Tag Archives: golden boy promotions

Bob Arum vs Al Haymon~Who You Got?

The Skinny: Top Rank Boxing through the direction of former US Department of Justice Attorney and long time boxing promoter, Bob Arum, filed a $100 million lawsuit last year in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on the basis of Al Haymon’s monopolistic PBC series that violated federal antitrust laws and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. Haymon, financed through an investment hedge fund, basically bought out most all the boxing programing  of the television networks, in effect leaving the rest of boxing promoters pretty much high and dry in making their own TV deals. Golden Boy Promotions was the first to file suit that is still pending for a much greater sum due to greater damages, a staggering $300 million.

The Blow by Blow

The Blow by Blow

It seems Haymon recently settled with Arum out of court a couple of weeks ago according to latest media releases, but what this means for boxing’s shaky future is unknown. Boxing futures today as seen by young kids and their parents are pretty much a no go investment, this after a long storied era in the US where boxing was the “go to” sport and part of the amateur athletic competition of  higher education along side baseball, football, ect. That status started dying somewhere between the 1950s and 60s when boxing finally started falling out of favor with the public due to the long time mob influence in pro boxing and general exploitation of fighters. In other words, the educated classes no longer saw a future need for boxing with it’s subsequent punch drunkeness, so they largely abandoned it.

Needless to say, this recent settlement sees the litigants sworn to silence regarding the terms, but I’d guess Arum netted $20-30 million along with in number of concessions regarding the way boxing business will go forward.

The much bigger hurdle for Haymon is still in the queue, and it’s a doozy with Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy still waiting for his pound of flesh after Haymon colluded with former Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer, to gut the company from within, taking away most all his fighters. Schaefer has settled with GB out of court already, so now it’s just Haymon still swimming in shark infested waters as GB and Haymon’s investment fund are looking for compensatory justice in the civil courts.

Boxing will survive no doubt, but it’s just a matter to what degree. It would seemingly be in it’s twilight years by the large decline in the numbers of participants, both amateur and pro, but that could change with a better, more productive business model that wasn’t filled with so much skulduggery…

…And the beat goes on…

Heavy Ides of March: Adamek vs Glazkov & Wilder vs Scott

My, my, The Fates have left the two best American based foreign national heavyweights fighting each other in America this Ides of March while the two best American heavyweight prospects have been sent packing to Puerto Rico for a showdown. That would be Saturday, March 15th when grizzled veteran Tomasz Adamek of Poland takes on his natural prime aged rival Vyacheslav Glazkov of Ukraine at the Sands Resort and Casino in Bethlehem, PA, a prototypical Eastern European fight held on American soil these days.

The 37 year old two division champion “Goral” has a stiff task in the 29 year old 2008 superheavyweight Olympic Bronze Medalist “Czar.” Adamek’s 49-2-1, 29 KO record makes the Glazkov 16-0-1, 11 KO record look a bit puny, but things should be spiced up since this is the IBF #2 Eliminator and both fighters are fairly offensively oriented and hungry for a crack at the Wlad sweepstakes all everything that counts title.

The Fates may have gotten their shipping orders mixed up when they sent the last American boxing Olympic medalist, heavyweight Bronze winner Deontay Wilder and his opponent Malik Scott to Bayamon, Puerto Rico in support of the undercard of the Danny Garcia/Mauricio Herrera mismatch. The saving grace might be some nice Caribbean sun and surf relaxation for them after their gig as winter storms continue to torture much of the western world.

Incredibly the 28 year old Wilder is in his 7th year as a pro with 30 wins by 30 knockouts, yet he has never fought another title contender yet in spite of being aligned with the powerful Al Hayman/Golden Boy Promotional combine. Here he goes against what passes as a modern day American gym legend, the 33 year old Malik Scott best known for nursing along his undefeated record for years against the usual spate of blue collar journeymen, currently at 36-1-1, 13 KO.

Once Malik stepped up his competition, first there was the stinker of a draw against Glazgov and then an unseemly knockout loss in Britain to Dereck Chisora. Scott couldn’t be bothered to step up his end of the action in those two breakout fights for him, but now he gets another chance, a mighty big one, but will he take it? Wilder currently holds a scruffy WBC Continental Americas bauble, but rumors say this match might end up being a WBC eliminator with the winner fighting the winner of the Bermane Stiverne/Chris Arreola battle for the vacated WBC title. Team Wilder’s long developmental path has thus far targeted the easiest path path possible to a belt, so enter the bewildered Scott.

I tend to think the Adamek/Glazonov bout will be action packed and favor Adamek in a hard fought decision where Glazkov earns new respect by the end of the fight. Scott’s negative defensive boxing is likely to make Wilder look like stink early on, but I have to think if Wilder doesn’t gas out, a possibility given his lack of professional rounds, only 53 rounds recorded thus far compared to Scott’s 223 rounds, that eventually Wilder catches up to whack out Scott.

It’s now up to the fighters. I await their verdicts.

Marcos Maidana Tracks Down Adrian Broner

Looks like Marcos Maidana gets another shot at redemption against Adrien Broner at the Alamodome in San Antonio December 14th. Maidana has actually done quite well for himself after his torpid debut at welterweight against Devon Alexander last year. He is really a small framed junior welter, but he takes his orders from Golden Boy who wanted him in a more glamorous division where they needed quality name opponents, opponent being the operative word here. Maidana has been used in the non starring role against heavily hyped Golden Boy “stars.”

The Golden Boy promoted Maidana got off on the wrong track with  when he knocked out their Oscar de la Hoya heir apparent Victor Ortiz in a spectacular encounter. It didn’t help that competing manager contract disputes over his services soon combined with a terrible traffic tragedy in Argentina that made his services in the US problematic for a spell. He was then poorly served by unsporting officiating in the big name Amir Khan and Eric Morales debacles, yet onward he punched with a current 84% KO average, one of the highest in boxing in support of his 34-3 record.

Tubs & Lean

Tubs & Lean

Adrian Broner has been the heavily hyped Al Hayman fresh flash posterboy, yet now looking quite corpulent around his corpus, seemingly so “flush” as to “dump” $20 dollar bills during his potty sessions if his inflated ego video productions offer up any proof. After being touted as the next Floyd Mayweather Jr by the Hayman/Golden Boy combine, he’s been matched against an assortment of carefully selected featherweights, dwarfs, and feather dusters who have actually done quite well against his plodding defenseless version of the Floyd Mayweather shoulder roll. Now he goes against a true  slugger in Marcos Maidana who has knocked out the bigger, stronger, more talented Victor Ortiz and the tougher Josesito Lopez.

While only 24 years and still developing, Broner is still officially unblemished at 27-0, 22 KO, 81% knockout ratio. Most of those fights were at 130 or 135 divisions before completely jumping over the 140 division, now in his 2nd fight at 147. Likely he’ll never make 140 and why should have have to if the bigger money is in 147?

Yet ridiculously the Gimpy Ring ratings continue to rank him at both welter and lightweight and P4P, a total failure of logic other than being a rubber stamp for the Hayman/Golden Boy paymasters who have taken over the spare bones and mangy hide of what used to be a proud magazine in the days of Nat Fleischer.

Fortunately for Broner, Maidana is no Fancy Dan in the boxing department though he can box some when he has a mind to. Unfortunately for Broner the Maidana power is proven at higher weights. Broner has shown poor defense in his career, probably due to being in against little guys with little demonstrable power at those lighter weights. Hard to say if he can improve his defense, but on any fair playing field, Maidana must be salivating at the thought of an easy to hit plod forward style, a perfect stylistic match up for him, but that may be illusory.

The reason being that Maidana is seemly yet again “the opponent” if recent form of Hayman/Golden Boy fights follows script. They continue to prop up Broner and Amir Khan as stars for example against all evidence of their limitations with the hope they can maybe make a decent PPV with Floyd Mayweather Jr who doesn’t have any credible Golden Boy fighters left to dance with. No problem, this combine will manufacture cardboard cutouts for Mayweather to “fight.” 

Golden Boy has actually had some really great fights over the past few years, like James’ Kirkman against Carlos Molina and Angulo for example, but poor Kirkman can’t seem to stay out of trouble and jail. He’s recently been released from captivity, signed with his new 50 cent manager, and rushed on a ‘Top Rank card this weekend in Madison Square Garden, so strike him as savior for Hayman/Golden Boy when Mayweather retires. Keith Thurman has discipline and potential, but he’s been way underpromoted for whatever reason. Meanwhile the GB Argentinians, Matthyse and Maidana, they’re poor boys from a poor country, so they’re willing to brave the ring officials stacked against them, yet against the odds they somehow managed to make some the best fights in boxing.  And you wonder why they claim boxing is dying when the best, most exciting fan friendly fighters willing to fight anytime, anywhere get the short straw in what should be their biggest opportunities.

Perhaps there’s some hope in that the fight is in San Antonio which has a rich boxing tradition. San Antonio is where Manny Pacquiao burst into the spotlight in his demolition of P4P great Marcos Antonio Barrera not that many moons ago, but another era in the flash primes of typical fighters. The dubious Laurence Cole is the likely assigned ref, a dissertation of all his ring transgressions being the perfect submission for the ambitious business or a law grad. I should note his near flawless handling of his last fight I witnessed, the Alvarez vs Trout highly technical boxing match. He only made one mistake when he broke them up in the first round while they were in an exchange. He immediately recognized his error before laying back to enjoy one of the cleaner boxing exhibitions this year, so maybe there’s some hope for this fight since it could be a great slugfest if there is no interference..

We’ll be watching.

Big Mouths Mauling~~Adrian Broner vs Paulie Malignaggi

Boxing‘s newest wunderkind and jail’s latest bait Adrian Broner steps up 2 divisions to welterweight to challenge WBA champ Paulie Maliganaggi. The “bout” is today, June 22nd at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Big Broner vs Tyny Rees

Big Broner vs Tyny Rees

It was no surprise when Broner was arrested down Miami way not long ago for biting another man during a fracas outside a hotel. He seems hell bent on duplicating the style and the life of his mentor Floyd Mayweather Jr by way of flushing money down toilet videos to the accumulating rap sheet. Arrangements were quickly made and he was released on bond to be whisked straightaway into a training camp where his minders kept him on the short leash with no muzzle until ready to be released in the ring today.

As mouthy fighters go, these gentlemen are among the mouthiest with mouth flapping apparatuses in a freeflowing spewage of raw uncut sewage, not that many of us could ever bother listening, but that’s what the cacophony of headlines screamed in the leadup.

Broner will likely be the much bigger guy come fight night after rehydration. His team carefully selected the nominal WBA welter titlist Malignaggi as the smallest, weakest link in the Golden Boy stable of available fighters as the least risk to his division climbing ambitions. As with Mayweather, Broner previously had his JC Castillo moment of being beat up when former banty and featherweight champ Daniel Ponce De Leon more noted for his slugging prowess easily gave Broner a thorough boxing lesson, but was just too small to really do more than sting him at will. It takes a knockout to derail a touted Hayman/Golden Boy fighter, something Malignaggi is not likely to deliver.

For the big knockout, go to the supporting undercard where Al Hayman touted heavyweight Seth Mitchell hopes not to replicate his snake eyes exit against Klitschko promoted Johnathon Banks in their rematch. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Paulie Malignaggi is not only a weak champion, but something of an underachiever, best known for the game losing scrap he gave Miguel Cotto when both were undefeated in full pomp at the start of their primes. Since then he’s been more of a poser than fighter, a preener rather than a boxer, though former lightweight champ Juan Diaz had the pressuring style to put him in an entertaining pair of fights that they split. He did seize opportunity to beat the aging undefeated Vyacheslav Senchenko on a stupendous cut that ended his KO drought, but then lucky to scrap himself off the canvas to secure a hometown split in his first defense against Pablo Cesar Cano.

Of the few fights I’ve seen Broner in, he’s been a plodder, easy to hit in his Mayweather shoulder roll defense, but he has the power to overcome light swatters who stand in front of him like DeMarco and Rees did most recently. Malignaggi can stick and move pretty all night to make this fight tough unless his marching orders from Hayman/Golden Boy News of the Ring World are to stand and trade. Broner told Larry Merchant that he’s like dog doodoo on his opponent’s shoe once they sign the contract to face him, perhaps the most apt descriptor of his touted career progress thus far.

Black and Blue....yeah, right....

Black and Blue….yeah, right….

Could be modestly entertaining or more likely deadly dull, but never destined to be a great fight after The Problem leapt over the strongest division in boxing, the junior welts, to have an easier go at Paulie. It is what it is, a soundtrack of profaned and befouled sound and fury to promote a weak era in boxing where promoters rely on gimmicks after having done nothing to redevelop boxing into the spectacle sport it used to be.

Trout Fishing For a Whopper–Canelo Alvarez vs Austin Trout.

The year 2013 looks to be a big transition year in boxing and one of the bigger transitions is Austin Trout finally landing the biggest whopper of his fight dreams against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for a light middleweight WBA/WBC unification. This “dream” bout takes place Saturday, April 20th  in ol’ San Antone for any Texas fight fiends still interested in the finer science of fisticuffs.

The unification story is just small patooties stuff. The orgs will quickly split the belts off at the most opportune time in the near future as is the transitory nature of titles these days. Canelo won the belt vacated by Manny Pacquiao who won the belt stripped off Sergio Martinez after he won their WBC middleweight belt. Sergio in turn won his 154 lb WBC belt from the stripped Vernon Forrest. Incredibly the WBA belt Trout first won has more strippages than a Red Light District No Tell Motel in Vegas, and so it goes in the strippage crazy merry-go-round world of ABC orgs.

Miss Corona, Canelo, Oscar, Jesse James, Austin

Miss Corona, Canelo, Oscar, Jesse , Austin

For Trout, these are new opportunities giving him the recognition he believes he deserves. Win, lose, or draw, he’s in a bigger mix for as long as he produces good fights. Golden Boy has a big stable of potential 154 lb fights to keep him busy for years. The venue came about because of bold moves by Canelo who has been ahead of the opportunity sweepstakes as soon as Golden Boy Promotions signed him as an 18 yr old Mexican sensation. With a record of 41-0-1, 30 KO, he has not yet disappointed like so many touted phenoms, yet he’s only 22 years of age with plenty of gas left in the tank.

The disclaimer: Canelo Alvarez vs Money Mayweather may soon be archived in the dusty bins of The What If Library of Fantasy Fights” if recent trends hold. Alvarez was the first fighter of record to reserve the Cinco de Mayo weekend as the perfect date for the Mayweather fight, something Golden Boy Promotions has been pointing to with some four co-promotions between the two over the past few years. Alas, Mayweather negotiations are always a prickly, back stabbing, down and dirty affair, so ultimately Alvarez refused to support the Mayweather trump card again and staked out his claim as the headliner in his own venue to play his own wild cards.

The unvarnished facts of today are that Alvarez is already ahead of the pro career of Floyd Mayweather Jr at the same age when both were holding their first WBC belt. Alvarez has more defenses against a higher grade of fighter than Mayweather faced at age 22, fact, and he won his title a year earlier than did Mayweather, fact. Not only that, but he’s well ahead of Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar de la Hoya at the same age with his own cracking promotional company staging boxing matches in boxing crazy Mexico, fact.

Unvarnished facts are heresy to regrettable Americans anchoring the current hunkered down HBO vs Showtime vs Golden Boy vs Top Rank entrenched lockout that threatens to put a stranglehold on American boxing. The kid takes a lot of profane stick and cheap shots in the antisocial media websites, yet precious few boxers have ever accomplished more than Alvarez at the same age. He can take heart knowing that Julio Cesar Chavez had more than his fair share of rabid detractors as happens when any boxer surges to the top.

At the kickoff presser to official announce the big dukem up, the prime aged 27 year old Austin Trout announced, “I don’t think he has his man strength yet. I will impose my will on him. I am going to take him out of his comfort level.”

Such tepid fodder well short of the usual doomsday beatings of a lifetime, knock you into the next county morgue stuff typical fighters utter in the build up to their fights, but perhaps indicative of a more direct sweet science approach the southpaw Trout is looking to apply to the hide of the orthodox Alvarez.

Since Alvarez made his Golden Boy American debut against aspiring fellow prospect, Larry Mosley, a close relation to Shane Mosley, Canelo has gone 19-0, 15 KO against a much stronger line up of prospects, fringe contenders, and former champs than the mostly journeyman padded record of local fighters Trout has been promoted with.

An added amusing aspect to the proceedings is watching the hordes of antisocial media critics eat their brown stained shorts when Alvarez signed the fight. Such is their nature that they almost immediately took to moaning that Trout will not get a fair shake in the officiating.

Meanwhile, the self appointed Ring “boxing experts” got exposed recently after some 20 odd “experts” picked Brandon Rios to knock out Mike Alvarado in their dynamic rematch, ouch! Almost the same number picked Donaire over Rigondeaux, ouchie~ouchie! Figure on a panel of baboons to be able to pick around 50% winners by chance alone, but no matter, Ring and too many other experts have been too blinkered to understand the timeline of Alvarez accomplishments in the lead up to the fight.

An interesting parallel is this bout somewhat reprises the Mayweather/Corrales fight. Both were similarly undefeated and highly regarded though still relatively unproven at the elite level. The slightly younger 23 year old Corrales at 33-0 had higher quality defenses with more wins than the 24 year old Mayweather at 24-0, but Mayweather had the advantage of the biggest name, Genero Hernandez in his record. Mayweather also had a Ring P4P ranking, similar to Alvarez who has a Boxrec #8 P4P ranking and looking to crash the Ring P4P list.

In spite of fewer fights against lesser competition, I will use his moniker to prove a point, there is No Doubt that Trout is a quality operator with a decent chance to win this fight. He did what he had to do against the home favorite Miguel Cotto, waging an aggressive no quarter asked war as Cotto’s best shots bounced harmlessly off him like popcorn. Alvarez was similarly put through his paces against Shane Mosley.

One advantage on paper for Alvarez runs contrary to the claim Alvarez has not faced legitimate 154 lb fighters. Fact is he beat the Ring ranked #4 Ryan Rhodes, a big southpaw who had fought as high as super middle, as big or bigger than Trout. The result was a lopsided beatdown for Alvarez who was only 20 years of age at the time, not even needing his full “man strength” as I suspect southpaw Austin Trout will learn once they step into the ring. Facts are that Canelo has been matched hard and often in Mexico since age 15, so he knows how to beat bigger, stronger, “man strength” fighters and now he’s matured into a physical match for Trout with more power. Speculation has it that Trout has more speed, but Alvarez is certainly speedier than Cotto who had no problems catching up to Trout.

I like Alvarez in this fight for all of the above reasons, but I have to wonder what happens as the sometimes farcical Golden Boy promotions aligns with the farcical Showtime. Thus far Canelo has been immune from the dubious officiating and dirty fighting of Hopkins and Mayweather fights because he comes to actually fight and thus far has scarcely struggled save a competitive bout against Mosley. On his worst day he has yet to quit as Hopkins is prone to do.

This being a Texas fight, that also means the inglorious Laurence Cole is the “chosen” ref, the lousiest ref in boxing since the lamentable Joe Cortez thankfully exited the ranks. Cole pulled Danny Garcia off the knocked down and out on his feet Eric Morales in their first bout to nurse Morales to the closing bell Joe Cortez style. He was one of the Showtime cabal of dirty refs in some of the most ham handed officiating and judging of recent years. He DQed Arthur Abraham for knocking out Andre Dirrell in their supersix tourney in spite of being blocked way out of position to even see the details of what transpired.

We have no idea what GBP options are on Trout or any other machinations going on behind the scenes. The Showtime banty tourney featured some of the most blatantly dirty fighting ever seen as Abner Mares merrily fouled his way to spurious wins Andre Ward style to claim the tourney.

Making The Big Splash

Making The Big Splash

I can’t say for how long Golden Boy will have Alvarez signed, but the kid could turn out to be the Mexican Oscar De la Hoya Golden Boy looking to expand north, so Alvarez has much to lose in the short term if he loses to Trout. In turn, Golden Boy will have at least temporarily staved off another competitor in promotions.

I’m trying to ignore my well justified cynicism as I close up. If the fighters have any say so, it’s a great night featuring high level boxing, plenty of guts and heart, and some big challenges to overcome. Let’s cross fingers X X and hope the poohbahs, judges, and ref keep their sticky fingers out of the fight and let the fighters decide how best to proceed without the usual monkeys on their backs.

To quote the reknown Latin Lover of Linguistitudes, Lupe Contreras, “Quien es mas macho?”

Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Austin No Doubt Trout

Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Austin No Doubt Trout

Ricky Hatton Comeback Against Vyacheslav Senchenko?

Ricky Hitman Hatton is coming back from “retirement” this Saturday, November 24th to fight former WBA welter champ Vyacheslav Senchenko at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, that much is certain.

Redemption

Redemption

What isn’t certain is how serious Hatton is about continuing his career and how much he has left to fight in a very competitive division. What is certain that he will mint plenty of coinage, more than any other fighter in the world not named Pacquiao, Mayweather, or Klitschko thanks to his loyal support base of fans and morbid curiosity seekers wondering if he still has the Hatton magic that made him such a megastar.

How ironic can it get in boxing that 35 year old Vyacheslav Senchenko is about as little known and undersung as it gets, fighting all his bouts in Ukraine, a hot bed of talent but not a hot bed of pro boxing. His opponents have all been the usual Eastern European suspects found on any top Euro fighter resume, a solid but limited record. His big step up was against Pauli Malignaggi who stopped him on cuts, so it’s fair to say at age 35, he looks for redemption just as much as Hatton is.

The Hitman has proven to be the superior fighter at a much higher level than Senchenko, but Hatton has been out of the ring for well over 3 years. His accomplishments during that time have been sordid revelations of drug abuse, a recent fight with his dad, and food and alcohol binges of a man circling the drain of life. He did become a promoter of some note, an up and comer doing well for now, and he has business ties to Golden Boy Promotions. A fight between him and Oscar de la Hoya has been long rumored, so who can say where he goes in an era where fighters move seamlessly in and out of “retirement” at will?

I expect Senchenko to be the typical tough, well schooled Eastern European who has an excellent opportunity on his hand, much bigger than when Malignaggi came to town, but how he reacts to the raucous MEN crowd cannot be predicted.

I expect Hatton to come out pressing and swinging, that’s what short armed fighters have to do. Hatton also used to have some underrated boxing nuance, so at very least we will get an all action fight out of the thing, and if lucky, a high end drama and spectacle.

No title is on the line that I can see, nor do I know the contract weights, but surely 150 lbs would be the limit. Hatton enters with a career record of 45-2, 32 KO and Senchenko at 32-1, 21 KO. Both are coming off losses in their last fight.

The card also features British stars Rendall Munroe and Martin Murray and is presumably promoted by Hatton, so it’s a good night for British boxing.

The Fight That Never Was–Saul Canelo Alvarez vs Paul The Punisher Williams

Paul The Punisher Williams used to be known as the fighter who took over the mantle of the most ducked fighter in boxing from Antonio Margarito. Listed as 6-1 with a 79 ” reach on Boxrec for promotional purposes so as not to scare off potential opponents, he was noticeably taller and rangier than stablemate heavyweight Chris Arreola who was listed as 6-3. Fight teams all knew his data was heavily fudged and stayed away from the towering colossus in droves. Even the fearsome Kelly Pavlik looked none too anxious for a battle after twice signing to fight him before pulling out with a series of regrettable health problems.

Saul Alvarez has the opposite problem of Williams. The hottest undefeated darling of Mexico needs his team to beat back the hordes of fighters trying to get at him, so it seemed an incredible convergence of good fortune and opportunity for Williams when he was chosen by Team Canelo for a splashy September 15th defense of the Alvarez WBC belt.

The Punisher

Williams had been struggling according to critics, but of course his critics had him struggling all through his stellar career. Even Beethoven had to endure such ham handed reviews such as “It bodes ill for Beethoven if he continues down his current path.”

Sadly, this potential fight of the year turned into a tragedy when Williams was paralyzed from the waist down after a motorcycle accident, squashing the big payday and the chance for Williams to upset the boxing applecart again.

Lineal light heavy champ Julio Gonzales recently passed from a motorcycle accident as did former champ Diego Corrales a few years back. Going back, fellow Georgian and HOFer Young Stribling was near the same age as Williams is now when he passed in a motorcycle accident, so Williams should thank his lucky stars for surviving with mental faculties intact.

Might even be time for Alvarez to make a test run with his 190 MPH Maserati and decide how much longer fate needs to be tempted.

Ladies and Gents, if you are married with a young family, sell your bike or at least mothball it until they can fend for themselves.

Willie Pep was similarly injured in a 1947 plane crash and told he would never box again, yet five months later he resumed the last 3rd of his stellar HOF career. Paul Williams is not likely to ever be voted into the HOF, but he did have his signature moment when he stood in the pocket all night to carve up Winky Wright like a Thanksgiving Day turkey. There were other great showings like his first round knockout of Carlos Quintana, outworking and outslugging Antonio Margarito in a firefight, and a spectacular give and take fight with current middleweight champ Sergio Martinez that had HBO salivating for the rematch in a classic series.

Alas, far too few American fighters or critics ever took to imposing giants as Jess Willard, Primo Carnera and Nikolay Valuev knew, much less a gangling southpaw giant who was a nightmare to fight, so Williams was left scrambling to find the best of the few opponents willing to test themselves against his formidable reach and work rate. He finishes with a stellar 41-2, 27 KO record.

I wish Paul Williams and his family all the best in his recovery and adjustment to his new life. He has been a great fighter and ambassador for boxing who has been greatly underrated.

Golden Boy Promotions has a well stocked stable of talented junior middleweights available for substitution, but then replacement James Kirkland fell out after citing ongoing shoulder problems. The 3rd choice, Victor Ortiz, had his jaw broken by the unheralded Josesito Lopez in what was supposed to be a mopup fight for Ortiz after his choreographed dive to the canvas in the Floyd Mayweather incident.

So after 3 fruitless rounds of scrambling for an opponent, Golden Boy finally did the right thing and yielded to the inevitability of fate by tapping the surging new boxing hero, Josesito Lopez.

Canelo vs Josesito
Canelo vs Josesito

Naturally boxing critics were instantly set howling in derision since the soon to be 29 years Lopez has never fought at junior middle, but then again he never fought at welterweight before pounding Ortiz into the hospital to ponder next year’s comeback with a rebuilt jaw. As you can see, Lopez looks to have some height and range over Alvarez, so he has plenty of time to pack on some additional pounds if needed.

Canelo is closing in on Floyd Mayweather Jr‘s undefeated record, 43-0, 26 KO. He’ll just have turned age 22 at the Lopez bout and goes to 41-0-1, 29 KO if he wins, so he’s already surpassed Mayweather in knockouts. They have been through a series of co-promotions together and Alvarez holds Mayweather’s old belt, so perhaps next year they meet in the ring for the final say so.

It’s been a troubling year for Golden Boy Promotions. Their #1 star Floyd Mayweather Jr is doing a stint in the federal pen as two of their young stars, Victor Ortiz and Amir Khan suffered humiliating knockouts by unsung underdogs. Their oldest star, Bernard Hopkins is going nowhere faster every day at age 47.

The good news for this card is that Mexican featherweight honchos, Jhonny Gonzalez and Daniel Ponce de Leon, will collide in what promises to plenty of old school slugging. Gonzalez should be the slight favorite, but he’ll have to throw in some nifty boxing for good measure against the southpaw De Leon.

Undefeated American heavyweight Seth Mitchell looks to earn respectability against fellow American Johnathon Banks who has been fighting in Germany on the Team Klitschko cards. All out sluggers Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karrass lock up for contender status, so it’s a pretty good card for free viewing.

That’s September 15 at the MGM Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for those interested in the manly art of self defense otherwise known as prize fighting.

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.

The Timeless Travesties of Bernard Hopkins

Seldom have I seen modern legends shoot themselves in the foot more than the “alleged” Executioner, Bernard Hopkins. Only the incomparable Mike Tyson and then Floyd Mayweather Jr have done worse.

Yes, I am questioning the veracity of a soon to be 46 years old “Grandpa” as he is now promoting himself after stealing all that shimmers in Montreal and all that glimmers within Jean Pascal last night, ruining a fine comeback. After a very shaky start, Hopkins created yet another stink to his career by whining about the judging that denied him the history of being the oldest fighter to gain a major title that was Jean Pascal’s, the Ring, WBC and “vacant” WBC “Diamond” belt.

The Cards

The Cards

The only thing he has been “executing” in the ring are the rules of boxing and truth and integrity out of the ring. You have to go back some 6 years and 11 fights ago to find a stoppage on his record, an abysmal 9% knockout ratio. The irony of being knocked down twice in the opening stanzas by Pascal’s own identical 9% abysmal knockout ratio over his last 11 fights is a great irony passing over the dim noggins of the usual suspects whining over this fight.

Let’s not forget that Hopkins kicked off his whining early after the first knockdown caused by a Pascal right hand just behind the ear, a legal shot that the ref thankfully recognized.  

Before going further, I’d like to commend the referee, Michael Griffin, a Canadian as I understand. Canadian refs like all hometown refs have a terrible reputation, but his was one of the better efforts I’ve seen this year.

Looking at the record when his decline first begin, Hopkins has a 7 of 9 fights whine ratio starting with the Jermain Taylor series, 78%, so he’s WAY more adept at whining in the ring than “executing” fighters, which doubtless is the real root of his whining. His record in these fights is 5-3-1, 0 KO, so it ain’t Freudian rocket science to figure this is an ongoing middle aged crisis so common in American males as their physical veracity inevitably starts heading downhill.

The end result is a fighter who openly brags about butting open a huge cut on Winky Wright and then mugging him Philly style, yet never once entertained a rematch with Wright who many thought beat Hopkins, nor with Tarver who has a chillingly formidable rematch record, and now Hopkins is whining for a rematch in a fight he didn’t lose?

Has he no sense of shame, or has the magnanimity of being a modern day “legend” completely overridden his sense of honor? According to him, he never lost a fight.

I entered the Hopkins era as most fight fans probably do, willing to judge him with an open mind as I came more familiar with him, so I don’t regard these observations as prejudicial given the legend of the man and the time I spent catching up to the earliest part of his career. Nor will I bother with the host of problems I have with him in older days, since it’s his move to the “lightheavy” division that has boosted his career that he is currently whining about.

My Boo-Boo

My Boo-Boo

Again, make no mistake, I credit him for putting up a nice scrap last night, but the man simply has a swiss cheese number of holes to his “A game” these days to blindly ignore like run of the mill judges who are only accountable to highly subjective standards that give them a free pass to contradict themselves. Carl Froch, Adrian Dicanu and Chad Dawson gave Pascal much closer, more problematic fights than Hopkins did, and Pascal also faded down the stretch in those fights.

I’ve previously addressed the judging issue here after one of the umpteenth “scoring controversies” for any interested:

https://roberto00.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/boxing-101-how-to-score-ugly-or-mora-vs-mosley-the-no-win-non-fight-of-the-year/

I’d give anything if boxing could straighten out it’s officiating to make it a more visually credible sport, but instead we have the obnoxious Compubox and clones punching out equally dubious “punch stats” that only grow the cesspool and add to the controversy that sees Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions impugning the integrity of Canadian boxing.

Speaking of impugning integrity, it’s well know that Manny Pacquiao has a pending slander lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather Jr and Golden Boy Promotions, so what has Golden Boy done about claiming to clean up the sport of boxing with Olympic Drug testing? Hopkins is coming off a torpid performance against a career journeyman, Enrique Ornelas, and then a travesty against Roy Jones Jr, and now he’s stronger than a warm garlic malt in a championship fight after starting with 2 clean knockdowns on shaky legs?

A cynic might further fan those flames by adding that Hopkins obviously has problems with “slick African-Haitian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers and would have just as much or more problems with “slick Whiteboy-Romanian-Canadian-Montreal” boxers.

See how easy that was? No wonder Grandpa Hopkins has moved from boxing to whining!

For the record, the 3 big fights I watched this Saturday, all my winners got shot to smithereens by the “judges.” I do score every fight that I watch according to the ABC rules to scoring fights, but I layer in a more objective science that allows me to identify most controversies by scoring close, indeterminate rounds as even, yeah, heresy! The more subjective guidelines used by the judges as I enumerated in my above link forces them to “pick” a winner in those “even” rounds.

How convenient!

Denis Lebedev clearly wasn’t credited for his vicious body shots that broke at least one of the super tough Marco Huck’s ribs, yet the stoic Russian preferred not to object  to the hometown decision, knowing that it’s rare to have a fight overturned and he might not want to anger any future judges with politically incorrect venting.

Pascal faded down the stretch as is his style, yet was not credited for his early dominance that greatly exceeded any of Hopkins few best rounds which should have put Pascal in a lead only overcome by knockout.

39 yr old Francisco Lorenzo made a fan of me for life by taking the Erik Morales fight on short notice and winning most every minute of every round and really taking it to another modern legend trying to reclaim past glory who only had one brief moment of success when he scored a flash knockdown. Morales is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions who need Morales available for the aging Juan Manuel Marquez if he cannot secure a fight against Manny Pacquiao.

It’s all about the Benjamin$ in boxing folks. That’s the history of prizefighting. Modern networks, promoters and ABCs control the Benjamin$, the way it was, is, and always shall be with spare exceptions.

Look for a much bigger promoted Pascal/Hopkins rematch in Vegas coming soon with the next Hopkins controversy being stewed up as we speak. He has been party to some of the worst stinkers of this era and means to add to his cesspool.

Freddie Roach’s Latest Wild Card to Trump Mayweather

Freddie Roach has been the hottest trainer in boxing for some few years now that his star pupil, Manny Pacquiao, has ascended to the highest boxing honors available in the sport, but Roach also runs his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles where he trains a number of up and coming prospects, contenders, and champs.

Not the least among them is young Amir Khan fresh off his hard fought victory over the HUGE punching terror, Argentinean Marcos Maidana.

Tres Amigos

Tres Amigos

Not withstanding the Joe Cortez fortuitously planned horror of officiating that protected Khan late in the fight when his lights precipitously flickered near the off switch, Khan did managed to scrape across the Maidana finish line to officially become boxing’s next most popular choice to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr after stablemate Manny Pacquiao.

It may be that Khan has also officially become the likeliest frontrunner to actually make that fight happen since he is in the Golden Boy Promotions stable, the only class of fighter Mayweather has chosen to fight for some 5 years.

Mayweather is “officially” taking yet another temporary retirement from the sport, so we don’t know when he will ever fight again or IF he ever fights again given the more than half dozen felony charges against him that could put him in some 35 yrs behind bars.

If Money May ever fights again, it seems ever more remote that it would be against Pacquiao who is promoted by Mayweather’s arch enemy, Bob Arum, whose fighters Mayweather has repeatedly asserted he will never fight, yet has no problems negotiating agreed upon terms for the fight he will never fight.

With the latest Khan victory notched, Freddie Roach can now hunker down at Fort Wild Card to develop two different strategies using two different fighters to beat Mayweather, effectively holding the keys to the two most lucrative Mayweather fights available to Floyd. Roach finds himself in a position of power perhaps never before afforded to boxing trainers in the history of boxing.

Roach is more than a trainer though with a link to the storied past as a bad ass lightweight with no punch mentored by the late Eddie Futch. Roach has become a rare combination of manager, mentor, advisor and friend to many of his fighters, so holds a big sway over any prefight proceedings.

Amir Khan most likely will be defending if not pursuing unification in his next junior welter bout, but the big story aside from the debunked chin of china perception is that Khan is willing to move up in weight to face Mayweather who has actually expressed an interest in fighting Khan.

Roach wants that fight. It may be presumptuous to say that all roads to the biggest two fights in boxing history pass through Freddie Roach, but, indeed, that seems to be the situation at this point.

Amazing, but true, a modern day Svengali in fisticuffs for the ages, and it’s no accident that his latest pupil, UFC p4p #1 Georges St. Pierre, used his boxing to score a devastating shutout of his most serious challenge yet.

No word or photos have yet surfaced of Freddie Roach walking on water yet, so stay tuned.

Ya never know what’s next in Freddie World.