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By Simon Harrison
As I lack any kind of originality, I thought I would put spin on an old idea,
which I have written about before. A couple of week ago I "celebrated" my
30th birthday, so I thought I would do a little piece to assess the strength of
boxing on July 23 2004 against the date of my birth; July 23 1974. So here
is my take on contests from Flyweight though to Heavyweight. As the premier
fighter from each division in both eras, clash in a mythical match up.
Straweight did not have its first champ until 1987, so there is no contest at this division.
Junior Flyweights did not have its first champ until 1975, so there is no contest at this division.
Flyweights: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (52-2) Verses Bentulio Gonzales (44-4-2)
Gonzales is a two time title holder, but seems to be heading for the role as classy journeyman. Wonjongkam has had a lot of fights for a Thai, but even at this stage of his career, he should have enough to edge Gonzales over 15 rounds.
Super Flyweights did not have its first champ until 1980, so there is no contest at this division.
Bantamweights: Rafael Marquez (30-3) Verses Rafael Herrera (48-6-2)
The veteran Herrera uses his greater know how to easily outpoint his Mexican counterpart.
Super Bantamweights did not have its first champ until 1976, so there is no contest at this division.
Featherweights: Manny Pacquiao (38-2-2) Verses Eder Jofre (65-2-4)
A peach of a fight!!! Jofre is one of the must underrated fighters of all-time. A great 118lb champ in the early 60s, he moved up and won a 126 title in 1972, but hasn’t fought now for 8 months, and looks like he will retire. Pacquiao is the most exciting thing to come out of the Philippines in a very long time.
Pacquiao’s power will have to be respected by the crafty vet, and perhaps early on, this is on jofre’s mind as Pacquiao sweeps the first six rounds. But Jofre will eventually figure out Pacquiao and come back strong. But Pacquiaos youth will help him late as he wins a close and controversial split 15 round decision.
Super featherweights: Erik Morales (46-1) Verses Ben Villaflor (50-7-5)
Villoafor is a sturdy 2 time title holder since 72. Morales is at or approaching his peak. Villaflor will be brave but outgunned; Morales by very Unanimous 15 round decision.
Lightweights: Acelino Freitas (35-0) Verses Roberto Duran (43-1)
Freitas has shown that he has excellent boxing skills to go with his devastating power. But Duran is a different kettle of fish, to anything Freitas has fought. Recently avenging his only defeat to Dejesus Duran seems on top of his game, and in only two years he is already ranked as an all time 135lber.
Duran can start slowly, as shown in the two Dejesus fights, so I take Freitas to make a great start flooring Duran in the first minute, but from then on it is all down hill. Duran dominates ripping vicious hooks into Freitas’ ribs and head. Freitas will be brave down twice in the second, his corner will let him come out for the third, but another vicious assault will leave the Brazilian unconscious 30 seconds into the third.
Junior Welterweights: Ricky Hatton (36-0) Verses Antonio Cervantes (67-9-3)
In an era of Jofre, Duran, Napoles, Monzon, Foster and Foreman Cervantes is grossly underrated and ignored. This is one classy Colombian, who I suspect is in for along reign (he has already been champ for two years).
With Tszyu in semi-retirement and Mayweather and Cotto still trying to establish themselves in the division, Hatton is the chosen candidate to represent the 2004 Junior Welters.
Hatton’s vicious body attack may initially hassle Cervantes, but the fact that Hatton lacks top[ class movement will play into Cervantes hands, added to Hatton’s fragile skin, by round 8 Cervantes will be on top of things, as his classy combinations rip Hatton to shreds, causing Hatton’s corner to call it a day at the end of the twelfth.
Welterweights: Corey Spinks (33-2) Verses Jose Napoles (73-6)
Spinks has just began his reign as 147lb King, by upsetting Mayorga and surprising some by beating Judah, Napoles has seen it all in a 6 year reign (bar a short time when he lost on a cut to Billy Backus, winning the rematch comfortable).
Napoles might not be good enough to move up to 160 and beat Monzon, but he should still have enough left in the tank to deal with this young pup.
I take Napoles to use all the tricks in the book of a 79 fight vet to school the young Spinks and eke out a close 15 round decision.
Junior Middleweights: Ronald Wright (47-3) Verses Oscar Albarado (50-6-1)
You got to at least respect ‘Winky’ Wright. In case you didn’t know, I picked Williams over Tyson and Tarver over Jones (Twice), but I never saw Winky over Mosley coming, it quite frankly stunned me, but hey Winky has been doing sort of thing, the whole of his career. Albarado similarly upset the excellent Japanese 154lber Koichi Wajima in his last bout.
The difference here is Winky Wright has a proven pedigree; I take him to dominate Albarado and win a comfortable decision. Although he must be respectful of Albarado for the whole 45 minutes duration of the bout unlike Wajima who lost with one minute on the clock, in the final round of a bout he was winning.
Middleweights: Bernard Hopkins (44-2-1) Verses Carlos Monzon (82-3-9)
After coming out of nowhere to destroy the Italian great Nino Benvenuti, Monzon has established himself as an excellent fighter himself; he has dominated the division since 1970, with his cool calculating style. Hopkins even at 39 seems to be a threat to any middleweight in the world. Since destroying Trinidad to gain the title, he has dominated the division devouring anything put in front of him.
This bout would be a classic. Could Hopkins aggressive nature upset Monzon, or will Monzon's calculating style confuse and bemuse the hot headed Philadelphian?
Both are slow starters and the fight would not hot up till the middle rounds, Monzon having the better of the fierce exchanges with his quicker hands, although the heavier punching Hopkins would cause some facial damage. As we hit the championship rounds, Hopkins slightly behind tries to up the pace in the thirteenth. But mid way though the round, Hopkins gamble backfires as he walks into a straight right, falling heavily to the canvas. Rising too quickly at 4, Hopkins does well to make it to the end of the round.
Monzon is now in total control, and dictates matters in the last two rounds to gain a Unanimous decision.
Super middleweights did not have its first champ until 1984, so there is no contest at this division.
Light Heavyweights: Antonio Tarver (22-2) Verses Bob Foster (51-6-1)
Foster seems to have finally gotten old, his last fight in June he barely survived a challenge by the Argentinean Jorge Ahumuda, scraping a home town draw, perhaps the six year reign of Foster is at an end? Tarver is coming off a superb one punch KO of Roy Jones and at 35 seems to be as good as he has ever been.
Tarver will move in the first few rounds respecting ‘Big’ Bob’s right hand. But by the fourth it will dawn on Tarver he is twice as fast as the lumbering great. Tarver’s straight left will start to ping Fosters head back, and although the proud Albuquerquian, may make to the final bell, Tarver wins a very unanimous 15 round decision.
Cruiserweights did not have its first champ until 1979, so there is no contest at this division.
Heavyweights: Vitali Klitschko (34-2) Verses George Foreman (40-0)
Klitschko has got a lot of questions to answer, the Byrd fight, suggested he had a bit of the dog in him, and he blew the Lewis fight as well. Foreman looks unbeatable, he just destroyed Norton added to equally impressive jobs over Joe ‘King’ Roman and ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier, and up next for Foreman is another faded former champ in Ali, so bad a mismatch, that the fight is in deepest darkest Africa. King claims the fight is in Africa because of Foremen’s tax issues, but we all know that no one is going to pay to watch this massacre.
Klitschko will do well to last as long as Norton or Frazier. But I will say his size will mean he is competitive while it lasts, but I take Foreman to batter and bloody the big Ukrainian and pound him into the canvas by the fifth, causing the ref to stop the fight as Klitschko is rising from his third knockdown of the round.
I guess this shows you what a great era we live in. Despite having Jofre, Duran, Cervantes, Napoles, Monzon, Foster and Foreman in the ’74 side’, they (the 74 era) can only sneak the series 6-5 against the class of 2004; see boxing today is not that bad.
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