Body Blows: Baldomir/Gatti, Thoughts on The Contender 2 & More

Arturo Gatti fights are some of the most anticipated fights of the year regardless of his opponent. Last Saturday his opponent just so happened to be WBC Welterweight champion Carlos Baldomir. Baldomir is coming off a huge upset victory over Zab Judah and hasn’t lost a fight since 1998. More importantly, his straight-forward style meshes well with Gatti’s flair for excitement. Anything less than a quality action fight would have left many boxing fans disappointed. Arturo Gatti has learned to embrace his label as the “Blood and Guts Warrior” but every now and then he likes to remind the fans he can box too.

Carlos Baldomir vs. Arturo Gatti

While Arturo Gatti showed a few glimpses of his old self in the ring, this fight was all Carlos Baldomir. Gatti caught Baldomir with some good shots but the Argentinian kept coming forward. With no respect for his punching power and an apparently injured right hand, anyone other than Arturo Gatti would have been counted out of this fight. Why not? Arturo has come back from this sort of thing before. However, Gatti hasn’t faced someone with as much determination as Carlos Baldomir had on this night. Baldomir simply would not be denied a victory.

Gatti began losing steam in the 7th round and remarkably, Baldomir was not. Baldomir’s conditioning for this fight was amazing. It seemed with the amount of energy he was using in the first half of the fight that he would inevitably wind down in the second half. This was not the case as Baldomir continued to slug away at Gatti in the eighth and ninth rounds, this time with less response from Gatti. A succession of punches capped off by a left hook finally put Arturo to the mat in the ninth round. To the surprise of no one, Gatti rose to his feet as his hometown fans did all they could to rally behind their fighter. Baldomir took the opportunity to finish off his opponent and ensure there would be no fairy tale ending this time. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth stopped the fight when Gatti went down again from a barrage of punches from Baldomir officially at 2:50 of the ninth round.

Carlos Baldomir now has the welterweight world at his fingertips. Fights with Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr have already been mentioned. A fight with Hatton would be the most exciting as two bulls with eternal stamina would collide. Margarito would also provide for an exciting fight as he offers a unique style that compliments Baldomir in the ring. Finally, a fight against Mayweather would be his toughest yet also the most lucrative. Mayweather is just too quick for Baldomir to deal with, yet he should put up a better effort against Mayweather than Gatti did when he was embarrassed by Pretty Boy Floyd.

As for Gatti’s future, the immediate reaction seems to be retirement. He had said that if he lost his last fight against Thomas Damgaard that he would retire. Even though he won that fight, he must have had the same frame of mind coming into this fight with Carlos Baldomir. The selfish side of me would love to see Arturo get in the ring one more time, but the rational side of me is appreciative of all that Gatti has done for boxing. For all the will he has shown throughout his career, the only thing Gatti has left to prove is that he was the will to walk away.

The Contender Returns

Boxing’s favorite reality show returned with a new season last week. ESPN aired two episodes of The Contender and it seems as though this season will be entertaining, despite some flaws with the show.

First off, they got rid of the challenges which can only be a good thing in this type of environment. Last season, some of the fighters would acquire injuries during these events while others would simply not participate to avoid such injuries. This leaves more time to show the fighters around the house and what rivalries develop. This sort of character development leads the viewer to care more about the fighters than they would by watching them do time trials through rows of tires. Similar to The Ultimate Fighter 3, the match-making decisions fall to the winning team. They have yet, however, to refer to it as “the hammer.”

For all the adjustments that were made there are still some flaws. I cannot tolerate an edited fight. Maybe casual fans get caught up in the background music pausing right before a crushing blow but I find it rather insulting. In the second fight, Bravo and Cisneros had a 5-round brawl that was very sloppy. They would throw combinations at each other that were easily blocked but you couldn’t tell by the sound effects. It’s not so much of a reality show when they take the reality out of it.

A much smaller gripe, but a gripe nonetheless is the weight class. These fighters are advertised as welterweights. When they were making weight for their fights, the limit was 149 lbs. Welterweights fight at 147 lbs. Sure, it’s only two pounds but that’s the difference between the light middleweights on the show making and missing weight. If you are going to fight at the welterweight level, then use the welterweight limits, not your own interpretation of them.

On to my pick of Michael Clark to win it all. Obviously that didn’t work out. While Cornelius Bundrage’s win over Clark would qualify as an upset, it’s not as big as the show would lead you to believe. Cornelius was 21-1 coming into this fight with his lone loss coming to light middleweight prospect Sechew Powell. I even picked him to make it to the final four. Bundrage getting picked last had everything to do with Michael Clark’s verbal bashing. Clark clowned Bundrage during his training in front of the entire cast so no one wanted to seem stupid by picking him. In a related note, Blue Team captain Nick Acevedo had the funniest moment when he picked Freddy Curiel with his first pick. Curiel himself lamented the pick, wondering if Acevedo knew he hasn’t fought in four years.

There is still a chance someone could get hurt and not be allowed to continue. If that’s the case, look for Clark to return a la Peter Manfredo last season. If that doesn’t happen, I think I’m allowed a reprieve in my pick. I think Stephen Forbes is the man to beat now. He has all the skills that Michael Clark has but his head seems to be in a better place. He won’t let disrespect for an opponent cloud his game plan. Enjoy the season. Let me know what you think about The Contender and I’ll post your thoughts in a future column.

Results From Last Week

– Cornelius Bundrage defeated Michael Clark by majority decision in the first round of The Contender on ESPN.

– In the second Contender fight, Norberto Bravo beat Rudy Cisneros by split decision.

– Japanese light middleweight Crazy Kim scored a ninth round TKO over Baira Kim.

– Antonio Mesquita of Brazil improved his record to 33-0 with a TKO of Santos Pakau in the 6th round.

– Steven Luevano won his featherweight bout against Cristobal Cruz by unanimous decision.

– Jameel McCline outslugged Terry Smith to a unanimous decision.

– Allan Green knocked out Contender’s #1 Daddy Anthony Bonsante in the fifth round. Green may have gained an inflated ego with the win because he called out Jeff Lacy after the fight. Negotiations for the fight have already begun.

– Giovanni Lorenzo moved up the middleweight ranks with a 6th round TKO of Bryon Mackie.

10 McChickens in One Night

What you are about to read is 100% true.

It started out as a very simple afternoon watching basketball with my roommate. A mid-afternoon emergence from my bedroom was followed by a trip to the John. I highly doubt I had taken the time to put a shirt on. I gave a polite wave to the crackhead/stripper neighbors as I checked my mailbox then proceeded to play with my belly as I lay on the couch. Like I said, a pretty normal day.

As the games played themselves out, I started to turn my attention towards dinner. It wasn’t close to dinner time but I had all intent on making it my only meal of the day so I needed to make it count. I had no ambition to make a meal for myself and the less time spent waiting on my food the better. That meant fast food. I’d only gone through a drive-thru three times that week so I was way below my quota. I try not to get cute in these situations so I knew I had two options:

1) A large pepperoni pizza from Little Caesar’s
2) Five McChickens from the McDonald’s $1 value menu

Little Caesar’s was a block away from my apartment and featured a drive-thru where you could get large pepperoni pizzas for $5 each. This is the main reason I renewed the lease on that apartment for another year. A few more blocks down the road was the almighty McDonald’s. Despite being a longer drive, the Golden Arches featured a left turn light on the way out whereas every time I left Little Caesar’s it felt like a game of Frogger.

As you can see, both options come to the same price. That got me to thinking which one would be more filling, thus giving me more value. In order to figure that out, I had to think which one would be more difficult to eat. After discussing it with my roommate, we figured that neither is difficult for me to eat because I’m disgusting. Fair enough. Let’s double the equation. What’s more difficult to eat, 2 large pepperoni pizzas or 10 McChickens?

As we are talking it over, it becomes a far more interesting conversation than I ever imagined. I thought eating two whole large pizzas was a lot harder than eating 10 McChickens but I needed some more input. I called one of my friends who just so happened to be eating lunch at a restaurant. He asked everyone at his table their thoughts, including his server.

A lot of people were jumping on the McChicken bandwagon because of all the bread. I thought that was retarded because there is plenty of dough in a pizza. Despite the absurdity of the bread argument, my roommate and I were having a good time calling our friends and family with the sole purpose of asking them if they thought it was harder to eat two large pizzas or 10 McChickens.

I’d like to give special recognition to Mike, who answered his phone and took a vested interest in the poll despite being in attendance at the very basketball game we were watching on TV. Maybe I have a reputation for being a bit of an oddball but of the 23 people surveyed, not one person hung up on me or called me an idiot. In fact, I received many calls from the previously surveyed to check in on the progress. This is about the time things turned for the worse.

Pizzas started out strong but then there was a huge run on McChickens and they never looked back. The final score was something like 17-6. I wasn’t ready for the question that followed. “So, Trent, when are you going to do it?”

“What?” I replied. “I’m not going to do it. I was just wondering which one was more difficult. My roommate and I were curious and I was just looking for some feedback.”

Not the right answer. “Booo!” they all said in unison. “You have to do it. How else will you know which one is more difficult? Plus, you can’t just build this thing up and have no payoff. That’s lame.”

Apparently I created a little buzz throughout the state of Kentucky and a small portion of central Illinois. I had to steamroll through the shame I felt in telling my Dad what his son was about to do (he voted pizzas, by the way) if I wanted to get through this. I started this whole thing so it’s up to me to finish it. Since McChickens was the unanimous winner, then that would be my mission….

Read the thrilling conclusion in Part 2 next week.

Spit Bucket

Who would you like to see Baldomir fight next? Does Bundrage have a shot at becoming the next Contender? Do you think it’s more difficult to eat two large pepperoni pizzas or ten McChickens? Export all your answers to Afterwards, import these articles to your screen:

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