What The Hell? De La Hoya Talkin’ Marquez – Casamayor On Sportscenter

OK, obviously I’m into the Joel Casamayor-Juan Manuel Marquez lightweight (135 lbs.) fight this weekend, if you read the preceding post, but… well, I don’t want to get downright sappy… is it possible that Sportscenter actually deserves my unabashed praise for calling attention to it? A couple hours ago, I watched ESPN’s Brian Kenny do a lengthy Sportscenter segment on the fight, then an interview with Oscar De La Hoya about it, who hyped Marquez-Casamayor in his role as a boxing promoter before gabbing about his own upcoming bout with Manny Pacquiao, among other topics. What was said is less important than that anything was said. Marquez-Casayamor is a worthy fight, it really is. But never would I have imagined it would get showcased on Sportscenter. In an ideal world, yeah, I can imagine it. Not the real world, though. Was it the chance to get a live ESPN interview with De La Hoya, who has the kind of wattage that even the historically boxing-neglectin’ Sportscenter couldn’t turn down? If so, this is Golden Boy Promotions doing exactly the kind of thing it should do more of: Wring everything they can out of De La Hoya’s stardom to put boxing back on everyone’s map. Was it that Kenny, who loves the sport and gives off the impression that he’d fight tooth and nail to get it on Sportscenter when his turn came for hosting duties, insisted? Has a light come on at ESPN that they should show more boxing, given that ESPN2 knockouts more regularly make the list of Top 10 plays, and given that they featured a segment and highlights of a kind of underground fight a couple months ago in Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto (147 lbs.)? All of the above? I don’t get it. Here’s what was said, from my rough notes, if you’re curious: Kenny started things off by calling JMM “the great Juan Manuel Marquez,” adding, “and I don’t use the word ‘great’ lightly.” He noted — and God bless his persistence on this — that the fight was for “THE lightweight championship,” that is, Casamayor’s Ring belt. He noted JMM only two years ago was a featherweight (126 lbs.) and was moving up to fight the older Casamayor. Then De La Hoya came on. He sported a gray button-down shirt and loosened tie and immediately quipped, “What’s with everyone moving up in weight?” in allusion to both JMM-Casa and his Pacquiao fight. He called the fight “a toss-up,” and said that he’d written off Casamayor before the fight with Michael Katsidis. He also seemed to say that JMM was coming off a “great win,” which would technically be an error since his last fight was scored a loss to Pacquiao, although maybe I misheard and he was referring to Casamayor. Next Kenny pestered him about picking on “a much smaller man” in Pacquiao, who only recently made his debut at 135 and will fight De La Hoya at 147. When De La Hoya said, “he challenged me,” Kenny, irascible scamp that he is, interjected, “EVERYONE challenges you.” De La Hoya went through the usual reasons he wants the fight — Pacquiao is considered the best fighter alive in any weight class, De La Hoya’s ex-trainer and current Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach had insulted him, etc. — then added, in a slight bit of hyperbole, “It’s going to be the biggest event in the history of boxing. It’s a worldwide event.” Kenny asked De La Hoya if he daydreams about punching Floyd Mayweather, Jr. again some day. De La Hoya answered yes, but said he doesn’t lose sleep over it, and assured Kenny that if it happened, he would fight him better than he did the first time. And in a facsimile of decent trash-talk (never De La Hoya’s forte), he responded thusly when Kenny said “You know, he’s still out there. He’s around”: “I hear he needs the money.” If De La Hoya was joking about Mayweather’s robbery of $7 million in jewelry and his $8.5 million lawsuit, then, even with a smile, this was probably the trash-talking highlight of De La Hoya’s life. They ended on the Olympics. De La Hoya said the key was to fix the scoring system, which forces amateurs to adopt a “punches in bunches” technique. “It’s creating bad styles for the sport of boxing,” he said.

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.