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                   === Making a pre-Christmas boxing list ===
 
 By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Boxing Editor
 
 Here in Southwest Florida, I saw Santa ride by on a Harley the other day.
 
 I know it was him because he had a red hat and a red jacket, and I gather that
 my 4-year-old son recognized him too, because he was instantly compelled to
 react quicker and smile wider while handling items on his check-marked to-do
 list over the subsequent couple of hours.
 
 Of course, as happy as I was for the impact it made on my perpetually
 industrious little man, I was a tad disappointed I didn't flag the old guy
 down for a couple seconds to give him my own laundry list of requests for this
 year's imminent holiday season.
 
 Alongside the requisite Lyle wishes for world peace, financial stability and a
 championship for one of my long-suffering sports teams -- though at this point
 I'd settle for just having a hockey season -- I'd have also tossed out a few
 top-of-head requests that pertain to boxing.
 
 Take a look ... and let me know if any of mine match any of yours.
 
 Another year with the legends:
 
 When Joe Frazier died last November and Angelo Dundee passed in February, it
 was a clear reminder that the generation of boxers and luminaries who were on
 top when I first came to the sport weren't going to be around forever. It hit
 home again a couple weeks back when Emanuel Steward -- whose first big-stage
 charge, Thomas Hearns, is my all-time favorite -- was the latest to go.
 
 In fact, were it not for positive teacher feedback on a composition I wrote on
 the Hitman as a seventh-grader, I'd likely have not chosen writing as a
 professional vocation. My request to Mr. Claus now is that my other similarly-
 aged heroes -- Muhammad Ali, for example -- be given an extra few decades to
 make up for the others' too-soon departures.
 
 More affirmation, less consternation:
 
 It's probably been around forever, but technology has got me noticing it more
 these days. Whether in real time on Twitter or in the immediate aftermaths of
 fights on message boards, in blogs and via emails, there seems to be a
 perpetual race to indignation about decisions where the winner is correct but
 one card is either awarded to the loser or has a wildly divergent margin from
 the decisive pair.
 
 I never understand the outrage as it happens. Perhaps decades of iffy judging
 have lowered my satisfaction bar to lower than reasonable levels, but I
 usually find myself quite content whether it's one point, five or 12. To me,
 Santa, it doesn't make sense to quibble over stained linen in a condemned
 house. Just make sure the ref gives the belt to the right guy.
 
 Speaking of Twitter, please shut up:
 
 It's probably another phenomenon that's sprouted from complete Internet
 immersion on fight nights, but the number of keyboard-protected tough guys
 chastising fighters for exiting fights prior to being rendered unconscious
 seems to be on the rise as well.
 
 Because it takes more mettle just to step into a ring than most mom's basement
 residents could ever muster, it's particularly galling when those same
 wannabes continually harp on guys who consider either an injury (Victor Ortiz)
 or a competitive disadvantage (Jonathan Barros) as more than enough reason to
 abandon potentially getting beaten into a coma. If you can swing it, oh white-
 bearded one, deliver a giant lump of lip-zipping coal to those who otherwise
 never seem to shut up.
 
 For God's sake, give the man some respect:
 
 Not sure what it is about heavyweights who do nothing but deliver lock-down
 domination of the division amid double-digit title defenses, but Wladimir
 Klitschko seems to be suffering from the same respect deficit in the post-
 Lennox Lewis era that an ultimately Canastota-enshrined Larry Holmes was
 dogged by in the aftermath of a guy named Ali.
 
 Thing is, now that he's been champion for six-and-a-half years and handled
 five ex-heavyweight belt-holders (and two former cruiserweight kingpins), it's
 almost impossible to remember the chinny, stamina-challenged question mark
 who'd been KO'd by Puritty, Brewster and Sanders in three fights and dropped
 thrice by Samuel Peter in another. If you can, Santa, please let people
 appreciate him before he's gone.
 
 Promote the sport, not yourselves:
 
 As many good fights as there have been in 2012 and as many as there are sure
 to be again next year, just imagine how many more -- or how much less drama
 amid them -- there could be if the suits at Golden Boy and the suits at Top
 Rank would drop their silly "We used to be cool, but now I'll do anything to
 trip you up" cold war.
 
 I understand that Oscar and Bob each have bottom lines to worry about and that
 it's a competitive business both in and out of the ring, but there certainly
 seems to be enough pie to go around without one side or the other trying to
 hoard all the ingredients in their own kitchen. Please, Santa, teach them how
 to play nicer together and share their things before the only kids with toys
 are the ones who play in cages.
 
 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
 
 This week's title-fight schedule:
 
 FRIDAY
 IBO light heavyweight title - Chicago, IL
 Andrzej Fonfara (No. 16 contender) vs. Tommy Karpency (No. 48 contender)
 Fonfara (22-2, 12 KO): First title fight; Unbeaten since 2008 (12-0, 1 NC)
 Karpency (21-3-1, 14 KO): Second title fight (0-1); Zero wins over plus-.500
 foe since 2009
 Fitzbitz says: "Chicago-based Pole has been successful while climbing the
 light heavyweight ladder and should capture initial belt on adopted home turf
 against less-accomplished foe." Fonfara by decision
 
 SATURDAY
 IBF super middleweight title - Nottingham, United Kingdom
 Carl Froch (champion) vs. Yusaf Mack (unranked)
 Froch (29-2, 21 KO): First title defense; Two reigns as WBC champion (2008-10,
 '10-11; three defenses)
 Mack (31-4-2, 17 KO): Second title fight (0-1); Held regional belt at 168
 (2004-05)
 Fitzbitz says: "Resurgent Brit took quantum leap back to relevance with
 thudding defeat of Bute and should maintain status -- if not highlight quality
 -- against retread challenger." Froch in 10
 
 WBA/WBO flyweight titles - Los Angeles, CA
 Hernan Marquez (WBA champion) vs. Brian Viloria (WBO champion)
 Marquez (34-2, 25 KO): Third title defense; Unbeaten since 2010 (7-0)
 Viloria (31-3, 18 KO): Third title defense; Held WBC and IBF titles at 108
 pounds
 Fitzbitz says: "Viloria has more time on world stage, has accomplished more in
 terms of belts and should win skill battle here, but he may have to climb off
 deck to do it." Viloria by decision
 
 WBA light flyweight title - Los Angeles, CA
 Roman Gonzalez (champion) vs. Juan Francisco Estrada (No. 15 contender)
 Gonzalez (33-0, 28 KO): Fifth title defense; Five straight wins by stoppage
 (17 total rounds)
 Estrada (22-1, 18 KO): First title fight; First fight in United States
 Fitzbitz says: "Powerful Nicaraguan is on a roll and has stopped several foes
 on a higher level than this barely-ranked challenger. No reason to believe it
 won't continue." Gonzalez in 8
 
 WBC lightweight title - Atlantic City, NJ
 Antonio DeMarco (champion) vs. Adrien Broner (No. 4 contender)
 DeMarco (28-2-1, 21 KO): Third title defense; All career title fights ended in
 stoppage (3-1)
 Broner (24-0, 20 KO): Fourth title fight; Held WBO title at 130 pounds
 Fitzbitz says: "Broner isn't afraid to laud his own talent and should add more
 believers against a foe with a style ideally suited to make the rising former
 130-pounder look good." Broner by decision
 
 Last week's picks: 8-0
 Overall picks record: 449-149 (75.0 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
 fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.
 
 
 
 
 
 11/16 17:15:42 ET


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