By David Haye
Look out for the banana skin! It wasn't a good weekend for unbeaten records last weekend, as two future stars of the boxing world had zeros removed by unheralded opponents.
Andre Berto lost to Victor Ortiz in a war and Juan Manuel Lopez was knocked out by Orlando Salido in the eighth round. Both guys lost their world titles in the process, and the fights showed just how unpredictable a sport like boxing can be.
You can't take anything for granted in this game, and both Berto and Lopez may have been a bit guilty of looking past their opponents. Berto was being talked about as a future opponent for Manny Pacquiao, while Lopez was being linked with Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa. A whole heap of money would have been made from both fights, but now, because Berto and Lopez took their eye off the ball, it has all gone to waste.
Credit to Salido and Ortiz, though. They both performed brilliantly and, despite the hype, had no fear taking the fight to their opponent. I have met Victor before, and watched him fight live, and that victory on Saturday night couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. He's a really hard-worker and has turned a corner in his career, just as I did when losing to Carl Thompson in 2004. Ortiz has rebounded from a stoppage defeat and used it to spur him on to greater success. That's the true definition of a champion.
Britain's own world champion, Amir Khan, also defended his belt on Saturday night, as he outboxed Ireland's Paul McCloskey for six rounds before being handed a technical decision. McCloskey suffered an unfortunate cut above his eye and the fight was stopped and prematurely sent to the cards.
It was a disappointing ending to an interesting fight, and I'm sure Amir was just as gutted by the nature of the outcome as everybody else. Knowing Amir as I do, I have no doubt he would have wanted to finish the fight decisively. In fact, Amir seemed on the verge of doing just that at the time, as he wobbled and hurt McCloskey in the previous round.
The decision to end the fight because of the cut seemed a strange one, to be honest. The cut wasn't stopping McCloskey from fighting and didn't seem particularly deep, wide or likely to get much worse. From what I could tell, McCloskey wanted to continue with the fight, and it was a shame he wasn't given the benefit of the doubt in such a big world title fight. McCloskey might not get another chance now.
Still, it's hard to say how the final rounds would have played out. McCloskey claims he would have come on strong, but there was little evidence of that happening in the six rounds we did see. There's no doubt Khan was on top and well in control at that stage, and it's not like Amir has a history of fading late in fights. He's one of the best conditioned boxers in the world and, if anything, only gets better as the fight moves into the later stages. I've got no doubt he would have done the same in the second half of Saturday's fight.
Finally, a shout-out to Andy Murray, who played his heart out in Monte Carlo last week. Andy put on a show against some good guys before eventually losing to Rafael Nadal in the semi-final at the Monte Carlo Masters. Nadal hasn't lost a match at the event since he was 16, so it was good to see Andy push Rafa all the way, claim a set off him and come extremely close to beating him.
I definitely think Andy has moved into a new gear now and the remainder of 2011 is going to be huge for him. I don't think he's ever been in a better position to push on and get what's rightfully his at Wimbledon this summer.