Quick Jabs: Featuring The Biggest All-British Fight In 15 Years, Roy Jones’ Basketball Acumen And More

No time for blogging when you’re traveling through Ohio to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (yes, really) and making snow angels out of your Christmas presents (boxing-related book received: “The 12 Greatest Rounds of Boxing”). But I’m back in business.

  • Out of the “promotional tricks I expect would backfire” toolbox this week came a cameo by Roy Jones, Jr. at a practice of the New York Knicks. If you follow basketball, you know that the Knicks are mired in a depression that mixes the endless sadness and helplessness of a sick old person dying slowly with the corruption and shiftlessness of late Soviet-era Russia. And you no doubt know Jones’ story: once great and untouchable, then viciously knocked out twice in a row and sounding delusional about returning to the top. Putting the two together would only offer the promise of both negatives being highlighted, right? The Jones story has worked out better than I would have expected, because he’s in the first major fight of 2008, against Felix Trinidad at 170 lbs. on Jan. 19 — back on top, at least for a month or so. Maybe that’s why if you read the accounts, the Jones Knicks appearance likely benefited both sides. Jones got to revisit one of his glorious moments, the day in 1996 when he played in a USBL basketball game then won a fight the same night. He got to wear a jersey with the number “4,” the round in which he predicts he’ll KO Trinidad, thus hyping his own fight. Meanwhile, publications like The New York Times stopped poking at the Knicks for a day, something they desperately needed if they ever want to regain some confidence and play like real men. There were a couple media quips, though, aimed at both sides. Final verdict? Promotional trick I expected to fail succeeds. And boxing overall gets a boost, too. Remember:  exposure, exposure, exposure
  • It was a healthy week of business for the cruiserweights (200 lbs). First, Steve Cunningham knocked out Marco Huck Friday, and the good news is that Boxingtalk didn’t run that “insectile” photo of him in celebration (tip o’ the pen to Dammrod), although Cunningham did bring some of his “ewww” factor by making Huck bleed from his ear. Ewww. Still, that’s a significant win for Cunningham that could set him up for an even bigger fight. Good job, “U.S.S.” Second, and most importantly, acknowledged division champ David Haye is hanging around cruiserweight for at least one more fight, having signed for a big all-England showdown with fellow belt-holder Enzo Maccarinelli. I’m excited about this, because I think Haye is a very impressive talent who might as well rule over the underrated cruiserweight division for a while before fleeing for the heavyweights. That, and Maccarinelli is a real banger, so if America gets its eyeballs on that fight somehow, its eyeballs shall most likely be pleased. Haye’s made a fan of me after some initial skepticism, but I’ll be torn about rooting against the all-Enzo corner; Enzo Calzaghe is Maccarinelli’s trainer. The fight’s March 8. Take a look at stretch of boxing from mid-February to mid-March for 2008 — it’s really something. Don’t underestimate the importance of the Haye-Maccarinelli fight in that constellation. It’s already being called the biggest all-British fight in 15 years by the U.K. press.
  • I’m with my respected compatriot Sean on this one: I don’t think Kermit Cintron wants a piece of Paul Williams at all. At all. The welterweight (147 lbs.) belt-holder’s call-out of Antonio Margarito suggests that he believes he wouldn’t have much chance of beating a freakish non-stop punch-o-matic like Williams, and instead is focusing on a less mobile Margarito. It’s a shame, because I do really want to see Cintron-Williams, and I’d give Cintron a real solid shot at having the power and size to defeat Williams. And, really, he’s probably only got the same odds of beating Margarito, who practically ruined Cintron’s career the first time they fought. But then, Margarito is unlikely to take that fight before bigger-money Miguel Cotto’s plans for fighting him or not are clear this summer, so maybe Cintron is just trying to puff himself up bravado-style when he knows Margarito isn’t thinking about him while he works on his apparently ailing confidence. Weird move, either way.
  • Dominick Guinn: Done. After a poor showing on ESPN2 Friday, the talented but clueless heavyweight (201 pounds +) is officially cannon fodder for younger fighters if his career is to continue. Nothing more frustrating than watching a promising athlete fall short of his potential, huh?

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.