Your weekly random thoughts ...
• When a fight ends, we usually see the combatants hug in the ring out of respect for each other. Boxers are generally sportsmen, but lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez and Michael Katsidis -- two fighters who have always been respectful of their opponents and of the sport -- took it to a new level following their tremendous battle last Saturday.
Katsidis was stopped in the ninth round and went to a hospital in Las Vegas for tests, just as a precaution. But a couple of hours later, when he was released and was on his way back to the MGM Grand with members of his team (and after a hefty order at a fast-food-burger-joint drive thru), he wanted to visit Marquez to present him with a gift.
In international soccer competition, players often trade jerseys with members of the other team after a game. Katsidis wanted to give Marquez his shoes from the fight. A call was made and a bit later Katsidis and crew were in Marquez's suite, where a postfight celebration was taking place.
Katsidis and Marquez had just gone through hell with each other in the ring, but now here they were hanging out. They traded their autographed shoes from the bout, and Marquez also presented Katsidis with the autographed trunks he wore in the fight. They talked for a bit and took pictures with each other. Their teams also took photos and signed autographs for each other.
Boxing is a brutal sport inside the ring, but these sort of sweet moments outside the ring remind us of the very human side of fighters.
• By the way, I know Katsidis lost the fight, but I don't care: I want to see him back on HBO in his next fight.
• So if Arthur Abraham fought Joshua Clottey and Audley Harrison in a triple-threat match, would anyone throw a punch?
• With Celestino Caballero crapping out against Jason Litzau last Saturday, he ruined his chances of getting a fight with featherweight titleholders Juan Manuel Lopez or Yuriorkis Gamboa. Had Caballero won, he likely would have faced Gamboa on HBO early next year. Top Rank's Bob Arum, who was never enamored with Caballero, sounded practically giddy over his loss, one in which the fighter looked really bad. Arum's comment to me on the subject in his instantly recognizable raspy voice was succinct: "Caballero is out of my life." Classic Arum.
• Many of you have tweeted me to ask about Larry Merchant's thumbs-down signal that was caught on camera during the HBO broadcast following Litzau's upset victory against Caballero. Merchant made the motion as Litzau leaned toward the broadcast table after the victory, and many have wrongly assumed he was dissing Litzau. Merchant was motioning his opinion about Caballero's poor performance toward Lou DiBella, Caballero's promoter, who was in the ring and who had gone over to the broadcast table side of the ring.
• When Bob Sheridan, the larger-than-life broadcaster known to all simply as "The Colonel," called the international feed of Manny Pacquiao's destruction of Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 it was the 900th world title fight he had called in his storied career. Nobody else has come close to that number. Overall, Sheridan has called thousands of fights, undoubtedly more than anyone. The Colonel and I have been pals for years. He can drive me crazy with his sometimes-over-the-top calls and his excuse-making for the sanctioning bodies, but he's a wonderful guy who has lived and breathed boxing for decades. He has a long history of heart problems, though, and has had several heart attacks. His heart acted up again two weeks ago and he has been in the hospital since then, in serious condition. Get better soon, Colonel. We need you back at ringside, and you haven't finished telling me all of your stories.
• If you didn't see the featherweight title bout between Hozumi Hasegawa and Juan Carlos Burgos, which Hasegawa won via unanimous decision last week in Japan, you can catch it on YouTube. If you're a Fight Freak, you ought to watch. Outstanding fight.
• It came as no surprise to anyone in boxing circles that former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik is in a rehabilitation clinic because of a dependency on alcohol. I just hope Pavlik can get his life in order. He's a good guy and I'm glad he's finally getting help. If he can get his problem under control, he can still have a boxing career if he wants one.
• New name for Guillermo Rigondeaux in the wake of that eyesore fight he had with Ricardo Cordoba a few weeks ago: Guillermo Rig-yawn-deaux.
• At its recent convention, the odious WBA named David "The Ducker" Haye as it's fighter of the year. They deserve each other.
• I read a recent report about how Mike Tyson is considering launching a chain of high-end kosher restaurants with businessman Moshe Malamud, who owns the Franklin Mint. Sounded strange to me, but if it's true, one question: Is ear kosher?
• DVD pick of the week: A decade later, it remains one of the best fights I have ever covered, a true classic I never get sick of watching. It boggles my mind that Thursday is the 10th anniversary of this great fight (where did the time go?), but I went back to Dec. 2, 2000 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for the epic junior middleweight unification fight between Felix Trinidad (38-0 and at the time) and Fernando Vargas (20-0 at the time). Expectations for a slugfest were sky-high. The results were even better, as we got the greatest 154-pound title fight in history. It looked like it would be over early when Trinidad rocketed out of the gate and dropped Vargas twice in the first round. But Vargas incredibly survived the heavy knockdowns, rallied and dropped Trinidad in the fourth round. Eventually Trinidad took over and scored three brutal knockdowns in the 12th round to end the fight. I was the boxing beat writer for USA Today at the time and named it the 2000 fight of the year. It wound up being ranked one of the fights of the decade.