It’s funny what happens when you push yourself away from boxing for more than a week. Fights are a go then disappear. Fights are in jeopardy then are fine. You realize, really, how much of the news of boxing is gossip-driven, how much people react instantaneously to developments with such single-minded passion, only for counterpoints to develop shortly thereafter that suggest things aren’t really as crystal clear as they first appeared to so many.
(This whole thing’s really more a “Round and Round” column, but we’ll go in chronological order on the fights in the headlines, then move to a bit of a “here’s what’s going on with some other fights” dealy-bob. For the entirety of the first three sections, my source of information is BoxingScene, with but one or two exceptions. For more info than I provided, read up there.)
–Despite Van Hoy’s attempts to justify his scorecard, it still doesn’t smell right. Yes, Diaz did pick off a good number of Malignaggi’s jabs, but not THAT many. 118-110 is terrible, either for Diaz or Malignaggi. I do find something interesting in Malignaggi’s assertion that the rematch should be on his home turf in New York. Why would he want that, I wonder? It must be pointed out, as RingTV’s Doug Fisher did last week, that when Malignaggi got what some thought was a favorable home-country decision win over Herman Ngoudjo, we didn’t hear Malignaggi complain then about how boxing is “full of sh*t.” One of the things that’s quite likable about Malignaggi is that he’s high-strung, and he’s more candid than most boxers. But let’s not make him the patron saint of truth-telling that some have made him out to be. I wish I knew what to make, by the way, of Oscar De La Hoya bashing the
Van Hoy scorecard. As Diaz’ promoter, it could just be a CYA move, or
it could be that De La Hoya means it; it must be noted that he
criticized the judging when a Golden Boy prospect got a controversial
decision over DeMarcus Corley.
–What’s next? Obviously, a rematch is the natural — even desirable — outcome. It should be, if it happens, on neutral soil. Diaz is talking about Ricky Hatton, a big money fight if it happens, so while I understand why he’d target that, I always wish dudes who were in close, controversial fights would do their best to right that ship before moving on to the next one. There’s also been some discussion about the remarks after the fight by Bob Papa that Malignaggi “did himself no favors” with his rant. It would be absolutely wrong if Malignaggi got frozen out of another HBO gig because he yelled some. I don’t have any conditions or mitigators to attach to that statement. Malignaggi fought well, and entertainingly, and frankly he’s an interesting character whose personality I find compelling, and all of those ingredients are the stuff that HBO gigs ought to be made of. His promoter, Lou DiBella, has talked of matching Malignaggi against Amir Khan, an interesting fight in my view and a better one than the mandatory alphabet title fight Khan is in talks for against Dimitriy Salita.
–Part of the reason the fight has “issues” is because not only is it a questionable match-up — Mayweather is a true welterweight, Marquez is an overblown lightweight, the bout will take place at a reported 144 pounds — but because there’s a near-constant stream of reports out of both training camps that neither man looks all that damn good right now. I’d caution everyone not to overreact to such reports. There’s always gamesmanship about this kind of thing, although sometimes it proves true, as with De La Hoya going into the Manny Pacquiao fight. But it certainly doesn’t help the fight’s case if Marquez isn’t looking good. HBO and De La Hoya keep saying it’s going to be a good competitive fight, Mayweather and Marquez are saying all the right things, but I’ve never been sold on the match-up and it’s going to take a monumental effort by HBO’s 24/7 reality series to convince me the fight will be much of one.
–It is nice that Marquez will have a pretty good backup plan should he lose the fight. Some alphabet sanctioning organization or the other has mandated that the winner of the lightweight Michael Katsidis-Vicente Escobedo fight on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard will get a shot at Marquez’ title, and while I’m not sure what trainer Nacho Beristain would do if he had to put two of his charges, Marquez and Escobedo, against one another, it’s still not a bad fallback fight for Marquez. Another undercard note: Zab Judah’s career ought to be over, really, after he skipped out on a welterweight clash against Antonio Diaz, but he still got interest from Shane Mosley and turned that down too. Judah scoffed at Diaz’ credentials and scoffed at the half-million on the table for a Mosley fight, but he’s really delusional so far as I can tell if he thinks he can do better. He won’t be missed here.
–Despite an accumulation of allegations of unlawful behavior against both Mayweather and his trainer, uncle Roger, I doubt any of it will get in the way of Mayweather-Marquez, but it does have a way of undercutting Mayweather’s recent case that he’s a great guy who deserves our love, as opposed the gangsta image he presents. I’ve spent a lot of time studying Mayweather, and I don’t think he really knows who he is. I think he’s an insecure guy who wants to be loved, but he alternates between naturally dickish and naturally soft (for lack of a better word) tendencies. It’s possible for someone to be both at once, or to go back and forth between. I wouldn’t read too much into any of it — that he’s somehow a phony when he’s being nice, or that he’s a phony when he’s being an asshole. He might be being a phony at times, but the wild to-and-fro is probably more a product of his sincere actions than not.
–There are, per usual, an endless number of distractions in the Pacquiao camp for his 145-pound bout against Miguel Cotto. It’s always hard to tell when or if said distractions will catch up to Pacquiao. Where will his training camp be — the Philippines, Mexico? The Philippines strike me as a bad place, given Manny’s short attention span and desire to please the people of his country at every turn. Why is he finishing up a movie when his trainer, Roach, wants him in camp? It seems like the movie can wait, if you ask me. Why is Roach at odds with so many of Pacquiao’s advisers? I’m guessing it’s because, from what I can tell, most of Pacquiao’s advisers are kind of dopes, but I’m not sure what can be done about it. I’m not saying it will or won’t have an effect, as I’ve been fooled before into thinking all these distractions will be a factor, but it strikes me again, as every time, as unnecessarily playing with fire.
–I haven’t seen much in the way of solid reports that Pacquiao’s camp actually requested a 24-foot ring for the Cotto fight, which isn’t happening; it’ll be 20-foot, per Las Vegas regulations. However, if the idea is that Pacquiao requesting a 24-foot ring somehow suggests something about Pacquiao’s strategy we didn’t know already, I’m not buying it. The plan always was to box the bigger man, I’m betting. A 24-foot ring might have helped with that, but Pacquiao’s proven adept at maneuvering in and out. It’s not like the guy’s ever going to do a Malignaggi-esque jab and circle routine.
–After falling on and off Top Rank Promotions’ radar, it’s encouraging to hear that Edwin Valero-Humberto Soto at lightweight is something Top Rank boss Bob Arum is focusing on doing on this undercard. We’d be talking not one but TWO Fight of the Year-caliber bouts on the card, as Pacquiao-Cotto has that kind of potential, too. If that fight was on the undercard, it might trump the two quality bouts on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard by itself, and then Arum would be able to say, truthfully, that he did bring the people an “amazing” undercard as promised. Go Bob go. Another option, which wouldn’t be a bad addition but doesn’t add much if it’s instead of Valero-Soto, is that endlessly delayed bantamweight bout between Fernando Montiel and Eric Morel.
eaturing Mosley against Joshua Clottey and Andre Berto against Isaac Hlatshwayo to Dec. 26. To which I say, “Does anyone think a fight the day after Christmas would draw much of a crowd?” But it may fall down for another reason: Berto, among other things, is reportedly sniffing at the idea of fighting for $750,000. I like Berto as much as the next guy, but he needs to dial it down. I recognize HBO created this situation for overpaying for lesser Berto fights. That doesn’t mean dude doesn’t have some responsibility for recognizing the marketplace has shifted. Is he gonna get more than 750 Gs off HBO?