The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Weekend Thoughts

A few ramblers….

– The Golden Boy PPV ended up being pretty decent all told. JM Marquez looked in some respects the best he has in a while, reclaiming some of the defensive ability which once distinguished him before he began to slow down and move towards a more offensive style. Actually that contrast is instructive: one of the defining features which separates a great fighter from a good fighter is the capacity to adjust and excel in different fashions depending on what is required. Marquez has shown the ability to adjust in fights (getting up off the deck against Pacquiao to out-box Manny for the rest of their first fight once he had the timing) and outside of fights as he’s maintained his edge even as his physical talents have clearly begun to decline in his late 30’s. Juan Diaz has never shown that ability: he’s infamous for crumbling in fights when he’s cut, and on Saturday against Marquez he changed his style from pressure and volume to controlled aggression and a jab, an adjustment which ultimately availed him nothing as he was beaten just as badly the second time out as he was the first only being spared the KO by engaging less. Juan Diaz is a very good fighter; Juan Manuel Marquez is a great one.

– I do not understand the idea that Rocky Juarez is somehow a sad case. He’s gotten 5 bloody title shots all for good money against star fighters and legends, the kind of fights which are damn hard to get, and he’s gone 0-4-1 in those fights only to still end up featured on PPV in an important fight. If anything he’s gotten surprisingly good treatment from boxing over the years and been afforded opportunities which many superior fighters have not been. It would be sad that he’s never won a title if he were the victim of bad decisions or screwjob refereeing; but he’s not. He’s just a solid fighter who’s not good enough to beat a champion. There’s no shame in that, and it’s not as though Rocky hasn’t gotten the chances he deserves to try to prove that there’s more to him.

– That said, Rockey’s complete lack of a second gear or a sense of urgency after all these years still baffles me. He may be the most consistent fighter in the sport, and the easiest to gameplan for. You get what you get with him- no more and no less.

– Look, I’m an asshole for this, but let’s get it out there: I have no problems with humanizing fighters or, frankly, getting them over with human interest stories; but at some point when you keep beating me about the head and shoulders with a single story I’m going to get tired of the attempts to manipulate my feelings no matter how worthy or heart-string-tugging the subject matter may be. I am glad Robert Guerrero’s wife has beaten cancer, I wish her years of long life and no recurrences. But for the love of God, stop flashing to a camera shot of her after every damn round and stop mentioning her every 5 minutes.

– And that is really about all I have to say about Robert Guerrero incidentally. It’s not that he’s awful, it’s just that he fought a version of Joel Casamayor who had the big fork in his back and barely went after him, never tried to finish, got knocked down on a jab in the 10th and then popped up to hug the older man as soon as the final bell went. You know, the bell which signals the end of sparring. It was a fight so utterly blandly nothing that I can’t even be mad at it; I just don’t care. If Guerrero thinks he’s going to do anything at 140 though he’s got another thing coming- the big names there don’t play, and pretty much any of them will work him badly.

– Poor old Danny Jacobs. There’s real questions about his chin after he got crushed by that right, and real questions about the brain living behind it after the interview he cut on HBO post-fight which seems to have irked a lot of people. The recent track record of NYC prospects is really poor; if Jacobs flames out we’re pretty much down to Peter Quillin, and that is deeply no buys. Here’s hoping Jacobs comes back well. And here’s also hoping that Dmitry Pirog is there waiting for him in a rematch in a year or so; that was a darn fun fight while it went, and Pirog has this oddball charisma which makes him memorable enough to want to see again.

– Stoppages. It amazes me that the two on the UFC show are being criticized. Tyson Griffin did the dead man’s fall face-first and was unable to move his hands to a defensive position while being punched in the face on the ground. When he got up to argue the call he slumped backwards and nearly fell down again. He was done; this is not arguable. The Jones/V-mat stoppage was perhaps a bit more arguable, but I think it needs to be remembered that there’s rarely one exact perfect moment to end things- the best you can ask of a referee is to be within a reasonable area with his or her calls. I might have let that one go a bit longer, but given that Matyushenko was trapped, immobile, taking repeated hard shots to the head and unable to escape the position either physically or by letting time run down, it was a reasonable call.

– Incidentally, color me not exactly won over on Gomi yet. He hits really, really hard; but power is the last thing to go. When he beats someone who’s good in a fight that goes more than 2 minutes I’ll buy him as being back. Give him Sotiropoulos.

– Munoz vs. Okami. GUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHH. Anyone who can tell me what Munoz was doing and why he was doing it, please, please do so; I have no idea. It looked like he was trying to feint Okami into making the first move to counter with a shot early, but eventually he gave that up in favor of lunging fruitlessly at Okami’s ankles and holding on for dear life in a losing position. I recognize his style as a wrestler is to get a hold of a guy ASAP and then use subtle changes of weight and leverage to power through and get the guy down, but when you’re in, say, minute 11 of a 15 minute fight which you’re losing and this tactic has failed over and over, don’t you want to try something else? I guess not. And of course Cecil Peoples had Munoz winning this one; is anyone more of a human punchline in this sport than that guy? Is anyone even surprised? And yet he keeps getting used in California and Nevada, which should tell you exactly how much oversight they really offer for judges.

– Jon Jones. What can you say? He’s a goddamn beastlord. More than any MMA fighter he reminds me of Paul Williams the boxer: he’s got an improbable physical frame for his weight- exceptionally long without being frail- his talents are far in excess of his skills in some respects and his striking leaves a ton to be desired, but he’s so damn awkward and unorthodox and quick that he gets away with things that most fighters would be hammered on. What separates the two is that in MMA, Jones has options that Williams doesn’t have. Bones has shown a clear preference in recent fights for using his striking to get close enough to take a guy down and then blast him with elbows from top position, and as a gameplan so far it’s proven unstoppable and very effective- it allows Jones to impose his size on opponents in a way Williams hasn’t learned to do (the boxing equivalent might be for Williams to use a Klitschkoesque jab), it takes advantage of the three things Jones appears most skilled at so far in his development (elbow GnP, takedowns from clinch, guard passing) and it minimizes the risk Jones faces. Greg Jackson knows what he’s doing. Many questions remain about Jones, but he’s proven that at this point none of those are going to be answered until he’s in there with someone who can force him to do different things; guys at the Matyushenko/Vera/Hamill/Bonner/O’Brien level are just not able to hang with him or force him out of his comfort zone.

The real test for Jones now is going to be what happens when he faces a guy who he can’t put down at will and who is going to be coming after him rather than worrying about what Jones is going to do. Jones has an on-paper very impressive string of wins, but what all of his recent victims have in common is that they’re all significantly older than Jones, significantly less athletic, and in many cases significantly smaller. Before I send Jones out for a title shot I want to see him against a big, young, strong dude with real takedown defense. Rashad Evans would be perfect but isn’t in the cards for a million different reasons; Phil Davis would also be perfect but he’ll never take the fight (nor should he- that one needs to cook for a bit); failing those guys, I think Ryan Bader is the best option. Bader has something of a name from TUF, if he wins it’s not a disaster and he’s a promotable guy, and he’s the most likely guy available to show us what Jones has when he can’t get the quick takedown and maybe what he has off of his back. It’s not a prefect fit since Jones has much better standup than Bader so if the wrestling deadlocks Jones may just throw wacky kicks at Bader’s head and dance away for 15 minutes Silva-style, but it’s at least a better option than watching Jones pick off another old legend who everyone knows is doomed from the moment the contract is signed. Better Bader than Tito or Chuck or Rich Franklin or Forrest Griffin. There’s a case for Thiago Silva as well since he’s got standup of a kind (hard hooks inside) which could really bother Jones, a nasty aggressive style which Jones hasn’t seen yet and solid defense off of his back as well as being young, but he’s also had back injuries and isn’t likely to be able to stop the Bones takedown or put Jones on his back, thus limiting how much new we might see from Jones. He’s not a bad option, but I’d still go with Bader especially if he beats miniNog (which he may).


August 2, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing, MMA

1 Comment »

  1. The best thing from this weekend for me was watching Sakio Bika nearly decapitate Mendy. THAT is how a DQ is done. Not Dirrell who put on a horrible acting job.

    Comment by Tony M | August 2, 2010 | Reply

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