Four hundred or so comments and two posts later, there’s still plenty left to discuss about this past weekend. And then there’s that Golden Boy/Affliction Frankenstein. And my boy YURIORKIS GAMBOA! signing with Don King. And more. “Quick Jabs” covers it all like the giant dress Bjork wore at the 2004 Olympics. (But not like the more famous swan dress.)
Let’s just go one by one with the fighters from this weekend on what they might do next.
Juan Manuel Marquez: Juan Diaz, as previously discussed, looks like the most likely option for JMM. Like Sean, I also wouldn’t mind seeing him take on Nate Campbell for undisputed lightweight (135 lbs.) supremacy. Interestingly, Marquez is talking about Ricky Hatton at junior welterweight (140 lbs). Much like Manny Pacquiao rendered moot the worries about his power carrying up to 135 and beyond with his sterling win over David Diaz, Marquez has done the same with his knockout of Joel Casamayor. If Hatton can get past Paulie Malignaggi — more on that in a minute — I wouldn’t mind seeing that fight happen, although, as with Pacquiao, I wish everyone would just settle into the lightweight division for half a minute, you know? It’s not like this is the most loaded division in the sport or something.
(Two P.S.es: For those Pacquiao fans who thought I was such a biased faggot racist nerd for my post Sunday, Ring magazine’s columnist said almost the exact same thing I did here. I guess there are a few of us around. And no, I don’t believe Pacquiao wants to fight Marquez again, no matter what he says.)
Joel Casamayor: I don’t see why retirement is such a bad idea. Casamayor showed a peculiar ounce of class in acknowledging defeat and praising Marquez, even if he implied the first punch that knocked him down was a lucky one. I’ve always respected Casamayor’s achievements in the ring, even if I’ve loathed the way he’s gone about his business; he’s one of the more underrated fighters of his time. I’m not sure he gets into the Hall of Fame, but if he calls it a career, he’s got plenty to be proud of. And if he fights on, I bet he still beats about half the top 10 at lightweight.
Nate Campbell: Is there anyone with a more snake-bitten career these days? He’s getting a lot of love for the classy way he comported himself in the wake of his Joan Guzman fight being canceled, what with the hanging around the event and signing autographs and not dissing Guzman. He deserves the love. But that was then. Now he’s trying to get paid by Don King even though the fight didn’t happen and calling Guzman all kinds of names. There are lawsuits afoot and allegations by Campbell’s camp that Guzman was cleared to fight medically and just didn’t want to go. I can’t blame him for the name-calling. I can’t offer him much hope for getting paid. I still want the guy to get rich, eventually. He’s likable, he’s a quote machine, he’s a great fighter when he’s on his game and he’s got a nice story. A fight against IBF mandatory challenger Ali Funeka probably won’t do it, but when you hold three alphabet title belts, good luck getting a fight other than a mandatory.
Joan Guzman: What a costly 3.5 pounds that is going to turn out to be. When Guzman weighed in at 138.5, he severely damaged his career. Here people were talking about him being a potential great, and instead he’ll be lucky to get another big fight anytime soon, if ever. His next fight will probably be a long one in the courtroom. Given his chronic weight difficulties, how was someone not monitoring the dude’s eating? Rumor has it he had swelled up to nearly 180 since his last fight. He already sported a difficult style match-up/money broughten ratio, and now he’s going to be welded with the Jose Luis Castillo Scarlet Letter. He’ll fall from the rankings here and elsewhere if he doesn’t fight again before November. Such is the burden of being unprofessional. Oh, and he’s 32, so “a long road back” is too long.
Tim Bradley: Another win for Bradley means he stays in the thick of things at the top of the intriguing junior welterweight class. I’d love to see him against the winner of Hatton-Malignaggi or Kendall Holt-Ricardo Torres III, assuming the latter is a go. While we’re on the subject of excessive weight gain, for all the talk of Hatton changing his habits, he looked very plump in recent photos. I’ve very strongly leaning toward predicting that Malignaggi beats Hatton on the basis of that and other evidence. Which means Hatton’s hide — worth a lot to Marquez, Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya — may already be hanging on someone else’s wall by the time the next guy goes to collect it. At any rate, Bradley’s probably not going to get a shot at it given the bigger names in line, but I think it’d be a good fight, academically speaking.
Edner Cherry: Stay at lightweight, Cherry Bomb. That’s a couple different easy wins people have got off you at 140. You know I love ya.
Vernon Forrest: Jesus, I don’t know what to make of Forrest anymore. Maybe I was right the first time — Sergio Mora wasn’t in Forrest’s league at junior lightweight (154 lbs). I wish these rematches where one guy appeared to have stolen the other guy’s number in the first bout wouldn’t keep screwing up my prediction record. I’m looking at you, Paul Williams-Carlos Quintana. Sports Illustrated’s boxing man Chris Mannix sees a third fight with Shane Mosley in Forrest’s future. I can dig that, although I prefer Mosley-Antonio Margarito at welterweight (147 lbs). And if De La Hoya hangs around a little while longer, a match-up with Forrest strikes me as the appropriate size/ag combo. And if Mosley leaves anything of Ricardo Mayorga this month, a third fight there isn’t half-bad, either.
Sergio Mora: Or maybe Mora is good enough, but he was the one with weight problems this time. Apparently he’s done with this little 154 experiment and may move back to 160. Either way, Mora probably cost himself a big fight at some point with the likes of De La Hoya, or, per SI, Mosley. I guess Alfonso Gomez isn’t that terrible a consolation prize, money-wise, but it ain’t the Golden Boy.
The Golden Boy/Affliction Marriage
It seems like all the griping on the union between boxing promoter Golden Boy and mixed martial arts promoter/t-shirt company Affliction is coming from MMA sympathizers. Despite having zero interest in MMA — I’ve given it plenty of chances, and it still bores the piss out of me — I don’t have a problem with this experiment. Yeah, it’s probably misbegotten. There are plenty of boxing fans who have no interest in MMA. There are plenty of MMA fans who have no interest in boxing. Putting both on the same scorecard isn’t likely to win over converts from one to the other. It could, though. I don’t see the harm in trying.
I guess it gets my Irish up to see boxing fans called “ruddy-faced” by MMA fans who think their sport offers sooooo much more action. Really? How so? A bad boxing match and a bad MMA event both suck. The difference between the two is that at least something is happening in a bad boxing match — like the occasional connected punch — instead of two men laying on top of each other for long, slogging stretches in a bad MMA event. The advantage boxing has is that a good boxing match blows away a good MMA match. I will put Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo up against anything MMA has ever done, and I’ve seen some of the so-called best MMA has ever done.
What’re You Doing There, Yuriorkis Gamboa?
First, my favorite prospect, YURIORKIS GAMBOA!, signed Gary Shaw up as his promoter. Given how Shaw had seemed to be emphasizing his MMA business around that time, I wasn’t crazy about the move. But since signing with Shaw, Gamboa — fighting as a featherweight (126 lbs.) these days — landed fights on HBO, then ESPN2, then an October bout on HBO again. That’s not a bad track record.
Now, all a sudden, Gamboa’s signed with Don King, word has it. From Shaw himself. I’m not sure why. I once thought King was the bottom of the barrel of promotional ethics, although it’s getting harder to distinguish him from many of the others these days. Still, there’s that. My main concern about this fit is that if there’s one thing King is notorious about of late, it’s not getting his fighters in the ring all that much. Gamboa needs to be in the ring. A lot. He’s 26 already, which is pretty old for a prospect, and he needs to be honing his “keeping his gloves the hell up on defense” skills regularly in real life situations, not just in sparring. I’m crossing my fingers that King does right by Gamboa. And if he does, you can chalk it up to me being overprotective of Gamboa, because Shaw, at least on the surface, ultimately did right by Gamboa. Makes you wonder if there’s something we don’t know about the Shaw fit, or whether Gamboa’s management, which did a little roulette wheel of trainers recently for their man, isn’t a little erratic.
Quicker Quick Jabs
In the Fighter of the Year sweepstakes, I think things are fairly wide open. You’ve got Pacquiao, who scored an official win over Marquez and a virtuoso knockout of Diaz. If he beats De La Hoya at 147 in December, you can make his case. Despite my thinking that Marquez won that fight, and despite my thinking that a Pacquiao win over De La Hoya would mainly just prove how old the Golden Boy is, it would still amount to a very impressive year. Then you’ve got Margarito, who knocked out Kermit Cintron again then scored a major victory in upsetting Miguel Cotto in one of the best fights of the year. Add two more nominees this week. Dough Fischer at Maxboxing.com said he would give strong consideration to Marquez — an apparent win over Pacquiao and a knockout of Joel Casamayor being worthy of some rumination. It isn’t your favorite gay hell-bound Jim Sharks saying that, folks. It is someone else. Then, I believe it was Dan Rafael who nominated Cristian Mijares, who has wreaked havock on the loaded 115-pound division so far in 2008 and will be making a fourth title defense in November against fellow titlist Vic Darchinyan. If Mijares beat Fernando Montiel this year instead of Darchinyan, I think he’d be the shoe-in. (Oh, and if Campbell had beaten Joan Guzman, I think he’d be worthy of consideration, too — two upset victories against top pound-for-pounders is a pretty good year)…
At long last, Jackson Bonsu has been vanquished from Ring’s welterweight top 10 after a loss over the weekend. Taking his place at #9 is Isaac Hlatswayo, who at least has fought opponents I’ve ever heard of…
According to Rafael, Zab Judah really is thinking about moving down to 140 pounds. That’s very much my suggestion to him, although he, too, would need to get into line for Hatton. Judah-Holt sounds awesome to me…
It’s a slow weekend for boxing ahead, y’all. I never thought I’d be pining for Mosley-Mayorga, although the more interesting fight on that Sept. 29 HBO bout is on the undercard, when enthralling young welterweight Andre Berto takes on a difficult test in Steve Forbes…
Remember that Anthony Thompson travesty? He lost his appeal. Goooooo Washington D.C.!….
Reports have it that De La Hoya is already down to 149. In September. So unless he’s on some kind of lethal diet, I think this means that we can assume his weight loss won’t be a major factor against Pacquiao in December…
In the David Haye heavyweight re-debut sweepstakes, reportedly, Andrew Golota and Oleg Maskaev said “no” to offers. Hasim Rahman, suprisingly, has not received an offer, according to his people. If Kevin Johnson doesn’t get the gig it could go to someone named J.D. Chapman. Something weird about all this…
Check out GOP presidential candidate John McCain talking here about the state of boxing, along with some other sports…
(Sources: ESPN.com, SI.com, BoxingScene.com, Associated Press, gmanews.tv, thering-online.com)