Monthly Archives: April 2011

Pacquiao vs Mosley–When Plan B Turns to Gold

Try as many times as he may, Manny Pacquiao simply cannot entice Floyd Mayweather Jr into a geniune all time prize fight, the richest in history even at the most conservative estimates.

Pac Man vs Sugar

Pac Man vs Sugar

Mayweather has been beset by doubts and legal woes from the start of his 2009 comeback, all while carefully dancing around Pacquiao’s fight schedule, teasing, taunting or defiling the honor of Pacquiao. Then he pulls out of both fights after repeated transcontinental flights by team negotiators, endless phone calls, and tedious, extended talks were  conducted with the terms finally agreed upon.

Enter Plan B.

Woes Galore

Woes Galore

Fortunately, Pacquiao has a savvy, experienced promoter in Bob Arum looking out for his boxing interests, and he has kept promotional plans B and C handy for practical use. There is no need to risk delaying or even losing lucrative fight dates and promotions while fruitlessly waiting for Mayweather to work his way through the maze of the some half dozen criminal charges against him so Mayweather can man up to the challenge the public has been calling for for over two years now.

Moreover, Arum has pulled off a real sweet deal with his Plan B in what may alter the future of big boxing promotions by negotiating a deal with both Showtime and CBS, stunning the HBO juggernaut that has been fading badly these past few years and now struggling in hard economic times.

CBS will provide a substantial part of the promotion by airing the Fight Camp 360 prefight series on free terrestial TV, exposing the electric boxing career and public sector life of Manny Pacquiao to a broader viewing audience who may wish to know more come fight night. As such, Shane Mosley arrived perfectly poised at the exact best time under the best conditions to secure what may well prove to be his biggest ever, most lucrative fight and that in the twilight of his career.

Quite a turnaround of good fortune for Mosley who was clueless the last 10 rounds of his 2010 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr and then looked terribly awkward and off balance in his next fight against Sergio Mora.

Naturally, critics have had a field day savaging Pacquiao and Arum for fighting what many consider a fighter well past his best form, but someone must have forgotten to tell the rest of the independent ranking orgs such as Ring, Boxrec, and Fightnews, all of whom have Mosley well ranked. Ring has him #4 welter, Boxrec has him #3 welter and #22 P4P, and Fightnews puts him at #3 welter.

I personally think the 39 year old Mosley has been well overrated for some time, but Arum is doing what a good promoter should be doing, securing a top fight to leverage for all its worth to make money for everyone, and Mosley provides an excellent supplemental promotional storyline for this occasion.

We can’t ignore that Arum also “sticks it” to his main rival, Golden Boy Promotions with the defection of Mosley to the Arum for this fight. That makes the 2nd business partner to cut his business ties with GBP after Marco Antonio Barrera left a few years back.  Bernard Hopkins has also been making threatening noises from time to time as well.

Juan Manuel Marquez is not a business partner with GBP, but he has been grumbling after being left on the sidelines by the Mosley deal, unable to secure his own dream Paquiao rubber match. However, Arum has been talking up Marquez as Pacquiao’s next fight assuming he beats Mosley, but maybe everyone should check out this past week’s upsets before taking negotiations as fait accompli .

It was Oscar de la Hoya who revitalized the tattered careers of Marquez, Mosley, Barrera, and Hopkins, making them more money in their last few fights than the whole of their careers beforehand, yet this surly bunch seemingly have no thanks or loyalty for their benefactor which is their choice at their own peril I guess.

Arum has made it clear that there will be no co-promotion with a competitor in making a Pacquiao fight with the sole exception of a Floyd Mayweather Jr fight suddenly materializing.

Fat chance that happening, but how about the chances of Shane Mosley pulling off the upset you ask?

Sugar vs Pretty

Sugar vs Pretty

Boxing is a funny business because it’s the only major sport where a competitor can be comprehensively shut out and turn things around with a single action, where one good knockout punch can trump a thousand and one excellent punches in a heartbeat as Floyd Mayweather Jr almost found out when knocked temporarily out on his feet after Mosley caught him with a big time right hand.

Congressman Pacquiao

Congressman Pacquiao

Any fighter who can deliver a punch like that cannot be blithely dismissed out of hand as many will do against the vastly superior near prime Pacquiao. I say near prime because I’m not yet convinced he can be both a serving Congressman for his people and a fighter at his best at this point in his career.

Regardless, the 32 year old Pacquiao is at an apex of his career and still in the latter phase of traditional prime athletic years compared to Mosley who has been going up and down like a yoyo as he winds down his career.

Mosley says he wants to fight on for several more years, so is surely motivated to make a good showing against the greatest fighter of this last decade and one of the all time greats for sure, but even beating a Pacquiao off his best form would be a tall order.

The biggest problem for Mosley is that he has a history of being handled by excellent boxer types. Freddie Roach has been adding layer after layer of boxing nuance to Pacquiao’s considerable slugging skills and I don’t see what Mosley has to counteract Pacquiao’s boxing save a “lucky” shot.

So the fight will likely play out as predicted with Pacquiao outworking, outboxing, and outslugging a game to go Mosley in the opening all action stanzas, and then comes the beating and perhaps Mosley’s first ever stoppage loss.

If Pacquiao beats Mosley, he will have demolished the dominant top 5 ranked welters of the past 5 years, what many regarded as a golden era with Margarito, Mosley and Cotto also rated as P4Pers and of course Clottey rounding out the division. Other than the Marquez rubber match or Mayweather signing a fight contract, there is nowhere left for Pacquiao to go for big fights, but he says he wants another 2-3 yrs, so we shall see.

So onwards to Saturday night, May 7th at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas if you want to see about catching greased lightning in action when Manny Pacquiao executes what should be an exciting Plan B for as long as it lasts.

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The Showtime Banty Tourney Final

It’s been a nice run with Showtime signing what is generally agreed to be the best 4 bantamweights fighting today to a tournament, but I’m not sure if it translated into a greater appreciation of the little big man divisions, much less any additional respect for when the best agree to fight each other.

It was something of a risky format for the biggest name, Vic Darchinyan, who lost his match to young Abner Mares in a controversial decision, but then again, Darchinyan is amazingly enough 35 yrs old now, so maybe it was the kind of gamble that a fighter like him has to take at this point.

Darchinyan is now matched against Yonnhy Perez in the “consolation” bout after Perez dropped his bout against Joseph Agbeko. Should be as competitive and closely contested as the previous bouts in this tourney have been, but hopefully without any further controversy if we can just get some good officiating to match the skills and hearts of the fighters.

The headliner features Abner Mares whose career had stalled out before the tourney going up against Joseph Agbeko for his IBF title. Agbeko has gained the most thus far from the tourney after previously holding the IBF title for a couple of years. King Kong was going nowhere fast after Perez dethroned him back in 2009, but the tourney provided the backdrop for the rematch, so Agbeko showed up in shape with his A-plan and took back what was his.

Mares could make the tourney his coming out statement if he can handle the always tough as nails Agbeko, but I have the feeling Agbeko is the hungriest fighter of the lot in the form of his life, so we will just have to see.

Impossible to say who the favorites will be, but I’m sure the bookies will come up with something enticing, so there it is, Saturday, April 23 at Nokia Theater, Los Angeles if you need a boxing fix or just something with plenty of excitement.

WoW–Hozumi Hasegawa vs Jhonny Gonzales.

Two technically well schooled, exciting boxer/punchers toe it up when  IBO champ, Jhonny Gonzalez challenges WBC featherweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa in the World Memorial Hall in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, Friday, April 8th. 

It’s beautiful to see the Japanese right themselves after a horrific all time earthquake and tsunami knocked their island nation down for a terrible count, so greatest respect to the fighters, their teams, promoters, and fans for finding a way to carry on.

Japan and Mexico have an underrated historical rivalry in boxing, and this bout ranks up there in the pantheon, so thanks guys.

These are top shelf professionals, so I can’t say there would be a clear favorite in this matchup though Hasegawa should be favored slightly due to his more credentialed title reign. Both fairly easily handled top P4Per Fernando Montiel on the technical side, but the tight at the weight Hasegawa got caught in a highlight knockout flurry for the ages and had to jump up 2 divisions for redemption.

Hozumi Hasegawa

Hozumi Hasegawa

Hasegawa was the long time WBC banty champ at the tail end of an impressive streak of defenses, and Gonzalez was the two time WBO banty champ also tight at the weight and having to move up, so here we are in the middle of arguably the most talent laden division currently in boxing, the featherweights, with undefeateds Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkus Gamboa, and Chris John ruling the division.

Both Hasegawa and Gonzalez came up the hard way, in Japan and Mexico respectively, so in their fashion they are almost independently derived carbon copies of each other which what makes this fight tough to call since they may well be boxing their own shadows.

Call him KD Jhonny

Call him KD Jhonny

Gonzalez would seem to have an edge in the excitement factor as his style tends to highlight his long looping punch style puntuated by dramatic knockdowns. Make no mistake however, both Gonzalez and Hasegawa are excellent boxers with excellent power and know their way around the ring. This could be tightly fought bout that could feature all the elements of boxing coming into play.

Finding a viewing link may be problematic as well as being up and alert enough to watch in the wee early morning hours on a Friday work day for those of us in the Western nations, but it should be worth it if you can.

Something to Prove–Andre Berto vs Victor Ortiz

A very underrated fight takes place at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut, Saturday, April 9th when WBC welterweight titlest defends his title against young junior welter contender, Victor Ortiz.

Andre Berto

Andre Berto

While Berto looks the part of a skilled operator, truth be told his career has been carefully orchestrated against a series of some of the softest touches in boxing considering the reputation the WBC belts holds in some circles. The only legitimate Ring ranked welter contender he has faced, the light hitting Luis Collazo, knocked him down hard and gave him more than he ever wanted to see in the ring again.  

It’s an odd career for the man who won Floyd Mayweather Jr’s title back in 2008 against the unheralded and never heard from again Miguel Angel Rodriguez. I guess some credit goes to beating former titlest Carlos Quintana, but Quintana has never been up in the contender class again after the montrous Paul Williams knocked him cold in the 1st round back in 2008. And Berto did outpoint Juan Urango, the IBF jr welter titlest, so maybe I’m being a tad harsh, but this is one of the deepest welter divisions in ages and Berto has been largely missing in action, so maybe I’m on target.

Victor Ortiz

Victor Ortiz

Vicious Victor Ortiz just turned 24 and has already been in against stiffer competition overall, and now looks to jump a division for opportunity. The positives about Ortiz are that he is a more skilled, versatile boxer with some killer power, the likes of which Berto has never tasted. The negatives go back to his fight of the year type of bout against Marcos Maidana that saw them trade some hard, highlight quality knockdowns, only to see Ortiz quit on his feet after the last one, earning him the derision of armchair fans and hardened boxing people.

We now know that Maidana was very underrated and has that kind of bone shattering power that causes fighters to question their health once they taste it. I can’t say what was in the kid’s heart that night after having his wiring scrambled by Maidana, but that he continued his career with great success against high caliber oposition tells me he’s still in the game to win and make a difference.

The last time out, Ortiz got a most unfortunate majority draw against Lamont Peterson, a bout I thought he won hands down with his slugging, one knockdown, and comprehensive boxing, but truth be told, the critics savaged him for backing off going for the KO, choosing the more careful route of boxing.

So we have two talented fighters with some serious question marks about their true status as top fighters which leads me to think both will be trying to prove something to the public which usually translates to at least a pretty good fight if not a great fight.