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Boxing Notebook: Valuev Wrecks Beck

By Carlos Guzman Contributing Writer

On June 3, boxing’s Eighth Wonder of the World, Nikolai Valuev (7-foot, 320 pounds), successfully defended his WBA crown against American heavyweight contender Owen Beck.

I’m still dumbfounded on why they made this fight.

In Beck’s last bout, he barely beat a 5-10 cruiserweight in Darnell Wilson. Five months later he’s in against a mountain with legs? I guess Don King wants to keep his bear well fed. Valuev towered over Beck by 10.5 inches and outweighed him by a whopping 78 pounds. The instructions from Beck’s corner should’ve been RUN! Sure he had a strategy, but it mirrored Chris Byrd’s plan against heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitchsko -- you know how that went.

Hey, against a slow plodder like Valuev game plans abound. Beck could’ve boxed, used some speed and movement to discombobulate Valuev. Big men have stamina problems; make him chase you, tire him out. The audacious Beck opted for a frontal assault, took him head on. That worked like a Chihuahua attacking a Pit Bull -- Beck was mauled.

I’ll admit Valuev looked good stopping Beck in three, but long before this bout Beck proved himself suspect instead of prospect.

“You Lied To Me!”
Those were the words of promoter Bob Arum, who was aghast at Jose Luis Castillo’s weigh-in results. 140 POUNDS -- 5 OVER THE LIMIT. What happened here? Did this guy stop by Taco Bell before the weigh-in? Apparently, they were monitoring his weight throughout training camp, and the press releases claimed he was passing. The insider report said otherwise. Things got so desperate I saw Castillo’s corner man plugging in a chainsaw to start cutting limbs.

Diego Corrales’ promoter and trainer advised him not to take the fight. Sure, it was a million-plus dollars, but the last time they let Castillo get away with three extra pounds Corrales wound up on his back.

Shame on you, Castillo. I hope Paul Malignaggi wins Saturday so it kills any chance of your proposed clash with Miguel Cotto. You don’t deserve it.

However, let’s not put all of the blame on Castillo. Are you telling me nobody else knew this guy couldn’t make 135 pounds? His manager, Fernando Beltran, specializes in shrinking fighters into smaller weight divisions -- he does it for Erik Morales and other Mexican fighters in his stable. This time, it just didn’t work.

What’s up with Jim Gray? This cat was hosting “Rome is Burning” when he said: “Let’s ban Castillo from boxing. They should revoke his license.”
I agree with my buddy, Karl Hegman, that the commission is to blame: “The fighters' weight should be monitored by commission officials on a day to day basis in the preceeding two weeks prior to the world championship match IMO to prevent this type of nonsense from happening again.”

Bobby is taking to streets of N.Y. to send the message: “I ain’t just Manny’s younger brother.” On the undercard of Cotto-Malignaggi, Pacquiao takes on wily veteran Kevin “The Flushing Flash” Kelly. A victory over Kelly would make Pacquiao the King of Queens -- which, by the way, has the largest population of Filipinos among the five boroughs.

Bobby’s co-manager and brother, Manny, seems impressed with his brother’s dedication to training:

“When I arrived in America to start my own training camp and saw Bobby the first time training at the Wild Card I was very surprised and happy to see the condition of his body and knew right away that he had worked very hard. I am very proud of my brother for preparing very hard for this fight. This is a good opportunity and a big break for Bobby. I know in my heart he is ready and will do his best on June 10. I talked with Bobby and he understands I also have to train hard for my July 2 fight with Larios, so I can not go to New York to give him my support. In these final days before his fight Bobby will be in my prayers. I will call a number of times to give him support and encouragement over the phone right up to the moment he steps into the ring.”

The problem with Bobby is his power, or lack thereof. He lacks the TNT to fell his opponent with a shot. He makes up for it with a come-forward, fan-pleasing style. Most fans think he owes Carlos Hernandez a rematch; throw me into that bunch.

Seeing Double
This week in Atlantic City, Antonio Tarver might not be the only one seeing double. Fight fans can watch both Bernard and Demetrius Hopkins take center stage on two separate bouts both promoted by Golden Boy.

Demetrius is headlining ESPN2's "Wednesday Night Fights". I took-in Demetrius’ last fight at Philadelphia’s New Alhambra theatre. He had some late round success, but the fight was a big yawn. He failed to impress.

The term “a young Hopkins” makes me reminisce about his uncle Bernard.
Back in 1990, Bernard burst onto the scene. It was by mere chance. Young, rising prospect Jovin Mercado was scheduled to fight a six-rounder. Hours before the fight not one but two opponents pulled out of the fight. The promoter and manger scrambled to find an opponent -- they dialed the wrong number.

Bernard was probably studying Hagler-Hearns and doing some jailhouse-style workout when the ageless middleweight got the call. Two hours later he was in the ring. Six minutes after the opening bell. Mercado was on his back. Fifteen years later, Hopkins is still the man to beat, despite what sportsbook odds say. (I polled seven media members and the vote was 5-2 for a Hopkins victory Saturday)

As for Demetrius; we know he’s Bernard’s kin, but it will be a while before he’s king. Time will tell.

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