Wherein I Mock Several Farces Involving The Likes Of Pacquiao, Hopkins And The Olympics

Mockery ensues! It’s downright juvenile, but screw it, nothing else is happening.

  • During negotiations for their spectacle slash boxing match, Manny Pacquiao wanted Oscar De La Hoya to wear 10-ounce gloves, but Pacquiao, under this proposal, would wear 8-ounce gloves. You’re kidding, right? Why not ask De La Hoya to fight with one hand behind his back, or maybe you should write something into the contract where you get to wear a suit of medieval armor? Pac-Man, if you’re that scared of fighting a bigger guy, don’t do it. A more generous interpretation of this maneuver — because Manny doesn’t strike me as the cowardly type — is that his team is just pressing for every advantage they can to neutralize De La Hoya’s superior height (four inches) and reach (six inches) and natural size (Pacquiao started at 106 lbs., has fought as high as 135; De La Hoya started at 130, has fought as high as 160). But from where I’m sitting, it’s laughable. It’d be like me going into the office for my annual review and asking for a 1,500% raise — it can’t be taken seriously, even in the midst of negotiations. The Nevada State Athletic Commission shut down the whole idea, presumably with lots of accompanying scoffing sounds.
  • This is the first year I’ve really watched Olympic boxing, and whoa-ho-hooo is that judging awful. I watched a Cuban definitely out-box an Australian for two rounds, then saw the Australian do well in the final round, a round that any professional boxing judge would have scored for him and that any uninformed observer would say on instinct alone “he won that last part,” only to get, like, one point. In his voice, you could hear one of the commentators, the normally neutral Bob Papa, shaking his head in exasperation. I’m made to understand that amateur boxers routinely whine about the scoring, and yet there’s been a ton of it already and we’re just a few days in, so maybe this is one of those “if you think everyone’s crazy and everyone thinks you’re the insane one, maybe you should reevaluate” situations. The complaining starts here and here and here.
  • Bernard Hopkins is promising a “bloodbath” for his 170-pound showdown with Kelly Pavlik and says “I’m not running around, I never did run around.” That’s rich, B-Hop. It’s been a really long time since Hopkins fought in a style that produced more plasma than boredom. Really, the only time anyone bleeds in a B-Hop fight is when he head butts them. Wait, is this code for Hopkins saying he’s going to head butt the hell out of Pavlik? And as for running around, um, B-Hop, check out your last fight. Running is about all you did against Joe Calzaghe, with the exception of the round where you knocked Calzaghe down early and then let him off the hook, or the round where you faked getting hit in the nuts, and then the end, when you were too tired to run. Among the most tiresome B-Hop acts, he has set aside his offensive race-baiting shtick at least temporarily but is continuing his all bark/no bite trend of predicting awesome fights when he knows damn well it won’t be because of anything he does. I guess this counts as progress.
  • Heavyweight hit-then-grab innovator John Ruiz is all bent out of shape about the way people keep considering him a style-less hug artiste. He even issued a challenge to the media to watch any round of his last fight and see who did more holding — him, or Jameel McCline. My understanding is that over the course of the fight, McCline did indeed hold more than Ruiz. But I just watched the 1st round, against my better judgment, and I must say, while Ruiz was not at his clutchtastic best, I credited him with six out of 10 clutches initiated. That challenge was EASY, John! I didn’t even have to watch more than one round! Dear readers, if you can bear it, you be the judge. If you think he’ll see it your way — I wouldn’t bet on it, and haven’t — might as well take him up on his challenge and maybe he’ll donate some cash to your favorite charity, per the terms of his offer.
  • What’s got WBC chief Jose Sulaiman so angry about De La Hoya-Pacquiao, and where does a man of his fiber continue to find such a bottomless well of moral outrage? He calls the idea “ridiculous, absurd, a fraud upon the public.” Man, at least Pacquiao and De La Hoya aren’t, like you, about to make a title-holder, Jorge Linares (126 lbs.) fight the same man he gave a brain bleed, Oscar Larios. That led to Larios getting barred from fighting in America. If Linares doesn’t fight Larios again, he could lose his title. “Ridiculous, absurd, a fraud upon the public” is too kind a description to describe what Linares-Larios II would be — “borderline homicidal, unethical” and let’s see for #3… now that I think about it, “a fraud upon the public” does work. I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again — you can find a bias toward benefiting Mexican fighters in nearly everything Sulaiman says or does, even if, in the case of Larios, who is fighting on of his own free will and surely would like another title shot, it’s no good for them in the long run. And since Sulaiman is jonesing for Mexican Antonio Margarito to get a shot at De La Hoya, well, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence and the angelic WBC boss is merely looking out for the average fight fan and the integrity of the sport.

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.