Body Blows: Pacquiao/Larios, Evander Holyfield, Wimbledon, and Happy Birthday America.

Happy Independence Day to all the American readers out there. To any foreign brethren, Happy Tuesday. Today is a day to kick back, watch baseball and fireworks, grill out by the pool, and celebrate our independent statehood with our friends and families. I can think of no better way to pay tribute to the good ‘ol USA than by leading my column with a fight between a Philippine and a Mexican in Manilla.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar Larios

No major world titles were on the line in this Super Featherweight fight but that didn’t mean we wouldn’t witness and international slugfest. Manny Pacquiao wanted to keep busy leading up to his third fight with Erik Morales later this year but took a big chance in facing Oscar Larios, even though Larios came up two weight classes to fight the Pac Man. Larios came in with a record of 56-4-1 while Manny Pacquiao came in with an impressive 41-3-2 record.

Manny Pacquiao is reaching a god-like status in his home country of the Philippines. There was absolutely no way Pacquiao was going to give anything less than full effort for his home fans. To his credit, Oscar Larios showed up to fight, but there was just no way for him to break Pacquiao’s will on this night. Pacquiao dominated the fight and won by unanimous decision.

It’s not easy to defeat a fighter in his hometown during the main event but Larios did not back down. Larios landed a left hook to Pacquiao’s head in the third round and had the hometown hero hurt. Pacquiao regained his senses and that would turn out to be Larios’ best chance to win the fight. An accumulation of punches put Larios down in the seventh round and again in the twelfth and final round. Larios showed heart in getting up both times and making it to the final bell. In fact, Pacquiao’s last twenty wins came by knockout so Larios can find consolation in going the distance.

Next for Pacquiao is a mega-fight with Erik Morales in November. It will be the third fight between the two men, with Morales taking the first contest and Pacquiao knocking Morales out for the first time in his career in the second bout. The third match should be nothing short of a candidate for fight of the year.

I Spoke Too Soon

Last week I wrote about five boxers that should retire. This week I amend my list to six boxers so I can make room for one extra special fighter that I had hoped already went away.

Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield 38-8-2 (25 KOs)
The reasons why Evander Holyfield should be obvious. He is 43 years old. His boxing license was revoked due to diminished skills and poor performance. He received a medical suspension prohibiting him from fighting in the United States. This would later be reduced to just the state of New York after Holyfield fought the decision. That was the first fight Evander Holyfield won in four years.

In June, Holyfield underwent four tests for medical clearance to get into the boxing ring. Evander passed all the tests and is now eligible to fight in the United States again. His next fight is in August and is scheduled against journeyman Jeremy Bates. Unfortunately, Holyfield won’t stop there. He wants to be world champion again. Holyfield has more heart and courage than any other heavyweight that stepped into the ring. He also has a checkered past concerning his health and things will not get any better at his age. I can’t see this ending well for Holyfield and it is downright distressing to watch a fighter deteriorate as years go by. Holyfield won’t stop until he proves people wrong yet again. The problem for Evander is that he doesn’t know what to do when the people are right.

Results From Last Week

– Dominick Guinn took another step backwards as he lost his heavyweight bout to Tony Thompson by unanimous decision. Guinn seemed to gain momentum with his victory over Audley Harrison in April but that was nothing more than false pugilistic prophecy. Thompson improved to 28-1 with the win and hasn’t lost since 2000.

– Ricardo Torres, who gave Miguel Cotto a scare last year, knocked out Carlos Donquiz in the second round of their ten-round contest.

– Pongsaklek Wonjongkam retained his WBC Flyweight Title with a 4th round TKO over Everardo Morales. The fight was stopped due to Morales being a bloody mess. Wonjongkam celebrated with a red puffball hat.

– Oliver McCall defeated Kenny Craven by first round TKO.

– Shane Swartz upset Dale Brown in their cruiserweight matchup when the fight went to the scorecards early. An accidental headbutt in the fifth round opened a cut on Swartz that was too severe to allow the fight to continue. By rule, stoppage of a fight due to an accidental cut goes to the scorecards. Swartz was aggressive early and it paid off, as Brown’s patient style wasn’t given enough time to develop.

– Juan Urango became the new IBF Light Welterweight champion when he obtained a controversial unanimous decision over Naoufel Ben Rabah. This was the main event on ESPN Friday Night Fights. Commentators Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas were outraged by the decision, as Rabah landed 32% of his punches and outboxed the wilder Urango, who landed only 17% of his punches.

– It was a family affair on Showtime last Saturday. Ronald Hearns, son of Tommy, defeated Hector Hernandez by 6th round TKO. James McGirt Jr, son of former boxer/current trainer Buddy McGirt, earned a unanimous decision over Stephan Pryor, son of Aaron Pryor. In the main event, Chazz Witherspoon, cousin of former heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon, defeated Michael Alexander by unanimous decision.

Jockscraps – The Stories They Won’t Tell

Marat Safin Throws Dingleberry At Umpire

After winning a point against Fernando Gonzalez in the second round of Wimbledon, Marat Safin mooned the crowd in celebration. The pants-dropping came after a drop shot capped off an intense rally between the two players. The British crowd was humored by the incident but the chair umpire was not. Safin was given a point penalty for his actions.

Safin reacted unfavorably to the call and that was when things got really nasty. Safin reached around to his rear end, and plucked a dingleberry out. He reared back and hurled the dingleberry at the umpire, ironically getting it stuck in the umpire’s hair.

Unseeded in the tournament, Safin went on to lost the match in five sets. This is the first public act of resistance from Safin in two weeks, a personal record for the Russian. The ATP Tour has been on Safin’s case for a long time. Safin refuses to tone down his personality and hints that more foul play could be in the future.

“That’s fine! I do what I want,” assures Safin.

Spit Bucket

Next week I will recap a big fight card in St. Louis as well as preview the fighters for the new season of The Contender. If you are bored with your life and looking for more entertainment than a weekly boxing column can give you, then step out of that shell and give these people a glance:

If you missed Ultimate Fight Night, Reverend Sick has the review of all the action, or lack thereof.

Steve Price talks World Cup and Canada in the Happy Hour.

Gregory Wind takes the side of the “know-it-all” music fans and doesn’t manage to come of as an elitist himself. I still want to punch music snobs in the liver.

Speaking of snobbish music fans, now is your chance to jump on The Twinks bandwagon.

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