by Jeremy "Fasttalker" Bjornberg
Saturday's crossroads fight for Fernando Vargas was just as Doc's predicted, a unanimous decision win for Fernando. Doc's is on a six-week streak of wins on boxing plays.
Raymond Joval was very active but couldn't land any of his sloppy punches. Vargas won the fight pretty easily and had Joval hurt, but not really ready to be stopped. Vargas was very rusty and the extra eight pounds made him seem like he was carrying a spare tire. He looked very slow on his feet and he made many remarks as to how his new trainer Danny Smith was making all kinds of improvements, but I really didn't see anything different, other than slower feet.
Fernando will look much better if he can get back down to 154 pounds. Vargas has never had a fight this lackluster, and I am sure it was ring rust and the added weight that made him so sluggish. Fernando called out Javier Castillejo after the fight. Vargas against Castillejo is the perfect fight for the Oxnard star. Fernando needs to take it slow and get his confidence and condition back before he is ready for Felix Trinidad or Winky Wright. Boxing needs fighters like Vargas because he offers quality battles every time out and he is also very marketable and entertaining. HBO also treated its viewers to a replay of the Eric Morales vs. Manny Pacquiao war. The epic match is like reheated Lasagna; it just gets better.
The coming weekend has Showtime with another title fight that has the makings of one of the better Cruiserweight fights in a long time. Don't miss out on Doc's 100 percent guaranteed pick. Wayne Braithwaite vs. Jean-Marc Mormeck is a unification fight and will decide who is the top fighter at 200 pounds.
Mormeck is 30-2(21 KO) is the top fighter from France and is on a 27 fight winning streak. Wayne Braithwaite 21-0(17 KO) is from Guyana and is ready for his first big shot. Mormeck has been in with good fighters, including Virgil Hill twice, so he is more experienced as well as 3 years older at 32. However Wayne Braithwaite has youth and speed so I expect a very close fight. The ever-elusive Jose Rivera will also fight on the under card against Luis Collazo.
Boxing will hopefully see a boost from the NBC show, The Contender. Although ratings have been unimpressive, the show quality has been great. Every fighter has been very talented and sure I could do without the Sylvester Stallone pep talks. Everything else, however, is very solid. People should tune in to the finest reality show done yet, a reality show with characters that are actually talented -- something Survivor and The Real World don't offer at all.
Either way, boxing needs all the coverage it can get, so it can get back on the major networks and become mainstream again like it was in the 1980s. Sunday's episode had Peter Manfredo Jr. against Miguel Espino. Manfredo was able to take the final 2 rounds to get himself back on track. I felt Manfredo was the most talented fighter I had seen before on the show, and he didn't disappoint this time. Manfredo is definitely a favorite to win now that his confidence is back. Check in later this week for a pound for pound update.
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