Boxing: Omar Sheika

Five things learned from the weekend

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
1:23
AM ET
A boxing fan learns quickly it is sometimes best to be satisfied with small victories.

It makes ample sense to book the fight all of us are hungering for, Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao, but for some reason, that isn't occurring. So rather than dwell excessively on that and fall into a river of mopiness, I will instead look on the bright side, and acknowledge that Friday and Saturday passed, and there were no egregious judging screw-ups in big fights.

Here are five other takeaways from the big bouts this weekend.

5. Boxing's not like a cold
Omar Sheika, almost a dozen years after his first title crack against Joe Calzaghe (TKO5 loss in London) is still at it. The Paterson, N.J., resident fought on Friday in Pennsylvania, and scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Tony Ferrante. Sheika is 35 years old and no longer in the mix for title shots, not unless we're talking about maybe a state strap. But he soldiers on. Because it's in his blood, it's who he is, it's what he knows. Boxing for many isn't like a cold; it's not something that passes through your blood after a certain span of time.

4. Cleverly should be careful what he wishes for
Nathan Cleverly hasn't been shy about calling out some big names at 175. So it was a bit surprising that the Welshman went along with the program, and agreed to meet the unheralded Tommy Karpency, a 21-2-1 American lefty with a genetically modified record. Cleverly rose to 24-0 with a shutout win in Wales over the catcher Karpency, but did it really do him any good? Sure, he got some rounds in, but he drew scorn on both sides of the pond for accepting such a gimme defense. And if he does ever lure someone like Carl Froch or Bernard Hopkins into a tussle, he will find rounds with Karpency didn't do anything to prep him.

3. Devon wasn't great, but was darn good
There was a lot to like about Devon Alexander's showing against Marcos Maidana in St. Louis, but, to be nitpicky, some things to critique. Yes, he shut out the bomber Maidana, but at 147, the Argentine is not really a bomber. Alexander took to welter seamlessly, but Maidana, as he stated post-bout, is best at 140. Plus, Devon can craft combos and use his feet so smartly; why then does he so often resort to the John Ruiz method of operation, the toss-and-clinch style? To his credit, he said post-bout to Max Kellerman that he knows he's still a work in progress. So all in all, tag us as Alexander fans.

2. Broner can become a star
Alexander had his moments against Maidana, yes, but I left the weekend being most intrigued by thoughts of how far Broner, the 22-year-old from Cincinnati, can go. His hand speed is ridiculous, as Eloy Perez, no slouch, figured out when he ate a nasty shot and was separated from his senses in round four in St. Louis. I'm looking forward to WBO super featherweight champ Broner moving to a sexier division and seeing what he can accomplish. I'm thinking he can be big, and can beat “AmeriCANS, MexiCANS,” etc. (You did see his post-fight interview with Kellerman on HBO, right?)

1. Paging Dr. Atlas
I have my doubts whether Teddy Atlas would even take the call, he's so hurt by the split. But Alexander Povetkin proved he's about 100 times better with Atlas in his corner, and in his life, than without. Povetkin was chomping for air in Stuttgart early on against Marco Huck, and if rounds went 3:25, Huck would today be the holder of the WBA heavyweight strap. He had Povetkin thisclose to being KO’d in Germany Saturday night. Povetkin should pick up the horn and beg and plead Atlas to come back and work with him, because his prep and game need fixing up.

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