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2006 Year In Review: Part II

One month later and just down the strip at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, we were treated with an attractive, but still questionable bout between one-time pound-for-pound king Sugar Shane Mosely and Ferocious Fernando Vargas in the light middleweight division. Many considered both fighters over the hill and amongst the less elite fighters in the sport. Both fighters knew that it was either win or retire.

One month later and just down the strip at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, we were treated with an attractive, but still questionable bout between one-time pound-for-pound king Sugar Shane Mosely and Ferocious Fernando Vargas in the light middleweight division. Many considered both fighters over the hill and amongst the less elite fighters in the sport. Both fighters knew that it was either win or retire.

The fight was entertaining, combative and competitive. Not what many predicted. While the fight ended in a 10th round TKO in favor of Mosley, it was stopped as a result of the grotesque swelling above the left eye of Vargas. Vargas could no longer see out of his left eye and was taking repeated rights to the head. Both fighters were in top shape and looked the best they have looked in their previous few fights. Even though the fight was stopped early, the judges score cards had them just one round apart. We were once again excited about these two great warriors and demanded a rematch.

Before their first fight, both fighters knew that it was win or go home – and the rematch raised the pressure even further. This time, Sugar Shane looked like he did in his prime. He was quick, powerful and put together his famous combinations that took him to the top of the sport. Mosley impressively knocked out Vargas at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the sixth round. It was a left hook by Mosley that ended the fight as referee Kenny Bayless had to step in after Vargas was knocked down for the second time.

Coming off the heals of an embarrassing loss to unknown Carlos Baldomir, Welterweight Champion Zab Judah took on the pound-for-pound king “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr. Judah began the fight looking very sharp and strong controlling the first four rounds. He patiently countered Mayweather as he boxed around the ring. Mayweather using his experience, craft, skill and speed quickly took control of the fight and dominated in every way. He reminded us why he is the pound-for-pound best.
In a bizarre twist, Judah landed an unintentional low blow in the 10th round followed by a punch which landed to the back of Mayweather’s head. As Mayweather grimaced and limped to the neutral corner, trainer/uncle Roger Mayweather stromed into the ring and attempted to engage Judah. This incited a near riot as members from both camps charged the ring and a scuffle ensued. Order was restored after about three minutes and Las Vegas police and security officials took control. Referee Richard Steele ejected Roger Mayweather from the fight and was subsequently suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

April brought to us the hope of finding a heavyweight champion that we could call the best. After Hasim Rahman and James Toney fought to a draw a month earlier, boxing fans were becoming restless of the one time glorious division. Wladimir Klitschko and Chris Byrd went toe-to-toe in hopes of clearing the very fuzzy heavyweight division. Klitschko turned to Emmanuel Steward to help resurrect his career, and it paid off. Klitschko earned a seventh round TKO victory over the smaller and less powerful Byrd and won the IBF Heavyweight title. This would be the start of the takeover of former Soviet Union fighters in the heavyweight division.

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