Please find some early week “Quick Jabs” below to get out of the way before focusing entirely on Saturday night’s stellar donnybrook, including the debut of yet another new feature to go along with all the other gimmicks. If you’re not keeping track, “Quick Jabs” is my feature for a buncha random thoughts on random news events; “The Heavy Bag” is for news releases and the like landing in my gmail in-box; and now, new today, “Round And Round” is a run-down of fights being signed or in the works.
With Little Klitschko-Ibragimov Aftermath Here, Vazquez-Marquez III Is Now Not Just An Antidote
Have we mentioned lately that Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez III is coming up? And that if you went under like Sleeping Beauty when Vladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov fought it out for two heavyweight belts, that this little-man slugfest (122 lbs.) is the antidote that should awaken you from your slumber? I just want to reiterate it. Classic all-time trilogy’s final chapter, all that jazz. Showtime’s doing a nice thing by making videos of the first two fights available, as well as other promo videos, but it’s amazing to me that this fight continues to be under the radar when everyone who follows boxing has been dreaming about it for months. Who’s to blame? I dunno, honestly. Showtime and promoter Gary Shaw have had this problem before, like when I would’ve expected the sequel to the best fight of all time, Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo II, to do crackerjack business, but instead didn’t sell very well. So they could be the culprits. Maybe it’s the media, not covering the fight enough, but a lot of the best boxing sites are giving it a lot of coverage, like MaxBoxing.com. At any rate, I want to be part of the solution, so I’m going to mention it as much as I can. See the fight. Watch it. I’m serious. In fact, here’s an ad for the thing. I’m just giving away money, I like this fight so much:
By the way, my unofficial measuring stick for weighing a fight’s impact — how many people at my day job talk to me about it and what they say — has turned out to be real surprise when it comes to Klitschko-Ibragimov. Even though everyone knew I was at the fight, hardly anyone asked me about it. With Klitschko-Ibragimov getting some decent media exposure, and with several of my friends who don’t watch boxing much tuning in, I would’ve expected more feedback. Believe me, people would have taunted me endlessly about this fight if it had in any way changed their view of boxing. Therefore, I officially take back my “disaster for the sport” declaration. It was just a plain ol’ run of the mill disaster.
That means you can watch Vazquez-Marquez III as more than just a cure. It now has a lesser burden to be fantastic, although I don’t doubt it will be.
The Healing Power Of Boxing
Boxing may be “the hurt business,” but I’ve happened across a few different articles in recent weeks about its therapeutic aspects. The first, detailed here, is not related to actual boxing. It’s Wii Boxing, to be precise. But according to the article, it’s helping soldiers recover. Along with other Wii sports games, it’s also been helping — according to a slew of follow-up articles — older people, burn victims and even at least one former boxer with rehabilitation. That’s layers of inward-turning irony, folks, but the main thing is that people are being helped.
The second, sent to me by friend-of-the-site The MCP, involves boxing training to help reverse the effects of Parkinson’s. Neat, huh? That’s not usually the way the story goes, what with boxing icon Muhammad Ali having Parkinson’s as a side effect of his boxing. Still: people being helped.
On this boxing/health front, I’m feeling a little guilty for seeming to encourage former middleweight (160 lbs.) contender Jose Luis Zertuche’s comeback to boxing a few weeks ago, which I assume happened because he was feeling healthy enough. As it turns out, he was on medical suspension in the U.S. and fought in Mexico to get around it, and looked shot in a knockout loss. I don’t endorse this practice in the slightest. There are borderline calls on these things sometimes; junior lightweight (130 lbs.) sensation Edwin Valero has had a brain bleed from a non-boxing injury practically his whole career, and he seems to be in good enough health to win grueling slugfests outside the U.S. and not die afterwards. I’m not saying Valero should be allowed to fight in the U.S., it’s just a less clear-cut case. But I should have had questions about Zertuche. I failed to ask them. I regret it.
Mayweather’s WWE Crap, Plus A Movie On The Way About Another Boxer With WWE Ties, Mike Tyson
Floyd Mayweather’s making a reported $20 million fake-fighting people in the WWE. Were this 2007, I might be writing more about it in-depth — Mayweather’s increasing boxing’s profile, etc. — but I’ve got at least a semi-ban on doing anything significant about Mayweather’s publicity junkets, at least until Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya II gets closer or Mayweather signs a fight with Miguel Cotto. But, hey, if I could make $20 million for one fake fight, as opposed to the same amount or somewhat more for the real fight that fellow welterweight (147 lbs.) Cotto could offer, I guess I’d take it.
Knowledgeable boxing/wrestling heads may recall that Mike Tyson had his own WWE crossover once. From the New York Daily News via BoxingTalk.com we get this news item that there will be a movie about Tyson, starring Jamie Foxx as Iron Mike. On one level, I shake my head at Tyson continually being in the news as a reminder of boxing’s past instead of its current engaging present and promising near future, but on the other hand, I would definitely watch that flick. If ever anyone would make for an interesting movie, Tyson fits the bill. (This is assuming, by the way, that Tyson’s claims to the Daily News are factual.)
Round And Round
So the other day, reader E-ROC proposed Kelly Pavlik-Winky Wright, and wouldn’t you know it, now the two middleweights (160 lbs.) are squawking back and forth at each other on BoxingTalk. It doesn’t sound like promoter Bob Arum wants his boy Pavlik to go anywhere near Wright, and it’s hard to blame him; the biggest question about Pavlik in my mind is how he would handle a boxer with razor-sharp skills, a real crafty type like Wright. Even if Pavlik won, Wright has a knack for making his opponents look ugly in there. Naturally, as Pavlik trainer Jack Loew said, Wright would have to negotiate in good faith, something he hasn’t done much lately, instead demanding absorbitent contracts. Pavlik and Loew, though, want a piece of Winky. I tell you what, though, it might not be a pretty fight, but it would be interesting from the strategic standpoint of how Wright and Pavlik would try to handle each other, and if Pavlik won conclusively, I wouldn’t hesitate to place him in the upper tier of pound-for-pound best active fighters. Both he and Wright are already in my top 10, although they’re just outside Sean’s and those of some other sage hands.
A fight that is now on, according to ESPN, is a welterweight crossroads fight between Shane Mosley and Zab Judah. Both are 2007 Cotto victims looking to rebound, so they’ve come up with a clever “High Stakes” marketing plan for it over at Golden Boy Promotions, and plan to fill the undercard with pretty good fights that fit the theme. Those in the running include a rematch of the most recent “Contender” season finale, Sakio Bika-Jaidon Codrington II, a super middleweight (168 lbs.) slugfest that was one of the best fights of 2007, won by Bika; Celestino Caballero-Daniel Ponce De Leon II, a compelling junior featherweight rematch of their 2005 brawl that Caballero won, giving De Leon his only loss; and junior lightweights (130 lbs.) Jorge Barrios and Rocky Juarez on their own comeback paths, with Barrios recovering from some eye injuries and Juarez trying to come back from his latest deflating loss to one of the best in the biz, Juan Manuel Marquez. Is that worth $50 on pay-per-view? Maybe not for me, but it comes awfully close, and jam-packing the undercard’s the right idea.
Meanwhile, 2007 Mayweather victim/British superstar Ricky Hatton is looking to take a May 24 tune-up fight this summer for his return to the 140-pound limit, and the opponent he has picked would make for a pretty tough tune-up: Juan Lazcano. That Lazcano is one rough, pressuring hombre, so it could be a nice brawl, given Hatton’s own style. If he wins — I wouldn’t exactly guarantee it, since the so-called “Hispanic Causing Panic” could give Hatton fits — the idea is to match Hatton with another top 140-pounder, Paulie Malignaggi. And then, presumably from there, it’s waiting to see how 130-pound star Manny Pacquaio fares against Juan Manuel Marquez in March and against 135-pound titlist David Diaz this summer for a possible Hatton-Pacquiao fight I’m not much interested in but that would be a big draw in both men’s home countries.