Antonio DeMarco defends his WBC Lightweight Title against Miguel Roman on Saturday.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Paraphrasing good friend Peter King - OK, we've never met, but I'm pretty sure he'd like me if we did - here are some things I think I thought during a 1,062-mile round trip from Florida to Louisiana.
* I think I agree that the ninth round of Salido-Lopez II was as good as you're likely to see for the rest of this year - or in many other years, particularly on a large stage. Quite frankly, though, I've always found it difficult to award a specific round in any fight as the year's best when reality indicates there are great rounds every night in clubs, at armories and on non-marquee cards that people never see and can't access on YouTube. Instead, I'd give year-end nods to "best Showtime round" or "best HBO round" and leave it at that.
* As for the 10th round, it's hard to imagine anyone - short of Lopez himself, and I'm not even sure of that - thinking the Puerto Rican could really have continued once he was battered to the floor with a five-punch combination. Make no mistake, I give the guy full credit for getting up and wanting to go on, but the stumbling reel forward and unfocused gaze in the general direction of referee Roberto Ramirez indicated any exchanges beyond that point were unnecessary icing on an already brutalized cake.
* Speaking of Ramirez, I certainly don't argue that Lopez's post-fight "I'm very upset that you stopped my title fight" rant pushed the envelope of appropriate fighter-referee decorum. But I'm having a hard time enduring the liberal toss-around of the word "slander," not to mention the WBO's threat of a one-year suspension unless Lopez shows "just cause why this action should not be taken." Dislike him if you want and call him unsportsmanlike if you must, but the equivalent of a professional jail-term is political correctness gone a bit too far.
* Finally on the fight, I think another thing that made the ninth round so special to me was the genuinely enthusiastic call of a broadcast team that included Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein and Antonio Tarver. While I'm aware that the super-excitable Johnson isn't everybody's cup of announcing tea, I've always found his style a great addition to an event rather than any sort of detriment. And now that the NCAA hoops tournament is once again upon us, you can bet I'll be turning up the sound on any game he's working.
* And elsewhere on rematches, it's nice to see Lamont Peterson is claiming the "I had choices, and I chose this" high road regarding his second 140-pound go- round with Amir Khan, but it says here that it's not going to do him any good when fight time actually arrives on May 19 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Unless of course Joseph Cooper and his "take illegitimate points away at the least-necessary moments" is part of the promotional package. If not, look for Khan to make it unmistakable by either wide decision or late-round stoppage.
* If you haven't perused it already, I heartily recommend a glittering - piece of prose - penned by Ivan Goldman, another man whom I've never met but am proud to consider a journalistic colleague. In it, he describes the untimely demise of our grandfathers' Ring magazine, which precipitously tumbled from a pub worthy of its "Bible of Boxing" tagline to a collection of nudge-and-wink apologists insulting the intelligence of readers while claiming ignorance of parent company conflict.
* I'm hardly the Mike Wallace, Armen Keteyian or even Chris Hansen of investigative reporting, but even I could see the a few years back that the magazine's would-be editorial emperors had no clothes. In fact, as part of a June 2009 piece that made a handful of related points, I noticed the same ominous trend Goldman hits on in his:
"For much of the last 30 years, promoters Don King and Bob Arum - while inarguably providing momentum to keep boxing on the mainstream map - have been the frequent go-to targets of both media and fans for any number of hard-to- quantify, back-room offenses.
"Some involved their fighters getting high-profile bouts at the expense of more-qualified colleagues. Others involved their fighters getting title shots ahead of more-deserving contenders. And a few involved allegations of their fighters - after the fact - claiming they'd been robbed of millions.
"As a result, nearly every word from the fight-makers' mouths is taken with a grain of salt and diluted down to the 10 percent that's believable and the 90 percent that's hyperbole. Or, in King's case specifically, the 1 percent that's informative and the 99 percent that's bombastic.
"Such critique is the obligation of self-respecting journalists and the pastime of well-informed fans.
"Still, where Ring is involved, it seems such examination is off limits.
"Rather than the cynicism warranted when a vested promoter controls a medium covering the business he promotes, declarations from the Ring since its purchase are somehow perceived closer to 'gospel' than 'suspect' on the same scale of objectivity.
"And though their promotional track records are longer and accomplishments more plentiful than De La Hoya's, it's hard to imagine either King or Arum getting the same free ride from perception gatekeepers had they been the ones to buy themselves a boxing magazine."
This week's title-fight schedule:
WBC lightweight title - Los Mochis, Mexico
Antonio DeMarco (champion) vs. Miguel Roman (No. 15 contender)
DeMarco (26-2-1, 19 KO): First title defense; Seventh fight in Mexico (5-1, 4 KO)
Roman (37-9, 28 KO): Second title fight (0-1); Four of nine career losses in Mexico
Fitzbitz says: "New champion waited too long for title status to lose it here." DeMarco by decision
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full- fledged title-holder - no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.
Last week's picks: 2-1
Overall picks record: 380-130 (74.5 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.