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.


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.