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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
September 30, 2012


Presidential Debates:

October 3 (Wednesday): on domestic policy.

October 16 (Tuesday): “town meeting” format.

October 22 (Monday): foreign policy.

Vice Presidential Debate:

October 11 (Thursday): domestic and foreign policy.

Long-time forum readers may recall my saying that “all of life imitates the sport of boxing.” Truer words have ever been uttered in human history. And, intentionally or not, the presidential and vice presidential debates offer definitive proof of this, every four years.

2012 will be historic. No matter if one is a political junkie, excited about this year’s contest, or if one has little interest in, or understanding of things political, presidential debates are like a good heavyweight championship bout. Almost everyone watches. More, everyone has an “opinion” -- which is often based upon their favorite candidate/fighter from times past.

The first debate, featuring President Barack Obama defending his title against challenger Willard Romney, takes place on Wednesday, at the University of Denver, Colorado. The moderator/referee will be PBS News Hour’s executive director, Jim Lehrer. The general public will be judging the bout.

D.U.’s sports forum participants know that when there is a good boxing match on television, I always play host to a number of fight fans. Some are, like myself, retired boxers; others are young, amateur fighters. And still others are people who never boxed, but love the sport.

Last night -- before the HBO Boxing After Dark card -- I attended a birthday party for the lady who now serves as my editor. She is also one of my three top advisors/associates in socio-political activities. The other two include my cousin, who won numerous amateur titles in the northeast in the 1970s, and my younger son, soon to turn professional. By no coincidence, my cousin helps me train my son. More, my editor will now be working as his “cut man” in his upcoming fights.

The third corner man was also at the party -- he, too, left early, to watch the fights. There were about fifty people at the party, mainly school teachers and social workers (including a couple social workers who also teach/taught at the high school, college, and university level). About half of us went from a lengthy discussion of recent boxing matches, to a hilarious chat about this Wednesday’s debate. Quite a few of those folks will be coming to my house Wednesday. After our evening meal, we’ll invest an hour or so in work on a couple of local elections, including setting up a five candidate debate for one important town. And we’ll be working on the epidemiological study of an area village ravaged by toxic industrial wastes. Then, we’ll settle in for the presidential debate.

My house was a stage coach station in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Thus, the largest section of the ground-floor is an open area, surrounding a central chimney with three fire places and a couple of Dutch ovens. I have a television set with a 66” screen. My younger son had insisted that I purchase it a few years back, to watch boxing in “high definition.” It comes in mighty handy when there is a small crowd here to watch presidential debates, too!

When I post a “pre-fight” essay on the sports’ forum, I like to include not only background information on each fighter, but also a general description of what I’ll be looking for during the fight. In this case, I think that we’re all very familiar with both President Obama and Willard “Mitt” Romney. There’s no need to review much about them, except for perhaps a few thoughts on their showings in their recent debate contests. So here goes:

The challenge goes into Wednesday’s contest with significantly more recent debate experience. However, all of it was in the republican primaries. This will be his first date at the Big Dance -- and that arena holds far greater pressure for Willard. Also, in the context of primary debates, the truth is that Romney lost literally every debate in the 2008 contest. The 2008 primaries had far stronger candidates than the 2012 contests. And in ‘08. Romney couldn’t beat a tired, confused John McCain.

Though there were no democratic primaries this year, we have a good idea what to expect from President Obama. In 2008, he was engaged in one of the Democratic Party’s legendary primary struggles, against Senator Clinton. I’m convinced that if you took only the strengths of the ‘08 and ‘12 republican fields, and combined them into a single pre-programmed candidate, that person could not compete with the skills of Clinton in 2008. Although there were several other talented candidates, the Obama vs. Clinton contest was all that mattered …..it’s significance in American history ranks high.

So, I expect that President Obama is going to focus on a good “body-attack” on Wednesday. And that is not simply an attempt to be clever by the use of a boxing term: President Obama will be looking to knock the wind out of his opponent by exposing the weaknesses and cruelty of Romney’s supposed strength, domestic policy. Those infamous 47% statements are going to be slammed home, each and every time Willard attempts to deliver a sound-bite zinger. In doing so, President Obama drastically increases the likelihood of Romney, in a state of panic, attempting to over-compensate in reaction.

Finally, I find it singular that the blow-hard governor of New Jersey is raising the bar of expectations for Romney on Wednesday. I’ve seen his on television twice this morning, saying that Mitt’s performance will absolutely and totally change the dynamics come Thursday morning. Yikes! One could think that he is looking to exploit Mitt’s losing campaign, in order to begin laying his own for a 2016 run.

I hope that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this year’s debates. And I’d appreciate hearing your predictions for Wednesday.

Your friend,
H2O Man

September 28, 2012

Romney & Reagan

“Ronald Reagan spent his adult life being an image, sometimes fictional -- as when performing in films -- and sometimes in that odd semi-reality that performers obtain in commercials. He understood, as no one did before, that on television, style supercedes content. The way you behave and look is more important than what you say or do. He knew the complexity and historical perspective do not come across on TV as well as simplicity, bald assertion, the heavy use of symbolic context, and the appeal to formulaic values: Good vs. Bad, America vs. The Enemy, Revere the Flag.”
-- Gerald Mander; In The Absence of the Sacred; 1991; pages 90-91.

We know that the republican machine had hoped to portray this year’s election, with the Carter vs. Reagan contest in 1980. They had hoped that they could make use of symbolic imagery, such as identifying President Obama as Carter-like: an intellectual who, upon finding himself in over his head, becomes isolated from “Washington.” This, they knew, when layered upon the party’s bottom-feeders’ “he is different than us” message, was their best chance to defeat Barack Obama in November.

The republican primaries offered a limited selection of potential top-tier presidential candidates. Newt Gingrich, besides being an unappealing has-been with baggage, spoke of a series of lengthy debates opposite Obama -- the very definition of the “complexity and historical perspective” their party’s Reptilian Elders wanted to avoid. And Rick Santorum was too much a lightweight for a prime-time, national election.

By May, Romney had clearly been programmed to try to take on a pseudo-Reagan image. Thus, the infamous clip of Romney telling a group of donors that he was on the lookout for some foreign incident to exploit in the way the Reaganites did the Iranian hostage crisis. The question, “just how low would Willard go?” was clearly answered.

That would almost be funny, in the most pathetic of ways, if it did not reveal Romney’s psychopathic core: the willingness to risk others’ safety and well-being for self-gain, in the way of a political contest, casts a Nixonian 5-oclock shadow over Romney’s dehydrated soul.

What is just plain funny, however, is something that was recently brought to my attention. Willard Romney not only wants to paint President Obama as “another Carter,” he actually wants to be viewed as “Reagan-like.” Really. So much so that by late spring, his campaign had “body language advisors” who were hired to teach Mitt how to carry himself like Reagan. And, indeed, if one watches film of Romney from the 2008 campaign, or even in the 2012 republican primaries, he was wooden. And, under pressure, Mitt remains a stiff. But, when he is in a “safe” zone -- in front of a packaged crowd -- watch his wag. Some of the outfits. Look at the head-tilts. And even the fake facial expressions.

Strange days have found us.

September 25, 2012

Obama at the U.N.

“The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States is a significant moment in history; a crossroads where people can go in a different direction. His very election is a blow to tribalism, but the potential to subvert this opportunity is immense. He will face enormous opposition.”
-- Dr. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Eye of the Hurricane; 2011; page 118.

From early 2008 to earlier this week, I have been criticized by some forum participants for both expressing support for Barack Obama, and for stating opposition to some of his policies. Now, that is a good thing ….for if any group of people agreed upon each issue, and thought just alike on every topic, it would suggest only one of that group was actually thinking.

I just watched President Obama’s address to the United Nations. I could not help but to compare, in my mind, his presentation with the shallow speech patterns of Willard “Mitt” Romney. As I have said before, the difference between Obama and Romney is the difference between sugar and shit.

The post-speech coverage on cable television is, in my opinion, a study of a small but powerful branch of political science. Indeed, the majority of the “experts” appear to have their doctorates in political scatology -- for they have mastered the process of turning hard facts into soft feces. Were it otherwise, they would stick to the simple fact that President Obama just delivered a powerful, dignified speech -- something that Romney lacks the ability and capacity to do, under any circumstance.

The tea party/republicans often say that Barack Obama can deliver a good speech, but he has no substance to back it up. I’m not particularly interested, much less concerned, with their opinions …..for they have no concept of the Power of Ideas, and are unthinking reactionaries fueled by fears and hatred.

There are also good and intelligent members of the Democratic Party and/or Democratic Left, who point out the differences between some of the things that President Obama says, and the substance of his actual policies. I think that it is not only “okay” for them to speak up about their concerns, but that it is actually essential. The attempts to marginalize or silence them is, at very best, short-sighted.

As I’ve noted before, when Senator Barack Obama was elected President, there was a very powerful, positive energy force manifest in America. For a number of reasons -- in part, because his administration failed to harness that energy, and partly because citizens felt they had accomplished their goal -- that energy force dissipated. And the dark energy of the tea party/republicans filled the void.

That was then, and we cannot change it. No dam ever built can hold back waters that previously flowed by. But now is now, and we have an opportunity to regroup, and again join in the effort to bring about social justice. A part of that challenge does involve the 2012 presidential election. And it would be an error in thinking to take the position that there is no meaningful difference between Obama and Romney.

H2O Man

September 23, 2012

Re: Cornel West

“ Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice? What type of human being do you want to be? “ -- Cornel West

On Friday night, my daughter had the opportunity to listen to Cornel West address a small group of college/university students. After the presentation, she got to meet with West, along with a few other socially-conscious student leaders.

Tonight, when I visited her, she told me that on the ride back from listening to West, the other students she was with said that the only weak point, in their opinions, was that West had not instructed them on exactly what tactics he wanted them to engage in. My daughter told her friends -- correctly -- that Cornel West is not the type of leader whotells others “what” to do.

If people are dependent upon some outside authority, she explained, than the Goodness of Truth had not taken root within them. I agreed. More, I know that there is nothing so harsh and cold as the Truth of Logic (or “Logic’s Truthes “). And so I am happy tonight …..happy that those students, with their young, probing minds, had the opportunity to experience conversation with a man that I consider one of the most powerful thinkers of our era.

Perhaps by coincidence -- though “coincidence” does not exist -- the night before, I took a copy of my favorite Cornel West book with me to a school board meeting. I like to arrive early to any and all public meetings; more, I value every few minutes I have to read. Hence, the book.

During the meeting, the most conservative of the school administrators noticed the book. He said that he had had the chance to listen to West speak last week. “You know,” he told me, “although I disagree with him on lots of things, he is so polite, and so well-spoken, that his intelligence forces you to think.”

Also, as we do a “book club/review” each month, the superintendent passed out copies of a book he wants all of us on the board to read. When he saw my West book, he said, “Let’s do that one next.”

I am confident that our society can not only benefit from the Power of Thought delivered by Cornel West, but that if we listen closely enough, we’ll figure out what it is we want to do. And that will define what type of people we want to be.

September 21, 2012

Working Class Submarines

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function, you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be ….

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be …..

There's room at the top, they're telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like all the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be ……
-- John Lennon

Back in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, while working with Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman on a burial protection case in a community in upstate New York, my young nephews used to come to watch Paul and I perform at Town Board meetings. These nephews were the sons of both of my sisters -- one from my oldest sister, and three from the younger sister. The three were living in a two-parent, upper middle class home; the other, in a single-parent, economically “poor” home. (My older sister worked hard at several low-paying jobs. Like many, many single parents, she was a “working class hero,” who did the very best she could for her children.)

Traditional society is distinct from modern culture in many important ways. For example, I remember Paul telling me that -- in time -- my nephew from the more difficult living situation would eventually be the person who took over my role. It wasn’t that he was any smarter than the other three, or that they were not just as valuable as individuals. Rather, it is because there are specific roles in society that life’s experience can prepare one for ….even if at the time, one is not aware of the reality that they are being prepared.

In July, I told this nephew that it was time for him to run for a local elected office. It is something that he has discussed, at times, with both his wife and his favorite uncle. He then discussed it with a close friend, who had experience working with John Kerry’s 2004 campaign, at the national level.

Our first task was getting him on the ballot. Although he is registered as an independent, I contacted the head of the Democratic Party in his community. There are two board seats up for this election, and we agreed to have the party endorse the single candidate they had, and my nephew. Then it was simply a matter of getting both of their petitions signed, to get them on the ballot.

In this community, there are twice as many registered Independents as Democrats, and three times as many Republicans. Many years ago (and I surely do mean many), my father told me about how the local republicans ran their machine. For example, at a Democratic Party meeting last week, when one of the people there said, “The republicans are being really quiet this summer,” I told of how my father said to never confuse that with their being inactive: their machine works efficiently under the radar, with “phone trees” that deliver instructions regarding both what to think and how to act.

More, the republicans will, as a rule, not ever vote for any democratic candidate. However, my father said, if there is a democrat who also is running as an independent, some republicans will press that independent lever in the secrecy of the voting booth. Then, should anyone ask them who they voted for, my father explained, they can honestly say, “Well, I damn sure didn’t vote for that democrat!” (Indeed, the totals from the last local election cycle -- in which I assisted two candidates -- showed that my father was correct.)

So, we next got my nephew on the November ballot as an Independent, too. We anticipated that at least three of the four candidates who had announced for the republican primary would also run as independents; however, only one did. Now, besides my nephew, there is the other Democrat, another Independent, and two republicans on the ballot.

The independent is 100% against hydrofracking, which is an extremely important and controversial issue in that town. However, he is quite conservative on every other issue. (Of course, by rational standards, opposition to fracking is “conservative.” He is in a real sense more consistent than the vast majority of modern republicans.) The two republicans are gung-ho; one, a Tea Party mutant, has publicly said that he does not care if fracking poisons people’s water supplies. The other Democrat has expressed some opposition to fracking, although both he and his wife are employed by the two large local industries that have threatened to “relocate” if they do not get access to a large supply of cheap gas.

The local republican party has had serious divisions in the past two years, all of which are the result of the republican “good ‘ole boys” versus the more rabid Tea Party members. This internal struggle has resulted in a number of registered republicans -- primarily women -- being willing to vote for independent candidates.

The potential for divisions between the local Democratic Party and various Independents is real, and has a lot to do with fracking. Even in a medium-sized town, there are Democrats that are relatively conservative, moderate, liberal, and even some progressives. Among the Democratic Left, there are not only some liberal and all progressive Democrats, but also Greens, Socialist-Democrats, and other environmentalists.

The local republican machine, with the prompting and assistance of non-local people connected with the gas industry, have recently attempted to exploit the potential divides. But, to paraphrase Malcolm X, the political jungles contain not only hunters, but those who hunt the hunters. And, simply put, that is where my well-established network of connections to people with information has come in handy. Those republicans are not alone in being able to work quietly, behind the scenes.

Small stuff? Maybe. But building -- and rebuilding -- from the ground up is the only way that we can possibly establish a democratic foundation in our society. And as a young man, I used to lay both rock and brick. Building a solid foundation is hard work. People driving by don’t see you, or appreciate the hard work you are required to do to put together a quality foundation. It’s a job that gets you sweaty and dirty. You get tired. And you get cuts and wounds, on your hands and arms. Sometimes, you find yourself looking at how little you really have to show for a week’s hard work. But, when you get done, you know it was worth it.

H2O Man
September 20, 2012

Alfalfa Male

The very idea of the republican party nominating Willard “Mitt” Romney as its presidential candidate seemed unlikely in 2008. In part, this was because he was a Mormon; equally important, Willard had a reptilian personality disorder, which resulted in the other ‘08 primary candidates shunning him. The book “Game Change” goes so far as to take the reader on a journey into a “men’s room” for details of the anti-Mitt feelings of those republicans.

So, what happened? What changed in the past four years? There are many theories that attempt to explain how Willard Romney became the poster boy for the party of the economic elite. Because none seem to capture the entire unreality of this situation, I decided to try my hand at it.

I do not believe that Mitt is a Mormon. Maybe he used to be. I could only speculate on that. And I’m not looking to poke fun of any religion. I’ve had friends and co-workers who were Mormons, and if any presidential candidate truly exhibited the goodness of their spiritual belief system, I am certain the republican party’s leaders would reject that candidate outright.

Rather, Mitt worships the dollar. Money is his god. Hence, his ability in 2012 to identify enough common ground with the republican elders (aka “good ‘ole boys”) to be picked for their candidate. For Mitt so loves money that his highest ideals are found in his investing money in a manner that avoids his paying taxes.

The thought of what sequence that digits are in on various bank accounts defines his heaven. And, like the republican cult of leadership, he displays the same hatred and contempt for the middle class and poor, that religious fanatics have for those they label as “unbelievers” and “unsaved.”

As a semi-historian and pseudo-theologian, I’ve noticed that the Gospel of Willard leaves out information on a transformational period between 2008 and 2012. I have evidence -- or at least a suspicion -- that during that period of time, republican anti-climate change scientists from the Monsanto Company conducted a series of operations on Romney. Their goal was to induce a Genetically Modified Mitt, that would look and sound similar to Ronald Reagan.

However, despite Willard’s limited ability to ape the Gipper in the controlled environments of labs and clinics in Los Paranoia, once released in public, the Modified Mitt mutated. No longer the “Roundup Ready” genetically modified former plant known as alfalfa, the republicans had a Monster Mitt on their hands -- and, indeed, the post-convention Romney has been the stuff of science fiction horror movies for their party.

Monster Mitt -- the Alfalfa Male of the Republican Party -- can hardly be trusted to speak for two minutes without saying something that disqualifies him from not only being taken seriously, but from being mistaken for a human being. Thus, the monster continues to do the only thing it has been programmed to do: fund-raising. Though he already has far more money than any candidate can actually use, he continues to demand more. The republican elders, like all members of the cult of dollars, are likewise addicted to money. So they continue down that same path. It would be tragic, if it weren’t so darned funny.

September 15, 2012

Boxing (9-15)

Sept. 15
At Las Vegas (HBO PPV): Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., 12 rounds, for Martinez's Ring magazine and Chavez's WBC middleweight title; Rocky Martinez vs. Miguel Beltran, 12 rounds, for vacant WBO junior lightweight title; Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Robert Marroquin, 12 rounds, for Rigondeaux's WBA junior featherweight title;

At Las Vegas (Showtime): Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Josesito Lopez, 12 rounds, for Alvarez's WBC junior middleweight title; Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon, 12 rounds, for Gonzalez's WBC featherweight title; Marcos Maidana vs. Jesus Soto Karass, 12 rounds, welterweights.

There are two good cards being held in Las Vegas tonight; one on HBO (pay-per-view), and the other on Showtime. Although HBO’s main event is the most interesting, and most important, I’m planning to watch the other card tonight. The number of PPV cards is too large to justify, especially considering that it will replay in a week. Plus, I’ll be here alone tonight -- something rare on Fight Night.

Both under cards feature what appear to be high quality, competitive match-ups. Showtime is covering two undercard bouts, both of which promise to be toe-to-toe slugfests. HBO has Rigondeaux, one of Cuba’s all-time greatest amateurs, defending his title. He has not been consistently impressive in recent bouts, though he is still one of the sport’s very best body-punchers. Marroguin is good enough to force Rigondeaux to fight at his top level. The Martinez vs. Beltran co-feature bout has the potential to be good, too.

Let’s look at the Showtime main event first. Originally, Alvarez had planned to defend his title against Victor Ortiz tonight. Ortiz had been scheduled to fight a rematch against Andre Berto -- who claimed Ortiz had used steroids in their first bout, in which Victor pulled off an upset in an action-packed war -- but the fight was called off when Berto failed drug tests. Despite the promise of a September 15 bout with Alvarez, Ortiz opted to stay busy by fighting Josesito Lopez in June.

Lopez was coming off a loss, to Jessie Vargas. Ortiz may have been taking Lopez (29-4) too lightly, and looking ahead to his next bout. But Lopez had flattened undefeated Mike Dallas, Jr., on an ESPN bout, before his split-decision loss to Vargas. Josesito withstood some serious punishment from Ortiz in the early rounds, before breaking Victor’s jaw in two places.

The promoters attempted to get James Kirkland as a replacement for Ortiz, to fight Alvarez.. When that didn’t work out, Lopez was offered the chance to move up a weigh class to challenge “Canelo.”

Alvarez is 40-0, with 29 knockouts. Just 22 years of age, he made his pro debut in October of 2005. His early career was against relatively nondescript opposition. He won the vacant WBC Jr. Middleweight title in March, 2011, when he stopped Matthew Hilton in 12 rounds. The brother of Ricky Hatton did present some problems for Alvarez, before the significant size difference took its toll.

Alvarez has stopped 4 out of the 5 guys he has defended the title against since then, most notably taking a faded Kermit Cintron out in five rounds. In May, Alvarez captured a one-sided decision over Shane Mosley.

Alvarez could be favored, even if Lopez and he were naturally the same weight. But they are not: Alvarez drops weight to make 154 lbs, while Lopez is a 145-pounder. More, with a body attack that includes outstanding left-hooks, Alvarez can wear any opponent out. Still, he can’t take Lopez lightly -- in two of his three last bouts, both as the underdog, his punching power has been good enough to bring about very impressive knockout wins.

That brings us to the Martinez vs. Chavez bout. Most of the “experts” are predicting a Martinez win. I hope that they are right, though I think it will be a much tougher fight than they anticipate.

Martinez, 37, is 49-1-2; he was 28 KO wins, and was stopped once. Chavez is 26, with a 46-0-1-1 record; he has 32 knockouts. At 5’ 10”, Martinez is two inches shorter than Chavez; his 75” reach is two inches longer.

Chavez grew up in the boxing culture: his father is an all-time great champion, and widely recognized as the greatest Mexican fighter ever. For years, he would carry “Junior” with him while making his ring entrance. In 2003, Junior turned pro, and for years was fed a soft diet of victims.

In late 2005, Chavez was given a draw in a 6-round bout against Carlos Molina. Stung by the reactions of fans and the media -- he had clearly lost the bout -- Chavez was determined to fight Molina again. And three months later, Chavez won a tough decision.

In 2009, Chavez was awarded a 10-round decision over Troy Rowland; it was later over-turned, and ruled a “no contest,” because post-fight tests showed Chavez had used a banned substance. It was a drug to help him lose enough weight to make the middleweight division -- and the weight problem has remained an issue since.

In his next bout, Chavez decisioned John Duddy. He has won five fights since then, including three by KO. Of these, only his most recent TKO over Andy Lee was considered competitive going in. In part, it was because he faced more soft opposition; perhaps more significantly, in the 36 hours after making weight, he puts on enough weight to enter the ring as a cruiserweight. (Going from 160 to 182 lbs in that short a time could, however, catch up to him.)

Martinez didn’t begin boxing until he was 20. In 2000, he was stopped by Antonio Margarito; because of the loaded-hand wrap scandal in his Mosley fight, many question Margarito’s earlier knockout victories.

For years, Martinez had difficulty in securing bouts against the top fighters in either the junior middleweight or middleweight divisions. In early ‘09, he fought Kermit Cintron to a controversial draw. Martinez would drop Cintron for a full “10 count,” but Kermit was able to convince a confused referee that he went down from a butt; film showed it was a clean punch. The fight would go the full 12 rounds, and it appeared to almost everyone that Martinez had won.

Martinez next faced Paul Williams, losing a close decision. However, because he had actually beaten Cintron, and could have been awarded the win against Williams, Martinez was given a shot at middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, This time, he earned the decision.

Martinez then knocked out Paul Williams in brutal fashion in two rounds. He has won three straight knockouts since then. Somewhere along the line, however, he was “stripped” of his WBC title, which was soon awarded to Chavez. The boxing community largely ignores these commissions, however, and The Ring recognizes Martinez as the only middleweight champion.)

In a very real way, this is a grudge match. The level of Martinez’s contempt for, and dislike of Chavez has caught many boxing “experts” by surprise. This seems particularly true in terms of the HBO crew, such as Max Kellerman. But it doesn’t surprise any boxer who came up the hard way.

Both fighters are predicting a knockout victory. Martinez promises to break Chavez down, slowly and cruelly, before taking him out. He has said a DNA test will be required to identify Chavez after the bout. The odds were 2-to-1 in favor of Martinez this morning.

I’d like to see Martinez win. But I recognize that Chavez is younger and will enter the ring as the far larger man. He has developed a strong body attack, which will be essential against his faster, defensively-skilled opponent. While I favor Martinez to win by decision, I think that Chavez has a good shot at winning.

Enjoy the fights!

September 8, 2012

Boxing! (9-8-12)

Sept. 8
At Oakland, Calif. (HBO): Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson, 12 rounds, for Ward's WBC/WBA super middleweight title; Antonio DeMarco vs. John Molina, 12 rounds, for DeMarco's WBC lightweight title;

At Moscow (HBO): Vitali Klitschko vs. Manuel Charr, 12 rounds, for Klitschko's WBC heavyweight title; Abdusalamov Magomed vs. Jameel McCline, 12 rounds, heavyweights.

There is some very interesting HBO coverage of boxing scheduled for today. This includes the documentary film “Klitschko,” about brothers Vitali and Wladimir. Later, there is a tape-delayed replay of Vitali defending his “title” against an inexperienced, likely way overmatched victim. (I say that without intending to blame Klitschko for the lack of competition in the division.)

Though not televised, my friend Jameel McCline will fight in the co-feature of that Moscow card. “Big Time” has gone 2-and-2 since returning to the ring late last year. He has had good results in Russia in the past. However, Magomed looks to be a tough opponent. He has not fought anyone at Jameel’s level yet, but it is fair to say that McCline has not been consistent in those last four bouts.

Magomed has won every bout by knockout. With but two exceptions, his opponents have all been around his size -- 6’ 3” and 225 lbs. Jameel is 6’ 6”, and 275 lbs. If he can bring the bout into the later rounds, his size could become a big factor. On the other hand, McCline has generally done his best against other “super-sized” heavyweights, and has experienced more difficulties with smaller, faster opponents. Good luck, Champ!

The DeMarco vs. Molina bout promises to be the type of toe-to-toe slugfest that appeals to the general sports fans. I favor DeMarco, but anything can happen in the ring. I’m hoping that cuts are not a significant factor in deciding the outcome, though I expect that they will be a factor.

The most important fight will be Ward vs. Dawson. On paper, it could easily be 2012’s “Fight of the Year.” In the ring, it is likely to appeal more to boxing purists than to the general sports fans, however.

Andre Ward is the junior middleweight champion, who recently won the Showtime “Super Six” tournament. Although he has not been defeated in a bout since he was 12, and that he is the USA’s last Olympic champion, Ward was considered by most “experts” as the least likely to win the Super Six. I favored him, because while he was not the most explosive puncher or the most exciting to watch, I had heard him say as a young professional that his goal was to become so good, that he could force every opponent to fight how he wanted them to fight. And I love boxing’s best “chess players.”

Ward upset tournament favorite Mikkel Kessler to capture the WBA title; won all twelve rounds against Allan Green in the next bout; took on tough Sakio Bika in a competitive non-tournament bout; easily defeated Arthur Abraham; and then totally dominated Carl Froch in a bout Ward entered with a fractured hand.

Chad Dawson is the light heavyweight champion. In recent years, he twice beat former champion Glen Johnson; twice beat Antonio Tarver; beat top contender Adiam Diaconu; and faced Bernard Hopkins twice. In their first bout, Dawson won by 2nd round TKO; the referee’s ruling was later overturned by the state commission, making it a “No Contest.” In April, Dawson won a convincing decision over the aging B-Hop.

Also during this time, Chad would drop a decision in his fight with Jean Pascal. It was a dreadfully boring bout, in which it was evident that Dawson was grossly under trained for. He has apparently learned from that error in thinking.

At 6’ 1”, Dawson is listed as having an inch over Ward; in real life, it appears to be more than an inch. He also has a 5.5” reach advantage, something that could be more of a factor than his being a naturally heavier man than Ward.

Ward is 25-0 as a pro, with 13 knockouts; Dawson is 31-1, with 17 knockouts. Neither man has explosive, one-punch knockout power. Both win the vast majority of their big fights by decision. Still, as Ward is an uncanny technician, and Dawson a classic boxer, both have the ability to catch the other and hurt them. More, they are each capable of finishing off a hurt opponent.

While Dawson has some very real physical advantages -- which he knows exactly how to use -- I believe that Ward’s superior “mental toughness” will decide the outcome. He does everything well inside the ring. In discussing the bout with my son Darren, he pointed out that Ward has to be given at least a “B+” in every measure as a fighter. One of the most important aspects of this is his ability to adjust to an opponent’s strengths and style during a fight. That’s a huge plus in any sport, none more so than boxing.

Opponents have correctly noted that Ward “uses his head” in other ways inside the ring. Although he presents as an intelligent, articulate, and gentle person outside the ring, he will butt an opponent, as well as make great use of his elbows during in-fighting. I expect that this will be a source of frustration -- and injury -- for Chad Dawson tonight.

Still, Dawson has a very good chance at winning. If he is at his best, Dawson has the potential to become one of the greatest in his division. His loss to Pascal was entirely due to distractions and overconfidence; he really should be undefeated, as there is no light heavyweight talented enough to make a close fight with him.

I’ll pick Ward by decision. I consider him the second-best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, after Floyd Mayweather. (Floyd rates Dawson as the #2 PFP best.)

If you have the opportunity to, definitely watch tonight’s bouts on HBO.

September 4, 2012



Here is a link to my new, free "web book" on grass roots/ community organizing. Some of you might be interested in it; others will not be interested in it.

"If I don't see you no more in this world, I'll see ya in the next one. Don't be late."
-- Jimi Hendrix

H2O Man

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