Tag Archives: saul Alvarez

Mexico War England-Canelo Vs Rocky Fielding

Saul Alvarez makes a huge leap of faith and size to challenge the new WBA supermiddleweight champ, Rocky Fielding in their mutual Madison Square Garden debuts in New York this Saturday, December 15th.

 

Fielding’s fellow Brit, Callum Smith, is actually the super WBA supermiddle champ if we want to parse supers in this regrettable era of multiple titles even within one boxing organization. Smith’s belt was well won as the victor in the highly lauded WBSS tourney, so it remains to be seen if Canelo or Rocky will ever challenge Callum. For the 28 year old Canelo, it’s all about the money and pleasing DAZN bosses after his monumental $$$365 million, 5 year, 11 fight deal with that streaming platform adopted by British Promoter Eddie Hearn.

Alvarez’s deal is the richest athlete contract in sports history, eclipsing the 13-year, $325 million agreement that New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton signed in 2014 when he was with the Miami Marlins. That makes him the highest earner in the history of boxing at his age, heady stuff indeed considering  earnings of the 28 year old Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Manny Pacquiao. In short:

“Canelo is the highest-paid athlete in the world. He’s extremely happy,” Oscar De La Hoya gushed after Alvarez signed the deal.

http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/25003974/canelo-alvarez-signs-5-year-11-fight-deal-worth-365-million-dazn

Yeah, I guess so!

The staged face off pose favoring the size of Fielding is from the top of the Empire State Building upon their announcement of the fight. Canelo was fresh off his win over Gennedy Golovkin and not far removed from that fight weight of 180 lbs. The 6-4 Fielding, currently listed in boxrec as 6-1, would’ve been at least 2 months out of training probably at the 210-220 mark, meaning he’s been cutting about 50lbs just to make the division limit, so needless to say he dwarfs any previous Canelo opponents. Whether by Canelo contract demands or WBA oversight, sad to say there is a next morning rehydration limit of 10lbs the fighters have to weigh before full rehydration can begin, a new fad in boxing. I abhor any rehydration limit on fighters, many of whom have been made deathly ill by trying to squeeze in as much as 20lbs under their fighting weights just to make a division weight limit, 168 lbs in this case, however a complete staged 36 hour slice of time is much better than the 8 or so hours fighters had in the same day eras.

To win a fight like this, Canelo needs a new low crouch bob and weave style with a quick step inside range and to sharpen up his izquierda al hígado liver shots that will be in his biggest power zone. I predict a good, well waged fight of give and take after a cautious first few rounds. I obviously favor Canelo, but Rocky represents a mighty mountain he has never been tasked to climb, so this ring journey sure ain’t handed to him on a silver platter.

 

And What Is This? Canelo Alvarez vs Beefy Smythe?

Damned if I or anyone knows what Saul Alvarez and Golden Boy are doing any more other than seeking to challenge the 154 lb WBO British champ Liam Smith on Mexican Independence Weekend, this Saturday, September 17th at Cowboy AT&T Stadium, aka Jerry World.

Only 0.00001% or less of the American population might even know who Beefy is, yet that lack of recognition doesn’t appear to be an obstacle to the anticipated near sellout of Jerry World, aka Cowboy stadium by crazed fans wanting to get in on a Canelo title fight according to Mr. Cowboy, Jerry Jones. Jerry says he’ll make his money on the popcorn sales, and of course Jerry knows more ways to Jimmy crack pop corn than anyone in boxing.

To cut to the chase, basically Beefy is a huge powerful guy as you can see from the prefight announcement publicity pictures of the two out of training in street clothes where Canelo is likely at 180 lbs. That must make Beefy near 200 lbs, and neither he or Canelo are looking fat, meaning a 26 lb weight loss for Canelo and a 46 lb weight loss for Beefy to make the 154 limit, absolutely astonishing as well as dangerous in an already dangerous combat sport.

Canelo vs Beefy

Canelo vs Beefy

Sadly, for whatever reasons which may have to do with building up the Canelo fan base even further with two British type fights in a row, such are the current shenanigans in use to avoid the seemingly big money Gennady Golovkin fight that gets put off for the 3rd time. That fight has supposedly been pushed back to 2017, but who can know these days of hard times for boxing that sees Oscar De La Hoya looking to save and rebuild his company after the razing by Al Haymon and Richard Schaefer.

And now in a luverly bit of English irony, we had Golovkin traveling overseas to Merry Olde England to battle welter champ Kell Brook the week before this fight, by easy as pie knockout of course, so by the end of September, there should be plenty of British interest whenever the belated Canelo/Golovkin bout gets made. Maybe that was the plan all along, and it sure sounds goofy, but perhaps hidden economic concerns are driving these actions. A civil lawsuit had previously been filed against Canelo and Goldenboy concerning a contract with All Star Boxing that Canelo is alleged to have been under when signed by Goldenboy. Right after the Khan fight when Golovkin negotiations seem all but done, that civil case was heard and ruled upon in Florida.

All Star Boxing won a judgement against Canelo’s contract in spite of the ruling they had no contract, so of course Canelo has to appeal the $8.5 million in damages. Immediately all talk of the Golovkin fight from Golden Boy ceased. Maybe they don’t want to risk a big fight until their appeal is heard. May also be gold in them Brit hills with Smith and Canelo both a family of boxers in the same general weight classes, so they could have a pretty lucrative family tourney together.

At any rate, Smith, who oddly seems to be prematurely graying at age 28, is undefeated and ranked like most Canelo opponents, 8th by Ring and 16th by boxrec. The original idea was to set up Canelo for Billy Joe Saunders WBO belt by having him defend it on the undercard, but this is boxing so back stabbers change the landscape daily. Saunders pulled out of the card, but the good news seems to be Golovkin working in cohoots to build up his share of the British market. However, we must also remember that Leoffler and Golovkin turned their backs and walked out of the arena after Canelo invited them into the ring after dispatching Khan. Not a very sporting gesture to promote their fight.

Then there is always the spector of Haymon settling Golden Boy’s $300 million lawsuit against him that might grease the path for Floyd Mayweather Jr coming out of retirement to exploit another PPV.  Canelo can add the 154 WBO title to his Ring middleweight belt as incentive on either side of the 154-160 divide for another megafight. Sad to say that makes far more money than the Golovkin fight, so logically, who could blame Canelo from keeping lucrative options open in these uncertain times for both Canelo and Golden Boy?

Nonetheless, we the unwashed masses do understand this is a dying professional sport that needs to take full advantage of any revenues generated, but at some point, like right about now, any of the fractional remaining good will that boxing may have had with fans has edged over into the red side of the ledger. The only way to rebuild boxing is do what the UFC did, that is to make compelling fights every fight cycle and build up fan base with easy to access terrestrial over the air networks and regular subscription cable channels.

And more importantly regarding the biggest current star in the sport, Oscar needs to stop trying to hammer the 26 year old Canelo like a square peg into the round PPV hole. Boxing has managed to effectively neuter their most lucrative business model from sheer greed in 2015 that has caused a serious backlash against PPVs and boxing in general. They might can pack Cowboy Stadium with favorable ticket prices, but this is not a traditional PPV fight, not even close. The resultant PPV numbers will only make boxing and Canelo(That would be Canyellow to his new detractors) look even worse, but of course boxing has too often proven to be irredeemably shameless, so it won’t matter to them since they don’t have to answer to anyone but themselves.

As to the fight, technically Beefy has 8 consecutive knockouts going into it albeit vastly inferior local competition. The best of those fighters was ranked 51st in the boxrec middleweight rankings a couple of weeks ago, and from there fighter rankings quickly digress, so Canelo with a huge advantage of being forged in the high heat of better competition and big favorite.

Stylistically, I’ve never seen Beefy fight, but he’s reputed to be an aggressive boxer type, so I suspect it will be bruising encounter between the two. Those Brits happen to have the most titleholders of any nation in the world now, so sneer at them at your own bloody risk.

Zer0 Sum~~Nuevo Canelo Alvarez Battles Viejo Money Mayweather For PPVs

Since any Mayweather fight now begins and ends with PPV numbers, let us begin with the September 14th Saul Alvarez vs Floyd Mayweather bout being projected to break the De La Hoya/Mayweather PPV record of 2.4 million, or at least that’s the hyped target. Whether or not the resulting PPVs will be enough to adjust the negative red ledger of the much ballyhooed Mayweather Showtime contract into the black is unknown. Showtime wisely didn’t publicize losses from the Guerrero fight, perhaps anticipating this fight to make up their losses. 

150 lbs in training....

150 lbs in training….

Both fighters have almost identical undefeated records, Alvarez at 42-0-1, 30 KO to Mayweather’s 44-0, 26 KO, in theory an Las Vegas based dream fight, but look again. Both are pure boxers though Mayweather started off as a powerhouse of note and Alvarez has a healthy knockout punch when he choses. They both fought boxer types in their last bouts generally accorded as fairly dull in terms of fight action.  Mayweather refused to engage more than his footwork save for two modest rounds of action and Alvarez mostly feinted and countered a cautious counter puncher though he did score a nicely timed highlight knockdown that briefly got the San Antone crowd rocking.

Let us travel far far away to a distant galaxy of reality when once upon a time there was the Montreal classic between Panamanian legend Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard to conjure up another huge Latino vs USA fight. The 24 year old undefeated Leonard was still a little wet behind his Olympic Gold medal ears and not yet the American legend he would become, but he was making his second defense of his WBC title won off 21 year old wiz Wilfredo Benitez. The 29 year old wildman Duran was at his raging never to be seen again peak with 71 victories, mostly by KO after having dominated the lightweight division against a single loss avenged twice by knockouts for good measure, the days when boxers were still fighters, not the posers and preeners of today. 

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

The first Duran/Leonard pillar to post donnybrook got the juices roiling most everywhere within and outside of boxing, but frankly, I don’t see this fight in the same legendary vein in terms of international legacy or terms of ring action. Mayweather is well off his prime days no matter how much the Al Hayman Golden Boy News of the Ring World and Showtime want to promote him beyond his sell date, and in spite of the Mexican hype, Alvarez lacks the US public awareness of the heavily touted Gold Medalist Leonard or the international legend of Duran for this fight.

165 lbs in training

165 lbs in training

However, Alvarez is the latest thing to hit the boxing big stage at this point, so figure on the promotion to leverage his cherubic youth for all it’s worth since he doesn’t look the prototypical Mexican assassin to the rest of the world. It will be heresy if the usual antisocial media muffins littering the internet ever find out that the just turned 23 year old Canelo is actually further along in the fight game compared to Leonard and Mayweather when they had just turned 23. He’s also ahead of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and the great Duran when they had just turned 23.

If Alvarez wins this fight, “if” being the major sticking point pending results, he would be well ahead of any listed above. He is in the same ballpark for now as all the great Latino fighters in that “boxing experts” never project a young 3rd world Latino fighter to be an all time great until after the fact becomes glaringly obvious by consensus opinion of three blind mice. The 17 year old Wilfredo Benitez was one obvious exception with monumental things being predicted for him that he ultimately never achieved in spite of his HOF accomplishments.

Just turned 23 year old phenoms ahead of Alvarez would include Mike Tyson who had completely unified 3+1 Ring belt , and incredibly Wilfredo Gomez who was 11-0, 11 KO in WBC title fights by the time he turned 23. Fellow Mexican Salvador Sanchez was closest to Alvarez, 8-0, 4 KO in WBC title fights by age 23, not bad company at all to be in league with not to mention the Sanchez record was almost identical when he turned 23, 42-1-1, 31 KO, veeerily eerie that one. By then Sanchez had also claimed the Gomez undefeated scalp by spectacular knockout if we want to consider just how quickly forgotten the sublime genius Sanchez has become in this modern era of tinman greats making millions upon millions for too often showing more bravado in their prefight pressers and ring entrances than their fights themselves.

“All knowing experts” were also saying that Alvarez was too young and inexperienced for Mayweather before the fight was announced, ignoring the perfect promotional track that Alvarez has been on for 3 years now designed exactly for the Mayweather challenge. The kid clearly has ambitions far beyond the speed at which he’s been developed, so now a chastened herd of experts scramble to give him his chances in order to get the promotional bandwagon moving. The slick Giampa News of the Ring World P4P Czar even maneuvered Alvarez into a Ring P4P slot once the fight was agreed much like they did for Robert Guerrero when he signed against Mayweather. They must have had a frightful shock when they came across my Ring P4P history of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather here that Pacquiao has only added to since:

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

Ring couldn’t be more disingenuous if they tried, but they do try hard in their dishonorable quest so late in the game to make up for the lost P4P years of Mayweather’s career.

In spooky contrast, the 36 year old Mayweather is eerily on the same track as the in and out of retirement version of Sugar Ray Leonard who chose a stink and run style to “defend” his ill begotten “WBC supermiddleweight title” against 38 year old Duran in their belated rubber match. There are are precious few fighters able to chase a Leonard or a Mayweather around the ring for 12 rounds for a clean KO as Robert Guerrero recently tried which is the only way a fighter can bypass the political decisions and preferential referee treatment star fighters receive, especially since this fight is being contested in Mayweather’s home, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

The 35 year old Leonard finally met his Waterloo when he came out of retirement the next year to challenge 23 year old young gun Terry Norris who delivered a beating and a half on Leonard he was lucky to survive. Eerie number correlations and fight styles aside, every fight and fighter is different even if career parallels can be drawn. Mayweather has been much cagier in his career to limit his physical damage and stays in training year round for his one fight, but now he’s going for his 2nd fight of the year, a huge leap for him.

Lest anyone think I’m “hating” on Mayweather, his record speaks for itself, a “perfect” 44-0, but exclusively a WBC union card fighter until recently, never having once unified a title and never holding more than 25% of the available titles in any of his 5 divisions of 21 title fights. Wladimir Klitschko has held all but the WBC title that his brother Vitali holds, 20-2 in title matches overall, considerably more impressive than Mayweather’s WBC fetish as an example of an era peer comparison. The same could also be said of Manny Pacquiao and Roy Jones Jr as two other multiple belt P4P stars, Jones especially owning just about every Lightheavy title fabricated by the worldwide ABCs.

Alvarez also happens to be WBC centered and with Golden Boy Promotions as is Mayweather, thus the impetus for making this fight conveniently inevitable in spite of a recent “promotional” spat the two fighters had earlier in the year. Alvarez is primarily a ring centered boxer/puncher who can slug, fight, or box as needed, but he’s never had to chase down a sprinter wearing track shoes in the supersized ring dimensions this fight will be contested, dimensions that likely will never be published but can be inferred when the fighters enter the ring. The fight could only be made at a 152 lb catchweight with no details on rehydration limits imposed on Alvarez.

While the Canelo final legacy has many more years of hurdles to come, he gave early notice of his potential as a precocious 15 year old when he outpointed future IBF lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez and in the rematch two years later. Alvarez probably could have handled a title shot in 2010 when he easily defeated the likes of Mayweather sparring partner Lovemore N’dou after blasting out Carlos Baldomir whom Mayweather scarcely dented in a wide points decision. In 2011 he won his title by beating Matthew Hatton who had been an early frontrunner for a Mayweather fight the year before. That’s three Mayweather associated fighters in a row Alvarez has used to play pin the donkey on Mayweather on his way to the 154 lb WBC title.  

Using the Boxrec comparison of a fighter’s last 6 bouts, incredibly the Mayweather inactivity stretches way back to 2007 against Ricky Hatton.  In 2007 Saul Alvarez was just 17 years old, a year before his American debut on his way to adding 24 more wins to his undefeated record that now includes a 6-0 WBC title record for his last 6 fights. That includes two more title fights than Mayweather has been engaged his last 6 years, so these are two different worlds they currently operate in.

Since Mayweather has been extremely inactive compared to the hyperactivity of Alvarez, perhaps his last 3 fights would be a more informative “up to date” comparison: Mayweather last played Mr. Chickenman, “he’s everywhere, he’s everywhere” against Robert Guerrero to cop the decision after promising to go toe to toe. The only two fighting rounds were when Mayweather had the better 7th round than Guerrero had the better 8th round, otherwise Mayweather refused to engage and Guerrero couldn’t catch up to him. The year before he traded heavy artillery against Miguel Cotto in a fan classic to pull out the win, leading the herd of “experts” to conclude Mayweather’s legs would be suspect against Guerrero and he would be forced to fight, no kidding! Lastly, who can forget his choreographed farce with Victor Ortiz and Joe Cortez in a superb remake of the all time Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston, Jersey Joe Walcott travesty? Thanks to that Academy performance Vic Ortiz got a big offer to star in the Expendables “muscled up” action cartoon fantasy that Hollywood specializes in, so he set aside boxing for acting, I kid you not!

Which Mayweather will show up come fight night depends much on the referee tapped for the fight and the selection of judges. Alvarez coasted an easy decision based on the WBC open scoring rules for his last fight against Austin Trout for example. Some criticized Alvarez for a lack of action compared to previous efforts, but why should a boxer take unnecessary risks with his eye butted open when the Mayweather fight been so long planned for?

We do know now the well experienced Kenny Bayless is the ref, but when I first tried to check his record, all I could get on Boxrec was a glossy promotional page promoting this fight.  I do know he messed up the Pacquiao/Marquez rematch when he failed to call the obvious 2nd knockdown after correctly calling the first knockdown, then to compounded his error, he had to grab the wobbly Marquez from sitting on Pacquiao’s corner stool to guide him to the Marquez corner so out on his feet poor Marquez was.

Nor could I check on the announced judges, Dave Moretti, CJ Ross and Craig Metcalfe after the same glossy promo interference popped up. Offhand I recall CJ Ross as one of the two butchers of the Pacquiao/Bradley much derided scoring. It’s a shame that the supposed independent organization of Boxrec has allowed these promotional ads to interfere with their operations, but such is a prime example of the reach of a big promoter and broadcaster, so I need not bother with any more research into the ring officials. It is what it is.

History will show that the legend of Mayweather automatically upgraded to the best American boxer 9 years ago after the legend of Roy Jones took a guided missile on the  tiny sliver of his exposed chin left open for Antonio Tarver to crack. It is unfortunate that Mayweather and current P4P American compatriot Andre Ward can scarcely be bothered to fight but once a year these days, but that seems to be OK with the new generation of American boxing media and fight fans who seem more oriented on talking about all the fighters they could beat rather than see them in action actually beating someone.

Today’s softer and kinder American punchers can’t compare to the straight up wars that Duran, Leonard, Hearns and Hagler waged in multiple fights with each other not so long ago featuring high level action in thrilling encounters. The last two prime American P4Pers who fought in the traditional Americanno quarter asked or given”  style were Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, regrettably retired now before they ever had a chance to fully develop.

Such is the current American boxing scene that  Alvarez faces as the staked out sacrificial goat for another canned hunt that could ultimately see Mayweather tied with Rocky Marciano at 49-0. Look a little closer and you might just see Oscar de la Hoya duking it out with Al Hayman for future promotional stakes projected when the 81 years ancient Bob Arum finally rolls over to the great Valhalla in the sky. Golden Boy and Hayman would then be thrown into a perfect storm for control of boxing.

Just think of the Roman Empire and the hundred plus “Ceasars, Augusti, Emperors, Popes and assorted sordid split titles of command they created after most every new leader was poisoned or stabbed to death when not run out of town skewered on a split rail. Boxing may be less vicious than the Roman Empire, but when big money is at stake, Ides of March power is leveraged until stability of leadership is reestablished.

Monkey business alert: Oscar De La Hoya had been providing spooky updates on his substance abuse recovery all while Mayweather skewered him at a press conference for being no more than a front man for GBP. Then De La Hoya entered drug rehab 4 days before the fight, leaving his number one star “unprotected” against the hometown Vegas fighter.

Incommunicado….really?

The sly Hayman has been using Golden Boy to promote his growing stable of fighters and on record as saying he could “easily” come to control boxing as he steadily moves to the forefront in stealth mode.  Golden Boy provides a handy tool to organize the complicated often nasty work of a fight card without the need for Hayman to set up shop for himself. As manager/advisor of Floyd Mayweather, his number one client makes both Hayman and De La Hoya more money for the year than the rest of their fights and fighters combined. That they finally sweet talked Mayweather into “speeding up” his career by dangling the Showtime plum indicates they can at least cooperate to obtain such a sweet goal, but Showtime is currently in financial dispute with Time Warner cable going into this fight. Maybe they can kiss and make up, when we can’t know.

Hmmmm…..

Oscar De La Hoya has been desperate for a mega star since his own star faded and may well have found him in Alvarez. This kid has managed to keep his head mostly screwed on outside of boxing and let his fists do the talking inside the ring. Oh, there was the unseemly publicized dustup with former fly champion Archie Solis who reportedly tried to make time with Canelo’s girlfriend and a child born out of wedlock, all pretty mild stuff for a young fighter who has literally had much of Mexico at his feet since he was a teen phenom. 

We could have some prefight fun by superimposing their last fights: The action starts with the usual light sparring to make the rubes think a legit boxing match is shaping up with some light tapping and movement. In the 2nd round Canelo backs to the ropes slipping and ducking imaginary punches as Money contorts his body bouncing off ropes on the other side of the ring running from his imaginary pursuer.

Certainly stranger scenarios have played out in boxing, but for boxing to have a shred of respect left, this, the “biggest” fight that can be made this year needs to be a legitimately officiated without the WWE choreographed farce of recent Showtime and Golden Boy involved “events.”

All that glitters....

All that glitters….

Speaking of WWE, here’s the WBC first ever first edition superduper special “solid gold” blarney belt for the coronation, promoted as having “two kilograms of gold” in it. Such blarney shall have to suffice as tribute by the WBC poohbahs of boxing to this “event.”

Superduper WBA Bauble

Superduper WBA Bauble

Not to be outbuffooned, the WBA answered by creating it’s own superduper bauble belt. This “event” pits their “co-super” beltholders against each other for the WBA superduper unification bauble. Yes folks, truth is stranger than fiction in the current boxing world.

Interestingly enough Mayweather shares an obsession with large bags of money just like the undefeated heavyweight Rocky Marciano if we want to examine further eerie connections. Marciano died in a tragic plane crash without anyone ever stepping forward to tell where he squirreled away his stash of millions in cash. His family was left impoverished dependent on various benefits and sympathetic contributors. No need to be a brain surgeon or genius forensic scientist to see that publicly stashing millions in cash in your home is a tragedy in waiting, but Mayweather does employ a squadron of NFL sized behemoths to guard his 150 lb prized perfect record from being folded, spindled or mutilated. Presumably that would include his greenery and gold.

The Golden Ring Zer0

The Golden Ring Zer0

Mayweather is currently closing in on the record of another “25% percenter” era peer Joe Calzaghe who posted a perfect 46-0 before retiring at age 36. Calzaghe unified at age 33 on his way to 21 title defenses before moving up to claim the Ring lightheavy title from Bernard Hopkins. Mayweather  has 13 title defenses of his credit though he did climb through 5 divisions to claim belts, but since has been silly gobslopping willy nilly around winning belts he never defends as he flits in and out of retirements or jail.  Further comparison shows Calzaghe also suffered from glass hands in his last years similar to Mayweather’s china hands, but a big difference between the two was that Calzaghe was almost completely ring center offensively oriented combination puncher whereas Mayweather uses defensive strategies as his major orientation of avoiding contact in a contact sport to more carefully select his punches.

Aside from PPVs, I see Mayweather’s greatest boxing “legacy” of being pretty much a self trained fighter not needing much fight input other than someone to work the pads for him. His family of trainers, Floyd Mayweather Sr and uncle Roger Mayweather, they are not the HOF trainers most all time greats were fortunate to hook up with. Their corner advice is usually either unrelated to any problem or incomprehensible Mayweatherese dialect not readily translated. Where would Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard be without Angelo Dundee for example, or Thomas Hearns without Emmanuel Steward? Trainers like that are like having another ring general at your side to break down strategy or replenish sagging fortitude.

The worst boxing legacy of Mayweather will be his insistence on drug testing changes that have thrown boxing into a sewer of bogus drug testing experimentations that have been laughable in their oversight. The resulting freefall has allowed the infamous BALCO associated duo of Victor Conte and Angel Heredia into training camps to foist their majic elixirs of performance on selected fighters. Mayweather and his promotional team have yet to answer for Mayweather Promotion fighters Mickey Bey and J’Leon Love being busted by standard drug testing procedures,  nor have they answered well publicized allegations of failed drug tests by Thomas Hauser here:

http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-ped-mess-part-one

Noteworthy of mention are the two other biggest fights of the year being staged after Mayweather/Alvarez. Two weeks later the top British heavyweights square off in jolly olde England as Tyson Fury and Mr. David Haye vie for contender supremacy. One week after that many belted heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko defends against Russian Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. There is nary a single American heavyweight in Ring rankings. Aging welterweight Mayweather is the last untarnished American legend standing between the history of boxing and near American oblivion. Most of the top fighters these days with American addresses are Eastern Europeans and latino nationals, a sure sign of the future face of boxing, and there isn’t a whole bunch of them either.

We’ll have to see which boxing jurisdiction, the US, the UK, or Russia will stage the type of reputable classic that would boost the faltering boxing corpse on the gurney. The time is now to forsake these posturing three ring circuses that have driven the newer generation of fans to the UFC and other MMA related martial sports, but will American boxing ever learn or will it continue in decline with the average sporting fan. Mayweather paydays have outsized the actual fighting of his career, but Americans have spoken with their pocketbooks, so be it.

Check in September 14th on Showtime to find out if the featured undercard of Danny Garcia vs Lucas Martin Matthysse outfights the main feature of the suits. It sure could happen that way.

GOD, Guns, & Holy Ghost Robert Guerrero vs Showtime Debut of Floyd Mayweather Jr

Cinco de Mayo got a whole lot more interesting this year when Floyd Mayweather Jr signed a mega six fight deal with Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions. A preposterous figure of around $220 million was quoted, but regardless, the first installment comes against the interim WBC welter titlist Robert The Ghost Guerrero for the supreme claim to the WBC welterweight title being defended by Mayweather. That’s Saturday, May 4th, but look out and be forewarned all ye Mayweather team and fans. Robert Guerrero says God is on his side and he enjoys packing heat when away from home as happened recently at JFK airport in New York City.

Yes, Virginia, this “event” seems to have taken on a personality of it’s own, perhaps not even being a fight any more. Or it could be one of the greatest fights of this era, or just another Mayweather and Showtime sham. See the Mayweather/Victor Ortiz fight and the Showtime Super Six and Super Banty tourneys for reference.

It’s certainly not the all time P4P matchup of the millennium like Pacquiao vs Mayweather would have been. That horse bolted the gate 3 yrs ago and ain’t been seen in these parts since then. Nor is it the fascination when two big heavyweights meet in that rare ripple of time where the fate of the world almost seems to hinge on the result. This fight takes place in an odd shift where overlapping boxing eras intersect with the supermega money of politics, media business rivalries, and global realignments.

We also have the unseemly specter of the dad trainers polluting the promotion, Ruben Guerrero vs Floyd Mayweather Sr. They vowed to beat the tarballs out of each other in the ring or in the parking lot, so who knows where that goes? Crazy uncle Roger Mayweather started a ring riot years back when he attacked Zab Judah in the middle of a round and wrestled with the referee Richard Steele in a disgracefully officiated match that should have been an automatic disqualification loss for Mayweather according to the standard rule long been in force.

Mayweather thus far in his career has received every benefit of every foul ruling and final decision to accumulate one of the best known safety records of his era. He trains year round but only exposes himself to one fight a year against a carefully selected opponent for the past 7 years, all while a golden era of welters fought each other tooth and nail for supremacy.

Getting back to boxing basics, on paper the Ghost only has a ghost of a chance, but look again. It took a Ghost to track down the ghost of the ever elusive Mayweather and badger him into signing the fight contract, so already Guerrero is up on the cards of opportunity. Speaking of opportunity, the Mayweather main supporting undercard bolted to ol’ San Antone for greener pastures when Saul Alvarez took his WBC/WBA unification fight with Austin Trout there to score one of the higher level checkmate boxing wins of this era. The antisocial media howler monkeys hate him, but Alvarez has officially arrived as the A side to any proposed match for him in boxing, including the aborted fight with Mayweather. The pressure is now on Mayweather to see if he can keep up with the rapidly advancing 22 year old kid in the perfect record department, 42-0-1, 30 KO compared to the Mayweather 43-0, 26 KO record. Moreover, can Mayweather recover the considerable Mexican PPVs lost with the Alvarez defection?

There are many other variables affecting this fight, so it’s hard to touch on all of them in an orderly manner, but let’s start with the Guerrero losses. How a fighter loses and his reaction to it is often informative. His first loss was to Gamaliel Diaz, an unheralded fighter who has since maintained a high Ring rating until a loss dropped him only a few weeks ago. The Ghost lost the split on the official cards, but I scored it for him by a couple points in a sloppy uninteresting fight where he looks to have fought down to the level of his opponent. He knocked him clean out in the rematch with solar plexus shot in the 6th, very impressive in that Diaz had never been put down before much less out.

Then the Orlando Salido fight that Guerrero lost, yet was overturned when Salido tested positive for steroids. I had it a close competitive fight with Salido eeking the win, but what was telling is that Salido had most of the fire and offensive activity. Guerrero looked like he was sleepwalking at times, scarcely even bothered when Salido landed flush and also looked painfully slow. I’m thinking he was probably tight at the weight given his ample frame that has marched rapidly through four more divisions since then. That was also 6-7 years ago, light years in time as applied to a boxer’s short career, but nonetheless a window into the boxing development of Guerrero. Perhaps it is not without coincidence that 6-7 years ago is when Mayweather began to command his biggest purses and most acclaim and that Guerrero is also light years younger at age 30 to Mayweather’s 36 and the hungrier fighter by far.

The conclusion is that Guerrero has never been beaten up and seems to have found his perfect niche at welter where he recently relished the combat against undefeated raging bull Selcuk Aydin and then long time former WBC #1 and mandatory, later the WBC  champ, Andre Berto. Guerrero’s new tough inside roughhouse style is always difficult for the pure boxer of Mayweather because the Ghost also possesses decent boxing chops out of the southpaw stance, so the long odds I hear around the 10 to 1 range might shorten up considerably by fight night as big players take a harder look at this fight.

The Eyes Know

The Eyes Know

In a fairly officiated contest, I see Mayweather needing to work extra hard for a win like he did against Miguel Cotto in his last dukem up. Guerrero is a considerably fresher boxer on a long time upswing than was Cotto who has been in some all time wars and is winding down his career. Mayweather has certainly not recently looked the P4P juggernaut the boxing industry has made him out to be, another example being the Victor Ortiz “incident,” a prearranged orchestration ala his infamous dustup with Big Show. If the Ortiz knockout is to be in the record, then the Big Show brass knuckles knockout should be also, both preferably in the official WWE record where they could be better savored as a matching pair of great heel performances of modern times.

Vs Miguel Cotto

Vs Miguel Cotto

Anyone seriously contemplating the Guerrero fight should consider the context of the Mayweather career as he winds down. He turned pro making good money on HBO shows where they promoted him as the P4P successor Roy Jones Jr. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the Manny Pacquiao fight that never was, Mayweather ended up squeezed off between the all time boxing legends of Roy Jones in the 1990s, superseded by Manny Pacquiao in the 2000s by consensus accolades, a snub with a building pressure that put an edge on him. He finally boiled over with a blizzard of felony assault and other charges in 2011 leveled against him resulting in a plea bargain stint in The Big House in 2012. That edge has forced his hand into the type of unsavory comments and accusations against his rivals that he knows will anger his critics and bolster his substantial fan base, so in his world perhaps there is a rhyme to his reason.

His recent regius remunerations have been due to a seismic shift in modern American culture in that his serious felony transgressions have greatly appealed to the hip hop culture where prison time lends street credibility. The troubled man-child, Mike Tyson, had been their posterboy in the past, so Floyd became their unholy mantraman as the national plates of identity shifted with unstable modern American culture.

Thing is, when the historians take over and look at careers to talk about all time rankings and legacies, his record becomes The Big Lie after he leaves Top Rank for Golden Boy. There are huge gaps in his record at a time when equally talented fighters are challenging themselves more frequently with more fights against as good or better competition, but such is the nature of the promotional business that could care less about truth or boxing legacy, they just want the bottom line of his considerable PPV sales when he fights.

And that’s another part of The Big Lie, that he’s the PPV king. His promoter, Oscar de la Hoya, is the all time PPV king by record, and if you average out all of Mayweather’s 8 PPV fights, two with Top Rank and six with Golden Boy, they are almost identical in numbers to Manny Pacquiao’s last 8 , but Pacquiao has many more PPVs that easily put him over the top as the first ever featherweight to be put on PPV promotions. Most Mayweather fans could care less about the facts, it’s the perception that in spite of losing out on accolades, they desperately need to affirm he’s the best not unlike Mike Tyson was made out to be even as his career wound down against vastly inferior competition compared to his peak years that were cut short by long stays in the pen. Tyson was also signed to a Showtime blockbuster contract, but Tyson supposedly did not receive the full value of his contract when Showtime elected to pay more pressing bills stay in business rather than go under, thus leading to Tyson’s infamous bankruptcy.

And you know it’s The Big Lie when Forbes, and other mainstream media outlets report that Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in the world, using his 2 year reported income figures to everyone’s one year figures. Yes folks, it’s not just the boxing press with collective cognoscenti up each other’s arrears, the history of the “mainstream” media is rift with tabloid sized lies, mistruths, and deceptions. They’ve been drafted into action not because of any inherent interest in his boxing career, but because there’s an immense amount of money to be made picking his bones apart before he departs boxing.

Even the infamous Mayweather drug testing program has taken a back seat to this nonpromotion that has scarcely seen Mayweather do more than go between his Vegas lairs at his gym and at home. Noteworthy is that near as I can see, NSAC, Golden Boy, Al Haymon, and Mayweather have refused to address the two part article Thomas Hauser put together last year concerning Mayweather’s alleged positive drug tests and cover up by USADA illicit drug testing cartel:

http://www.maxboxing.com/news/max-boxing-news/the-ped-mess-part-one

Meanwhile, recent inroads of BALCO associated trainers Victor Conte and Angel Heridia AKA Hernandez into boxing have stirred up a hornet’s nest of disputatious minor infractions resulting in a NSAC one year suspension and millon dollar fine of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr for smoking marijuana, yet only a minor fine and disregarded suspension of Conte trained Mayweather stablemate Andre Berto for trace steroids. Berto merely moved his show to California to fight Guerrero which is where the Mayweather/Guerrero fight was birthed. 

Boxing has a way of eating it’s own, taking down better, more honorable fighters throughout history than Floyd Mayweather. I’m sensing a lot of rat traps being set around the perimeters as boxing may well be moving past the old into the new as Macao and Singapore and Dubai move to supplant Las Vegas for big fights. More telling is Floyd sporting the “Oscar” shiner of surrender going up against a new gunslinger single handedly promoting the fight in unlikely religious and political circles of God and Gun constituents. Lord knows what happens outside the ring when they clash with hiphoppers in the MGM after typical grevious ring shenanigans fire up the riff raff.

Put on the blindfold to be spun around to toss your dice and throw your darts to pin the ragged tail on the donkey, there’s your winner, but we’ll just have to see for ourselves. 

Shine On Souvenir

Shine On Souvenir

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.