Quick Jabs: Reductio Ad Absurdum; Floyd Mayweather Says “No” To Shane Mosley; Kelly Pavlik’s Bad Taste In Music; More


You’re looking at Sarah Blewden, a Brit who has been barred from fighting because of her breast implants.

In related British news, did you know that Joe Calzaghe totally sucked because everyone else he ever fought totally sucked? You should not know this, because it is false. But with the way some folk think, you could say the same thing about every fighter. I’ll show you in a moment.

Other topics: more Antonio Margarito; more fights in the works; more John Duddy versus Irish Ropes; and so forth and so on.

Reductio Ad Absurdum

You know, I was trying to head this off at the pass with my piece on light heavyweight (175 lbs.) champion Joe Calzaghe’s retirement where I explained that he actually was pretty good and had accomplished a fair amount — with some caveats — but I can’t seem to fix it. The “it” and “this” in this case is the tendency of some fans and even some writers to diss a fighter’s entire career for completely and utterly ridiculous reasons, and it’s not a phenomenon unique to Joe. It happens all. The. Time.

It is one thing to be skeptical of a boxer and not fawn over his every accomplishment. But it doesn’t make you cool to argue that, for instance, Jeff Lacy was a total fraud and Calzaghe beating him was meaningless, when Lacy beat a lot of good fighters beforehand and came in as the betting favorite. It doesn’t make you cool to write a fighter off after any loss. I guess it’s more dramatic, and if you think another fighter is better, it’s a quick way to boost your guy, but it’s also way more stupid.

You could play this game with literally every one of the best fighters of today. It’s really easy, and it’s also really intellectually lazy. But I’m going to do it anyway, just to show how facile it is.

1. Manny Pacquiao, junior welterweight (140 lbs). Let’s see, his best wins are against Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez and Oscar De La Hoya. Notice anything about them? Yeah, that’s right: They were all old as hell when he beat them. And he couldn’t even beat Marquez and Morales the first time he fought them. Also, De La Hoya is a pussy. Also, didn’t Pacquiao get knocked out by someone who weighed 112 pounds? He should hang his head in shame, or beat someone his same age. Not that beating Ricky Hatton would do the trick, because Hatton is a joke.

2. Juan Manuel Marquez, lightweight (135 lbs). Two words: Chris. John.

3. Bernard Hopkins, light heavyweight. Anybody could rack up a 20+ title defense streak against the horrible dregs that populated the middleweight (160 lbs.) division at the time. Who else did he beat? De La Hoya, pussy, covered that. Felix Trinidad, blown up welterweight (147 lbs.) who had cheated his way to the top anyway. Kelly Pavlik, obviously got EXPOSED when he lost to a no-talent like Hopkins. And Hopkins lost twice to Jermain freaking Taylor? Retire, already.

4. Shane Mosley. Can he even win a fight without steroids? He got stomped twice by Winky Wright, who sucked so bad he lost to Hopkins.

5. Miguel Cotto. Quitter. Worthless.

I know I’m sermonizing here, and I’m preaching to the choir somewhat, since all the people who read this site regularly come in with a very clear-eyed point of view on this question. It just drives me crazy, and I wanted to try again to show why this kind of thinking is idiotic. End of condescending lecture.

Quicker Jabs

Some subject matter that might have once populated this space, such as a discussion of the future plans of De La Hoya, got covered in last week’s inaugural open thread. It was a good experiment, and I advise you to check it out for some good discussion of Morales’ possible return, the middleweight Paul Williams-Winky Wright, mixed martial arts and boxing, and a ton of other subjects. We’ll do it once a month, I’m thinking, but don’t let that keep you from offering any and all thoughts before then…

The latest viewpoints on the Margarito illegal hand wrap matter: Arum. Kermit Cintron. Manny Steward. Jose Sulaiman. Cotto. Arum and Sulaiman are raising a ruckus about the license revocation, with Arum going as far as suggesting all seven members of the California State Athletic Commission are racists, and Sulaiman reflexively defending any Mexican fighter, in this case by saying he knows for a fact Margarito is innocent. It’s extremely amusing to say the least that both men are doing what they criticize the CSAC for: making assumptions without evidence. And there is a distinction to be made between this situation and Roger Mayweather jumping into the ring as a trainer and getting suspended even when Floyd wasn’t — you have a greater responsibility for your trainer’s actions when they affect what’s happening in or on your own body. Steward’s argument that the punishment is excessive comes as a surprise, though. Kermit doesn’t want to talk much about it, saying something vague about his lawyer. And Cotto, finally, is speaking out against Arum for his behavior. Good for him. I wonder if Arum knows or even cares how much he might be alienating some of his own fighters by going overboard defending Margarito and talking about a fight for Margs in Mexico, because he increasingly sounds like he’s off his rocker. I guess someone setting a giant pile of money on fire in front of you will have that effect. And on Friday Night Fights, New York Athletic Commission chairperson Melvina Lathan said she would have made the punishment more stringent. Good for her…

I’ve officially dropped Margarito from my pound-for-pound rankings —
the ones in my head — and I’m thinking we’ll do another full update the first week of March when junior featherweights (122 lbs.) Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez will have been inactive for a full year. I hate to drop them, but rules is rules, and they’ll be back in a position to remake my list just as soon as they become active again. Margarito is a different matter. I dropped him from #5 to #15 after the Mosley beatdown, and I’ve dropped him the rest of the way because it’s a fair question now whether any of his wins were completely clean….

The less said about the Roy Jones, Jr. boxing/MMA experiment, the better. Jones needs to go away, and there’s just no chance that the card he’s got lined up helps either sport…

It’s sad to see Johnny Tapia back on the coke and in a psychiatric ward. I actually didn’t get to watch any of his fights when he was in the ring at the time, but ESPN Classic and the Internet has given me the opportunity to see why he was such a popular fighter. I don’t spend a lot of time memorializing deceased fighters on this blog, but I do spend some time rooting for the living ones in trouble to get well. It’s just hard to see Tapia breaking free of his addiction after so many relapses. Prove us wrong one last time, Johnny…

I’d mentioned Thomas Hauser’s piece on middleweight John Duddy’s feud with Irish Ropes, and noted that it leaned sympathetic to Duddy. George Kimball has a counterpoint piece worth reading, too, and it actually quotes Hauser because he’d put Duddy in touch with a different manager. This strikes me as a bit of a breach that would give me pause in my day job as a regular journalist; if Hauser is that close with Duddy, he probably shouldn’t be writing about him…

People have had some laughs about Chad Dawson’s auction on eBay for advertising space on his shorts, as well they should. In fact, it seems to be the major point. “Recession hits light heavyweight champion in the shorts,” reads the tongue-in-cheek description. It’s got people talking about Dawson, and no doubt people will wonder who ends up on his pants, and for a fighter who hasn’t gotten the attention he deserves, that’s a good thing. I’m of course rooting for something wacky, if anyone even bids — the auction began Feb. 9 with a starting bid of $20,000, and it’s got zero bids so far. But as I said, the bid is less important than the fact that it got Dawson some of the spotlight. On a related tip, it was very classy of Dawson and Taylor to say nice things about Calzaghe upon his retirement, given that both men wanted to make a few million fighting him and now they almost certainly won’t. And I think anyone who read Calzaghe’s “never say never” remarks the day after he announced his retirement is reading too much into things. He said the same thing in his announcement, and it looks to me like a journalist just emphasized that part of what he said the next day. I wouldn’t be extremely surprised to see Calzaghe back in the ring, but he sounds pretty retired to me…

Note to Ricardo Mayorga, B.J. Flores and Vivian Harris: You can pull out of fights for whatever reason you want to (and if Mayorga was still injured from the December Mosley fight, don’t you think he might have noticed it sooner than a few days before he was to take on Alfredo Angulo?), but you are killing your careers when you do it…

Thrill-a-minute junior bantamweight (115 lbs.) Jorge Arce sounds like he’s leaning toward a farewell fight and retirement. I think it’s a sound plan. I suspect he could hang around a little longer and make some more exciting fights for pretty good dough, but at what price to his health? If all his ring wars haven’t caught up to him already, it’s just a matter of time. And sad as it is to say this out loud, the Darchinyan fight was his chance to validate himself as more than just a top-10-middle-of-the-pack action fighter, and he failed miserably at that. So why not call it a day?…

In other weekend action, minor Queensberry Rules favorite Cristobal Cruz (featherweight, 126 lbs.) successfully defended his title belt for the first time. Light heavyweight Clinton Woods beat Elvir Muriqi. And super middleweight (168 lbs.) Jesse Brinkley beat up old “Contender” rival Joey Gilbert, who earned Brinkley’s respect for fighting through a broken nose…

Pavlik, who loves Korn, recently spent some time in the boxing gym with a musician from Buckcherry. Man does he have some bad taste in music. The thought of his CD collection — Puddle of Mudd? Linkin Park? — makes me shudder in fear.

Round and Round

Let’s finish up with some fights in the works, or not, as the case may be.

Mayweather has turned down a fight with Shane Mosley. That should come as no surprise. Mayweather’s never wanted to fight Mosley, and it’s a knock on his legacy that people who think, erroneously, that Mayweather’s the best ever, should take to heart. But if Mayweather is retired, why would he want to unretire for Mosley? He can prove more and make more money against Pacquiao. It’s just too bad, because Mosley may end up without a really big money fight. He’s saying that if he fights Cotto again, it will have to be in California. Mosley is deservedly hot right now, but that’s overplaying his hand. Because, well, let’s turn our attention to Cotto.

Arum looks at Andre Berto as a more likely opponent for Cotto than Mosley, because Cotto can make more money fighting Berto what with a better purse split. It may be that Arum doesn’t want to put Cotto in a fight that risky. Who knows. But the purse split point is almost inarguably true. Another Lou DiBella fighter, Kermit Cintron, also wants a piece of Cotto in June. Cotto-Berto or Cotto-Cintron are both good fights if you ask me, although we’ll have to see how Cotto looks Feb. 21 before we can assess how competitive either would be. It’s just too bad we likely won’t get Cotto-Mosley II, because the first fight was great and it would crown a Ring magazine lineal champ at welterweight.

As for the other top-3 welterweight in the equation, Margarito could be fighting Carlos Baldomir in Mexico next, in June or July. That sounds like a one-sided slaughter, and if Margarito has any fans left, and this fight is on pay-per-view in America, they should be ashamed of themselves for buying it.

About that April 4 lightweight tournament: It’s got four fights now — Edwin Valero vs. Antonio Pitalua; Michael Katsidis vs. Jesus Chavez; Jorge Barrios vs. Carlos Hernandez; and Joel Casamayor vs. Julio Diaz. The two middle fights are really just good scraps. The other two are actually pretty good and meaningful match-ups. I am likely to buy this card. But don’t get confused that it’s a tournament of any kind. Valero is only participating by chance, and because he’s not a Golden Boy fighter, probably won’t continue with the tournament if he wins, among other potential complications.

Junior bantamweight sensation Vic Darchinyan is looking at Gerry Penalosa or Fernando Montiel at bantamweight (118 lbs.), so Evans Madamba’s interest in his mandatory junior bantamweight title shot against Vic is sure to be disappointed. Nothing against Madamba, but Darchinyan’s ownership of three belts is more of a curse than a blessing if he has to defend them against a fighter of his caliber. He can make more money, and more meaningful fights, elsewhere.

For his next fight, Pavlik could end up with Duddy, an idea that should have gone away a long time ago. I know Arum thinks Pavlik-Duddy is a money-maker because of Duddy’s Irish following, but I question whether ev
en they buy their man’s chances of winning. I wouldn’t have a huge problem with Pavlik taking another Marco Antonio Rubio-level challenge in Ohio should he beat Rubio on Feb. 21, but Duddy is a step down from that. It’s the wrong direction.

One card I won’t be buying is the next Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. card on March 28. It’s not that I have anything against the junior middleweight (154 lbs.) kid, it’s just that it is rare that there’s more than one worthwhile fight on the ppv. The next time out, that one is a rematch between junior flyweights (108 lbs.) Cesar Canchila and Giovanni Segura, who put together one of the best bouts of 2008. Montiel will apparently be on the card, but his plans have changed so much I can’t keep up with them. Also: Jose Luis Castillo against Antonio Diaz, presumably at welterweight. Hey, at least they are equally over the hill, or thereabouts.

It very much looks like Steve Cunningham-Wayne Braithwaite is a go. That’s a decent cruiserweight (200 lbs.) bout, now that Braithwaite is back on the winning trail.

Zab Judah-Carlos Quintana at welterweight? Judah says no way. He’s concentrating on junior welterweight.

ESPN’s good year so far just got better with its decision to air Eddie Chambers-Sam Peter at heavyweight on March 27.

Junior welterweight prospect Devon Alexander may end up fighting Mike Alvarado on HBO April 25 on the undercard of Juan Manuel Lopez-Penalosa (junior featherweight, 122 lbs.), which would be a very nice complement.

Middleweight prospect Andy Lee will fight Antwun Echols on the same March 16 card in which junior featherweight Wayne McCullough comes back yet again. Nothing too appetizing about that one.

(Sources: The Daily Telegraph; The Ring; The Los Angeles Times; BoxingScene; BoxingTalk; Irish Times; The Sweet Science; ESPN; The Youngstown Vindicator; Sports Illustrated; news releases)

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.