Monthly Archives: May 2012

The P4P Battle–Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley

Long time Ring P4P King, Manny Pacquiao, goes up against one of the latest Ring P4P Princes, Timothy Bradley, in what promises to be one of the most dynamic all action fights of the year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9th.

Or it could end on an ugly leaping headbutt, but regardless, Pac Man meets a serious physical challenge in the awkwardly hard charging fellow shortstuff Desert Storm Bradley who never met an angle he couldn’t punch from or used a muscle that wasn’t fully flexed out. Although the sculpted Bradley amazingly may be down on the power charts, he provides the kind of action that could be fought from pillar to post for as long as the fight lasts.

Fight!

Fight!

Bradley is always in tremendous condition, boxing’s nonstop Energizer Bunny in the ring, but if recent form holds of Pacquiao opponents whipping themselves into best ever career conditions, Pacquiao may have trouble picking his spots like he was able to do against the laid back defensive counterpuncher Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight. He just might be forced into his old school Pacman slugging frenzy, not  bad thing for fight fans as Ricky Hatton found out.

Speaking of the Marquez rubber match, the worm may have turned on the phenomenon of Manny Pacquiao’s unparalleled career. The Congressman/Boxer was heavily booed in his decision win over the popular Vegas fighter, a highly technical bout that resembled two feuding Spanish matadors taking turns at lightning rapier thrusts of their estocadas for the finishing strike.

Pacquiao came up as an all action slugger in the mold of a Jack Dempsey, but is now picking his shots like the master boxer he’s become under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach. He’s become so defensively adept that he made the counter punching Marquez whiff amazingly wide on many occasions, but all apparently for naught with Vegas crowd. Bradley is not nearly so popular, but if he succeeds in taking the fight to Pacquiao and having some success, well, who can say how an fickle boxing crowd is really going to react until the moment arrives?

The Congressman/Boxer is also being investigated by the Philippine government  for alleged improprieties in one of his charitable organizations. It’s no surprise that big guns are after Pacquiao now since his stated ambition is to run for the presidency in the next election, so he may be in need of an overhaul of his “staff” of faithful followers if he is to ever achieve that ambition. Also, he may or may not have been served his divorce papers on the eve of the Marquez fight, depending on the source.

OUCH!

Pacquiao may be a grizzled ring veteran of 33 years of age now, yet he is as distracted now as he was in the first Morales fight 7 years ago where he was undergoing highly disputed managerial and promotional scrums over his services that left him exposed in the ring without his beloved Reyes’ puncher’s gloves.

The extracurricular distractions have slowly extracted their toll, so the time could be ripe for a prime young gunslinger who’s never been beat and hungry for recognition to show up at the right place at the right time for the huge upset if he can stay upright. Otherwise it’s gonna be a painful night if Bradley gets behind on the scoring because of knockdowns, something Marquez can attest to.

Bradley does have some problems with his balance, his helter skelter attacks leaving him ripe for sharp counters, so I’d imagine that would be the focus of the Roach strategy.

Noteworthy news is that the Boxrec P4P ratings formula has moved Mayweather up after the win over Miguel Cotto, finally edging Pacquiao to become their new #1. Ring’s more personalized opinion is to demote Pacquiao into a tie with #2 Floyd Mayweather and leave #1 newly vacated,  rather akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater by alleged boxing experts. They simply haven’t compared their actual Ring P4P records, 4-0, 2 KO for Mayweather to 7-1-1 for Pacquiao with more KOs, 5, than Mayweather has P4P fights. Moreover, Pacquiao has twice moved to a new division to face the top Ring fighter in his inaugural fight at the weight, something Mayweather has never done during his rise through the divisions.

I can’t be bothered, but I’d imagine the Boxrec historical p4P data would pretty much parallel the Ring P4P data, ie both Ring and Boxrec curently having Bradley ranked #9 P4P.

Impressively, Bradley will be Pacquiao’s 10th career Ring P4P bout, a new record with every P4P fighter he meets now.

Since most every fan agrees to disagree with the “experts” anyway no matter the order of the fighters attached to #1 through 10, it’s all a bunch of hooey for show and bragging rights in the end. The true tragedy is that the explosive primacy for Pacquiao vs Mayweather has gone the fizzle route. If by a strike of drizzling lightning they do happen to meet next year, Manny will be 34 years old and many years into his Congressional duties and Floyd will be 36 after completing his prison sentence and probably still on probation. 2013 is a long ways in boxing years from the March 13th, 2010 date  that Mayweather demanded and Pacquiao accepted. The terms were quickly agreed upon when the fight was at it’s hottest apex with Manny at age 31 and Floyd at age 33.

Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men gone awry yet again.

Speaking of the worm turning, Miguel Cotto may not have won the battle against Floyd Mayweather, but perhaps the war as he dished out as good as he got and undermined the invincibility of Mayweather. Then the Al Hayman managed Mayweather stablemate, Andre Berto, has been reported to have trace amounts of a steroid by VADA,  the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association  testing agency, so the repeated accusations that Floyd Mayweather slung at Pacquiao are now dangling on his doorstep making a big stink as the spokesman for “cleaning up boxing.”  Maybe he’s trying to clean out Al Hayman who has little left to promote during the interim as Mayweather prepares for his impending Nevada incarceration on June 1st.

Mayweather should at least be able to console himself with his better Cotto PPV numbers than Pacquiao is likely to show against the relatively unknown Bradley. For boxing fans who prefer fight stats, Pacquiao is currently 6-0-1, 3 KO against common opponents to Mayweather’s 5-0, 1 KO.

The less than honorable Berto trainer and ex-con Victor Conte was bragging about being such a whiz as an advisor and spokesman for VADA  after the Lamont Peterson postive test shocker, but now is jumping ship and explaining it all away.  What a can of worms and cancelled fights Golden Boy and HBO has fallen into, cancelling multimillion dollar fights on the specious trace readings in parts per trillion that very few of their bigshots or the public could pass if they tried.

Pacquiao with the big fight experience will be the betting favorite, but Bradley has been pointing to this fight for over a year, beating southpaws Devon Alexander and Joel Casamayor consecutively. Bradley first made his chops by flying overseas to England to dethrone southpaw favorite Junior Witter in his best ever showing. He’s an aggressive swaming type whose style is reminiscent of HOFer Aaron Pryor even if lacking Pryor’s firepower.

He did knock out the elderly Casamayor after scoring some knockdowns, but his fight with Alexander ended with a butt that went to the cards for a technical decision. Bradley tends to lead with his head, so in a lefty/righty fight, butts seem a certainty and may leave both seeing stars.

Lets’ also be clear about their weights since Pacquiao has had a series of controversial catchweight fights. Bradley turned pro at 143 lbs a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday and has since mostly fought at the junior welter limit, but sometimes straying well over in nontitle fights. Pacquiao has been in the 142-146 range for his 7 welter fights, so Bradley is the natural lifetime welter and as far as I know the fight is at the full welter limit of 147lbs. If promotional comments hold a kernel of truth, Bradley considers Pacquiao to be weaker than him who can be easily counterpunched, so he expects to bully Pacquiao around the ring while sharpshooting him.

I see an up and down type of fight with a series of adjustments until the magic formula is found for the win. Could be a Bradley upset, or another Pacquiao beatdown, or anything between, but guaranteed  by styles to be quickly paced action with some interesting technical twists. Bradley is a harder nut to crack compared to most any fighter in the world right now and knows he could make a splash into the Big Buck$ pool, but only IF he defeats Pacquiao cleanly with some style.

Then again, Pacquiao probably feels his future election to the Philippine presidency hinges on every win, so who could beat that kind of motivation?

Fight!

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The French Connection Goes to Sherwood Forest–Bute vs Froch

The lightly traveled Le Tombeur, Lucian Bute, makes his way to Merry Olde England through Sherwood Forest to the boxing ring of the Nottingham Arena to accept the honourable challenge by the infinitely game and dangerous Carl Froch.

That would be Saturday, May 26th British time. No word on whether the Nottingham sheriff will provide security, but fair to say some of Robin Hood’s Merry Men may swing down from the rafters for voracious support as typical of British fight fans.

Bute’s IBF supermiddleweight title will be up for grabs as well as his unblemished record, currently 12-0, 8 KO as the title holder, and 30-0, 24 KO for his career. I daresay that Lucian Bute sees respect as being up for grabs as well after being repeatedly tarred as a hometown Montreal fighter ducking out on the big fights of the Showtime Super Six tourney.

Lefty in Charge

Lefty in Charge

For the record, Bute was not invited, a serendipitous luck of fate since the tourney was poorly officiated and ended in a fizzle of fan support as  Andre Ward was hoisted as their new King.

The Showtime King’s first proclamation was that he wanted no part of Lucian Bute, so it was onward to the always ready to scrap Carl Froch who had Ward on unsteady legs in the final rounds of the tourney.

The First French Connection

The First French Connection

Carl Froch is an accomplished slugger who can match most any fighter today with the strongest competition over the past 4 years. Only Glen Johnson might have a shout on him. Normally Froch travels to his bouts, so this a welcome homecoming.

Bute is blessed with the fastest overall combination of hand and footspeed and steadiest balance anywhere near his division, and at age 32 seems to be just hitting his stride as a sharp hitting, sharp boxing lefty who is seldom contested in the ring. Froch will be the best fighter by a long shot Bute has ever faced, but it’s probable that conversely Bute is the best Froch has ever faced.

Froch has shown some very underrated boxing ability in the past, but at his heart he’s a fighter and slugger with good power and stamina, not an easy nut to crack. I look for Bute to fire up the turbines for a smooth flight about the ring as he softens up Froch with his blistering right jab during the tenderizing process.

As likable, credentialed, and game as Carl Froch is, he’ll be only a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday come fight night, so a lot of traditional strikes are against him, but one good shot changes everything in boxing, so therein is his hope. The first French Connection for Froch was his successful splash on the world stage, a hard fought Pascal win where he came on late to seize control of the fight, so he has that positive history.

Bute’s hope is another dominant performance and a superfight against whomever brings the money, but the economics are that Froch is currently the biggest attraction in the division. Bute will have to move up to lightheavy and travel to Denmark to face Mikkel Kessler or go home to face the fast starting, always fading Jean Pascal to match the purse and interest of this fight.

Should be interesting at a technical level at the very least and could be primal at it’s best if Froch surprises Bute with his best ever form.

Collect at GO Before Jail–Floyd Mayweather Jr vs Miguel Cotto

Or more cruelly entitled, Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Jail He Goes, But Not Before Passing GO to Collect The Ransom of a Prince.

Floyd Mayweather Jr will presumably settle his career Top Rank feud against Miguel Cotto who defends his WBA juniormiddle belt against Mayweather at the MGM Grand on May 5th in Las Vegas.

Or will Mayweather really fight for the WBA belt?

5 WBC Divisions

5 WBC Divisions

The WBC recently announced their “Diamond” belt will be at stake, a prestige that nobody in boxing has yet figured out the meaning of in an era of super, regular, interim, emeritus, in recess champions promoted by the various ABC boxing orgs. Mayweather briefly held the WBC juniormiddle belt he won in a disputed split against Oscar de la Hoya, but he retired in a huff against boxing and HBO rather than defend it. It remains to be seen if Mayweather bothers to pay the sanctioning fee for a WBA title, something he refused to do for the Shane Mosley fight. Mayweather has traditionally been a very devout WBC fighter to the exclusion of the other major titles in his five divisions.

At Golden Boy Promotions, the inmates do indeed seem to run the place. The culprits of last year’s Golden Boy promoted all time fiascos, Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather, will be fighting back to back with the Hopkins rematching his histrionic nonperformance against Chad Dawson the week prior to this promotion.

Golden Boy Promotions used to be a strong, up and coming promotional team promoting all manner of televised high action Latino prospects on the Texas border, Arizona, and California, really any modest population center with a significant Mexican population. GBP was laying the groundwork for a boxing revival and seemed  poised to compete against the current megalith and main rival, the Bob Arum run Top Rank. Alas, as in any Shakespearean tragedy featuring heroic figures, Numero Uno Golden Boy had a myriad of substance abuse, personal, and assorted legal issues that have taken a toll on GBP quality control. Now at least one press release for this fight has Golden Boy listed 2nd between Mayweather and Cotto’s promotional companies, ie:

 “Ring Kings: Mayweather vs. Cotto,” for Cotto’s WBA Super Welterweight World Championship is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions.

Heresy by any self respecting top boxing promoter.

Noteworthy is that Mayweather’s postponed prison incarceration begins June 1st after the fight, so this may be Mayweather’s first and only bout for the year, a typical year for Mayweather. On paper  and by styles we have what could prove to be a pretty fair scrap unless Mayweather reprises his previous French farce against Victor Ortiz, the details being too sordid to bother recounting.

Miguel Cotto entered into the fraying Mayweather fight picture with the blessings of Bob Arum after the Pacquiao negotiations went nowhere. Mayweather has long said that he would never fight an Arum fighter, but Cotto finally came to the end of his long term Arum contract with rematch against Margarito. There could be some snafus in the process before they ever step into the ring with all the fingers in the pie and who knows if the purses will be guaranteed.

Not many are aware of the Golden Boy ties with Miguel Cotto’s older brother, confusingly named Jose Miguel Cotto. The elder Cotto provided quality contender foil for Golden Boy fighters Saul Alvarez and Pauli Malignaggi in recent years, so the skids to the Mayweather fight were greased for Miguel the younger Cotto well in advance, quite fortuitous given the short window of time Mayweather had before beginning his postponed incarceration.

The fight is unusual in that it breaks the long string of pure Golden Boy fighters that Mayweather has restricted himself to over the past 6 years, but it’s still being held in the same MGM Grand venue he seems dependent on for good luck and good results ever since he squeaked the Oscar De La Hoya split decision so many moons ago.

Mayweather is also looking to capitalize on the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon by using Pacquiao’s name to promote Mayweather’s bouts again, by making more baseless accusations of cheating against Pacquiao at the kickoff presser announcing this fight. Needless to say, the civil suit filed by Pacquiao against Mayweather is ongoing even as Oscar de la Hoya has already apologized and seemingly settled any differences  amicably with Pacquiao and Arum.

Much ado is being made of the VADA, Voluntary Anti-Doping Association “Olympic Style Drug Testing” for the fight by some of the press who haven’t a clue about the nasty little details of the various drug testing orgs or Olympic drug testing in general whose parameters are constantly in flux with every latest developments in the losing “war on drugs.”

VADA is headed by Dr. Margaret Goodman, a longtime Vegas ringside insider as the former ring physician for the Nevada State Athletic Commission. She offers up her opinions freely, seemingly not liking the violent physics of boxing while offering up various studies regarding concussions, eye injuries, ect that the average fan is not interested in. I can’t help but wonder where she was during the Referee Joe Cortez led disaster that let Francisco Lorenzo sprawled unattended on the canvas leaking out of his hamburgered face as the various “ring officials” held something akin to a circle of jerks for many critical minutes as they dickered away.

VADA is the latest new fee taken out of the promotional pie on top of the dozens of older ones and is hardly Olympic style testing as the boxing press may claim, not that Olympic style testing has ever done shinola about cleaning up the drug scandals of their athletes. One thing not likely to change is Mayweather’s alleged dependence upon cortisone shots for his hands, something the Nevada commish allows.

Some in boxing also claim that the Pacquiao fight failed over Mayweather’s insistance on Olympic style testing. Fact is the issue was thrown up at the last minute  after contract details were agreed upon and were being negotiated before Pacquiao had to secure the emergency replacement to insure his strict fight schedule and payday could be met.

True Olympic drug testing can never be negotiated by the athletes!

It was Mayweather who backed out of his own date with a new date and new dancing partner, admitted drug cheat Shane Mosley. He said he only wants to clean up boxing, so he followed that with his choreographed staged fiasco against Victor Ortiz, so maybe he’s bringing in wrestling and opera fight choreography to cleanup the violent physics of competitive boxing that Dr Goodman is up in arms against.

Nonetheless, Miguel Cotto is an honorable substitute as the epitome of a tough, well schooled warrior who has never laid down for anyone. Cynics aplenty may quote Mayweather’s previous observation that he would never fight Manny Pacquiao’s leftovers and critics galore may claim that Cotto is well past his best days if not a shot fighter, but they won’t be the ones raking in the cash for a fight many fans agree makes sense given the circumstances.

Now, it is true that Cotto took a career beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito in a storied fight that matches well with the most legendary fights in history, but Cotto also doles out some of the most vicious beatings of his era, the kind that look like his poor opponents look like they were run over by a Sherman tank. Moreover, he’s a full time fighter, 10 full blooded bouts compared to the 3.25 bouts Mayweather has had since his first of several “retirements” after the De La Hoya bout.

Cotto vs Mosley

Cotto vs Mosley

Common opponents at welter are wins for both fighters, Cotto with a knockout of Zab Judah and decision over Shane Mosley, and Mayweather with decisions over both.

Since his loss to Pacquiao in a fight that he accounted himself well in, Cotto has comeback with a new sporty shotgun style jab that should serve him against Mayweather. He has experimented with both Manny Steward and Pedro Diaz as his trainers, but I hear tell he will be with Diaz for this. I’m not sure Diaz can protect Cotto against the hometown hijinks that have gone on in previous Mayweather fights anytime Joe Cortez is the ref, and Lord have mercy if crazy Uncle Roger Mayweather storms the ring again to attack the fighters and officials.

Steward has the gravitas to squelch any monkey business he sees going against Cotto. Diaz may be a fine up and coming trainer, but presumably Cotto knows he won’t be the “home” fighter this time as he is accustomed, so the expectation is that he will fight accordingly.

Mayweather looks to use his longtime trainer, his uncle Roger Mayweather, so no experimentation there. It remains to be seen if and how Mayweather will pack on the extra pounds for this division. He weighed 150 for the De La Hoya challenge and took a fair share of punishment early as the bigger De La Hoya punched him onto his back foot into a defensive shell against the ropes before Mayweather staged a comeback against the fading champion.

I’d imagine the Mayweather gameplan would be to use his defensive skills to maneuver Cotto around the ring to tire him while marking him up with some select sharp shooting much like the Juan Manuel Marquez fight went. Mayweather showed little defensive prowess against Ortiz though and ate some big shots as he mugged for the cameras, a bad sign going into a Cotto fight. His best performance ever was against Shane Mosley, but only the last 10 rounds of that fight. Mosley won the first two and was on the verge of a knockout before Mayweather recovered his senses, so I have to wonder what happens when his opponent won’t run out of steam and confidence as Mosley seemed to do?

Cotto may no longer be the undefeated brute running over fighters as he used to, but he’s still a youngish 31 years compared to Mayweathers 35 years who lately has been various stages of retirement and celebrity preening. Moreover, Cotto has never been in a bad fight and knows a win splashes him into the big bucks pool with Manny and Floyd and makes the Pacquiao rematch more attractive. His performance against the slick undefeated Paulie Malignaggi showed how he deals with fast defensive spoilers and of course every Mayweather opponent probably reviews the Jose Luis Castillo beating of Mayweather many, many, moons ago that no fighter since has been able to duplicate.

The De La Hoya fight turned Mayweather into a household name, but he’s lacked consistency in his comebacks. He may have won all the bouts, but he need the suspicious involvement of referee Joe Cortez in two of them for his only knockouts of the past 7 years. He boxed pretty much in reverse against the hell bent Marquez, yet stood his ground against the bigger and stronger Mosley and Ortiz, so go figure.

Cotto at 154 is stronger than Mosley at 147 and not likely to go into a shell after 2 good rounds like Mosley. It’s Mayweather’s speed and baffling boxing style that will be the tough mountain for Cotto to climb. Anything is possible, but Mayweather figures to be the big favorite for obvious reasons.

Mayweather is almost guaranteed to win the Pay Per View sweepstakes against Pacquiao this time around since Cotto is a much bigger name and PPV star compared to the little known undefeated P4P phenom that Pacquiao is fighting, Timothy Bradley. Nonetheless, Pacquiao continues to shut out Mayweather on the P4P ratings with more than double the P4P fights, 7-1-1, and more knockouts, 5 KO, than Mayweather has P4P fights, currently at 4-0, 2 KO.

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/modern-p4p-rankings-manny-pacquiao-vs-floyd-mayweather-jr/

The undercard is interesting with the 4th copromotion of Canelo Alvarez on a Mayweather card, this time against Shane Mosley. There is talk of a match between them if they win their respective bouts, or if not, perhaps a Cotto/Alvarez superfight, ya never know how these things turn out.

El Toro Canelo

It’s really amazing how big Alvarez has gotten both physically and promotionally from the 18 year old cinnamon tinged Mexican welterweight making his cautious American debut against Larry Mosley, a close relative to Shane Mosley. He now sports a bull neck and weighed in at 165 lbs for the 30 day prefight mandatory, so my guess is that he’s gotten too big and risky for Mayweather, but just about right for Chavez Junior who struggles to make the middleweight limit and last defended his middleweight title at an amazing 181 lbs come fight night.

Ripped for R.I.P. Shane

Ripped for R.I.P. Shane

Mosley was heavily criticized for fading against Mayweather and Pacquiao, but those are the best fighters he ever faced and he was past his prime even if he had a brief moment against Mayweather. I figure he’s in for a shellacking against a growing boy who is a much better boxer than he’s is often credited in spite of his #2 junior middleweight ratings in Ring and Boxrec and #14 P4P in Boxrec.

So, there it is. It’s all up to the fighters now as the countdown has begun.