Mornin’ Muesli: The Brown Bomber Bombs At Wrestling

Yesterday I touched on Joe Louis’ infamous pro wrestling career. So infamous I never even heard about it. So, I did some research and found a spectacular video which appears to be one of Louis’ first after deciding to try his hand at the world of wrasslin’.

After watching last night’s premiere of the exceptional HBO Sports Joe Louis doc I can’t help but feel sad for the champ while watching this clip. It’s one thing for Floyd Mayweather to come to WWE in hopes of widening his fan base but it’s another to see one of the greatest be forced to do it so he can pay back the IRS. Man, that Irwin R. Schyster was relentless.

Mornin’ Muesli: Wladi, Louis, Sapp, Duddy…

* No surprises in the Klitschko-Ibragimov fight other than how cautious Wladi was in the ring. Geez, it would have been nice if he broke out something other than the jab, no?

* While he did win, I thought this was a step back for the younger Klitschko. He looked very impressive in his last few wins but, just as his trainer Manny Steward said, there was no way that fight should have went the distance.

* I disagree with Klitschko on his take concerning what needs to be done to be considered the best Heavyweight in the world. You’re only as good as the opponents you beat but also how you beat them. Performances like this one won’t convince me he is the undisputed best anytime soon and, unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any Max Schmelings out there to his Joe Louis (more on him later).

* I agreed with Harold Lederman’s scoring of the ninth round. The point in question was whether or not the ropes saved Ibragimov from getting knocked down. Perhaps, but he did recover right away so no sense in scoring it a 10-8 round. Sorry, it was a pretty boring fight.

* Nice takedown by Ibragimov in the tenth. Maybe after this showing he should consider making the switch to MMA.

* Those Klitschko & Ibragimov entrances were very pro wrestling-esque weren’t they? While I enjoyed them, I do prefer when fighters come out with their trainers etc. Makes things seem much BIGGER.

* Loved Sultan’s entrance song too. I guess he hustles everyday except on nights where he is fighting for a title at MSG on the 23rd day of February.

* Goldberg and Rogan are fantastic in the booth but my dream team to call a bout would have to be Mauro Ranallo and Max Kellerman. Now that would be music to my ears.

* Is Jeff Mayweather really the brother of Roger and Floyd Sr.? Talk about night and day in terms of personality and demeanor.

* I had no idea the Duddy-Smichet bout would not be televised and given the action (or lack thereof) in the main event I’m pretty disappointed we missed it. Who made this decision? I mean, if Duddy is really being groomed to be Pavlik’s next opponent why wouldn’t you air his bout?!?! Makes no sense. Could you imagine the UFC ever doing some like that? I can’t.

* To add more fuel to my fire, Large, who was sitting ringside covering the night’s action for The Sporting Blog, tells me it was a disgraceful decision in favor of Duddy. Sounds like the second time in two months that a Montreal-based fighter is robbed (Malignaggi-Ngoudjo anyone?). No chance he deserves to fight Pavlik next but that seems to be where we are headed.

* I can’t endorse HBO Sports’ documentary Joe Louis: America’s Hero…Betrayed enough. Yet again, another exceptional film by one of the best production crews in the business. If you missed it do yourself a favor and catch the replay. By the way, I’m almost ashamed to say I had no idea Louis ever wrestled. It sounded familiar but I don’t have any recollection of hearing any stories of him actually doing it. (Full disclosure: I worked on two HBO Sports documentaries a few years back).

* Um, yeah, so much for that Sapp-amania running wild again theory.

* I wonder if that loss will lessen his worth in the eyes of Vince McMahon. I don’t think it should and if WWE comes calling again I would take that offer pronto. Although, he did mention 3/15 so I guess he will be on that DREAM card.

* Spirited efforts all around on the Strikeforce show but a dull offering that seemed to drag on forever. Cory Devela’s judo throw had to have been the highlight of the night. Hopefully Joe Riggs makes a speedy victory.

* Frank Shamrock didn’t seem as confident in that brother vs. brother match happening as he did when we spoke to him.

* Like I said in yesterday’s Muesli, HDNet is doing a tremendous job of establishing itself as the leader in MMA programming, however, those pre-fight video packages need to be spiced up just a tad.

* Why was the Tacoma Dome so damn dark?

* I bet no one thought Maurice Smith would win via submission but definitely a brilliant game plan. I would have much rather seen that fight under K-1 rules though.

* Final verdict: last Saturday’s MMA/boxing double-header blew this one out of the water. Not even close.

* Now the real question remains: What the heck am I going to watch tonight? No fights!

Mid-Afternoon Muesli: MFC, Germany, Edgeheads…

* I very much enjoyed last night’s Maximum Fighting Championship telecast on HDNet. Partially because the fights were all very explosive (especially the last two) and mainly because it featured a lot of up-and-coming Canadian talent. The best purchase I have made this past year has to have been buying an HD television because without it I would have missed all these great MMA cards on the network. I like MFC but two things need to go: 1) the ring and 2) allowing journalists to interview the fighters in the ring after their fights. This could work if the event wasn’t televised but it doesn’t make for good television.

* Sam Caplan has another great article out at CBSSports.com. This time he analyzes which non-MMA athletes would be prime candidates to follow in the successful footsteps of Kimbo Slice and Brock Lesnar. I’m quoted a few times throughout the article as Sam was kind enough to reach out to me for my views on several athletes. Check ‘er out.

* Speaking of great reading material, solid article in the New York Times by Nicholas Kulish breaking down the tremendous boxing scene in Germany and how it differs Stateside – particularly in the way our media covers the sport. I found this quote from Kevin Monahagan, a former boxing coordinator at NBC Sports and currently a Senior VP at the network, to be particularly interesting:

“We had a meeting with the pay-TV guys in the United States,” Monaghan said, “and we said, ‘Hey, the bottom line is if you don’t build the next generation of fighters through network TV, you may not have a business in the long term.’ ”

Kind of sounds like a certain reality show that airs on Spike TV, doesn’t it?

* Final reading material plug: Dave Meltzer’s look at the phenomenon that is Bob Sapp.

* Love the idea of a Justin McCully vs. Brock Lesnar bout. Makes total sense for both men. And, by the way, McCully is one of the best guest to be booked on Inside MMA. Some of their guest bookings are very questionable but McCully has a future in TV, no doubt.

* Keith Jardine will beat Wanderlei Silva.

* You know, when the Edgeheads faction was initially formed I had high hopes for the former Major Brothers but I think it’s a bad sign that a) they’re still blander than ever and b) I still can’t tell the difference between the two. I don’t blame Rider and Hawkins entirely because they just haven’t received any mic time.

* My pick not to win the Money in the Bank at WM 24? Shelton Benjamin.

* Seriously now, has there ever been a better time to be a combat sports fan? We used to be lucky to get one great event every second week. Now, it’s strange when there aren’t at least three. Tonight we have Klitschko-Ibragimov/Duddy-Smichet, Strikeforce and ROH in NYC. Next Week? IFL, UFC 82, Vazquez-Marquez III and Kim Couture’s smoker!

Enjoy the fights, my friends. Let me know what you’ll be watching and we’ll break it all down tomorrow.

Mornin’ Muesli: ROH, Dima, Yahoo…

* I love this quote from Dan Rafael’s ESPN boxing blog: “If Mayweather is cool with fighting a mountain of a man like Show, why does he keep running from a man his own size, Miguel Cotto.” Um, I dunno, maybe because he doesn’t actually have to fight Show?

* Why do the Boxing Writers Association of America announce their fighter of the year two months too late?

* Sadly, it looks like DLH-Steve Forbes is signed and sealed for the first weekend in May. That sucks. Nothing against Forbes, I was just hoping Brooklyn’s own Dmitriy Salita would finally get a shot to shine on the national stage.

* Yahoo.com is really establishing itself as player a major player in the MMA world not to mention the entire sports world. When it comes to sports news, I check them out right after Deadspin. Sorry, ESPN. That said, I do think it’s a mistake to charge the same amount as if you were ordering the PPV through your television. I bet if they made it cheaper they would end up making more money.

* I guess the fact that 522,00 viewers tuned in to watch Kimbo vs. Tank (the most for an MMA event on Showtime) should shut the Kimbo haters up for ohhhhh eight hours or so.

* Happy birthday to Ring of Honor. It feels like just yesterday when the owner of the company was…oh forget it.

* Solid showing by TNA last night in NYC but, again, weird venue for wrestling. The ring was on some kind of makeshift stage and there were no seats – standing only. Final tally: No run-ins, no DQ finishes, one ref bump and Tommy Dreamer sighting.

* My heart goes out to the family of 20-year-old Rene Ayangma. What a horrible story.

Mornin’ Muesli: Wandy, Kim, 619, Wladi & More

Random thoughts from the world of combat sports…

* Nice to see Yves Edwards get back in the title picture. I always compared his fall from grace in MMA to that of David Loiseau’s but, unlike “The Crow,” he has done a great job of reinventing himself with his new camp, American Top Team. So, KJ Noons or Yves Edwards? I know Noons looked great against Nick Diaz but I got all my money on Mr. Thugjitsu.

* This Randy Couture situation keeps getting weirder and weirder and you know what? With each passing day I continue to find myself siding with Zuffa. Where I come from it goes a little something like this: You have a contract, you honor it. No one forced Couture (above right) to sign that new deal. I have the utmost respect for him as a fighter and have worked with him on a couple of occasions but I wish he would just honor the contract and move on.

* Speaking of the Couture family, gotta give props to his wife, Kim, for telling Mauro Ranallo (is it that hard to spell the man’s name? A little respect is in order for one of the best in the business) that she will be making her official MMA debut on April 5. I wonder if she would put aside her friendship with Gina Carano to fight her because that seems to be the obvious “money-making” matchup (as much as women’s MMA can make money).

* What’s up with all this Wanderlei Silva (above left) moving down to Middleweight talk? Way too many big fights for him at 205. Keith Jardine and Chuck Liddell come to mind. I doubt we will see him at 185 anytime soon.

* I’m starting to think that the 4/2 UFC Fight Night is some kind of April Fool’s Day Joke. I mean, how many fights are going to be on this card…48? It appears as though you can add Manny Gamburyan and Jeff Cox to the lineup as well. If you’ve lost count, that’s fight #12.

* I’m actually pretty excited for Klitschko-Ibragimov this weekend. I know it doesn’t have the same kind of feel as the Lewis-Holyfield unification bout at the Garden nine years ago but, still, I have enjoyed watching Wlad mature into the best Heavyweight in the world over the last few years. Manny Steward continues to prove his worth.

* I wonder if John Duddy will look past Walid Smichet knowing full well that a huge payday is waiting for him in the form of Kelly Pavlik. I know one thing, never…eeeeevver underestimate Montreal(-based) fighters.

* This will be another friendless busy Saturday night for yours truly with the Bob Sapp Strikeforce fight, Klitschko-Ibragimov and the Joe Louis HBO Sports documentary. No one does them better than HBO Sports…no one (that was kind of a play off the Real Sports with Bryant Gumble commercial but I don’t think it will resonate).

* Tough break for Mr. 619. He had the angle of a lifetime waiting for him with Mayweather before the dreaded injury bug nailed him. Hopefully, for his sake, he can still be involved in some way but I hope they leave him out. The whole Mysterio-Mayweather friendship seems a little forced.

* TNA has finally arrived in the Big Apple! Kind of underwhelming that tonight’s house show is going down in a place I have never heard of (Webster Hall, anyone?) but I guess it’s a start. I’m wondering why they didn’t book the Hammerstein Ballroom?

* I don’t care about De La Hoya turning down WWE’s offer to appear ‘Mania as long as Roger Mayweather makes at least ONE cameo. Please make my dreams come true, Black Mamba.

* Where have you gone Samoa Joe?