Weekend Afterthoughts: Mayweather/Mosley 24/7 Episode 1, Reviewed; Antwone Smith Vs. Mike Jones On Tap?; Trouble For Ali Funeka, Cory Spinks And Edwin Valero; More

Never before can I recall a weekend where two fighters — in this case, welterweight Andre Berto and featherweight Celestino Caballero — got such divergent reviews at the TQBR (which is like saying “ATM machine” or “START treaty” but I’m a huge believer in playing with indefinite articles). But we’ve already covered that in the comments section here, so let’s hit some leftovers outside the performances of of the weekend’s two main events fighters.

  • Mayweather-Mosley 24/7. I enjoyed the debut episode. I’ll go random observation style: Mayweather needs to get off the “you haven’t been me so you can’t judge me” tip. Mayweather judges everyone all the time. He judges other fighters and rappers and fans and writers and gay people and everything, and he’s never once been those people. It’s not only him, though. Why does this basic contradiction escape all of humanity?… Mayweather did get some funny lines in on Mosley, heavily abetted by the HBO cameras, about Mosley’s green suit and his hair. But Mosley simply isn’t going to be the kind of person to bother with that kind of thing. Mayweather didn’t get under Juan Manuel Marquez’ skin and he won’t get under Mosley’s, I can almost guarantee it… I thought Mosley got in a good line on Mayweather about writing Mayweather’s checks at Golden Boy Promotions… I had to watch half the episode with my hands over my eyes, because I’ve got a fear of needles… The highlight of the sparsely-attended Mayweather Foundation event was Floyd Mayweather Sr. outdancing his son. I’m pretty sure that’s the only thing he can out-(blank) his son at at his age, and Jr. handled being humbled with some grace… Brother Nazim is clearly going to be one of the best things about the show — he communicates very well and has plenty to say… The music choices were wonderful; if you have “Don’t Sweat The Technique” and “Ooh Child” in the same episode, you’re doing well, but it made great sense to pick an old-school rap classic like that for Mosley and a smooth R&B song for Mayweather… I absolutely loved the contrast at the end about Mayweather fighting for money and Mosley fighting because he wants to prove he’s the best.
  • HBO commentary. A lot of people had a lot of different problems with the HBO commentary Saturday night. Some thought the team was in the bag for Andre Berto. One writer posted a tweet saying Jim Lampley sucks “donkey dicks.” In one boxing forum everyone seemed to think the team went crazy calling for a stoppage of Celestino Caballero-Daud Yordan, with one person saying Larry Merchant should be shot and others suggesting the whole crew should be fired. A friend of the site suggested they were in the tank for Caballero, since he was the “HBO fighter.” I’d recommend everyone calm down. There’s no need for mass firings or conspiracy theories or metaphorical murder or fellatio of farm animals, in my view. Here’s my take: Yes, the HBO team was leaning toward Berto a bit, but at one point two of the three of them outside Lampley also failed to notice Berto had landed a solid punch in a flurry where allegedly he’d missed Carlos Quintana with all of them. I don’t see any reason to believe this tilt was deliberate; Berto does have HBO favorite Al Haymon as his manager, and Lampley has a demonstrated favoritism toward U.S. Olympians, and HBO does have an interest in young American stars. But I’m inclined to say in the absence of any strong evidence to the contrary, Lampley and Emmanuel Steward were trying to call it honest, and maybe a slight subconscious tilt came in there, but Merchant also counterbalanced that with some dissent on Berto — so if the idea was to hype Berto inordinately, there were times where all three of the commentators got off the alleged script. And yes, Merchant sometimes gets wacky. He’s an old man and that happens, which is why I wasn’t so bothered when HBO was gently nudging him out the door, because while he still is good when he’s good, he’s at the tail end of his career. No euthanasia required. I also saw no motive other than concern for Yordan in their recommendation the fight be stopped. The trio went a touch overboard in their rhetoric along the way — I thought it should have been stopped and so did Dan Rafael and so did others, but I didn’t see a Levander Johnson situation here (and the others corrected Lampley when he made that reference) — but it takes a big leap to assume they were doing so to call attention to themselves or anything like that. It’s even a bigger leap to assume that (or other calls, like a debate over whether Caballero was truly hurt in the 12th; I rewinded it three times and still couldn’t tell) has anything to do with a love of Caballero. Caballero has never been on the network in any real capacity and under the Unified Theory Of HBO-Golden Boy-Illuminati World Domination, he also lacks any of the proper ties for HBO to root for him. If anything, HBO has an interest in hyping Caballero-Yuriorkis Gamboa, but that benefits Bob Arum more than anyone, and we all know about how Arum and HBO are mortal enemies (except for when Arum fighters are all over the network all the time). Lampley, Merchant and Steward all have their flaws. But all in all I like them; that’s a matter of taste, and people are obviously entitled to find those flaws not worth the trouble. But there’s nothing outwardly “corrupt” about them and I wish boxing people weren’t so quick to jump to such outlandish conclusions without solid evidence.
  • Licenses for Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones, Jr. It almost feels like I’m being deliberately contrary in recent weeks, but really, people have been saying stuff I very much disagree with. And if it seems like I’m siding with The Man at times, well, I side with The Man when I agree with The Man. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has taken some heat for licensing Holyfield and Jones to fight at advanced ages and with both men well past their best days. My problem? I honestly don’t know what the alternative is. Holyfield and Jones passed their physicals. Should the standard be higher than that? If so, what? “Common sense” doesn’t strike me as a good enough standard to prevent someone from making a living in their profession of choice. I’m concerned about Holyfield and Jones, too, but as bad as they look, they only look so bad compared to their old selves. Holyfield would probably still beat a sizable majority of heavyweights in the world, and Jones would probably still beat a sizable majority of the light heavyweights in the world. Should everyone below them not be licensed? Honestly, I’m open to suggestion here, so if anyone has one, please tell me. We as fans might be the only way to control this kind of thing, though, when a fighter is deemed physically capable of fighting. Too often, promoters, managers, trainers and other hangers-on attach themselves to old, shot or half-shot fighters because they still think they can make a buck off them. We can’t change human nature on this, because these hangers-on are more like leeches than humans. All we can do is make it unprofitable for fighters whose health conditions we worry about to keep fighting by not buying these shows. If they can’t make money at it, maybe they’ll stop doing it.
  • Antwone Smith-Mike Jones. Here’s something I bet we can all agree upon: Smith, after his painful-sounding body shot knockout win this weekend, might be fighting fellow welterweight prospect Jones in June, and it’s a very exciting and bold match-up. (h/t to friend of the site David Schraub for pointing this out per ESPN.) Smith and Jones are both right on the outside of real contender status, and a win over the other could do the trick. I’d love it if the loser wasn’t tossed aside so callously, because it takes balls to make a match-up like this, and the loser should get another shot because of it, plus both guys are young and could rebound. There is a chance that Jones could end up fighting Luis Carlos Abregu instead, and that’s a nice fight too, but I’m all about Smith-Jones.
  • The deaths of Arthur Mercante, Sr. and Lorraine Chargin. I didn’t touch on it last week, but boxing lost a couple luminaries. Mercante is regarded as one of the best refs ever; Chargin, a wildly respected promoter. R.I.P.
  • Trouble for Ali Funeka, Cory Spinks and Edwin Valero. It was a bad news weekend for boxers getting in trouble. Funeka got busted with a banned diuretic in his system, and while he was trying to make the lightweight limit where Joan Guzman was not (see some behind the scenes stuff on that here, via BoxingScene), this is the rare occasion of Funeka not being the victim of bad luck. He made his own trouble there, and he deserves whatever suspension or fine he gets. Junior middleweight Spinks got a DUI charge, and junior welterweight Valero may have endured the same — reports out of Venezuela on Valero have been filled with different facts and what not. If Valero is guilty, so much for rehab, huh?
  • Audley Harrison. Harrison is usually too insignificant for me to mention anymore, but he scored a rare last-round knockout while down on the cards against Michael Sprott, the heavyweight who’d once knocked out Harrison. Videos below. (Harrison [per friend of the site Funky Badger] and Holyfield both want a Klitschko next. Fortunately Harrison is more likely to fight Alexander Dimitrenko next. And I don’t think there’s enough money in beating up Holyfield [who was said to look terrible for most of the fight Saturday] anymore for a Klitschko to take the fight.)

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.