Monday, December 12, 2011

Boardwalk Empire: To the Lost

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again. 
It's always been the same, same old story. 
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen. 
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away. 
-Cat Stevens

Jimmy and Harrow fulfill one of Jimmy’s promises: They show up to a Klan meeting and get the 3 KKK members that shot up Chalky’s “boys.” Jimmy can’t deliver booze or plan an assassination, but he’s able to kill some clansmen and bring the guilty parties to Chalky’s doorstep. It makes sense when Jimmy asks Chalky to set up a meeting with Nucky. That boy will do anything for his father. Also, TO his father. See last episode.

Being screwed over, almost assassinated, and having killed two women has sent Horvitz to a weird, almost Apocalypse Now place.  He’s hiding in a basement of a synagogue. Mickey Doyle went back to Nucky. He keeps getting smarter. Horvitz wants to trade Waxy Gordon for Darmody. Nucky is making his comeback and he has a little bit of time to get his throne in order. Like Mikey said, “He ain’t in jail, yet.”

Emily has made progress. She’s walking with her braces and crutches. Margaret is at Rudolph’s office and has brought along her priest. That priest is no match for these two broads. Rudolph’s not pulling any punches and Margaret looks intense. She manages to rile up Rudolph. Margaret playing the Eva Braun card is not going to help her with Rudolph. “He hasn’t been cruel to me.” Is that like the Ginger from Casino version of “Nobody’s ever been so nice to me”? Rudolph tells Margaret that she can be a free woman. I think Margaret knows better than most that there’s no such thing as a free woman.

Eddie is cracking wise. Nucky does NOT appreciate it. Nucky’s lawyer keeps telling him what’s up. If Margaret testifies, it would be beyond independent corroboration. And then Chalky calls . . .

Nucky doesn’t hesitate to meet with Jimmy, but takes Owen just in case. He’s dismissed by Jimmy and Nucky. Good. I can’t STAND to look at that smug bastard’s face. Jimmy pours a little out for his wifey. Touching. Then Jimmy drops the bomb on Nucky about killing The Commodore. “He was your father. Nothing looms larger.” Nucky could’ve been talking about his own relationship with Jimmy. Jimmy plays the don’t-blame-me-I-had-a-hard-life card. Then he dumps it all on Eli. I really don’t see what Jimmy could do to make things okay between him and Nuck.  Of course, I’m no wartime consigliere.

Whether he’s being honest or manipulative (probably both), who knows, but Nucky lays it on the line with Margaret and proposes. He’s contrite, humble, and vulnerable. But, unlike Margaret, I don’t find it or him surprising. He’s the smartest character on television since Jeb Bartlett. Margaret needs to sleep on it, I guess, and wakes up to a lovely, but maggot riddled, home life scene: Nucky playing in the yard with her kids. Everyone loves a wedding, but I don’t think it bodes well that Owen and his former lover/Margaret’s maid are the witnesses. Kind of a weird homage to the baptism/murder scene from the Godfather, though. And, right after they’re married, Nucky lies to Margaret.  Ahhhhhhhhh, married life.

The Commodore’s official cause of death: car wreck. His will had bequeathed his property to the maid that tried to kill him. Legal hawk Jimmy tears up the will. Um, okay. I think Gillian will be lucky if she’s relegated to a mere hostess and maid. Jimmy asks his associates to turn against Eli and blame everything on him. They aren’t as keen on the idea.

But it magically happens.

I feel horrible for Randolph. She had such a great case for which she had worked so, so hard. One of the few times I haven’t liked Nucky. Poor Hallorahn is the only one that gets punished for anything. I guess he wasn’t that smart after all.

I miss Angela. My heart breaks for that little boy who has to grow up with that family. Angela wasn’t a saint, but damn.

Eli is working hard on becoming an alcoholic while sweating it out on his porch. Eli is a really good liar, but is Nucky convinced? Eli is going to have to eat it. Two year sentence, probably with time served or time off for good behavior, but Eli, a former sheriff, is going to jail.

Luciano and Rothstein are going into the heroin business together. Nucky calls and advises that Horvitz might no longer be with us. Luciano doesn’t care, so Rothstein doesn’t care. Nucky’s going to have to make a decision.

Van Alden, his Swedish nanny, and the baby are in the Midwest. What does this guy think he’s going to do?

Jimmy looks like the help in that big house. Harrow looks more like he belongs. Jimmy gets a call summoning him to Nucky. Harrow offers to go with him, but Jimmy brushes him off. He keeps getting sidelined. Lame. And a big mistake. I guess Eli did convince Nucky or blood is thicker than water. Jimmy gets set up by Nucky and the heavens weep. Jimmy was ready to die, but I can’t believe he would leave his son to Gillian.  I blame The Commodore for all of this. At least Jimmy killed him before he was offed himself.

I wish I were a better writer so I could describe how cold and intense and cruel Nucky was in that scene. I know and have always known he's a bad man, but I was horrified. 

But Nucky gets a big F-U courtesy of Margaret and the Church gets their future legal defense fund. Evil begets evil begets evil.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cotto-Margarito 12-03-11

Oh, man, Margarito doesn’t want to touch gloves. Eeeeek! This is gonna be good!

Round 1: Cotto comes out of his corner ready to swing. Left by Cotto to Margarito’s stomach. Hard right by Cotto. Left hook to the body by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Margarito missing several punches. Tradeing jabs. Left to the body by Cotto. Fighters trade jabs. Combination by Cotto. Right by Margarito. Body shot by Cotto. Left to the body by Margarito. Hard left jab by Cotto. Hard right by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Combination by Cotto with a nasty left hook. Another combination by Cotto. Combination by Margarito. Cotto (10-9)

Round 2: Hard left hook by Cotto. Hard right by Margarito. Cotto answers with his own hard right. Combination by Cotto. Fighters trade jabs. Left hook by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Combination by Cotto. Hard left by Cotto. Another left hook by Cotto. Two left jabs by Cotto. Upper cut by Margarito. Fighters trade jabs at the bell. Cotto (20-18)

Round 3: Combinatino by Cotto. Left by Cotto. Fighters trade jabs. Left jab by Cotto. Right by Margarito. Right to the body by Cotto. Both fighters are punching. Right by Cotto to Margarito’s face. Right to Margarito’s body. Left hook by Cotto. Another left hook and then a right jab. Right to the body by Margarito. Cotto (30-27)

Round 4: Combination by Cotto. Right by Cotto to Margarito’s face. Left hook by Cotto. Right by Cotto. Right to the body by Cotto. Clinch with Margarito punching Cotto’s head. Left by Cotto. Right upper cut by Margarito. Combination by Cotto. Left Hook by Cotto. Small punches to Cotto’s head. Right by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Cotto (40-36)

Round 5: Cotto seems tired. Left, measuring jabs by Margarito. Left jab by Cotto. Right hook by Margarito. Combination by Margarito. Combination by Cotto. Combination by Margarito. Combination by Cotto. Left hook to the body by Cotto. Clinch with upper cuts by Margarito. Two lefts by Cotto. Left hook by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Fighters trade left jabs. Margarito (49-46)

Round 6: Cotto seems reenergized. Left jab by Cotto. Right by Cotto. Left jab and combination by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Clinch with Margarito punching. Two lefts with Cotto. Left uppercut by Cotto. Combination by Cotto. Left to the body by Cotto. Combo by Cotto.   Cotto (59-55)

Round 7: Left jab by Cotto. Left jab by Cotto. Clinch Margarito lands punches. Left by Cotto. Two lefts and a right by Margarito. Upper cut by Margarito. Hard right by Margarito. Combination to the head by Cotto. Left to the body by Margarito. Clinch. And some wrestling? Combination by Cotto, including after the bell. That’s not nice. Let’s not stoop that level. Cotto (69-64)

Round 8: Combo by Cotto. Left hook to the body by Cotto.  Margarito swinging wild. Clinch with Margarito getting a punch in. Time out due to Cotto’s tape becoming undone. Two lefts by Cotto. Right by Cotto. Left hook by Cotto. Combination to the body and head by Cotto. Combination to the head by Margarito. Uppercut and right by Margarito. Right by Margarito. Right then left by Cotto. Right by Cotto.  (79-73)

Round 9: Margarito almost doesn’t answer the bell because of his eye. Combination by Cotto. Left uppercut by Cotto. Left to the body by Cotto. Clinch. Margarito getting in some punches. Flurry of body shots by Cotto. Combination by Cotto. Two lefts by Cotto. Upper cut by Margarito. Left by Cotto. Left upper by Margarito. Right uppercut by Cotto. Two uppercuts by Margarito. Right by Cotto.  Cotto (89-82)

Round 10: The ringside doctor won’t let Margarito continue. Cotto wins by TKO

Cotto fought very well. He was precise, focused, and determined. His punches hit hard and the target was clearly Margarito’s rebuilt eye. Going to Margarito’s chin wouldn’t have been effective, so I understand the lack of uppercuts, but more shots to the body would’ve been nice.  If Cotto opens his own gym, he could teach a class on left hooks.


Neither one wobbled. Neither one stumbled. Only Margarito’s eye was damaged. Cotto was tagged all over his face. Cotto went after Margarito with everything he had and Frankenstein kept lurching forward. Did this fight provide enough evidence to prove Margarito had loaded wraps in his first fight with Cotto? Not in a court of law, but definitely in the court of public opinion and for fight fans.

I don’t think that Cotto will go down in Puerto Rican boxing history as great of a fighter as Trinidad. The Cotto-Margarito saga will go down as an interesting and dramatic turn in a sport known for its drama.
Cotto, the only fighter other than Pacquiao that can legitimately say the name Mayweather, earned a lot of respect from me for not mentioning Mayweather for a future matchup.   

In the post fight interview, Cotto says about Margarito, “He means nothing to me.” I think that’s the general consensus for anyone involved in boxing, including fans. A guy known for taking punishment can no longer take punishment. It doesn’t seem like he can be knocked out and, because of his eye, all of his fights will likely be stopped by a ringside doctor. That doesn’t make him a viable opponent and that doesn’t leave him a lot of options. I hope he’s had a great money manager, because it’s time to retire.

Oh, but the glory that was!  Their first fight renewed my hope in boxing.  They were two well-known fighters in a well-matched, explosive, entertaining fight. It took me back to my youth when boxers would really fight in an attempt to establish dominance. If you were king of the ring, you were a battle-tested king. When it was revealed that Margarito was using illegal wraps at the Moseley fight, it broke my heart. Boxing went back to being a shady, dirty-ass, fringe sport. I can and do still recall the greatness of the first fight, even though it makes me ache. I’m still waiting for a boxing savior, but I’m no longer hopeful.

Boardwalk Empire: Under God’s Power, She Flourishes

“You’re tearing me apart!” – Rebel Without a Cause

Flashback to when Angela and Jimmy were first dating. Ah, the lust of youth. She was a waitress and slightly homely. Seeing Jimmy as a Princeton student is not as strange as I thought it would be. His professor seemed like a nice role model, with the usual result for Jimmy. A lot of references to one being hungry and not being able to feed oneself.  Sounds like Jimmy. Unfortunately, nothing seems to work out for him. I like the imagery of the young soldiers bounding up after Jimmy . . . the war is nipping at his heels.

Gillian came back into Jimmy’s life when he was doing well at Princeton. I like that Jimmy grimaced when he had his drink, but Gillian didn’t.  Gillian does get close to Jimmy’s professor and then the professor gets too close to Gillian.  Fighting someone you feel compelled to still call Mr. So and So is not going to help you. Jimmy had a chance to walk, but he didn’t take it. And Gillian was disgustingly pleased. She really enjoys keeping him emotionally hostage. So far, it seems like every time she comes to town, it ruins Jimmy’s life. And, ugh. A drunken mother and son undressing one another in a darkened room. So, so, so creepy. I couldn’t even watch it. The inappropriateness could be a product of her being raped at the age of 13 by a 40 year old.

OH, MY EYES!!! MY EYES!!! WTF???!!! I’m surprised that Jimmy didn’t run into machine gun fire on purpose during the war. Or gas himself. Jay-sus! “I had my pleasures. That’s all that matters.” Man, that quote from Gillian now has an added layer of sociopathic meaning. Cut later to current day Jimmy getting high on his own supply after hearing about Angela. I think heroin’s his only option at this point. A biological father that’s a rapist. A surrogate father that you betrayed. A mother that likes to fuck you. Get all of the heroin you can, sweetie. Crying is good, too. Cry until the jmen in the white coats come take you away. I, for one, will not judge you.

Nucky is going over his case with his new lawyer. Nucky’s manservant just happened to be a witness to the drowning of the Jewish prohibition agent killed by Van Alden. Thank goodness Nucky’s lawyer allowed the man to speak.  Nucky’s getting a little too tense. It’s making him shortsighted. He’s forgetting that people and the information they have is the best capital. He used to be such a good listener!

Alden’s story about his parentage sheds some light on his personality. His father was one of those religious folks who followed a preacher who predicted the rapture would occur in the late nineteenth century. He sold the farm, plummeted the family into poverty, and was brokenhearted when the Jesus didn’t come on down. This somehow led to him not enjoying his son’s presence. I don’t get it, but it explains Van Alden a little better, although wouldn’t that make him less religious. And what happened his self-flagellation? It added a nice layer of terror to his creepiness.

Emily gets her leg braces. Not as fun as when Forrest Gump received his. She couldn’t even stand in the braces. Is it just me, or does the priest look like a much less attractive Ted Kennedy.  The priest tells Margaret a parable and then makes some sort of request. Any request a priest makes that’s slightly vague gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I like Nucky’s reaction to the priest’s parable. Really, why didn’t they just choke up on the spoons? We now know that Nucky is an agnostic/fatalist. Why does Margaret seem surprised? I hope that Margaret takes Nucky’s threat seriously when she suggests she’s going to answer the subpoena and testify against Nucky. For a second I thought she was going to mention her two pumps from Owen.  Thank goodness she has a sliver of her old intelligence left. Phew! However, if at any other time of the show the ADA were to go toe to toe with Margaret, I would’ve given the odds to Margaret, but right now . . . I’m worried for Nucky.

Gillian is back in true form after being relegated to non-existent after the Commodore made his recovery. She gives the hapless deputy a quick and neat story to tie up Angela’s murder. She should’ve just said that Harrow is a war buddy instead of a simpleton. Harrow’s a bit sensitive right now. I worry about him, but he came through for Jimmy at the end. I hope Jimmy doesn’t do to Harrow what he thinks Nucky did to him.

Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, and the crew finally figure out that they need to let Jimmy deal with his own problems and hang him out to dry. They then push Doyle a bit too far. Much like Hallorahn, he’s the type that, if pushed too hard, will take action. He’s a criminal Hallorahn. And he does. Doyle meets with Van Alden and proposes a plan for a fake raid by the feds. Van Alden gets half of the liquor money and Doyle gets the other half. Van Alden turns him down.

Eli is between a rock and a hard place and that ADA is doing a good job of putting the screws to the Thompson brothers.  Enough so that Eli decides to testify against Nucky. Nucky tries to talk to Margarget about his finances in case he goes to jail and in preparation of his trial. Margaret pretty much gets what she always wanted: security. Except now she makes it seem like a terrible burden.

Owen is being his usual creeper self. “Do you think about me?” Their love scene was so lacking in warmth, pleasure or anything of a sexual nature. I still don’t know why it happened? Margaret felt like a worthless whore for a moment and wanted to feel it the whole way? I’m sure Margaret’s thoughts lean toward regret, disgust, and disappointment, if she thinks of him and their encounter at all.  Sucks that Owen’s lover, Margaret’s maid, overheard.   

Ms. Randolph goes after Van Alden for the drowning of the prohibition agent with the help of Nucky’s lawyer. Van Alden decides to shoot a federal agent and flee. I think Nucky’s sucked the intelligence out of everyone else in this show.

Gillian downplays Angela’s death and Jimmy starts choking her. Totally understandable. The Commodore then goes after Jimmy. Despite his recent stroke, he’s got the old man strength going for him. Jimmy finally succeeds in killing someone. What a fucking Greek tragedy this is. And how good are Gillian’s wiles that every man in her life would kill for her? Jimmy should’ve killed her and then himself, too.  And, look, the heir to the Greek throne, little Tommy.  I wonder if Gillian gave Jimmy that same speech after she had sex with him. Blech.

This was such an intense episode. They could’ve ended the season with it. The season finale better bring it.  

Favorite quote: “The beginning’s over. The end hasn’t come yet.” - Nucky

This show really makes me feel like I live in a Norman Rockwell painting.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cotto-Margarito II Preview

24/7 Cotto-Margarito II

I’m so excited about this matchup!  When Cotto and Margarito first met, they were both undefeated, heavy-punching, stars. The winner would emerge as king of that division. (Mayweather was on hiatus and Manny hadn’t showed up to that division, yet.) It was a slugfest.  Both took major punishment, but every time Margarito threw a punch, it looked like Cotto was getting hit with an anvil.  Six months later, we find out a possible reason why Margarito’s punches were so devastating.  

Cotto took the loss hard and it manifested in a super early mid-life crisis. He started getting tattoos. He separated from his wife. This could be an argument for my hypothesis that every fighter should have a loss or two early in his career to help build resiliency. Or, just losing to Margarito sends one into a downward spiral.*  
Both now have losses to Pacquiao, who dismantled Margarito to such a degree that Margarito was almost denied (and probably should’ve been) denied a license by the New York Athletic Commission due to the lingering damage to one of his eyes. (Cotto said the fight is at the Garden or it doesn’t happen at all. Bob Arum probably had a few kneecaps broken to get Margarito his license.**) Margarito’s corner should’ve stopped the Pacquiao fight long before the final bell.

The 24/7 series covering Cotto’s and Margarito’s training camp could’ve been way longer. This would’ve been a great multi-episode 24/7. Margarito’s eye issues.  Some analysis from Margarito and his camp of what happened in the ring with Pacquiao.  Some more background on Cotto’s new trainer and how he adjusted to his new trainer’s style in comparison to his other trainers.

I do like Cotto’s new trainer, Diaz. Cuban athletes have an amazing work ethic. There are few distractions in Cuba. You have nothing to do, but be dedicated. Maybe I just have a soft spot for people who have to leave behind everything they know and everyone they love due to an oppressive government.

Cotto’s best friend needs to put the tweezers DOWN. That is not a good look for a big man.

I find the interviews with the wives and mothers the most interesting – for all fighters and trainers. They seem resigned at best and fearful at worst. I can’t imagine being married to someone who was so involved in boxing. It’s all day, every day, and such a dangerous sport.

Margarito’s drills at the track look like so much fun, but, man, his trainer has AGED since the Pacquiao fight. I do feel bad for Margarito having to make the unscheduled trip to New York. Every day is crucial this close to a fight, but he has to go the extra mile for all requests due to, well, you know.

This is a big fight career-wise and psychologically for both fighters. Cotto to avenge the previous loss and regain his confidence. Margarito to redeem his reputation as a hard-hitting fight, WITHOUT plaster on his hands and to quiet those that scream out he’s a criminal. This fight will, hopefully, bring closure to both fighters as well as fight fans.  So, it comes down to one thing: What’s stronger? Revenge? Or redemption?

*See: Kermit Cintron
**Not even allegedly. It’s a joke. I kid. Bob Arum is a paragon of ethics. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Alvarez-Cintron 11-26-2011

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez v.Kermit "The Killer" Cintron for the WBC Light Middleweight Title

Round 1: Both fighters go to the center of the ring quickly. Both seem focused. No hesitation or apprehension. Cintron throwing the majority of the punches. None are landing. He’s measuring the distance and gauging Alvarez’s reactions. Alvarez staring to react. Combination and shots to the body by Alvarez. Combo by Alvarez. Left and right connect to Cintron’s head. [De la Hoya is in the front row looking like an 80s Mexican drug dealer straight out of Miami vice. ]. Cintron misses a good opportunity for a counter as Alvarez throws a punch and lets down his guard.  Alvarez (10-9)

Round 2: Alvarez lands a left to Cintron’s head. [RJJ talking some nonsense and distracting me from a good exchange.] Cintron to the body. Left upper cut by Alvarez and then a right to the body. Left jab by Cintron. Alvarez answers with a combination. Two left jabs by Cintron. [These left jabs are not going to cut it.]  Alvarez (20-18)

Round 3:  Alvarez counters wild and misses. Both fighters swing wild and miss. Left jab by Alvarez. Left jab by Cintron. Combination by Alvarez connects to Cintron’s face. Left uppercut by Alvarez.  Alvarez missing several punches. Both fighters have great rhythm. They both also have great head movement. Right to Alvarez’s head. The fighters trade left jabs as the bell sounds. Alvarez (30-27)

Round 4: Right uppercut by Cintron. Left to Cintron’s body. Jab by Cintron. Fighters are trading jabs. Now trading upper cuts. Trading jabs. The boxers are mirroring each other. Alvarez to the body. Great left hook to Cintron’s head. Left jab by Cintron. Three rights to Cintron’s head. Cintron goes down and gets up. Cintron can’t put up his gloves after the standing eight so the ref does it for him. Alvarez attacks. Cintron slips. Body shot by Cintron. Left hook to Cintron. Cintron is hurt at the bell. Sits on the ropes. There is a cut on the bridge of Cintron’s nose.  Alvarez (40-35)

Round 5: Cintron legs look stiff. Not good. Hook combination by Cintron, but he’s wobbly and swinging wild. Left by Alvarez. Right by Alvarez. Hard right by Cintron to Alvarez’s head. Right hook by Alvarez. Left jabs by Cintron. Light, not really connecting.  Left hook by Alvarez. Then a combination. Cintron answers. Alvarez can take a punch. I am seriously worried about Cintron.  Combination by Alvarez. And the ref stops the fight. TKO for Alvarez

Would everyone please stop asking for Mayweather? Unless you’re ready to take the money and retire, there are other, better fighters. Stop indulging that ignorant a-hole and pissing off true boxing fans. It’s like any boxer within two weight classes of Mayweather has Tourettes and can only say “Mayweather.” Ugh.

Cintron’s descent is a little sad. He participated in one of the greatest nights of boxing for me: July 14, 2007: Paul Williams whooping on Margarito; Cintron versus Matthysse; Gatti’s last fight (I teared up); and I think it may have been Amir Khan’s HBO debut. It was such a beautiful night of boxing. I feel bad about Paul Williams’ career, too, but I’ll save that for another article.   

Now, as to whom Alvarez SHOULD (could) fight next . . . Sergio Martinez? Paul Willams? The winner of the Cotto-Margarito fight? Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr.? Yes, some of those match ups would require someone to change their weight class, and it would be a rematch with Cotto, but so what? Do it. I want to see a good (big name) fight (that doesn’t include Mayweather).