There’s no way to disguise that last week was very disappointing for Irish boxing fans. Two of our own fought for World Titles – unfortunately, both were beaten – however, neither was disgraced.
Willie Casey was always going to find it tough going against Guillermo Rigondeaux. Despite the advantage of a partisan Dublin crowd, Casey’s inexperience showed against the two-time Olympic Gold Medallist. Rigondeaux was forced to come to Ireland after his last fight, a snore-fest decision win against Ricardo Cordoba (another man familiar to Irish fans), but in blowing Casey out of the ring in the first round, he is likely to have once again garnered the attention of the US TV Networks. For Casey meanwhile, it is difficult to see where he can go from here but the Limerick man is affable and can sell tickets, so expect him to return, and possibly again fight for a European title.
Good as RIgondeaux was, Belfast’s Brian Magee arguably faced an even tougher fight when he fought Lucian Bute in Montreal. Magee survived until the tenth round, before the referee rightly stopped the fight following a massive uppercut which saw him hit the canvas for the third time. Magee earned a lot of fans with his performance, as he was never expected to trouble the Romanian. He may now be offered further fights against American and Canadian prospects, against whom he would be expected to provide a stern test. It’s up to Magee, who turns 35 in June, if this is a road he wants to travel down.
It hasn’t all been doom and gloom for Irish fans, with our amateur stars again leading the way, recording two wins over a China this week in Dungarvan and New Ross. Of the 24 fights so far, Ireland have won 18 ahead of tonight’s third and final meeting in Dublin. Katie Taylor will look for a third win over former World Championship Final opponent Cheng Dong – the Bray woman won each of their first two fights this week on a 17-2 scoreline – while former Olympic medallist Kenny Egan will be in action at the National Stadium for the first time since his recent loss to Mullingar’s Joe Ward in the National Championships.
Note - Egan was one of four Irish boxers to win on Friday night, but Ireland lost out to the Chinese.
It’s been another good week for Floyd Mayweather. The man they call ‘Money’ hit the jackpot in Las Vegas, with a massive bet on an NBA Basketball game. According to his twitter page, Mayweather cashed in a slip worth over $37,000 following the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.
No doubt, the money will come in very useful. It’s reported this week that, for a third time, talks on a proposed superfight between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have fallen by the wayside, this time because of Floyd’s financial demands. It’s claimed he was seeking a ridiculous $100m to take on boxing’s biggest potential fight, making one wonder if he wants it to happen at all.
After last weekend’s plethora of pugilism, this weekend is a much tamer affair though there are some interesting fights ahead. Tomorrow afternoon, Russian middleweight Dmitry Pirog enters the ring for the first time since he captured the vacant WBO title with a stunning knockout win against Daniel Jacobs last July. Pirog faces off against Argentine Javier Francisco Maciel in his homeland in a fight that will be televised here on Setanta Sports 1 on Saturday afternoon.
Also this weekend, the under-rated Yuriorkis Gamboa defends his World Featherwieght titles against Mexican Jorge Solis and Albert Sosnowski has an interesting defence of his European Heavyweight Title against Alexander Dimitrenko in Hamburg. Neither of those fights will be televised in Ireland.
This Week In Boxing History
On March 24th 1975, Muhammad Ali fought the relative unknown Chuck Wepner for the World Title, a fight which lasted the full 15 rounds despite the perceived gulf in class between the fighters. Wepner was knocked out in the final round, but was deemed to have floored Ali in the ninth, despite the champion’s assertion that his foot had been stood on.
The fight is also notable in that it served as the inspiration for a young Sylvester Stallone, who, after watching it, locked himself in a room to write Rocky.