Hello team and welcome to another star-studded episode of boxing’s Sunday Brunch. This week we’re chopping some big fights from over the weekend – from the Former Soviet Union all the way to the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey – Hold on to your locally grown blueberries and crack open an ice cold cerveza Quilmes (the national beer of Argentina), we’re about to get whatever the opposite of jiggy with it is. So, with that being said, I gave you your instructions in the dressing room, what I say you must obey – Cuidate, escucha me, toca los manos y buena suerte…Let’s get it on!
This weekend from the land of the Iron Curtain, Denis Lebedev lost his WBA World cruiserweight title at the aged but relentless hands of Panamanian, Guillermo Jones. Lebedev is an interesting fighter, he fights in a style reminiscent of Ricky Hatton pre-2007, replete with lunging digs to both the body and head of his opponents.
Lebedev’s leaping hooks and power punches ordinarily serve him well as he enjoys a high knockout percentage (70.37%), although, the foreign (Russian) broadcast team who was calling the fight this past Friday were showing astronomical punch statistics with Lebedev regularly landing 80-90% of his power and only slightly under that staggering figure with his jabs and total connects thrown. Needless to say, this data was highly questionable to put it modestly.
The obviously biased announcers were also only showing the Russian’s highlights between rounds, if you weren’t paying close attention you might have seen a different fight altogether if you relied on them for the blow-by-blow commentary and replays.
We’ve seen some amazing hematomas in boxing, Fernando Vargas in his technical knockout loss to Shane Mosley (more on him later), Erislandy Lara in his robbery loss to Paul Williams and now Denis Lebedev in his TKO loss to Guillermo Jones. I mean, if there ever was a case for someone who was already fiercely ugly to become even more unbelievably hideous this is it.
The 41 year-old from the Isthmus of Panama dismantled the extremely tough Denis Lebedev with a very mature and educated selection of shots. From uppercuts with both hands, snapping hard jabs to rangy left hooks and overhand rights, Jones mixed up his punches very well and closed the eye of Lebedev early on. He would use that disfigured eye as target practice for the remainder of the melee (perhaps somehow getting karmic revenge for the other “Jones” that Lebedev managed to quash a while back).
Denis Lebedev’s corner was woefully ill equipped to handle the disfigurement as there wasn’t even an Enswell in sight (only a bag of ice…Although, that’s much better than Mike Tyson’s corner did in Tokyo 23 years ago when they had a condom filled with water in lieu of their cold compress), but all things remaining equal, there was probably nothing that could have been done with that atrocity of an eye even if the Russians had the colossal combination of Doogie Howser, M.D. tag teaming with Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Aside from a very nice body slam midway though the fight (wait, what sport is this again?), Lebedev was landing his own power quite regularly. Don’t let this mini-summary take anything away from the gritty Ruskie, the man is as tough as they come and endured unimaginable punishment before finally succumbing to the pain in the 11th round.
Across the ocean, on Saturday night, perhaps the very best 140 pounder we’ve seen in quite some time, Lucas Matthysse, stepped in the ring with the IBF junior welterweight champion, Lamont Peterson. In my opinion, Matthysse is still an undefeated fighter. His two losses, split decision defeats to Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, respectively, should have been victories, but such is boxing.
Both Peterson and Matthysse agreed to an odd catchweight of 141 pounds so no titles were at stake. Peterson adhered to the weight stipulation and weighed in at the 141 pound limit, with the Argentine, Matthysse making the junior welterweight limit of 140.
Peterson started off boxing and moving well until around the 2:45 second mark of the opening round when a two-fisted right hook downstairs/left hook up top combination changed his tactics slightly. Lamont almost instantly went from a boxer puncher to a man who wanted no part of further exchanges.
This new found stratagem lasted all of two minutes as further punishing blows from the Argentine bomber goaded the D.C. native into a fire fight. Towards the end of the second, a hard right hand to the body and glancing left upstairs sent Lamont tumbling backwards into the ropes for the first time of the evening.
By the third the outcome seemed academic, Peterson had no legs and was absorbing much of the power that Matthysse would throw, with Lamont’s movement being negated, he began to stand and trade with the natural banger. Needless to say, this lasted a whole of 30 seconds – as soon as the two men exchanged left hooks, LP dropped like a sack of hot nickels. Peterson was able to beat the ten count but on very unsteady legs and was unceremoniously dumped back on the canvas a few seconds later. As a colleague of mine quipped about referee “Double S” shortly after the match: “When Steve Smoger stops a fight it pretty much means the guy died, came back to life, and is about to die again.”.
Here’s what I noticed this week:
1. Alexander Povetkin crushed an expert kielbasa manufacturer this weekend, but now he’s going to have face the legitimate destroyer of professional pierogi producers, Wladimir Klitschko. With the zero head movement I saw on Friday from Povetkin, I’d venture a guess that this one isn’t going to end well for him.
2. Devon Alexander beat up a punching bag for a few rounds then hurt his hand. If Matthysse wasn’t jobbed back when the two faced off in June of 2011, I’d say that Lucas would end matters for the vociferous Missouri native somewhere between shut up and already.
3. Sugar Shane Mosley managed to get a deserved UD victory over Mexico’s Pablo Cesar Cano IN Mexico if you can believe that. Good job, Sugar! First win in four years and I’m glad he got it. What’s next for the Sugar man? I wouldn’t even try to figure that one out.
4. Some of my associates over at The Tribune and I agreed that Danny “Swift” Garcia may have let a few drops of pee pee go in his Affliction pants after seeing how Matthysse dismantled the normally rugged Peterson with such ease. As Chong Li from Bloodsport so succinctly put it in 1988 – “You are nex(t).”.
5. Amir Khan and Devon Alexander? Yes, please. Devon Alexander and Floyd Mayweather? No, thanks.
6. Danny Garcia, as I’ve said before, has good accuracy, heavy hands and a helluva heart. Lucas Matthysse is going to absolutely demolish him in a great fight if the two champions can manage to get their respective ducks in a row. I’m very much looking forward to that one.
In honor of Lucas Matthysse’s great victory we’re going to be keeping with the Spanish theme, this time we’re traveling over to Espania for a couple of tapas that I’ve made up for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own home!
What you will need: Piquillo peppers (Spanish cone shaped sweet peppers found in any Walmart or grocery store), clover honey, goat cheese, Spanish Manchego cheese and parmesan cheese (not the disgusting dust kind, the shredded, real kind), blueberry preserves, a Ritz cracker (or your favorite cracker with no seasoning other than salt, or nothing overly aggressive), olive oil, sweet cream butter and a yellow Spanish onion.
In a pan, saute your diced yellow onion with some butter and olive oil over low to medium heat, about 45 minutes or so, add salt and a touch of sugar to help along the caramelizing process. Once deep brown (not black at all) and deliciously flavored, set aside. Take your favorite cracker and place a dollop of the caramelized onions on top, cover that with a piece of good soft goat cheese (I prefer mine from Spain, but either way make sure it’s not aged or it will be hard and completely different) and finally top that with a little bit of your blueberry preserves. This hours d’oeuvre is wonderful anytime of the day and the varying flavors and textures will put you deep in thought with every bite.
The next snick snack we will be putting together is even easier and just as delicious. Take a ring mold or very carefully place your Parmesan cheese on a baking mat (Silpat or lubricated foil – shiny side up) in circle shapes. Bake about 8-15 minutes at 350F or until golden brown and wonderful. Let cool, these are now Parmesan crisps and will hold a cracker-like shape for you to put the rest of your ingredients on. From here cut your Manchego cheese into manageable sized portions (bite size) and place one inside each Piquillo pepper – spear these with a toothpick if you’re so inclined (I do) and place in a hot non stick pan with the olive oil until the pepper begins to blacken and the cheese starts to melt. Remove and cool slightly. Place the cheese, pepper bundle on your cheese crisp and finish with a few dots of honey.
I highly suggest you try these easy tapas, they are quite amazing and you will impress your friends and family with your solid grasp of Spanish cuisine. Thanks for tuning in this again this week boxing fans, I hope you’ve enjoyed my random amalgamation of words this Sunday and I look forward to next week so we can share more great recipes, tips and tricks…Oh, and boxing talk! Remember to always brush your teeth and don’t forget to floss, another Sunday Brunch is forthcoming. Sante.