by Anna John
Details have started emerging regarding Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley II—Electric Boogaloo. Stand up and put your hand over your heart for singer Ashanti, who has been summoned all the way from the year 2002 to sing the national anthem for the highly-anticipated HBO Pay Per View event that’s going down on April 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas, the Grammy award-winning singer whose eponymous debut album outsold Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill’s respective debuts in April of 2002 actually has familial ties to the Sweet Science. She will be rooting for Manny Pacquiao, according to a release from Pacquiao promoter Top Rank.
"I’m such a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao! I have family in the boxing business — Howard Davis, Jr. and Dyah Davis,” Ashanti said.
Pacquiao, who has been known to rock a mic himself, personally asked Ashanti to serenade the millions who will be tuning in after the two found themselves seated together recently at Madison Square Garden.
Photos by Carlos Baeza for Thompson Boxing
by Gautham Nagesh
Argentine welterweight contender Carlos Abregu halted the meteoric rise of top prospect Thomas Dulorme on Saturday night, stopping the unbeaten Puerto Rican in Round 7 of a scheduled 10 at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y. The upset was the highlight of an otherwise lackluster triple-header from HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
Dulorme has long been viewed as one of the brightest prospects in the sport, though we remained unconvinced. So was Abregu, whose team recognized Dulorme’s tendency to drop his left hand and devised a plan to test the 22-year-old’s chin. Dulorme came out looking as fluid as ever, pumping his jab and keeping the veteran outside. But Abregu brought a crashing right hand over that jab in the 3rd round, hurting Dulorme badly for the first time in his career.
by Gautham Nagesh
I took this picture of Timothy Bradley after his technical decision victory over Devon Alexander in Pontiac, Michigan last January. It’s a reminder of what Bradley looked like after his toughest fight, which was closer than most press accounts would lead you to believe before its premature stoppage. Tim was undoubtedly the better man that night, but he had problems with the southpaw Alexander’s speed. On Saturday night at the MGM Grand, Bradley will fight the fastest left-handed boxer in the world, Manny Pacquiao. I expect his face to look a lot worse after Pacquiao knocks him out in the late rounds.
Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao fought for the third time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Like their first two bouts, both men gave as good as they got and neither appeared to control the action. Like the first two bouts, Pacquiao was the busier and more aggressive fighter while Marquez countered and boxed beautifully. And just like the first two bouts, a panel of American judges again confirmed our nation’s lack of appreciation for the subtler aspects of boxing
That Marquez lost a majority decision is neither shocking nor hard to explain, since Pacquiao is the sport’s biggest star and cash cow. His supporters will point to the statistics, to the greater number of punches Pacman threw and his non-stop movement from one side his foe to the other. But the HD telecast we watched showed one fighter that was clearly out his element and that man was Pacquiao. Manny’s punches were as quick and unpredictable as ever. They just failed to land. Marquez on the other hand found home with seemingly every major power shot.
Regardless of what the scorecards say, in our view Marquez did not lose this fight. Another draw may have been the most fitting result, but karma and justice would seem to dictate the Mexican receive the benefit of any doubt. Pacquiao may leave Vegas with his recent string of wins intact, but no one who knows boxing is fooled. The Filipino phenom would be wisest to continue having his handlers hand-pick his opponents, because he would stand little chance against master pugilist Floyd Mayweather.
The girlfriend’s absence last week found me driving on a weeknight to Prince George’s County to visit the Hyattsville Outback Steakhouse, where I indulged my unhealthy obsession with the Bloomin’ Onion.
My neighbor, a middle-aged black gentleman at the bar noticed my April issue of The Ring featuring Vitali Klitschko on the cover and we soon fell into a conversation about the sweet science and the many former champions who live within a ten-minute drive of the restaurant.
While I’m always thrilled to meet a fellow fight fan, especially one as knowledgeable about the sport as this fellow, the best thing about the night was his professed love for slick fighters.
"It ain’t like it was. None of these guys know how to duck a punch," he told me, bemoaning the lack of defensive technicians in the mold of Mayweather.
PONTIAC, Mich.—Living in Michigan for over twenty years imparts one lesson more than any other: all life’s plans are subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Once again we were reminded of that fact when we emerged from AMF Summit Lanes close to midnight the evening before the fight to a clear, frigid night.
Since it appeared the journey to Pontiac would be an afterthought, we continued our night. At some point between that decision and three the snow began. As we finally fishtailed homeward in Calvin’s rusting late-90s Mustang, merrily inebriated and mere hours from daylight, the miscalculation became apparent.
Thankfully the journey was uneventful thanks to our state’s able plowmen and we found ourselves at the gate early without incident. The Silverdome loomed like an oversized driving range above the unending gray of the surrounding landscape.
Security was typically relaxed as we made our way into the complex, marveling at how little it has changed since we watched the Lions throttle Tony Dungy’s Buccaneers in the franchise’s last Monday Night Football victory, circa 1998.
As the writers milled in the lobby waiting for their credentials it became apparent our grey nailhead suit and navy knit tie were not en vogue among the boxing press, who appear to prefer jeans and sneakers. Nevertheless we will continue to hold that respecting the significant of the event includes dressing the part, leaving aside issues of professionalism.
After staking out our seat in press row and meeting the useful Bill Shimizu of Detroit Boxing Examiner, we disappeared upstairs for a smoke, only to find no lighter at hand. A quick trip to the gas station yielded an interested query from the Hispanic attendant.