These guys over in Taiwan who do computer-animated takes on the news crack me up. I don't agree with their take at all on this particular issue, but it would be better if real life was like this. Who wouldn't want to see Manny Pacquiao punch Floyd Mayweather, Jr. in his freshly prison-raped ass? (h/t)
We will be getting to part II of the series about up-and-coming fighters very soon, but I've been preoccupied this week with preparing for a boxing presentation at Nerd Nite in D.C., a very fun event at DC9, for those looking for something to do this evening. Don't take my word for it. The Washington Post says that listening to me talk about boxing is a great way to spend your weekend.
Also, a little announcement -- you've no doubt noticed Mark Ortega writing a bit more around these parts. As of this week he's joining the staff. Welcome him and his encyclopedic knowledge about fighters and his enterprise reporting and all the other things he does.
Enough house-cleaning! We'll do some Quick Jabs now, hitting some news items in lightning fashion, then go Round and Round, discussing some fights in the works.
Let's do some of that grading I mentioned in the headline. To be perfectly clear: I have blamed Floyd Mayweather, Jr. more than Manny Pacquiao for that fight not happening over the past couple years. But these days, Pacquiao's side -- specifically, his promoter Top Rank, headed by Bob Arum -- is more to blame. The media made a big spiel this week about Mayweather "calling out" Pacquiao, as if he deserves credit for waiting until Pacquiao looked like crap in his last fight to get aggressive about saying he wanted to fight Pac, or as if this was any kind of news development at all. But yeah. Mayweather says he's ready to fight Pac on May 5, and while picking the date and expecting someone else to say, "Yeah, sure, whatever you want" is unrealistic, we've gotten a landslide of excuses this week from the Pac side, mostly Arum, about why the fight can't or shouldn't happen then. To whit:
Pacquiao's still recovering from cuts suffered against Juan Manuel Marquez in November. Maybe right now, he is. But the cuts weren't that bad, and no cut I've ever heard of in boxing has taken six months to heal. Super middleweight Andre Ward suffered a cut in training for a fight that was supposed to happen in October, and the fight was rescheduled for two months later. Before Mayweather became available in May due to his jail sentence being cut short, the Pac team was talking about Pac fighting in May. Now he'll need until the next month, when that's just coincidentally the time when Mayweather goes to jail? No. F-
There won't be time enough to build a temporary stadium in Vegas to house more people so everyone can make millions more dollars. Maybe it would take five months to build such a thing. I'm no foreman. I do know that a 27,000 seat stadium was built in Vancouver in three months. But if a big stadium is what you want, why not take a look at UNLV's football stadium in Vegas, which can house 40,000? This would've been a better excuse if anyone had said, "UNLV said 'no,'" or if Pacquiao's side didn't already say at one point that they was fine with making the fight at MGM Grand. If the excuse-maker doesn't subscribe to the excuse, you shouldn't either. F-
Arum wants to promote the fight himself and get part of Mayweather's profits. Arum knows that isn't going down, which is why it's an excuse. This fight would be almost certainly mean it would co-promoted between Top Rank and Golden Boy, if it ever happened, and the fact that Mayweather makes so much money under his current promotional arrangement means that if anything, Mayweather would dump Golden Boy and just represent himself. There's also this nonsense about needing investors to guarantee Mayweather's purse. Never has before. Why would that be the case now? F-
Arum doesn't know who to call to arrange the fight with Mayweather. I love it when a Harvard Law-educated man who's been a boxing promoter for decades pretends he doesn't know how to do something as basic as find out how to get in touch with a boxer to make a fight happen. OK, so Mayweather's promotional situation isn't totally clear. OK, so maybe you think Mayweather's side should initiate the call. But if he wants to, he can call Golden Boy, he can call Mayweather's adviser Al Haymon, he can call his right-hand man Leonard Ellerbe, and somebody gonna be able to help you. I imagine Arum sitting around going, "Dur, how me use telephone?" when reporters are in the room, then when he's behind closed doors, rattling off pi from memory to 83,431 places. F-
Again, Mayweather's side isn't blameless in this. It's just that Pacquiao's side is the one saying all the silly, silly, silly things about why the fight can't happen...
We've learned an awful lot in the last week about the "mystery man" at ringside for the Lamont Peterson-Amir Khan junior welterweight clash in December who was seen mucking about with one of the judges midfight. We still haven't heard from him on some of the key questions, like why he was getting all up in the judge's business, although he denies trying to hurt his "Muslim brother" Khan with his mucking...
The best part about welterweight Victor Ortiz' licensing hearing before the Nevada commission over his stupid-funny remarks about wanting to head butt people and break their noses was that Roger Mayweather showed up to argue Ortiz shouldn't get a license. I know he's mad about his nephew Floyd getting head butted by Ortiz and all, but, yo, why you snitchin', Roger? Oh wait. Maybe that wasn't the best part. Maybe the best part was that Roger showed up too late and the hearing was over by the time he got there. Tell me you wouldn't watch a reality show where Ortiz and Roger were forced to live together in the same house. Just think about the sheer volume of incoherence...
Pretty decent main event on Friday Night Fights on ESPN2 last night. Maybe Teon Kennedy and Chris Martin aren't going to make any noise at junior lightweight, after each suffering losses in their last fights and drawing against one another on FNF. But they made for a nice scrap. I'd watch both of them on FNF anytime...
The vacant lineal Ring Magazine cruiserweight championship will be decided by the winner of Steve Cunningham-Yoan Pablo Hernandez II next month, since Marco Huck is moving up to heavyweight and that leaves Steve and Yoan as the two top men. I'm not totally sold on that reasoning that Huck should exit the cruiser rankings, since Huck might be returning to cruiserweight and people usually aren't evicted from a division's rankings until they permanently depart. It's only a so-so issue for me, though. And it'll be nice that Cunningham will get a second try at the lineal championship, having lost on his first try to Tomasz Adamek...
Below, there's heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko posing with Ricky Gervais, who says of the fellow on Twitter: "He's like a man, only bigger. He also said he's got my back at the Globes. I'm covered." This gives Ricky license to be even meaner in his mockery of celebrities this year! Also, why is Klitschko so popular with Hollywood when he's not popular among American boxing fans?
Round And Round
Given that Mayweather-Pacquiao almost certainly won't happen (again) in May, Mayweather's options no longer include lightweight Robert Guerrero. He's looking at Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, although he says he won't do a catchweight, so I dunno if that means he'll expect either of those guys to shrink down or he'll move up to junior middleweight; I'd prefer he move up. Oh, also, I don't really care very much right now. I'm beyond caring about what Mayweather and Pacquiao do next in the ring, for the time being.
Cotto, he's looking back at Mayweather, but he's also looking at Alvarez, and he's considering an offer to fight Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in July. I bet he ends up with Chavez. Cotto's a promotional free agent right now, but his career-long promoter Top Rank would rather he face Chavez than end up with someone affiliated with rival Golden Boy, and if he went with Mayweather or Alvarez I bet Top Rank gets all butt-hurt and washes its hands of Cotto, and Cotto has said befoere that he wants to stay with Top Rank, so there's that. For what it's worth, I actually do agree with Top Rank's proclamation that Cotto-Chavez is more interesting than Chavez facing middleweight champ Sergio Martinez. Cotto-Chavez is potentially competitive where Martinez-Chavez is not. I also like Cotto-Alvarez too, though, for the lineal junior middleweight championship. Cotto has a variety of good options here; it's just about how he navigates the politics of it all. I also hope he doesn't end up in a rematch with Pacquiao, which does nothing for me.
The WBA has ruled that Peterson and Khan have to do a rematch, but the WBA is the owner of just one of Peterson's belts, and the IBF hasn't ruled anything yet. Because Peterson is a dark horse to face Pacquiao and get some of that big, big money, I doubt he'll make a decision until that's ruled out. I think Peterson-Khan II is the best and most likely fight for both men, still.
Lightweight champ Marquez -- another guy in the Pacquiao sweepstakes for a rematch -- is probably gonna take a stay-busy fight against David Diaz in March. So be it. The good news is that Marquez is going to keep fighting, after considering retirement following the latest controversial decision loss to Pac. Can't get enough of Marquez' super-smart, gritty style. He's obviously still very much a vital force even with the years piling on.
Rocky Martinez apparently has a bunch of options himself. The junior lightweight is talking about YURIORKIS GAMBOA!, Juan Carlos Burgos and Adrien Broner. I think Rocky loses all three fights, but he makes it interesting. Give me Martinez-Burgos as the most competitive and fun.
Couple U.K. fights happening in March: Lightweight Ricky Burns is fighting Paulus Moses and I dig it. Burns is a lot of fun and Moses has looked pretty good from what I've seen, outside that loss to Miguel Acosta, of course. Also, welterweight talent Kell Brook and divisional tough guy Matthew Hatton will square off. Best thing about it -- the deal was aided by Hatton calling Brook on Christmas while drunk and talking trash.
Updates on the NBC Sports series: Heavyweight Eddie Chambers is out of the show Jan. 21 against Siarhei Liakhovich due to an injury, the second fight he's had to pull out of in a row. Too bad; Chambers-Liakhovich was a respectable enough fight. Hopefully someone can step in for Chambers who will provide more of a slugfest than Chambers would have. For the next show in March, Main Events wants to line up Zab Judah-Vernon Paris in a welterweight title eliminator that is a good fading veteran/rising prospect match-up, but I wonder whether either man will bite on the amount they're being paid ($70,110 total purse), which is certainly a respectable figure but less than Judah's probably accustomed to making, and it's a bad sign that Paris' promoter only bid $50,000.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene, The Daily Mail, ESPN)