Thursday, December 31, 2015

Racism In Boxing - Is Floyd Mayweather Right Or Wrong About It?

Some things are worth pondering over.

Okay, so Floyd Mayweather has spoken out about there being racism in boxing. He's taking heat for this, but his comments are worth contemplating - even in this day and age, where insane political correctness seems to hold society in a stranglehold.

First and foremost, there is no institutional mainstream racism to speak of within the sport. The Jack Johnson era is clearly over. Still, Mayweather argues that the lack of recognition given to Andre Ward is indicative of  prejudice. It's hard to agree with Floyd on this, either, however, since Ward, frankly, doesn't fight much.

Furthermore, fighters like Manny Pacquiao, along with Mike Tyson and Ray Leonard before him, have proven to be wildly popular. Needless to say, none of those men are white, Central American, or South American. So...does Floyd's argument hold any truth to it at all? It actually might, when it extends outside of boxing. For Floyd speaks of a double standard which pertains to combat sports as a whole.

Here's the truth - the media love and adulation given to UFC star Ronda Rousey before her defeat to Holly Holm literally had me wondering this past summer if she was the newest incarnation of the great white hope. Ask yourself this - would Rousey have been as beloved by the cocktail party media set if she were from Mexico?

What's more, current UFC bad boy/bad ass Connor McGregor - a white guy - is indeed applauded these days for being obnoxious...I saw and heard jocular accolades for his behavior myself just the other day on a popular podcast. So, yeah, Floyd may have a point - when it pertains to particular mixed martial artists. Let's be honest, though, MMA isn't boxing. And the racial favoritism Floyd speaks of comes - if it indeed exists - largely from the media and not from MMA combatants or MMA fans. Floyd is a lot more wealthy and well known than McGregor is, frankly.

What's more, Floyd willfully made himself into a villain for public consumption...that's something he should ponder. Lastly, McGregor and Rousey have thrilling styles whereas Floyd (and Ward) are essentially technicians.

This isn't to say Floyd might not have a point (at least when it comes to the media), it just means the whole thing has to be viewed objectively. The bottom line is this, prejudice still exists in society. And, yeah, that's something worth noting. Still, it pays to be specific and to not paint with too broad a brush when making serious accusations.




Wednesday, December 30, 2015

So...Can Bradley Win?

Some may actually watch this match intently

Okay, so most aren't that happy about Manny Pacquiao - supposedly - wrapping up his career by facing Timothy Bradley for a third time. The first two bouts, as everyone knows, weren't exactly of the Hagler-Hearns variety. Still, we're getting the fight, like it or not, so we may as well ask the only question truly worth asking at this point:

Can Timothy Bradley pull it off this time?

If you ask most fight fans, they'll tell you Bradley clearly lost the first two bouts with Pacquiao - even though he was given the insanely controversial decision nod the first time around. Indeed, the consensus is pretty much that the Pacquiao-Bradley saga is essentially finished business at this point in time.

With that in mind, though, there is a bit of spice that has been recently thrown into the mix. Frankly,it doesn't make this third go round Pay Per View worthy, but it makes the match itself somewhat interesting, nonetheless. For Bradley is now with Teddy Atlas and - yeah - he seems rejuvenated.

Granted, the Atlas-Bradley pairing has only seen itself through one fight - and that was against a far from his best Brandon Rios - but, let's face facts here, Bradley looked terrific. Sharp, smart and dominant, it was a stellar performance from the guy known as Desert Storm. If he looks that good against Pacquiao, will things suddenly turn interesting?

That may well depend on Manny himself. The guy won't have been in the ring for close to a year when he meets Bradley in April. He'll also have recently gotten surgery on his shoulder. And let's not forget his age. Manny is no kid. Lastly, there's the sense that - even if it isn't his last fight - Pacquiao's career has clearly seen it's zenith.

So yes, Bradley certainly has a good chance of winning in April. If only the fight weren't on Pay Per View, it might actually make for must see viewing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pacquiao-Bradley III Would Be A Great Fight - On HBO

Why not put the fight on pay cable?

People are unhappy right now because word is out that Manny Pacquiao may indeed face Timothy Bradley yet again for his "going away" fight in April. First off, I'm not convinced it will be Manny's last trip to the ring. What's more, I'm not crazy about seeing Manny and Tim face off again myself, unless, of course, they were to get it on live on HBO. Then I'd love to see it.

Here's the thing. People today avoid rematches for no particular good reason. What's wrong with a rematch, I ask you? Yeah, you've seen the fight before, but things change. Robinson fought LaMotta a lot, but you don't hear people complaining about it now. Why? Because it was a classic series of fights. Robinson won the vast majority of them, but LaMotta was trouble for Sugar Ray and everyone knew it.

Whether or not Bradley is trouble for Manny is debatable, but I wouldn't mind dedicating my Saturday night to see how a third go round between the two would work itself out. Both guys are terrific fighters, after all. What's more, now that Mayweather has retired they would be facing off to see who was the undisputed ruler of the welterweight division. That's good stuff. It's just not pay per view worthy stuff.

Asking people to pay a whole lot of money to see these two go at it yet again is ridiculous. The drama that will come from questions regarding Pacquiao's age and skill set - along with other questions pertaining to Bradley's teaming up with Teddy Atlas - won't provide enough enticement for people to cough up the better end of a hundred dollars. Why not just put the matchup on at nine pm some evening this spring for people to see on pay cable?

Because both Pacquiao and Bradley are expensive fighters, that's why. Indeed, at this point they might be too expensive for fans to bother paying to see face one another. Honestly, does anyone picture this fight doing the kinds of numbers Cotto-Canelo did, much less Manny-Floyd? The idea of a third fight is fine by me. The idea of putting it on Pay Per View? Not so much.

Oh well, maybe Manny will end up fighting Amir Khan after all, anyway.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Canelo May Be Over-Hyped, But He Shouldn't Be Hated

Some of us can't figure out why people are so wild for Alvarez.

So yes, Canelo Alvarez gets himself a ton of love both inside and outside of the boxing industry. Just today, in fact, ESPN named him Fighter Of The Year. Why this is, I must confess, is beyond me. Canelo had a good year for himself, but I have a hard time believing top honors should be his - especially when Floyd bested Manny and Tyson trumped Wlad. Still, popularity apparently means a lot to people and Canelo is nothing if not popular at the moment.

Here's the thing, though - there's a flip side to this coin. And right now people are tiring of Canelo, of the fact that he doesn't seem eager to fight GGG, of the fact that he seems on the verge of being a catchweight king, of the fact that, as Dan Ambrose of Boxing News 24 points out, his performances are overly impressive  to ringside judges. Such things can rankle true blue fans, after all  and can lead to resentment. Indeed, the criticism being lobbed at the man right now is justified, in my opinion.

But, still -  I don't think the guy should be hated.

First off, it's ridiculous to hate anyone. More germane to the subject at hand, however, Canelo has done nothing yet to prove himself worthy of scorn (though he now is certainly worth keeping a wary eye on). If he passes on a fight with Golovkin in 2016, THEN there will be something to get angry at. He hasn't passed on that match, though, and even though I think the wait for Alvarez-Golovkin is BS, I also think Canelo has proven himself too brave a warrior in the past for people to start writing him off entirely.

Austin Trout. Floyd Mayweather. Erislandy Lara. Miguel Cotto. These are not easy opponents to step inside the ring with. It takes courage to face such challenges, no matter how well one is being compensated. So no, I do not think this is a man who should be thrown into the same category as Adonis Stevenson and Danny Garcia - at least not yet.

And until proven to be less than what he has led us to believe he is, we fans should refrain from bashing Canelo. Sure, he's a bit over-hyped at the moment, but that's through no fault of his own. That's something worth keeping in mind. Also, how many contemporary fighters have been so eager to prove themselves as often as Canelo has? Fans should cut him a little slack - at least for the time being.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

What If Gennady Golovkin Continues To Be Avoided in 2016?

Golovkin simply can't let opportunities walk away.

I know, I know, Gennady Golovkin is supposed to fight Canelo Alvarez in a middleweight superfight next year. But what if that fight never happens? As far as I know, no contract has been signed. What's more, if Oscar De La Hoya was so eager for his fighter Canelo to fight GGG, wouldn't he be openly chomping at the bit, rather than going on about letting the fight "marinate?"

So no, I'm not entirely sure Golovkin will meet Canelo next year. I'm also not entirely sure the WBC will take the middleweight strap away from Canelo as many expect it to do if he avoids fighting GGG. This is boxing, folks, and it's a nasty business indeed. Canelo is popular and lucrative, and those two things are, sadly, more important than talent and skill in the current fight game.

To make matters worse, fighters like Billy Joe Saunders and Daniel Jacobs have made it clear that GGG is just too good for them to face unless a ridiculous amount of money is thrown their way, Golovkin is on quite a run, but in a lot of ways, it sucks to be GGG right now. For he's fighting during a time when boxing's new breed of fan dictates how business is run. And the new breed wants its favorite fighters to beat up on less threatening fighters than GGG for as much money as can possibly be sponged.

What, then, will GGG do if the other big names at middleweight continue to avoid him? I've got no ready answers, but he may well want to start calling people out publicly. Very publicly. Chase these guys around, remind those fans who aren't part of the new breed just how less than sportsmanlike these fighters are over and over again. In other words, let the world see things for what they are.

Golovkin is, in public at least, a gentleman. He should remain that way. A gentleman, however, can still be outspoken and bold.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Why A Guerrero Win Might Be Good For Boxing - And The PBC

Fans tire of the same old, same old

First things, first. I'm not a PBC hater. I find it ridiculous that people would want to see any series that airs boxing regularly on (relatively) free television to fail. I WANT to keep seeing the fights on television all the time. Heck, I even enjoy watching the lesser known fighters throw down. Why? Because I love boxing. So no, there's no way in the world I want to see Premiere Boxing Champions go down in flames.

That being said, there's room for fixing. If there's two big things I see that need improvement within PBC it's that: a) more matches between honcho Al Haymon's top fighters need to be made and, b) the high profile bouts need to be less predictable. In other words, there needs to be a major upset in the air.

While it's true that Shawn Porter's handy win over Adrien Broner might have been a slight upset, everyone knows those two were essentially evenly matched walking into the ring that night earlier this ear. Truth be told, the fact that Porter had to lose weight for the bout may have been the only thing that gave Broner any supposed edge whatsoever.

What the PBC needs, then, is an upset of note, one that makes fans say, whoa. If such an upset were to occur when, say, Danny Garcia faces the shopworn Robert Guerrero, well, people would be buzzing. Indeed it would sprinkle the spice of unpredictability onto a series which needs a bit of spice to take it where it should be.

People talk when there's a major upset, after all. And talk leads to ratings. See where this is going? What's more, a big upset may help some notable fighters like Adonis Stevenson see that real challenges can appear despite one's best intentions to avoid them. In other words, it may be worth throwing caution to the wind if one doesn't want to eventually end up being laughingstock.

Make no mistake about it, I'm not publicly cheering on Guerrero here. Danny Garcia is a good, exciting fighter and an all around decent human being (he's done his part to help kids here in Connecticut, even though he comes from Philadelphia). It's just that sometimes it's good for things to be shaken up a bit.

It's also worth noting that a loss can eventually become a win if one handles it properly. Wasn't it Ray Leonard himself, after all, who claimed his loss to Duran helped make him the fighter he ultimately became?



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cotto-Canelo Reportedly Does Strong PPV Numbers

Well, I have to admit, I'm surprised here. Honestly, I believed the Canelo-Cotto PPV would be a bit of a dud as far as pay per view buys were concerned. Clearly, I was wrong. Or at least I was wrong according to some well placed individuals who are in positions to know the truth. Yup, heavy media hitters Dan Rafael and Kevin Iole are claiming HBO has announced the card brought in 900,000 buys.

That, my friends, is good for the sport of boxing. For unless there's some terrible conspiracy at work here and both Rafael and Iole have been deceived, the numbers are legitimate. Who would have thought after all the disappointment that came with the Mayweather-Pacquiao card last May? Who would have thought after the relatively low numbers that came with the Golovkin-Lemiuex card this autumn?

Well, actually, a lot of people expected Canelo-Cotto to be a huge hit. I simply wasn't one of them. The fact that neither Cotto nor Canelo seemed interested in facing the formidable GGG in the future in a legitimate 160 lb fight doomed the numbers to the lower end of the scale - or so I thought. Truth be told, though, these numbers released today indicate that fans really do love a good matchup based on its own merits. This, of course, leads me to deepen my suspicion that titles no longer matter in the sport of boxing.

Then, of course, there's the Rousey-Holm aftershock factor. Could it be that the enormous MMA upset a week earlier wet fan's appetites for the Canelo-Cotto shindig? Could it be that former boxer Holm's decisive victory over media darling Rousey made the sweet science all the more appealing a few days after such a stunning achievement? I think both things may very well be likely.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Why The Words "No Mas" Still Ring Loud

After winning the welterweight title from Roberto Duran during Thanksgiving week 1980, Sugar Ray Leonard, flush with victory, indicated that his win was not just for him, but for the United States, as well. Today the same PC hypocrites who would gush at Canelo Alvarez' Mexican nationalism would scoff in disgust at Leonard's words. Yup, a lot has changed in the thirty-five years since Ray won back his title.

One thing that hasn't changed, however, is the impact the words "no mas" left on the fight world, and the sports world at large, that evening in New Orleans. I remember being in fourth grade and listening to kids on the bus talk about Duran quitting the next day. Being too young to have seen the fight myself, I was disgusted by this news. How in the world could a champion - one as iconic as Duran, no less - quit?

It's a question people are still asking. And while it's true quitting in the ring isn't considered as disgraceful as it once was (and for good reason, I might add), Duran's unique form of quitting remains a legitimate turn off. For while the guy was clearly losing the fight, he still had a good chance of pulling out a win. It was, in reality, a very close bout.

What's more, Duran didn't seem to be hurt and he clearly hadn't taken a whole lot of damage when he abruptly walked away from the proceedings. He simply quit. And we're still not sure why exactly. Various excuses have been given, yet the boxing world has yet to be thoroughly convinced of any of them. Indeed, Duran - a world class bully - wasn't in Leonard's head as he had been in their first fight (which he had won). And that seemed to frustrate Duran.

Could that have been all there was to it in the end? Was it simply a case of a very talented fighter sticking up to a bully? Maybe, Maybe not. In the end, it's the supposed uttering of the words "no mas," however, which has stuck with boxing, and the popular culture in general.

For "no mas" no longer just means "no more" in Spanish. It means a person has stepped away from a challenge, quite possible when he or she didn't really have to.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tyson Fury - Master Of The Art Of Bullying

Say what you will about Tyson Fury, that he's not the most talented heavyweight in history or that most expect Wladimir Klitshcko to make at least relatively easy work of him on Saturday, but you can't take away from the fact that the guy is a world class bully. Klitschko stated as much himself in a recent episode of the British Show "The Gloves Are Off" and he was dead on.

For during the program, which is set up much like HBO's Max Kellerman hosted "Face Off" here in the states, Fury used pure bullying tactics on Klitschko - and they seemed to work. That's right, the king of the heavyweight division appeared uncomfortable with the fact that Fury was able to needle him endlessly in unexpected spots - like the fact that aging athlete's skills decline (Klitschko is nearing forty) or the fact that Kltischko is basically a one-two puncher.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a bully knows what it's like - it's all about mind games. You know a bully is going to come at you - yet even when you prepare for it, the bully hits you in an unexpected weak area. It's flustering and intimidating and must particularly be so when the bully is nearly seven feet tall and making it seem like you don't know how to do your job. Yup, that's what Tyson acted like during "The Gloves Are Off" episode in question - a stern critic who wasn't at all impressed with the reigning heavyweight champion of the world.

Fury clearly knows how to scold as only a bully can. And Klitschko appears impacted by that fact. Fury also knows how to act insane in order to rattle people. Dressing like Batman at a public gathering one minute, then seriously critiquing a man's perceived flaws the next is confusing stuff. And that's how Fury likes it. He even boasted during the program of his unpredictability. Simply put, he's a bully and proud of it.

The thing with bullies, however, is that they have a tendency to, well, eventually get their asses kicked. Every schoolyard is rife with such stories, and every school kid knows those stories tend to be true. So, will the bully get his ass kicked on Saturday in Germany - or has he made one of the most esteemed fighters on the planet his frightened victim?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Rodriguez Stops Aquino

Undefeated bantamweight Emmanuel Rodriguez looked sharp early against Eliecer Aquino in a rain drenched Miami on Wednesday night. The fight, which went down in front of a nearly empty Hialeah Park Race Track, started off fast paced and high on action, but Rodriguez looked to be the stronger man. Indeed, he dropped Aquino to the mat in the third.

While Aquino was able to get to his feet and sometimes land effectively, his punches didn't have the power to harm his foe. Make no mistake about it - Aquino was brave and game, but at the end of four it was clear Rodriguez was giving the guy a beat down. It appeared to be only a matter of time before the night would end early for Aquino.

After five it was worth noting that Aquino was still fighting bravely, but that was roughly all that was notable - save the fact that the fighter seemed to be tiring a bit. As the middle part of the fight began to wear on, however, Rodriguez appeared to tire a bit himself. He was still in charge, granted, but he was beginning to look less energetic than he had earlier on in the fight.

By the seventh, Aquino got his mouth piece knocked out for the third time in the bout, causing Aquino to lose a point. Not that it mattered. The referee was kind enough to Aquino to stop the thrashing in the seventh.

Rodriguez moved on to a record of 14-0.

Lara Crushes An Out-Of-His-League Zaveck

No one gave Jan Zaveck much of a chance of beating Erislandy Lara Wednesday night as the two men had a pre-Thanksgiving throwdown on EPSN primetime. Still, Lara completely mopped the figurative floor with his severely overmatched foe. While people who don't care for Lara - and they are legion - will complain the fight was a farce (they certainly could have found a better opponent), there is little doubt that Lara looked excellent.

For the man hit hard and crisp, maneuvered well and looked about as sharp as a 154 lb fighter could. Truth be told, Lara looked a lot different than his former countryman, Guillermo Rigondeaux has recently. For Lara was out for blood straight from the opening bell. Some will argue Lara picks and chooses who to be aggressive against, but so did Leonard - and Hearns, for that matter.

Word is out that Lara will now move up to middleweight. Since I think he already bested Canelo, it's pretty obvious I think he could be the biggest threat to that division this side of Gennady Golovkin. Will the two men ever meet, however? It's hard to say, since Lara is a Haymon man and Haymon doesn't seem overly comfortable letting his fighters leave his stable (GGG is not with Al).

Time, however, will tell. Now it's time for Lara to start facing top competition again...if, of course, top competition is willing to face him.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why It Matters That "The Ring" Has Stripped Adonis Stevenson Of His Title

As you may know already, "The Ring" has stripped Adonis Stevenson of his light heavyweight title. Why? Because he hasn't fought a top five contender in over two years. Mr. Stevenson now finds himself ranked number two on "The Ring's" light heavyweight list...behind, you guessed it, Sergey Kovalev.

There are those who find the stripping of Stevenson to be no big deal, including the highly regarded and excellent ESPN fight journalist Dan Rafael. Yet, with all due respect to Rafael and others, "The Ring's" decision is a relevant one indeed. While the publication is neither a major sanctioning body nor an arbitrator of who is and isn't a "lineal" champion, it remains a much read and highly regarded outlet.

That means Stevenson has been publicly put down here in a massive and official way by an institution of note for his choice of opponents. That's not good for any fighter, much less one who has been under blistering criticism for the foes he's recently fought, as well as the foes he hasn't (Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins), as Stevenson has.

While Stevenson still holds the lineal and WBC world light heavyweight championships, he might well be on the road to becoming a nonentity in the bigger scheme of things. This in and of itself is startling. "The man who beat the man" in a major boxing division used to be, as a rule, held in high regard. Those days are over, however, and Stevenson now finds himself close to becoming a nominal monarch and nothing more.

The question is, does the well paid, Al Haymon backed Stevenson actually care?


What's The Deal With Danny Garcia?

Sorry, but I have to ask this:

What the hell is the deal with Danny Garcia?

In case you haven't heard, the onetime fan favorite is once again being set to face less than stellar competition. Had Garcia been scheduled to face Robert Guerrero, say, last year, there may not have been much room for criticism. Now that Guerrero has spent a full year looking less than stellar, however, it may be time to let the eye rolling commence (yet again).

Aside from Lamont Peterson - who, by the way, I felt handily won their fight - Garcia hasn't faced an opponent fans have found menacing since 2013 when he bested Lucas Matthysse - who, it seems, may have been a bit overhyped to begin with, And even still, Garcia hasn't proven himself to be all that impressive. Sure, he battered a washed up Paulie Malignaggi and an unknown Rod Salka, but a game Mauricio Herrera pretty much beat the guy fair and square (sadly, the judges - surprise, surprise - disagreed).

Look, Garcia's a good fighter; just how good we sadly don't know, but he's a good fighter. Thing is, we may all have to accept the fact that the guy's not into challenging himself and that's all there is to it. We're in an era where fighters don't really have to prove themselves and Garcia appears to fit into that era quite snugly, thank you very much.

That doesn't mean we have to like it, though. If you want your name in spotlights, then you'd better be willing to take the heat, and Garcia deserves all the heat he's going to take for this fight (except, of course, for the psychotic and cruel stuff you see online). Don't get me wrong, Garcia comes across like an all around nice guy. He's respectful, goes out of his way to work with those in need and avoids the nastiness that lots of people seem to love in this era of Ronda Rousey.

All of which makes me even more put off when the guy doesn't challenge himself. Garcia is a guy we all should be pulling for. Unfortunately, he's making it so that we can't.  


Monday, November 23, 2015

Is Miguel Cotto A Sore Loser?

Let me be clear on one thing - I thought Saturday's superfight between Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez was way, WAY closer than the judges did. I also thought the HBO ringside team was biased in favor in Canelo throughout the fight. Indeed, I felt the majority of analysts were misguided in their assessment of the whole affair as well.

Now, admittedly, I could be wrong here. I've been wrong one or two thousand times before, after all. Perhaps the shots Canelo was landing really were that much more thudding up close and in person. Perhaps most professionals were completely objective in their opinions on the bout. Perhaps I saw it all wrong (I thought it was quite close, with Canelo most likely edging Cotto out ). A second viewing should clear it all up for me.

In the meantime, there's the little matter of Miguel Cotto's post fight behavior to discuss. Miguel, in case you haven't seen, heard or read, took off after the decision was read and didn't even bother going to the post fight press conference. At first, I admittedly sympathized with the guy. I felt, after all, that he was up against boxing's NEXT BIG STAR and therefore wasn't going to get a fair break no matter what he did.

Now that I think about it, though, I'm not so sure. Boxing is boxing, after all, and sometimes the fight game can be unfair. Although the outrageously wide scorecards revealed that Cotto might not have been able to do anything to win aside from stop his opponent outright or engage in a one sided schooling, there's something to be said about being a good sport about the whole thing no matter what, about that letting those who should be shamed act shamefully rather than engaging in such behavior yourself.

I'm still cutting Cotto a bit of slack here, but I'm beginning to feel like he really should have shown up at the post fight press conference, and given Canelo his props for putting on a terrific show before firmly (yet politely) stating his case. Right now, those who didn't give the guy a fair shot can be remorse-free for not doing so. After all, a lack of sportsmanship generally doesn't strengthen anyone's argument. And unless Cotto had to go to a hospital after the fight, he may have been better served facing the press.

Easy for me to say, I know.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Why De La Hoya Isn't Eager To See Canelo Fight GGG

It's the fight everyone wants to see. No, I'm not talking Canelo-Mayweather II. Oh, there's no doubt a rematch between Floyd and Saul would prove interesting to a whole ton of people, but that one smacks of old news. The fight fans want, really want - almost universally - is Canelo-GGG. Now that Canelo is the middleweight champ, after all, it only stands to reason that he would wish to face the biggest threat out there: Mr. Gennady Golovkin. And indeed, Canelo seems rather eager for such a fight to occur, especially after his impressive performance this past weekend against Miguel Cotto on Saturday night in Vegas.

Canelo's promoter, however, doesn't seem so eager to make the match everyone wants, despite his declarations of being a fan friendly fight maker. No, Oscar De La Hoya doesn't seem to be chomping at the bit for Canelo-GGG, that's for sure. While admitting the fight is essentially a possibility to the media, De La Hoya added on Saturday that other options were in play for Canelo to take. In other words - not so fast, everyone. No need to rush here.

Well, why not? Canelo is the champ and GGG is clearly the biggest threat to his reign. What's the big deal? Well, the big deal is that Oscar is a businessman and Canelo is big business for his Golden Boy Promotions. And, as a businessman, Oscar sees what a dangerous opponent Golovkin is. The last thing a promoter wants, after all, is to see his top moneymaker get beat down in front of millions...and there's a good chance that may happen if Cotto meets GGG any time soon.

Let's be honest here, GGG may be a unique talent. That's something that isn't lost on De La Hoya, who wants to get as much oomph out of his red headed protege as possible. It'seasys to comprehend, then, why Oscar would want to delay a fight with GGG. That doesn't mean fans can't call "BS" on Oscar, though.

Boxing may be a business, but it's primarily a sport. And it should be treated like one.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Canelo Bests Cotto In High Octane Clash

Pure excitement ran through the Mandalay Bay in Vegas as Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez entered the ring to fight on Saturday night. People were clearly expecting big things. Now it was up to the combatants to make it happen.

The first round of the lineal middleweight title fight was a chess match and quite close - but the edge went to Cotto. Connecting early in the second, Cotto proceeded to remain on the balls of his feet while moving about. By the third, Canelo began to assert his punching power.

In the fourth, however, Cotto worked the body hard and started flashing punches right into Canelo's face. That was his round, but Canelo landed hard again in the fifth. It was interesting, that fifth round. Canelo landed harder, while Cotto showed better skill, at least at times.

The sixth was also close, but that too seemed to be Cotto's, albeit by very little. The HBO broadcast team, along with many on Twitter, had it for Canelo. And while Canelo certainly looked to be in a good place at the end of the seventh. the eight turned into an out and out brawl, with the edge going to Cotto.

The ninth was close enough to go either way, I thought, while the tenth clearly belonged to Canelo. The eleventh was anyone's, but the twelfth - which was an all out war - was Canelo's.

In the end, the judges gave it to Canelo by a wide, unfair margin. It's one of the rotten things about boxing - such unfair judging. Still, it was an entertaining affair that more than lived up to the hype. It wasn't the victory for Canelo that made it annoying - but the scoring.

At any rate, the Meixcan star looked excellent and deserves a lot of credit - especially for appear eager to fight GGG in the post fight interview.


Takashi Miura Stopped By Francisco Vargas In Thriller

Francisco Vargas got a hard hello from Taskashi Miura on the undercard of Cotto-Canelo on Saturday night in Vegas. For, before the fourth round was over, Vargas was on the mat and noticeably bleeding. The undefeated super featherweight got back to his feet, however, and resumed fighting in the fifth. Still, it was an exciting throwdown that involved two fighters giving it their all, which made for a refreshing change after the boring Guillermo Rigondeaux bout which preceded it.

Vargas proceeded to keep himself very much alive afterward -but Miura rallied hard at the end of the eight. Yet then in the ninth, Vargas came back viciously - sending Miura to the mat with such force that it looked like the fight was over.

And indeed it was. Miura was indeed a brave and formidable foe who got to his feet gamely...but he ended up simply taking too much punishment.The fight was stopped in the 9th.

Rigondeuax Dominates In Return

Guillermo Rigondeaux returned to the ring tonight after almost a year away, appearing on the undercard of the Canelo-Cotto superfight. Dominant as always, the Cuban slickster clearly hadn't missed a beat, dominating a severely overmatched Drian Francisco over the course of ten rounds, and earning himself an easy unanimous decision in the process.

The crowd booed, Twitter griped and the HBO broadcast team which covered the event let it disapproval be known. If you've ever seen a Rigo fight before, you know what this one was all about: defense, pot shots and little more. Some fans, okay, MOST fans probably hate it, but it's hard to deny Rigo is good at what he does.

He could be more exciting, of course. He could start putting his punches together and getting his opponents out of there more often than he does. Rigo won't do those things, however, because it's just not him. Remember, this is a guy who was weaned in Castro's Cuba. That meant he did as he was told. As. He. Was. Told.

Clearly, he was not told to be exciting. And that's a bit too bad. This man is good, after all. Very good indeed.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Crawford Railroads Jean

Not many people gave Dierry Jean much of a chance to beat rising star Terence Crawford in front of Crawford's hometown crowd in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday. Come to find out those people were right not to give the man much of a shot. For Crawford railroaded over the overwhelmed Jean for nine plus rounds on Saturday, stopping his man in the tenth.

Now word is out that Crawford should face Manny Pacquiao in the coming year. Since it's HBO talking up the fight, these words should be taken seriously. Frankly, I'm not too excited to see that one. I'd personally rather see Manny fight Amir Khan.

Be that as it may, Crawford-Pacquiao may be on its way. How it will do on Pay Per View is anyone's guess - though my guess would be not well. That's not to take anything away from Crawford, of course. The guy's the real thing - a true talent.  Still, he hasn't shown himself to be worthy of a fifty-plus buck fee to watch fight. He's a lot of fun when the competition is right, but he's not a guy anyone's been holding their breath to see fight Pacquiao.

With all that in mind, Crawford's performance this weekend was notable for its violent efficiency if for nothing else. Bud Crawford is a stylist who can hit hard enough to lay out his foes. Make no mistake about it. Perhaps he's being pushed too far too fast, but he's a man well worth watching nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Postol Might Beat Matthysse

Note that I state in the title of this piece that Viktor Postol "might" beat Lucas Matthysse. There's no guarantee with this one, but people are right to give Postol a real chance here. Matthysse is one of my favorite fighters out there to watch simply because I love his hard hitting - and, yeah, skilled - style of fighting. Postol, however, is no joke. Danny Garcia moved on to greener pastures rather than face Postol for good reason.

For Postol is active in the ring. Really active. And strong. And, at times, dirty. He's also faster than Matthysse. All these things may ultimately help tip the scales in favor of Postol when he faces Matthysse on Saturday night at the StubHub Center. Truth be told, though, the match might come down to one thing and one thing only:

Strength.

If Matthysse proves to be the stronger fighter, the fight may well become a one sided affair, for he'll possibly be able to go right through Postol's rapidfire straight punches. If, however, Postol is able to bull Matthysse around, he just might carry the night. For if Matthysse can't break Postol's style, he's cannon fodder for the man's very active fists.

In a sense, Postol reminds me of a slightly more talented and powerful Chris Algieri. He's tall, hyper-energetic and has endurance. What's more, he has an excellent, movement-oriented defense that can frustrate an opponent. He also has knockout power, something Matthysse may want to keep in mind.

This may well end up being quite the high end affair.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

PBC Does Right By Klitschko

I've been critical of Al Haymon's Premiere Boxing Champions series. Indeed, a lot of people have - and for good reason. Mismatches aren't good for the sport and that's all there is to it. Still, I feel compelled to give credit where it's due and Haymon and company deserve credit for their treatment of Wladimir Klitshcko on Saturday.

As I've griped about before, Deontay Wilder has been presented as THE heavyweight champion of the world on American television. How surprised I was, then, when the PBC credited Klitschko as being a true heavyweight force during the broadcast of Wilder's fight against Frenchman Johann Duhaupas. Indeed, it was made clear that Klitshcko is the man to beat if Wilder wants to accomplish his heavyweight dream.

For a series which we're told has no interest in anything outside of it's own insulated universe, the mention of another, larger aspect to boxing on a PBC broadcast is nothing if not refreshing. No, I'm not becoming a Haymon cheerleader, I'm just calling it like I see it - which, frankly, is what I'm supposed to do.

As for Wilder, he had his hands full with Duhaupas, who he managed to stop late. Wilder is talented, but needs some work. He's a powerful, likeable guy, though, and if he keeps growing as a fighter, his future is boundless.

Look, we fight fans and writers like to complain - not because we're complete pessimists, but because we generally have good reason to. On Saturday, however, PBC gave us reason to nod in approval, so it's time to do what's right. Now, if only Haymon could just give us more solid matchups.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Yeah, it's Wilder, But...

Let's get one thing out of the way here. It's good - real good - to have boxing back on prime time television. A great sport is always a good watch on network tv, after all. So, yes, I and others are undoubtedly happy that Deontay Wilder will be showing the world what he's made of on Saturday evening against Johann Duhaupas. What I and others are undoubtedly not so happy about, of course, is that it's Duhaupas Wilder is fighting.

Who is this European slugger from the shadows? The fact the question has to be asked actually speaks volumes. Look, there's nothing wrong with the heavyweight champion of the world taking a tuneup on national television. The problem with Wilder is that he's NOT the heavyweight champion of the world in the eyes of many fans (he holds the belt of a single entity - the WBC). What's more, fight fans have had it with Wilder engaging in tuneups.

Sorry, but people can only be grateful for getting free fights to a point. After a while people want good matches. We're all happy for the boxing, true, but we also have a right to complain here. The truth, however, may be that boxing's true fans are irrelevant to those who manage Wilder and the Premeire Boxing Champions' banner he fights under.

Judging by the commercials where Wilder is described as the heavyweight champion of  the world (as if there were only one), people might arguably assume that the PBC and Wilder's supporters (namely Al Haymon) are looking to snow those unfamiliar with boxing into believing what is at best a half truth. In other words, it's the folks who don't "know boxing" who are being targeted here.

This is good for business, of course. Everyone knows we long suffering fans of the sweet science have been beaten down for so long that we'll watch pretty much anything we're given. Why wouldn't any smart businessman focus on luring in the uninitiated instead? Wilder doesn't have to be great in the ring to get new viewers, he just has to be presented as great.

And perhaps be given guys to knock out.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Like Lennox Lewis Before Him, Canelo Alvarez Proves A Loss Is Just A Loss

Heavyweight great Lennox Lewis did something so shockingly classy, so thoroughly mature and sportsmanlike on Thursday that it was enough to make you wonder if anyone in boxing at the moment can hold a candle to the guy. For Lewis posted a picture of himself being defeated twenty-one years to the day by Oliver McCall. Never mind Mayweather and Broner, could anyone picture Pacquiao and Klitschko, two of boxing's reputed nice guys, doing such a thing?

"If I can highlight the wins, then I can highlight the loses, too," Lewis wrote.

Lewis, you see, understands something that many fighters and fans today don't seem to be able to grasp - the fact that a loss is just that, a loss. Lewis could have mentioned the fact that he went on to avenge the only two defeats of his entire career in rematches, but he chose not to. Why? Because it would have been pointless to do so. Again, the loss to McCall was something Lewis simply grew from before moving on.

The point here is that no one with a bit of knowledge about boxing would deny Lewis his place as an all time great. Just like no one with any sense of fairness would have denied Mayweather his place as an all time great had he somehow lost to Pacquiao last May. Losses can make a fighter, sure. But they rarely define that fighter. Even Roberto Duran, he of "no mas" fame, found away to fight through the shame of that second Leonard bout.

Canelo Alvarez is the rare current fighter who is proving that a check in the loss column doesn't define him. Sure, he was easily handled by Mayweather two years back, but after a relatively easy go with the past-his-prime Alfredo Angulo, the man set his sights on challenging himself once again. Erislandy Lara. James Kirkland. Miguel Cotto. People who say such opponents are or were soft touches for Canelo are clearly delusional or will simply never cut the guy a break.

Even if Cotto somehow beats Canelo in their November superfight, it would be foolish to write the Mexican star off. The guy's in this for the long haul. His talent and guts won't allow him to fall apart. Only superior competition and a deterioration of his skill set can do that. Again, a loss is just a loss. Always has been, Always will be, There's rare and tragic exceptions to that rule, of course, but they're just that -exceptions.

While it's true Mayweather and Marciano (two legitimate greats) retired undefeated, it's also true that far more legendary fighters got beat and were lauded for greatness, regardless. I'll close with a list of just a few of their names. There's simply not enough space to jot down them all. The list goes on and on.

James J Corbett, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Willie Pep, Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Jake LaMotta, Henry Armstrong, George Foreman, Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Thomas Hearns, Julio Caesar Chavez, Marvin Hagler, Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Bernard Hopkins, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Felix Trinidad, Wladimir Klitschko.






Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Boxing's Top Eleven Pound For Pound Fighters

Many sites offer you a top ten pound for pound list. I'd like to offer you a top eleven list - just cuz. It's something I do periodically, and now that Floyd has supposedly retired, I figure now is as good a time as any. You may disagree with some or all of the guys on this list. Cool. Feel free to disagree in the comment's section. Dissent is welcome here.

So, with no further ado, here they are - boxing's top eleven:

  1. Sergey Kovalev - Surprised? Here's the truth. Now that Floyd is gone, someone who has shown an enormous amount of skill and accomplishment needs to sit atop the heap. And we know Kovalev has shown both. You don't beat the masterful Bernard Hopkins and the gutsy Jean Pascal without being an A-level fighter. 
  2. Manny Pacquiao - I know, I know, he's a washed up has-been who would be better off just retiring at this point. Only he's hasn't proven to be any of those things. The way things look from here, he's still a ring wizard who had a bad night against Mayweather. Two bad nights may lead to a significant drop in the rankings. But one? To the likes of Mayweather, no less? Ain't happening.
  3.  Roman Gonzalez - I don't have him as highly ranked as some do at the moment, but - believe me - that's no knock on the guy. This is a small fighter who gives the smaller weights some well deserved attention. Unquestionably, the guy is one of the best out there. And yeah, he certainly may well find himself on top of this list before all is said and done.
  4. Wladimir Klitschko - The man has ruled over the heavyweight division forever. And he's taken on all comers. Oh, and he's proven that enormous guys can be true ring tacticians. Why wouldn't the man rank this high up?
  5. Guillermo Rigondeaux - No one wants to fight him and tons of people say he's boring. Why? Because he's so good. If that's not a sign of a great fighter, I truly don't know what is.
  6. Gennady Golovkin - Sheer destruction. More than just a hitting machine (and man, the guy can hit), Golovkin has made himself the terror of the middleweight division by having skill to match his power. Watch the way the man cuts off the ring before accusing him of being nothing more than a hard puncher. The guy is the complete package.
  7. Timothy Bradley - Worked his way to the top the hard way. One of the best tacticians in the business. If only he can keep himself from brawling so much.
  8. Terrence Crawford -Here's a guy who has shown a willingness to meet top opposition, and an ability to take down top opposition. Fighters like Danny Garcia and Adonis Stevenson should take note. A close a bet as one can find for the future of boxing. There's big things down the road for the man if things keep going well.
  9. Miguel Cotto - Like Manny, he's seen has being past his prime. Unlike Manny, he's being picked by many to lose his next bout. That may end up being the case, but for now the supremely skilled Puerto Rican icon fits comfortably on this list for his energy, heart and, yup victories.
  10. Erislandy Lara- Many don't like the guy. But that simply doesn't matter. He's good. Really good. So good I felt he beat the very good Canelo Alvarez. He may not be on the masterful level of a Mayweather, but man, this slickster is awfully impressive.
  11. Keith Thurman - If anyone on this list warrants a question mark, it's the guy they call One Time. Still, the man hasn't lost yet against solid competition and his ability in the ring has been undeniable. In fact, I rank him higher than most of his peers, like Kell Brook, Danny Garcia and many others. Shawn Porter may present a problem, but we'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why It’s Impossible To Decide Who's “TBE”



Spike TV used to run a show called "Deadliest Warrior” where famous warriors from various times and places would be pitted against each other in a hypothetical matchup. I have to be honest here – I really enjoyed that program. It was fun and relatively accurate in its assessments of its subjects (at least that’s true of the ones I was familiar with). One particular episode, however, still stands out for me above all others.

For on that particular broadcast, Joan of Arc did battle with William the Conqueror. I remember discussing the impending episode with a coworker beforehand. On the surface of things, the fight was William’s to lose. He was a big, aggressive guy, after all, one who took what he wanted and who somehow always seemed to find a way to win (just ask the hapless Harold Godwinson).

Yet, being familiar with both William and Joan’s stories (I did some extensive writing on both subjects, particularly on Joan), I knew full well the teenage girl from Lorraine was going to mop the medieval floor with William. She wasn’t going to be gifted a win because she was a woman, either. Nope.  Contemporary social niceties would have nothing to do with it.

Joan, I knew, would win for one simple reason – she had operated about a full half millennium AFTER William did. That meant she had employed artillery (for the record, Joan was a far more gifted tactician than she’s been given credit for). William had no idea what artillery was and, if he saw it, wouldn’t know what to do with it. Needless to say, Joan won the battle that episode. How could she not have? The whole thing was apples and oranges. 

Which, of course, leads me to a larger point. There is no way anyone can tell who the “The Best Ever” in the sport of boxing is or was. That’s obvious, of course, since some of the obvious runners up are long dead, but even if there was a time machine to transport people to and from various ages, the truth would still be impossible to discern. Modern fighters, simply put, employ gunpowder.

Pondering will get one nowhere.


I’m not referring exclusively to PEDs here, either (though they’re obviously and unfortunately a part of the contemporary boxing scene). Nutrition, training methods, scheduling, lessons from the past, all those things would give modern fighters an edge. Yet advanced technology could act as a double edged sword in this case, too.

Sugar Ray Robinson, for instance, had fought as much as Floyd currently has when he was still only in his twenties. Seriously. The guy ended up battling on two hundred occasions. That’s three digits. With a 2 in the first slot. How well, one may ask, would Mayweather hold up if he fought about seven times a year? What if he fought Manny Pacquiao around, say, five times – would he still have a perfect record? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Some perspective, however is in order.

Or not. Hype always rules supreme in boxing, after all. That’s not always a bad thing, as it can keep the sport alive. Yet it has its obvious limitations, as well. Still and all, it’s fun asking ourselves who the best really is or was. It’s generally harmless and keeps the sport alive, via discussion. With that in mind, though, it’s good to note that the answer will never be truly known. Pointless pursuits can indeed be fun, but they will always remain essentially pointless. Even if you’re William the Conqueror.


Or a guy who calls himself “Money.”  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Why No One Wants To See The Mayweather-Berto Fight



Let's face it, tonight's Mayweather-Berto fight is getting zero buzz outside of the world of hardcore boxing fans - and even those of us who write about boxing are pretty much only writing about the fact that it's guaranteed to be a pop culture dud. When you think about, though, the general lack of interest is rather jarring.

Just a few short months ago, for instance, even those who knew nothing about boxing were coughing up cash and tuning in to see this same Floyd Mayweather best beloved human lawnmower Manny Pacquiao in a fight that probably earned enough to put a dent in the national debt.

Now, though, people have pretty much had it with all things Floyd. Why is that? While few approved of the man's lifestyle and no one approved of the guy's treatment of women, people were fascinated by the individual who calls himself "Money" nonetheless.

What changed? Why don't even fight fans seem to be into Mayweather's fight with Andre Berto this evening?

For starters, no one is giving Berto a snowballs' chance in the tropics of winning...and with good reason. While Berto is certainly a good fighter, he clearly doesn't look to be on Mayweather's level. Berto could pull it off tonight, of course, but the chances of that happening, frankly, are slim.

What's more, people feel the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight was a dud. I'm a professional fight writer and even I did too at first. In hindsight, I feel the fight was better than we all initially thought it was, but no matter.

Whatever way you look at it, Mayweather-Pacquiao didn't live up to the ridiculous amount of hype that accompanied it - and people still feel burned.  That fight cost a lot to see, after all.

Why indeed? 
Which brings us to another point. The people behind Mayweather-Berto are expecting around seventy-five bucks from viewers who want to see the bout in HiDef. Why, one may wonder, would anyone pay for a fight that no one thinks the underdog can win?

Why indeed.

When all is said and done, skipping out on Mayweather-Berto may be a huge mistake, especially for true fans. No one who saw the Douglas-Tyson fight live, for instance, regrets it. Still, Mayweather and those in his inner circle can only blame themselves for this fizzled firework.

For a guy who is rightly known for his ring genius, Floyd miscalculated wildly this time.

If, that is, he still cares about public opinion at this point.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Adonis Stevenson Calls Out Kovalev



So Adonis Stevenson bested Tommy Karpency via a vicious third round stoppage on Friday night - a fact which surprised absolutely no one. What he did afterwards, however, is worth mentioning. For Stevenson, who I remember being vague years ago when asked about facing Sergey Kovalev, actually called the man out in front of PBC cameras. Was Stevenson serious? Did he honestly, truly want a fight with Kovalev...or was he just posing?

Honestly, I'm going to take Stevenson at his word. If he makes this fight with Kovalev, then all is forgiven with Superman as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, these past several opponents of Stevenson leave a bad taste in the mouth, but that taste will go away if Adonis and Sergey finally find a way to get it on. As for Stevenson's criminal past, he did the time and is reportedly remorseful for his truly heinous crimes.

Besides, as bad Stevenson's sins were, we have to remember there are no scarlet letters in western society anymore. What he did was evil - but people can change. And if Stevenson says he's a new man, it's only fair to take him at his word if the evidence backs up the claim.

Now, provided both Adonis and Sergey truly want to fight, exactly how difficult will it be for the bout to come together? Not very difficult at all, I think, if a certain Mr. Al Haymon decides it's a fight worth making. If GGG-Lemieux can be on pay per view, so can Kovalev-Stevenson. Slap on a sensible price tag, put it on up in Canada, New York or even Connecticut and watch the fan base salivate.

What people really want to know, however, is who is the better fighter of the two. Right now I have to give the edge to Kovalev, but Stevenson is no joke. He looked lean and mean on Friday night. His competition may not have been the best, but Stevenson still showed that incredible power. Let's just admit it's a fight we'd all love to see...and let's hope it actually happens this time around.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Can Adonis Stevenson Redeem Himself?



Let's face it, Adonis Stevenson has not been the hero of the boxing community since he stunningly knocked out Chad Dawson to become lineal light heavyweight champion years ago. Fights with such serious competitors as Sergey Kovalev, Bernard Hopkins, and Jean Pascal have never come to fruition - and people blame Stevenson for it, perhaps with good reason. For while he's yet to meet a major foe since becoming champ, Stevenson has sung the praises of Al Haymon and the money Haymon has lined his pockets with.

If you think the whole thing sounds like a cash grab, you're not alone.

Still, Stevenson insists that he's a serious competitor. Just recently, for instance, Stevenson claimed in an interview that he wants to unify all the light heavyweight titles. That means he would have to face Kovalev, the man he's been accused of ducking. Whether Stevenson really wants to face Kovalev or not remains to be seen.

Stevenson can go a long way convincing people of his seriousness, however, if he takes a cue from fellow Haymon stablemate Floyd Mayweather.

For, by calling out Manny Pacquiao live in front of Showtime cameras last December, Mayweather started the process which led to the May 2nd fight that everyone wanted. Stevenson can silence at least some of the criticism lobbed his way by coming across as serious after he presumably bests Tommy Karpency a week from this Friday. He has to sound serious, though.

Instead of saying he'll fight anyone Stevenson has to say that he WANTS Kovalev, that he's aware of promotional matters and the politics of boxing but that he would love it if the two men could get in the ring. Even if Haymon gets to veto who he fights, Stevenson can do a better job making it clear to the public what he wants. Unless he's able to do that, however, people will see Stevenson as a champion pretty much in name only.

And that's too bad.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Boxing In The Post Mayweather-Pacquiao Era



So I'm finally back to writing about boxing, the sport I love. For the past few weeks I've taken a bit of a hiatus, you see. Why? Because I was burned out. Exhausted. Drained. It's been a big year for those of us who cover the fight biz, so big that I found I had to walk away from it for a while - something I'm not in the habit of doing.

Blame it on Floyd and Manny. For the hated Mayweather-Pacquiao match last spring was such an insanely over the top big deal that it was actually unwieldy. Still, the bout was a hit - a huge, huge hit. People may disdain the memory of it now, but the match brought in millions of eyeballs and millions of dollars. Boxing, for once, was in the spotlight. Not just the sport's spotlight, the pop cultural spotlight, as well.

The stress. The interviews. The backbiting. The deadlines. It was all a bit much, frankly. Truth be told, I'm happy that I'll never see anything like it again.

Yet Mayweather-Pacquiao brought those of us who put time, effort and even professionalism into the sport of boxing to a high point. It had always been a dream of mine, for instance, to be read by a lot of individuals. That dream was accomplished in the leadup to May 2nd. For during that period I was read by far more people than  it takes to become a New York Times bestselling author. Heady stuff.

Now those days are gone, though.  Forever.

Boxing may become popular in the mainstream again - in fact, I think it has a solid chance, to - but the mania we saw leading up to May 2nd won't return during most of our lifetimes. There's bound to be a bout as big as or bigger than Mayweather-Pacquiao sooner or later, but chances are it won't come around for a long, long time.

So yeah, the spotlight may return to boxing again, but it  won't be as bright as it was this year. Even if boxing gets as popular as, say, the NBA, it STILL won't carry with it the hype Mayweather-Pacquiao did. That event was an oddity. And oddities are infrequent things.

So, where to from here?      

Why to the fights, of course. There's some great one's lined up for this fall and if boxing keeps delivering great matchups the number of steady viewers will continue to rise. That's nothing but a good thing.

It's also time to keep an eye on rising talent and stars that may have been heretofore overlooked. There's some real talent out there and it's worth getting excited about some of these guys without placing them in the shadows of Floyd and Manny. Those two  may still be fighting, but their era is winding down.

And that ain't such a bad development.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Malignaggi Crushed By Garcia

In the end, Danny Garcia proved to be far too young and strong for crafty vet Paulie Malignaggi. Meeting at the Barclay's Center in Maignaggi's hometown of Brooklyn, the two went close to nine full rounds in front of a healthy sized audience that was clearly in favor of the hometown guy.

If the crowd thought Garcia would somehow lose to Malignaggi on Saturday, however, it ended up being clearly disappointed. For the fight proved to be a largely one sided affair. Things started off interesting enough in the first few rounds, with the slick Malignaggi's movement and activity giving Garcia a bit of a run. Once Garcia's punches landed with regularity, however, the fight was all but over.

No single great event stopped the bout. The referee had simply seen enough. As had the fans. As had, believe it or not, Garcia himself, for the Philly native's face spoke volumes after the fight had ended. He may not be a fan favorite, but Danny Swift, as he's called, proved he's no sadist, either.

Afterwards, it was pretty clear to everyone that it was time for Malignaggi to move on to a career in broadcasting, which is something the guy excels at. The fighter seemed a bit down, but Paulie's smart, so it's a pretty safe bet he knows it's time to pack it in himself.

As for Garcia, he came across as maddening as ever after the match. Sure, he said he'd fight anyone, but he didn't seem that eager to challenge any one individual. It was all best left to Al Haymon, as far as Garcia was concerned. Such emotional inertia makes it hard to cheer for the man. That's too bad, for Garcia was truly warm and gracious in victory on Saturday night, a surefire sign of good character.

Danny Jacobs Bests Sergio Mora In Wild Two Round Fight

No one was probably surprised when Daniel Jacobs dropped Sergio Mora in the first round of their bout at the Barclay's Center on Saturday evening. On the other hand, many were probably surprised when Mora returned the favor by dropping Jacobs just second later.

Yup, it was a wild first round of middleweight boxing on Premiere Boxing Champion's second ESPN broadcast. Yet things were only going to get wilder. For Mora went down again in the second. And when he got up, he was clearly injured, for he was hobbling - if you could even call it that - on his leg.

The referee asked Mora if he wanted to continue. There was some confusion. Then the referee stopped the fight. Mora, simply put, was too injured to carry on.

"From my perspective I heard my knee pop," Mora said after the bout. "I know what a broken ankle is."

Due to the bout's highly unique ending, Mora said he wanted a rematch. Jacobs, however, wasn't having any of it.

"No rematch," Jacobs said. "There's no reason for me to come backwards now."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Rios Joins List Of Fighters Who Have Been Left High And Dry



It's almost amazing when you think about it. Brandon Rios thoroughly defeated arch rival Mike Alvarado last winter and now he literally can't find an opponent. Word was out that he was supposed to fight welterweight titlist Kell Brook, but now that fight doesn't look promising. What's more, it appears that there are no fights in Rios' future whatsoever.

This in an era when boxing seems to be on the television 18 times a week.

Sorry, Brandon. You're now a part of the High And Dry Club, a group of fighters who, fairly or not, are unable to get the kinds of matches they should. At the very least Rios can rest assured that he's in good company.

Gennady Golovkin and Guillermo Rigondeaux, both of whom are arguably among the best in the business, can't find meaningful competition themselves. People seem to be putting Golovkin off for as long as possible. As for Rigondeaux, he's so good the entire sport seems to have decided to ignore him entirely.

Lovely.

This being boxing, no one can say they're surprised by this development in Rios' career. This is a sport, after all, where a black man once couldn't fight for the heavyweight title and where taking a dive for the Mafia was once considered a means of getting ahead.

It's a dirty business, boxing is. And that's just when people are abiding by the rules and laws that have been set down for it, as seems to be the case with Rios (and, for that matter, GGG and Rigo, as well). Still, none of this makes it easy for Rios and the others to have to deal with.

My suggestion is for these men to call out those they want to fight as loud as they can. Let your voices be heard, gentlemen. Public pressure works, after all. It may well be how Lara landed a fight with Canelo. And how Briggs might (just might) land himself a major bout again in the future.

Fortunately for Rios, making himself be heard has never been a problem. Here's hoping the fans will listen.



Friday, July 3, 2015

Why I Kind Of Feel Bad For Leo Santa Cruz



"I don't really like fighting or going against my team."

So says Leo Santa Cruz in a recent interview with Marcos Villegas. It's easy for people to pile on Santa Cruz, but - let's face it - going against your team, whether as a boxer, as an employee, or just as a member of a family, is a hard thing to do. I kind of feel bad for the guy.

Villegas, after all, clearly asks Santa Cruz in the interview about Guillermo Rigondeaux, a man Santa Cruz has been accused of ducking. Leo says he wants to fight Rigo, that he told his team he wants to fights Rigo, but that his team simply doesn't think it's a good idea at the moment. And so Leo's going to do what they want him to.

Truth be told, I believe Santa Cruz here. I've spoken to the guy myself, and it's literally hard to find a nicer person to converse with. I don't think he's lying at all, I think he wants the Rigo fight, just like Rigo does. I just think Leo lets his "team" control his future to such a degree that it's ruining his reputation among fans... as well as his legacy.

I could be wrong, of course, but it seems to me that there's possible three reasons Leo's team (Santa Cruz is with Al Haymon, mind you) doesn't want the Rigo fight - at least at the moment. The first reason is that Rigo isn't with Haymon and Haymon doesn't want Santa Cruz fighting a top guy who's not a part of his stable.

The second reason is that Haymon and company simply feel Rigo might be too good for Leo and therefore want to avoid hampering their man's record. Perhaps they think it's better to just let Rigo age - or better yet - to simply fade away.

The third reason is that team Santa Cruz simply figures they can just keep giving their man big checks for fighting nobodies - with an occasional threat like Andre Berto thrown in on occasion just to shut people up. This potential reason, believe it or not, just may work to team Leo's benefit. There are individuals out there, after all,  who would be perfectly happy never seeing Leo fight Rigo because Rigo is "boring."

Sad, I know.

At any rate, it's time for Leo to let his "team" know that it's his choices that have to be made, not theirs, and that if they were really behind him, they'd actually bend to his wishes just once. Judging from the interview with Villegas, however, Leo isn't going to rise to the occasion.

For Santa Cruz doesn't seem to understand that not all fighting has to take place in a ring.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cotto And Canelo To Fight Five Pounds Below Middleweight Limit - For Middleweight Title

Well, we can all breath a sigh of relief.

Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez have reportedly agreed to fight for the middleweight title - at five pounds below the middleweight limit. One could only imagine how terrible things would have been if the two men fought for the middleweight title as, you know, authentic middleweights.

Cotto, as we all know, is not a natural middleweight. He's just middleweight champion of the world. As for Canelo, one could see him trying to become a true middleweight, but he doesn't have to in this case because he's fighting Cotto.

Of course, Cotto isn't the only middleweight champion out there, but he is the LINEAL middleweight champ. That means he's the man who beat the man who beat the man (you get it). Cotto won this title from Sergio Martinez, a natural middleweight who - if I'm not mistaken - had to lose weight in order to fight Cotto for his title.

The truth is that Cotto can fight for his crown at any weight he wants, so long as it isn't over 160lbs. Those are just the rules of boxing. This, of course, isn't good news for full bodied middleweights like Gennady Golovkin, but GGG isn't as popular as Cotto is, so he's just going to sit and wait while men who aren't middleweights fight for the middleweight championship.

Maybe Cotto will try to earn the heavyweight title next. Wladimir Klitschko can drop ninety pounds, right? Truth be told, I don't believe the contract for Cotto-Canelo has been signed yet, so things can still arguably be altered. Perhaps Cotto will decide the fight should be held at 147lbs instead.

I mean, hey, he's the A-side, isn't he?




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Top Rank's Lawsuit Against Al Haymon Made Simple

Top Rank Promotions is suing Al Haymon and his business partners for over $100 million. A lot is being said and written about the suit, which was filed in Las Angeles. Things can certainly get confusing when it comes to these matters: so here's a basic simplification of things:

Al Haymon and his partners, Missouri-based firm Waddell@Reed, are being accused by Top Rank of trying to create a monopoly in the boxing business. How? By buying up time slots on major American television networks and by buying time at venues where other promotional outfits may want to operate.

Top Rank argues that in doing so, Haymon and company are preventing the competition from plying it's trade in a meaningful matter. There's other matters involved in the lawsuit as well, such as accusations of Haymon breaking the Ali Act, which makes it illegal for someone to act as a promoter and as a manager simultaneously, and of paying fighters not to spar with those promoted by Top Rank.

Whether any of this will harm Haymon's empire in the least remains to be seen. People have been grumbling about the man's business practices for years now, so team Haymon can't be surprised by these latest developments. What's more, the United States Government hasn't shown much interest over the years regarding corruption in boxing. It just hasn't. Faith in the judicial branch effectively ruling against such corruption - if it actually exists - may therefore be minimal.

Top Rank lawyer Daniel Petrocelli made it perfectly clear what he believes the endgame of Haymon and company is. "Haymon, Waddell@Reed," he writes, "will be the sole competitor" in the sport of boxing.  




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Oscar De La Hoya Decides It's Better To Stay Retired

Sometimes you just need to think things over


On the occasions that I've actually spoken with Oscar De La Hoya, he's struck me as a serious person. Pleasant? Yes. Polite? Sure. But certainly a man with business on his mind, that being the business of promoting his Golden Boy Promotions to fight writers such as myself.

That's why I was a bit disheartened to learn recently that De La Hoya, an all time great of the sport of boxing, was planning on making a ring comeback. The whole thing simply didn't seem to jibe with the man I saw trying to stay sober and working hard to navigate Golden Boy Promotions through the Haymon era of boxing.

Needless to say, I'm now happy to read that De La Hoya has decided it's better to stay behind the scenes and in front of the cameras than it is to fight again. Ask yourself this - how many over the hill boxers have come back successfully? There's George Foreman, and...

The point is you can never say never when it comes to this sort of thing, but it's hard to imagine De La Hoya finding any kind of success similar to the type he had in his prime. On top of that, it's hard to erase the image of De La Hoya getting beaten senselessly by a human lawnmower named Manny Pacquiao.

De La Hoya is wise to stay right where he is. His talents are now far more needed outside the ring than inside it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Forbes Lists Mayweather And Pacquiao As World's Highest Paid Celebrities



And they say boxing is dead.

As if being the world's highest paid athletes isn't enough, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao may now celebrate the fact that they're also the highest paid celebrities on earth, as well. Sorry Katie Perry - you came in third on Forbes' list of the highest paid celebs. Oh, and One Direction? Let's just say you guys are several directions south of the famous fighters.

Mayweather, for the record, brought in $300 million dollars from May 2014 through May 2015 for a grand total of three boxing matches, earning himself the number one position on Forbes' list. Pacquiao brought in around $160 million dollars for a total of two boxing matches, earning himself the number two slot.

Honestly, we all knew Mayweather-Pacquiao would be big, but did any of us expect it to be THAT big? Seriously, these two have now easily out earned movie stars and the most famous musicians in the world.

Just to put things in perspective - the enormously popular Taylor Swift earned a grand total of half of what Pacquiao earned in the same twelve month period. And at $60 million, Ms. Swift earned herself a whole lot of money.

People may want to hold off writing those obituaries for the sport of boxing - at least for the time being.




Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why Tim Bradley Is His Own Worst Enemy



Once again, Tim Bradley proved on Saturday that he is indeed his own worst enemy. After looking nothing short of masterful against the lauded Jessie Vargas, Bradley was rocked by a thunderous shot at the end of the fight and nearly went down.

It looked like Bradley was going to survive the round, just like he had against Ruslan Provodnikov a few years earlier - but referee Pat Russell stopped the fight a few seconds too early, denying fans a legitimate answer to a burning question. This is no knock on Russell, by the way. I've never had problems with the ref and we all make mistakes. Regardless, Bradley ended up earning himself a unanimous decision victory.

He also proved - once again - that he's his own worst enemy. Believe it or not, Bradley is one of the most skilled fighters in the sport. Indeed, his mastery on Saturday was reminiscent of Floyd Mayweather. As Bradley himself admitted, however, he didn't listen to his corner at the end of the bout - and that's why he got nailed.

It seems as if it's now time to simply accept the fact that Bradley will never live up to his potential. Why? Because he just isn't disciplined enough to stick to a game plan. Over and over again, the guy abandons his strengths and relies on his inclinations. And the result is often disastrous. Don't believe it? Check out round twelve of last night's fight again - or any number of rounds in Bradley's fight against Ruslan Provodnikov.

Tim Bradley is, without doubt, one of my favorite fighters. I admire him both as a person and as an athlete. He may well make it to the Hall of Fame, and if he gets there, no one should complain. At the rate he's going, however, Bradley will forever leave fans wondering about what could have been.

And for the record, I'd rather see a more dominant, less fan friendly Bradley than the a Bradley who gets his head rattled unnecessarily throughout the course of his career. But that's just me.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why Brandon Rios Can Beat Kell Brook

Rios isn't some guy plucked off the street


So now that it looks like Brandon Rios may indeed get a title shot against the talented Kell Brook, it's safe to say people will consider it an entertaining, but none-too-serious matchup. Oh, fans will want to see the bout for its guaranteed entertainment value - but it's doubtful analysts will give Rios too much of a chance.

That's a mistake. While it's true Brook is a very impressive boxer, Rios has a style that could be all wrong for him. Brook, after all, has strength and fires off impressive shots. Rios, on the other hand, keeps coming. Always. What's more, he can fight on the inside, and can curve his shots effectively, That could prove problematic for the often straight shooting Brook. The Englishman's habit of standing upright could prove to be an issue for the IBF titleholder, as well.

Lastly, Rios looked completely rejuvenated when he walked right through arch rival Mike Alvarado earlier this year. Sure, Alvarado was well on the downslide, but that didn't take away the fact that Rios, under the tutelage of Robert Garcia, was sharp, mobile, mean and effective. Indeed it may be the change of outlook, the growth that comes from a tough stretch (which Rios most certainly had recently), that makes Rios appear to be a true threat to Brook in my mind.

On the other hand, I wouldn't write Brook off on this one. Not by a long shot. As I've brought up before, I was one of the few people stateside who had been sounding the alarm bells regarding the guy for a while before he took the welterweight strap from Shawn Porter last year. Brook is the real thing - a talented, determined pro with real style and focus. In short, he's well deserving of all the praise he's been getting on both sides of the Atlantic lately.

So, am I coming right out and saying Rios could beat Brook should the two meet in the near future? No. I'm simply saying I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Not for a minute. And that makes this potential matchup very interesting.

This is one I'm really hoping we'll get to see.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Errol Spence And The Great Boxing Hype Machine



Let's get something out of the way right here and now. Errol Spence is a talented dude. A really talented dude. Watching his match against Emmanuel Vargas with the sound off gives you some indication of just how skilled and nuanced a fighter the man truly is.

He's slick, powerful and fluid. He can hit hard and can get out of the way easily. Truly the man is a force to be reckoned with. If I'm not mistaken, Freddie Roach himself declared Spence to be a boxer on the rise. The fact that the sometimes prickly Roach doesn't train the Texan should tell you all you need to know here.

Yet I've become a bit wary of The Great Boxing Hype Machine lately, especially after seeing Adrien Broner drop another fight to another major opponent last Saturday. Remember when Broner was placed at the top of people's pound for pound lists? Me too. Again, I've become a bit wary of the Hype Machine, which now tells me Spence is the greatest thing since sliced bread and that talented rising stars like Keith Thurman had better beware.

Floyd Mayweather is a big supporter of Spence, after all. And since Floyd's been building up Spence lately, members of boxing's media have been very eager to cheerlead for the man. It's almost as if Floyd has decreed that Spence is the future of boxing and therefore it is so.

Yet while it's true Spence may indeed be the future, I can't shake memories of the Hype Machine's ballyhoo of Broner not so long ago. Or of a whole lot of other fighters before him. Spence may be terrific, but I'm still going to hold off before joining the canonization parade. I'm not a cynic, just a realist who knows that the Hype Machine is capable of getting carried away at times. Besides, Spence doesn't need me cheering him on. He's doing just fine as it is so far.

He also seems to be nicer than Broner.

That's got to count for something.  

It's Still Floyd Mayweather's World



Yup, the "Fight of the Century" just ended and people are already talking obsessively about Floyd Mayweather's next opponent. This makes sense, of course, since Mayweather is supposed to fight in September (although it's doubtful Showtime - who Floyd has a contract with - would care if Mayweather decided to fight later). One has to wonder, though, what will happen when Mayweather finally is out of the picture. It's going to happen, after all, whether Floyd retires or overstays his welcome.

Indeed, Mayweather is absolutely, positively a one man show when it comes to the sport of boxing right now. No one - no one at all - can reach across the margins and grab hold of casual fans like Floyd can. What's more, it doesn't look like anyone will be able to so in the near future, either. And that's not good for boxing.

Think about it - by the end of the Hagler-Leonard-Hearns era, Mike Tyson was already established as a household name and international star. Same goes for Oscar De La Hoya at the end of the Tyson era. Who's out there to take the reins from Mayweather, though? Canelo Alvarez? GGG? Maybe - but those dudes have a long way to go before they're ready to become names that non-boxing fans are familiar with.

At least some of this might have to do with Mayweather himself, truth be told. He's a marketing genius, after all. Seriously.  The fact that he has no major endorsement contracts and has a serious criminal record to his name only adds to the unlikeliness of his triumph. Consider this - Floyd's the highest paid athlete in the world  and a household name - despite all the odds that would indicate otherwise. That's the very definition of success.

And part of Mayweather's success may stem from the fact that he lets it be known over and over and over again that he's the biggest show in town. Tyson was deferential to the greats of the past. Floyd says he's better than them. Such hubris can have an effect and that effect might well be people believing no one else is worthy of the spotlight. Manny Pacquiao was the exception, but Mayweather bested him...and now there's no one else.

And, again, that's something of a problem.




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why Tim Bradley Is Unappreciated



People are strange. You don't have to have to be a Jim Morrison fan to realize that. If you want to see just how odd people can be, take a look at boxing fans. We endlessly discuss, philosophize and guess at the future of someone like Adrien Broner, a fighter of questionable skill and character, yet yawn and roll our eyes every time Tim Bradley is mentioned.

Why is that? Would anyone for a single minute think Broner could best Bradley in the ring at this point? Would anyone for a single SECOND prefer to have their kids emulate the likes of Broner over the likes of Bradley, a hard working and devoted parent? What exactly is it about us that we'd rather give more of our time to Broner than to Bradley? This is a sincere question, by the way, not an act of finger pointing.

I'm sure it all has something to do with human nature. There's an allure to the darkness, after all. It's why movies like "Goodfellas" are so timeless. It's why Billy the Kid nearly got a pardon well over a century after murdering a New Mexico lawman. It's why bad boys "get all the love."

In the end, however, it's the bad boys that generally crash hard. Or in the case of Broner, keep crashing hard (is he ever going to win another major fight at the rate he's going?). Guys like Bradley, on the other hand, keep striving, keep challenging themselves, and keep succeeding.

So, is there any chance at all that Bradley will be get the adulation of fans without becoming a complete jerk in the process? Indeed there is, but I don't think Bradley should take it. For the way to work his way into the hearts of contemporary fans is for Bradley to become a warrior rather than the craftsman he should be.

Bradley tried the warrior bit with Provodnikov, remember?  Sure, people started admiring the guy, but he risked doing serious damage to himself. Think those admiring fans would care if Bradley had ended up being seriously hurt? Bradley is at his best when he fights like he did against Marquez. The fans may not like it, but it gives him success.

And success, in the end, is what will secure Bradley's legacy - with or without the love of the public.
 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Why Shawn Porter - Not Adrien Broner - Deserves Everyone's Attention



Once again, Adrien Broner stole the spotlight on Saturday evening. All eyes were on him - on his flash, his arrogance, his breathtaking self confidence. The following day, Sunday, the boxing press couldn't stop talking, and writing about the man. What did Saturday's ring performance mean for  Broner? Where would the popular fighter go from here? Make no mistake about it, Adrien Broner owned the weekend.

Sure, he also happened to have gotten soundly beaten at the hands of Shawn Porter in front of a live internationally televised audience, but no matter. This was Broner, after all, the guy who after the fight claimed he'd take Porter's girl out to dinner, as if that same Porter hadn't just repeatedly punched him in the face and made him look scared mere minutes earlier.

Broner, in case you haven't guessed it, is cool. And when you're as cool as Broner, it doesn't matter if you win or lose, you will still be the center of attention - so much so that you can continue to mockingly dismiss your bettors, even after they've made you look like an ass in front of millions. Why? Because you know that people will want more.

The question now, of course, is how many people will want more of Broner after Saturday. Let's face it - boxing writers and fans can be a rather mean spirited bunch. There's a tendency among their ranks to think one person demeaning another person is pretty funny stuff. They may think Broner's a joke, but they're amused by him. So boxing's public will probably continue to watch and show interest in the individual known as "The Problem."

It's questionable, however, whether or not most sports fans will get the joke. The NFL, for instance, may not be a bastion of morality, but it's hard to imagine a player with Broner's behavior and attitude getting the pass from football's media and fan base the way Broner does with boxing's.

That's not good news for the people who want to bring "the sweet science" back to the general public. The good news, of course, is that Porter was the real winner on Saturday - nice, humble, tough as nails Porter. Boxing's public may, by and large, tolerate Broner - or even like him in many cases - but the future popularity of the sport may actually rest with fighters like Porter - the nice guy who can beat up the bully.