Neutral Corner

Boxing Guru Rich Marotta...Saturdays 9-11am
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Rich's Musings

What a performance by Vladimir Klitschko!  His 7th round demolition of Chris Byrd in Mannheim Germany, could not have been more complete.  Klitschko had all the physical advantages and he made them all count. Byrd couldn't get a sniff of Klitschko. He never won a single minute of that fight. Klitschko scored tremendous knockdowns in both the 5th and 7th rounds with great right hands and Byrd's face was a bloody mask when it was over. Chris was always too quick with his reflexes better than his opponents. He could make them look bad, but with age, those reflexes have been dulled. Just like Roy Jones before him, Byrd has lost his edge. He can't get away from the punches anymore and that spells doom. Not to take anything away from Klitschko. He looked like he has come all the way back. He was confidant, in control and his conditioning was great...Eastern Europeans now own 3 of the 4 recognized heavyweight belts. Klitschko joins Nicolai Valuev (WBA) and Segei Liachovich (WBO). The only American left with a belt is Hasim Rahman (WBC)...The next huge weekend for boxing is Cinco de Mayo weekend in Las Vegas. The entree of course is the Oscar de la Hoya-Ricardo Mayorga title fight on Saturday, May 6 at MGM Grand. The appetizer is the Boxing Writers Association of America Awards Dinner at Mandalay Bay the night before, Friday, May 5. I heartily recommend both events. The dinner is a gala, and believe me everyone in boxing is going to be there. Go to: for ticket information.  As for the Oscar-Ricardo fight on May 6, don't write it of as a slam-dunk for Oscar. Yes, he is a 3-1 favorite and based on past performances, he should just be too good. However, all it would take would be a slight dulling of the reflexes, and the body not reacting the way it used to for de la Hoya to be in a whole lot of trouble. Remember Roy Jones. Remember Chris Byrd.  Mayorga not only is a wildman, I hear he is training like a wildman too. He will be ready to give his best effort. The atmosphere in the arena should be tremendous and I've got a feeling Ricardo won't have much fan backing. He doesn't really care though. He loves being the villain...On May 20, Staples Center will be center stage for a terrific action fight between Marco Antonio Barrera and Rocky Juarez.  There are many who fancy Juarez' chances, but I am picking Barrera based on his skill and ability to adjust...June 3rd it will be Chapter 3 of the amazing trilogy of Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. It is hard to find anyone outside of myself who is picking Corrales to win. I don't hold it lightly that Castillo came in 3 and a half
pounds over the limit and did not make a serious efort to get down to weight. He did not go through the rigors of weight-making which Corrales did. And if you look at the tape of that second fight you'll see a Castillo who never looked stronger. I expect him to have trouble making weight this time too, but eventually he'll make it. However, he won't be as strong this time around. I believe Corrales will win an exciting 12 round decision...Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the best fighter on the planet. However, I am not doing backflips over his win over Zab Judah. It was impressive yes, but let's not forget Judah was knocked out by Kostya Tszyu, decisioned by Corey Spinks and Carlos Baldomir and barely got by an aged Rafael Pineda on a tight decision.  Zab Judah is NOT an elite fighter...Glad to see the Marquez brothers, Rafael and Juan Manuel are back with Forum Boxing. That is the organization which got them going, and executives John Jackson and Antonio Curtis will again be looking to steer them into meaningful fights. By the way, I recently obtained a tape of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Chris John fight. After viewing it, I am certain Marquez was robbed on a hometown decision. I scored the fight 116-112 for Marquez...On a personal note, I just want to say that I am going to be greatly honored to receive the Sam Taub Award for "Broadcaster of the Year" by the Boxing Writers Association of America at their annual dinner May 5th at Mandalay Bay. I am really excited that sportscasting great Barry Tompkins has agreed to be my presenter.  I want to thank Barry for being such a great partner on our FSN telecasts and it will be fantastic to stand up there with him at the podium in front of the greats of boxing. I want to thank so many of past boxing partners as well like Sean O'Grady on FSN, Tom Kelley all those years doing Forum Boxing, Alan Massengale on the Top-Rank international telecasts, and previous broadcast partners Barry Mcguigan, Joe Goossen and two late, greats Alan Malamud and Jerry Quarry.  Also I must express my thanks to my TV producers Bob Steinfeld(FSN), Susan Stratton(KCAL), Jery Romano(Prime Ticket), and international producers Rick Seara and Frank Belmont.  Here at AM570, we are fortunate to be able to do one of the few boxing shows in America and the only one in Southern California. Our great Program Director Don Martin has told me time and again that he considers it necessary to have boxing on AM-570.  That is the kind of support boxing just does not receive from the mainstream media around the country. This is typical of the backing I get from Don and also KFI Program Director Robin Bertolucci who headed up AM-570 before Don got there.  I have received immeasureable help from our producer on "Rich Marotta's Neutral Corner".  I am talking of course about the inimitable James "Flames" Wimberly. James really does all the legwork, all the hard work, all the dirty work when it comes to putting the show together.  He has been with me from the start and is truly a partner with me in the show. Finally, a word about our most enthusiastic partner on the show, executive producer Ed Sheftel, who arranges sponsorships and energetically sells the show out there to whoever will listen. Many thanks to our sponsor since the beginning, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and its great vice-president Scott Voeller. Mandalay Bay believes in boxing and believes in our show. I am so pleased that the awards dinner will be held at Mandalay Bay where it was such a smash success last year after more than two decades in New York.


1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
2. Winky Wright
3. Manny Pacquaio
4. Marco Antonio Barrera
5. Rafael Marquez
6. Joe Calzaghe
7. James Toney
8. Jose Luis Castillo
9. Ricky Hatton
10. Antonio Tarver
11. Jermaine Taylor
12. Diego Corrales
13. Bernard Hopkins
14. Jorge Arce
15. Shane Mosley
16. Miguel Cotto
17. Erik Morales
18. Glen Johnson
19. Chris John
20. Juan Manuel Marquez

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