March a slam dunk for boxing
Updated: March 27, 2008, 11:21 AM ETBy Dan Rafael
• Sure, this time of year is called "March Madness" because of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, but the name fits pretty well for boxing this year. What an incredible month it's been. I can't recall a time when a single month has produced so much drama and excitement. Think about it -- in the span of 22 days, we have seen three classic fights. On March 1, junior featherweight champion Israel Vazquez retained the title with a split decision in his rubber match against Rafael Marquez in an instant classic and the likely fight of the year. On March 15, Manny Pacquiao won the junior lightweight word title on a split decision against Juan Manuel Marquez in a dramatic, bloody, action-packed rematch. And on March 22, lightweight champion Joel Casamayor survived a brutal fight with brawler Michael Katsidis to retain the title via 10th-round knockout. And if March is made for Cinderella in hoops, it is in boxing also, at least this year. Nate Campbell's foot fit in the slipper when he pulled a massive upset to lift three lightweight belts from Juan Diaz on March 8 and Brian Vera scored an even bigger upset March 21, when he stopped heralded prospect Andy Lee in the seventh round, a result as mind-blowing as though a No. 16 seed in the tournament had bounced a No. 1. Throw in cruiserweight champion David Haye's exciting second-round destruction of Enzo Maccarinelli in their all-U.K. unification clash on March 8, and it has been an incredible month. • Speaking of Casamayor and Katsidis, I kind of figured it would turn out to be a terrific fight when they got in each other's face and nearly brawled before the introductions. • Have you contemplated what would happen if Steve Forbes actually beats Oscar De La Hoya on May 3? I watched Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is impossible.
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