↵

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↵There are numerous great docs to be made about struggling, journeyman fighters, a million legitimate Rocky’s out there plying their trade of blood and guts. A fighter’s life, whether champ or chump, is more cinematic than cinema itself. So tell the stories with some dignity, I say, bring people into the real gyms, and let The Contender die a merciful death. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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