Pinoy Fight Scribe: Breaking down Pacquiao-Bradley, Mayweather Cotto

(This piece appeared in InterAKTV on February 10, 2011.)

by Mark Lorenzana

WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and WBC welterweight titlist Floyd Mayweather Jr. are, undoubtedly, the two biggest attractions in the sport of boxing today. Both fighters possess speed, power, ring smarts, and tough chins — attributes that have catapulted them to superstardom.

Both boxers also possess varying fighting styles that, needless to say, promises an intriguing and mouth-watering matchup: Pacquiao’s relentless, unorthodox, and blitzkrieg offensive attack against Mayweather’s outstanding defensive skills and counterpunching prowess.

This matchup is a boxing fan’s dream come true: one of the game’s best boxer-punchers in Pacquiao fighting one of the game’s best counterpunching stylists in Mayweather.

The problem, though, is that they aren’t fighting each other anytime soon.

It’s official: Pacquiao has signed to fight undefeated Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley on June 9. The report comes on the heels of the recent announcement by Mayweather that he will be facing Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto for the latter’s WBA super welterweight strap on Cinco de Mayo.

So what could we expect from the two matchups?

Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley

After Pacquiao struggled against Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight, a close bout that Pacquiao won by majority decision, the consensus — both spoken and unspoken — around Boxlandia was that Mayweather was next for Pacquiao. But when feeble attempts at negotiations to make the dream fight fizzled out, several prospective opponents for Pacquiao cropped up overnight: Marquez, Cotto, Bradley, and even Lamont Peterson.

Marquez was out of the running as a potential opponent for Pacquiao soon after he voiced out several demands before a fourth fight could happen, demands that Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum deemed too unreasonable, even crazy: a venue other than Las Vegas, neutral judges, and a bigger purse. But Marquez was probably out of the running as a potential opponent for Pacquiao as early as the end of the third fight when everyone realized that the Mexican was the perfect foil for Pacquiao. Marquez will, most probably, fight another rumored Pacquiao opponent, Lamont Peterson in mid July.

Cotto was the initial pick by Pacquiao, but the Puerto Rican made it clear that he wouldn’t fight below 150 pounds. Cotto has campaigned at 154 lbs. for his past three fights already, and Pacquiao wanted the fight at a lower weight. It seems that the weight played a huge factor in Cotto’s decision to choose Mayweather, especially since the latter agreed to move up in weight to challenge Cotto.

Timothy Bradley is young, undefeated, a good boxer with decent-enough skills, someone who has defeated quality opponents. But Bradley is not exactly a power puncher and is going up in weight to fight Pacquiao, a fighter who has been campaigning as a full-fledged welterweight for a total of five fights now. Pacquiao has dominated naturally bigger guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Cotto, Margarito, Joshua Clottey, and Shane Mosley and has only shown difficulties against defensive counterpunchers like Marquez. Bradley is not a defensive counterpuncher, is smaller, and will take the fight to Pacquiao. Problem is, Pacquiao tends to make mincemeat out of offensive-minded fighters who take the fight to him, especially someone smaller and who has no power punch.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto

A curious thing about this fight is that Mayweather has been avoiding Cotto for the longest time. This was when Cotto was still in his prime, when he was still undefeated, before he was beaten to a bloody pulp by Antonio Margarito and Pacquiao. Just recently, Mayweather dismissed Cotto as a potential opponent, saying he wouldn’t fight any of “Pacquiao’s leftovers.” Until now, that is.

Cotto may be the naturally bigger man, but he is not the same fighter many years ago that Mayweather had been ducking. Mayweather, being the shrewd, cagey boxer/businessman that he is, won’t risk his undefeated record. He took the fight because he knows that he can—and will—beat this version of Cotto.

So here’s the sad part: there is still no guarantee that Pacquiao and Mayweather will immediately fight each other after they beat each of their respective opponents. Who knows? Maybe they will eventually come to their senses many, many years from now, when they are both too old and too infirm and too shot. But will boxing fans still care?

Ah, to be passionate devotees of a niche sport whose two biggest attractions possess egos as huge as the fat paychecks that they command.

Fight Scribe Bullets: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather edition

(This piece appeared in InterAKTV on October 14, 2011.)

by Mark Lorenzana

— Just for the heck of it, today I searched for “Manny Pacquiao training distractions,” and got the following headlines in the first page alone:”Manny Pacquiao Dismisses Distraction Talk Leading Into Cotto Training Camp”
“Distractions Continue to Hound Manny Pacquiao”
“Despite distractions during camp, Pacquiao ready for Margarito”
“Pacquiao says distractions at home won’t derail title quest”
“Roach: Distractions part of lucky charm”

Next, I went to to BoxRec.com and checked out Pacquiao’s last fifteen fights, dating back to his first fight with Erik Morales six years ago, until his last fight against Shane Mosley this year. The results are as follows: 14 wins, 1 loss, 8 wins by knockout. Not bad for a guy who supposedly can’t focus on training, huh?

This just goes to show that Pacquiao is really a cut above the rest: he can take it easy and goof off early in training, pick up the pace a few weeks before the fight, and still destroy his opponent come fight night. Can you imagine any other boxer today slacking off in training and then ending up knocking out his opponent?

Curiously, though, recent reports coming out of Pacquiao’s training camp for his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez next month seem to project the opposite: everything has been smooth sailing so far. Even the recent Baguio camp, which had been a wellspring of headaches for Freddie Roach in the past, seemed to yield positive results. Pacquiao, by the way, is already in the United States and even broke his tradition of taking it easy on his first day in L.A. by immediately jumping into the ring for sparring. He went eight rounds against sparmates Jorge Linares and Ray Beltran. With exactly a month to go before the fight, I’m pretty sure that Pacquiao fans are happy to hear that this training camp has been perfect so far.

— Still on Pacquiao, some sources say that his next opponent, should he beat Marquez, could possibly be Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley. This is not a knock on the guy, but Bradley is a small and relatively light-punching light welterweight who’s half an inch shorter than Pacquiao. There’s no arguing that Bradley is a talented boxer — he’s undefeated, he’s the reigning WBO light welterweight champion, and he is rated seventh in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list.But I don’t really see him giving Pacquiao a good fight. I mean, the guy ducked Amir Khan because he was obviously scared of the Brit, and now he’s going to fight Pacquiao who’s stronger, faster, and punches harder?Another possible opponent for Pacquiao is middleweight Sergio Martinez, but anyone can see that he’s too big for Pacquiao. He can dehydrate himself until he’s as dry as a raisin (or Kenny Florian) just to make the 147-pound limit, but what would that accomplish? If he beats Pacquiao, people will say that the size advantage was just too great; if Pacquiao beats him, people will claim that the weight cut was just too drastic and severely affected Martinez, leading to his loss. Really, it’s a no-win situation for either fighter. Which is why everyone is just wondering, why couldn’t Pacquiao’s most logical opponent at this point just sign on the dotted line and make the fight happen? Which brings us to…

— Floyd Mayweather Jr. won’t fight Manny Pacquiao. Ever. Well, unless Mayweather sees a significant decline in Pacquiao’s speed, that is, then maybe he’ll consider. Just maybe.If we’ve learned anything from Mayweather’s last fight against Victor Ortiz (aside from the fact that Floyd can’t play fair even if his life depended on it and the fact that Ortiz actually has had a man crush on Mayweather for the longest time), it’s that Mayweather isn’t the same fighter he once was. Although he was winning the fight against Ortiz up until the unfortunate ending, it was apparent that he had lost a step or two.Sure, one can attribute it to Mayweather’s inactivity; that perhaps he was just a bit rusty after a long layoff, but I really think he’s not as quick as he once was. Make no mistake: Pacquiao is fast, but Mayweather is no slouch in the speed department either. Floyd makes his living at being perhaps the most elusive fighter today (with the exception of a younger version of Ivan Calderon). Obviously the mark of an excellent defensive fighter is the ability to time his opponent’s punches, but speed also plays a big factor. Pacquiao is a monster on offense because he’s fast; Mayweather is a wizard on defense because, well, he’s also fast. And with Mayweather’s speed and quickness not what it was a couple of years ago, he’s going to have a huge problem against Pacquiao.

So even if promoters guarantee Mayweather the biggest payday of his life to fight Pacquiao right now, and even if Floyd badly needs the money for whatever reason, he won’t take the fight. It’s actually funny (and strange) to see a guy who attaches “Money” to his name walk away from a guaranteed $50-million payday. Contrary to what people think, for Floyd, it’s not actually all about the money. Believe it or not, he’s also thinking about his legacy.

The sad thing is, he honestly thinks that his undefeated record will place him atop the all-time greats. When in fact, it’s fighting the best that will do that for him. And right now, one of the best is Pacquiao. If Floyd can just forget about the zero record, he’ll see that by fighting Pacquiao, he can have his cake and eat it too.

I Know I Already Said I Won’t Blog About This Again, But What the Hell . . .

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2012.)

by Mark Lorenzana

WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and WBC welterweight titlist Floyd Mayweather Jr. are, undoubtedly, the two biggest attractions in the sport of boxing today. Both fighters possess speed, power, ring smarts, and tough chins—attributes that have catapulted them to superstardom. Both boxers also possess varying fighting styles that, needless to say, promises an intriguing and mouthwatering matchup: Pacquiao’s relentless, unorthodox, and blitzkrieg offensive attack against Mayweather’s outstanding defensive skills and counterpunching prowess. This matchup is a boxing fan’s dream come true: one of the game’s best boxer-punchers in Pacquiao fighting one of the game’s best counterpunching stylists in Mayweather.

The problem, though, is that they aren’t fighting each other anytime soon.

It’s official: Pacquiao has signed to fight undefeated Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley on June 9. The report comes on the heels of the recent announcement by Mayweather that he will be facing Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto for the latter’s WBA super welterweight strap on Cinco de Mayo.

The news announcing both Pacquiao and Mayweather officially signing to fight different opponents signals the end of the much-heralded fight of the century for the time being and is, certainly, bad news. But on the flipside, this also signals the start of a moving-on phase that can only be good for boxing and for countless boxing fans who have been reduced to helpless pawns amid all the taunting and posturing by both camps the past several months.

That said, both boxers’ choice of opponents deserves a cursory glance, if only to make sense of the madness of it all.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley

– After Pacquiao struggled against Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight, a close fight that Pacquiao won by majority decision and a fight that not a few boxing pundits believed should have been awarded to Marquez, the consensus—both spoken and unspoken—around Boxlandia was that Mayweather was next for Pacquiao. But when feeble attempts at negotiations to make the dream fight fizzled out, several prospective opponents for Pacquiao cropped up overnight: Marquez, Cotto, Bradley, and even Lamont Peterson.

– Marquez was out of the running as a potential opponent for Pacquiao soon after he voiced out several demands before a fourth fight could happen, demands that Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum deemed too unreasonable, even crazy: a venue other than Las Vegas, neutral judges, and a bigger purse. (But Marquez was probably out of the running as a potential opponent for Pacquiao as early as the end of the third fight when everyone realized that the Mexican was the perfect foil for Pacquiao.) Marquez will, most probably, fight another rumored Pacquiao opponent, Lamont Peterson in mid July.

– Cotto was the initial pick by Pacquiao, but the Puerto Rican made it clear that he wouldn’t fight below 150 pounds. Cotto has been campaigning at 154 for his past three fights already, and Pacquiao wanted the fight at a catchweight of 145. It seems that the weight played a huge factor in Cotto’s decision to choose Mayweather, especially since the latter agreed to move up in weight to challenge Cotto.

– Timothy Bradley is young, undefeated, a good boxer with decent-enough skills, someone who has defeated quality opponents. But Bradley is not exactly a power puncher and is going up in weight to fight Pacquiao, a fighter who has been campaigning as a full-fledged welterweight for a total of five fights now. Pacquiao has dominated naturally bigger guys like Oscar De La Hoya, Cotto, Margarito, Joshua Clottey, and Shane Mosley and has only shown difficulties against defensive counterpunchers like Marquez. Bradley is not a defensive counterpuncher, is smaller, and will take the fight to Pacquiao. Problem is, Pacquiao tends to make mincemeat out of offensive-minded fighters who take the fight to him, especially someone smaller and who has no power punch.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto

A curious thing about this fight is that Mayweather has been avoiding Cotto for the longest time. This was when Cotto was still in his prime, when he was still undefeated, before he was beaten to a bloody pulp by Antonio Margarito and Pacquiao. Just recently, Mayweather dismissed Cotto as a potential opponent, saying he wouldn’t fight any of “Pacquiao’s leftovers.” Until now, that is.

– Cotto may be the naturally bigger man, but he is not the same fighter many years ago that Mayweather had been ducking. Mayweather, being the shrewd, cagey boxer/businessman that he is, won’t risk his undefeated record. He took the fight because he knows that he can—and will—beat this version of Cotto.

So here’s the sad part: there is still no guarantee that Pacquiao and Mayweather will immediately fight each other after they beat each of their respective opponents. Who knows? Maybe they will eventually come to their senses many, many years from now, when they are both too old and too infirm and too shot. But will boxing fans still care?

Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.: Will They Ever Get to Fight Each Other?

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2011.)

by Mark Lorenzana

I think the more accurate question is this: with all the shit that has been going on, who the hell should fucking care anymore?

For the longest time, boxing fans have all been clamoring for a fight between these two guys, and for the longest time, we all had to content ourselves with conflicting reports. One day a story says a deal is close to being reached, the next day another story says initial talks have bogged down.

There was a time when Pacquiao nuthuggers were blasting Mayweather for allegedly ducking Pacquiao. Then when Mayweather demanded for an Olympic-style drug test and Pacquiao wouldn’t budge, it was the Mayweather fans’ turn to accuse Pacquiao of not wanting the fight. When Pacquiao finally relented to the stupid drug test, Mayweather didn’t want the fight anymore.

Tired yet? Oh, but all that bullshit gets worse.

Just recently, after Pacquiao struggled against Juan Manuel Marquez in their third bout, Mayweather began making noises again about wanting to fight Pacquiao. People reckoned that perhaps Mayweather saw something in the third Pacquiao-Marquez fight, a chink in the Filipino boxer’s armor that Mayweather thought he could exploit. People were actually feeling genuinely excited and hopeful that a deal would finally be reached. But—you guessed it—no talks happened, no deal was signed, nothing.

Nor would a deal happen even when Pacquiao hinted that he was amenable to getting a smaller piece of the pie just so the fight could push through.

So is anyone really surprised that even though Floyd Mayweather’s jail term has been pushed back to June just so he could fight on May 5, the fight still isn’t happening?

We actually have a rare instance here: both fighters are finally willing to fight each other. Problem is, it seems as though it’s Top Rank’s Bob Arum who doesn’t want the fight to push through. A bigger venue should be built, says Arum. Pacquiao suffered a cut in his last fight against Marquez, and said cut won’t be fully healed on May 5, adds the Top Rank head honcho.

What the fuck? Bullshit.

A fight of this magnitude doesn’t need a bigger venue. Las Vegas has lots of decent-sized ballrooms available, and even if you jack up the price of tickets, you would still get a full house. And with the closed-circuit revenue and PPV buys thrown in, everyone involved will, undoubtedly, be very, very happy money-wise. This is Pacquiao and Mayweather after all, guys who could each pull in significant ticket sales and PPV buys even if they weren’t fighting each other.

But for some strange, mind-boggling, and frustrating reason that he alone knows, Arum wants the fight to be pushed to June, but that won’t be possible because, obviously, Mayweather’s ass is going to be behind bars by that time. (Also, for some strange, mind-boggling, and frustrating reason, Arum has been shoving Miguel Cotto, Tim Bradley, and Lamont Peterson down our throats as possible opponents for Pacquiao.)

There were times when it was Mayweather who should be rightfully blamed; other times, it was Pacquiao who was at fault. After all, both those guys are boxing superstars and they both have huge egos. Now? Blame it all on Arum.

You’d think a sage promoter like Arum would be happy that the two best cash cows in the business are both willing to trade leather once and for all. You’d think Arum would be happy that a fight of this magnitude will  finally be made. You’d think Arum would be happy to make a shitload of money off this fight and that he should get off his lazy eighty-year-old ass and seize the opportunity and start negotiating with the Mayweather people right away.

Right?

Wrong.

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who has been feuding with Arum for the longest time, had a mouthful to say: “I think all the media members and fight fans, and so on, have started to get it—because some people still aren’t getting it—that Bob Arum doesn’t want that fight,” Schaefer said. “I don’t know how much more proof people need, or if they’re just drinking Top Rank’s Kool-Aid, or what it is, but it’s apparent to just about anyone by now, hopefully. Those that don’t get it yet, I think you have to wonder.”

But as always in this never-ending saga of tragic proportions, there is a glimmer of hope. According to a recent report from Ronnie Nathanielsz of the Manila Standard, Arum has shown willingness to make the fight and will try to get Las Vegas judge Melissa Saragosa to push Mayweather’s sentence further back so that the fight can be made either late May or early June.

Arum indicated he was ready to go before judge Melissa Saragosa and request that she push back the incarceration date so the fight, which the world wants to see, can take place.

The belief is that the judge, who postponed Mayweather’s incarceration from Jan. 6 to June 1 to allow him to keep his contractual obligations for a May 5 fight, is likely to grant the request.

With that piece of information, it seems that there is indeed some hope yet for the fight to push through. But after all the pile of shit we’ve been fed all this time, it’s best that us boxing fans take all this with heaping tablespoons of salt.

It sucks that instead of being able to enjoy the biggest fight that could be made in boxing right now, fans of the sweet science have to make do with a load of shit and a lot of salt.

Fuck that. We all deserve much, much better.

Ask the Fight Scribe: Stupid Answers to Nonexistent Readers’ Thoughtless Questions

(This piece appeared in my now defunct fight blog, Pinoy Fight Scribe, in 2012.)

by Mark Lorenzana

When I was a kid, I enjoyed reading my dad’s collection of Mad Magazines, and one of my favorite long-running segments of the humor magazine was the great Al Jaffee’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” That, along with Gustavo Arellano’s witty and irreverent “Ask a Mexican” column in the OC Weekly as well as Drew Magary’s hilariously profane Funbag in Deadspin, is the inspiration for this blog post, which, I hope, will be the first of many here on Pinoy Fight Scribe.

I’m not claiming that this uninspired and painfully unoriginal blog segment will be witty or hilariously profane (after all, both stupid questions and thoughtless answers are—you guessed it—going to be supplied by yours truly [how fun {or pathetic} is that?]). Instead, I’d like to think of this as a drunken dare gone horribly wrong. (Come to think of it, even after more than two years of its existence, this entire blog feels like a drunken dare gone horribly wrong.)

The first installment of this auto-answer bag will focus on boxing. On to the questions (and answers):

Q: Will Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. eventually fight each other? If the fight happens, who’s your pick?

A: In all honesty, I don’t think the fight will ever happen. Here are just some of the reasons:

  1. Both guys have huge egos. Especially Mayweather.
  2. Mayweather is afraid to tarnish his undeafeated record, and Pacquiao has a very good chance of handing Floyd his first loss.
  3. It appears that Bob Arum is not too keen on making the fight happen.

They may fight, or they may never fight at all, but one thing’s for sure—a lot of boxing fans have grown tired of all the shit that has been flying from both camps. World War III won’t erupt if the fight doesn’t push through, and the fight, if it happens, won’t solve the global food crisis or bring about world peace anyway. So fuck it. Shove this damn fight up all them greedy boxing people’s filthy asses.

If the fight does, by some divine intervention, push through (late this year, for example), I’m going with Pacquiao. If the fight happens much, much later (a few years from now), I’d have to give it to Mayweather. Both fighters aren’t spring chickens anymore, and both have lost a step or two. Pacquiao is an offensive pressure fighter who relies more on his physical talents to win fights, while Mayweather is more defensive minded and tactical. In their primes, Pacquiao’s pressure will be too much for Floyd, and I’m leaning toward a Pacquiao split decision win. Past their primes, I’m leaning toward Mayweather via unanimous decision.

Q: Who is Genaro Garcia?

A: It depends on which Genaro Garcia you’re referring to. There’s Genaro “Panterita” Garcia, a Mexican lightweight boxer who sports a dismal 10-12 win-loss record and whom Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista knocked out inside two rounds early this month. Then there’s  Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia, another Mexican boxer whom Bautista was supposed to be fighting instead of Panterita. This Genaro Garcia sports a better record of 38 wins, 8 losses, with 22 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Apparently, someone screwed up, and ALA Promotions lost money because of the switcheroo. Now ALA is suing the Mexican agent who screwed up, Hugo Correa, but the latter is denying any wrongdoing and insists that he sent the correct Genaro Garcia to the Philippines.

Anyway, Google the name “Genaro Garcia,” and you’ll find out that there’s a shitload of people around the world with the same name. With a little patience, hard work, and lots of idle time, you’re bound to come across the Genaro Garcia that you’re looking for. Good luck. You’ll need it.

Q: Will Manny Pacquiao really retire after his fight with Timothy Bradley? I don’t know who to believe anymore.

A: Just read the news on a daily basis and decide which story you want to believe in. One day a news report will say that Pacquiao is planning to retire after the Bradley fight so he can focus more on his religious duties; the next day, another news story will say that Pacquiao will fight on until 2013. Just remember, don’t let the conflicting reports get to you. You know what, I change my mind. Do not read the news at all. And avoid the sports section at all costs. Go turn on the TV and watch the Corona impeachment trial or something.

Q: Are Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria Filipinos?

A: Of course they are. But don’t ask Arnold Clavio. Or maybe you already did, that’s why you’re confused. Else you won’t be asking this extremely stupid question. Next.

Q: Will Pacquiao be a good Bible ambassador for the Catholic church?

A: Let me answer your question with another question: has Pacquiao been a good congressman so far? Wait, come to think of it, yes, maybe he can be a good Bible ambassador. He hates contraceptives, right?

Q: What’s up with Juan Manuel Lopez? Does Orlando Salido have his number?

A: Juanma is an exciting fighter with great power and decent boxing skills. But he also has a porous defense, a suspect chin, and bad ring habits. Juanma can box, no question about that, but when he gets hit, he tends to slug it out with his opponent. That’s what happened in his first fight with Salido, that’s what happened in his second fight with Salido. He also has a problem with Salido’s overhand right, which he can’t seem to avoid hitting his face with. Juanma needs to go back to the drawing board and work on some adjustments in his game, or else he won’t be able to regain his belt.

Q: Aren’t the Klitschko brothers going to fight each other or something? It seems to me that they are holding the major heavyweight belts hostage. What do you think?

A: Of course they aren’t going to fight each other—they’re brothers. Manny Pacquiao won’t fight Bobby, Nonito Donaire won’t fight Glenn, and I won’t ever fight my younger brother inside a boxing ring. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s just wrong. About your other question, I don’t necessarily think that the Klitschkos are taking the belts hostage because they aren’t ducking anyone anyway. They take on all comers. The problem is, they don’t make heavyweights like they used to, so those opponents that get thrown the Klitschko brothers’ way all suck. So what happens is that we get all these awful heavyweight fights that are just a pain to watch. My advice to you: stick to the lower weights so you can enjoy your boxing. Or if you want to watch overweight, out-of-shape big guys trying to beat each other up in slow motion, it’s up to you. This is a free country.

Q: Why are you so damn lazy? Instead of updating this blog almost every day, you barely post four or five entries per month. You should be ashamed.

A: Blogging about boxing and MMA won’t pay my bills or put food on my table or buy me beer. A day job will, that’s why I have one. And that day job requires me to work long hours, which can be mentally taxing. I don’t have all the time and energy to update this blog every day because I need to work. And this is not work, this is a hobby, a labor of love.  So there. Unless you can afford to give me at least a thousand bucks per day so I can focus full time on updating this blog more often, I suggest you shut the fuck up.

OK, that’s it. Schizo post over. Nothing to see here anymore. Till next time, folks.

Floyd is an “exciting” talker, but needs to be a more exciting fighter

Floyd_Baldomir(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on July 22, 2009)

by Mark Lorenzana

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is known for his tactical, defensive style when he fights. He might not be a crowd pleaser in the mold of the late Arturo Gatti or current pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, but you have to give credit where credit is due. The guy is one of the true master practitioners of the Sweet Science.

However, in contrast to his subdued and safety-first attitude inside the ring is his brash, offensive, and loud nature outside of it. Mayweather. is most especially adept at trash talking, and one would be hard put to distinguish between pure theatrics for the purposes of fight promotion and real insulting behavior.

Take Mayweather ‘s latest comment for instance, from a recent Cagewriter report: “In boxing, we know who’s dominating. Black fighters and Hispanic fighters is dominating in this sport. And this is not a racial statement but there’s no white fighters in boxing that’s dominating, so they had to go to something else and start something new.”

Let’s take a look at the current champions in several weight divisions to see if there is any truth to Mayweather’s claim.

In the heavweight division, Ruslan Chagaev and Nikolay Valuev currently share the WBA heavyweight title. Wladimir Klitschko currently holds the IBF, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine world heavyweight titles. His elder brother, Vitali Klitschko, is the current WBC world heavyweight champion. All four are white. Going down to cruiserweight, we have a couple of white fighters, Tomasz Adamek, the IBF titleholder, as well as Giacobbe Fragomeni, the WBC champion. Over at super middleweight, we have a trio of white boxers, namely WBA super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler, WBC super middleweight titlist Carl Froch, and IBF super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute. Felix Sturm and Kelly Pavlik, both white, hold most of the alphabet belts at middleweight. Vyacheslav Senchenko is the current WBA welterweight champion. And, you guessed it, he is white as well.

I’d like to go on and on but I guess I’ve already made my point. Those are already 12 Caucasian boxing champions that I mentioned. So, needless to say, Mayweather’s latest comment about black guys “dominating” boxing is really baseless. Remember, this is the same guy who criticized HBO and their broadcast team in an interview with Grand Rapids Press’ David Mayo last year.

“Even a guy like Jim Lampley, he praises Kelly Pavlik — who has won some good fights, he beat Jermain Taylor twice, we have to give him credit for that — but they talk about Kelly Pavlik, a white fighter, like he’s the second coming or they go crazy over Manny Pacquiao. But I’m a black fighter,” Mayweather. said.

“Is it racial? Absolutely. They praise white fighters, they praise Hispanic fighters, whatever. But black fighters, they never praise. I’ve noticed it for a long time but I couldn’t say anything because I had to do business with them. I’ll still do business with them, but I’m done holding my tongue.”

The HBO team did not praise Pavlik because he is white. They commended him for his fan-friendly fighting style. The HBO people go gaga over Pacquiao not because he is Filipino, but because he fights like there’s no tomorrow. HBO aired an Arturo Gatti tribute not because he was white, and fight fans mourn Gatti’s loss because he was the consummate blood and guts warrior, because of his fights with Micky Ward, and because he ignored pain and physical injury, leaving everything in the ring.

Truth is, maybe Mayweather is just unpopular with boxing fans, especially the casual boxing fans, because he isn’t that exciting to watch.

Ouch.

The truth hurts, but hey, it’s the truth. Mayweather can’t fault the fans if they don’t find him exciting enough. So, as you see, this is not an issue of race at all.

I cover both the MMA and boxing beat for this website and I don’t see a problem at all with both sports coexisting. The last thing we need is negative comments that could fuel hatred and bigotry.

One of my favorite fighters in MMA today is Anderson “The Spider” Silva. He is black. But I wouldn’t have cared any less if he were of another skin color. I really don’t care. I like Silva and respect him irrespective of his race. I follow his fights because I enjoy watching them.

I wish I could say the same thing for Mayweather. I wish I could say that I really enjoy watching his fights.

But then I remember his fight against Carlos Baldomir where a lot of fans left the stadium out of boredom long before the final bell rang.

I hope Mayweather does something soon, before it’s too late. I’m sure he wants to be remembered more as an exciting fighter rather than an “exciting” (with emphasis on the quotation marks) talker.

Should Floyd Jr. Jump the Queue on Pacquiao Sweepstakes?

(This piece appeared in 8CountNews on December 17, 2008)

by Mark Lorenzana

Oscar De La Hoya had barely managed to lick his wounds and bruises from the thrashing he received from Manny Pacquiao when Floyd Mayweather Jr. had begun making noises regarding a comeback.

If the reports are true, then Mayweather Jr. would be lacing up his gloves again after announcing his second retirement last year. The encore retirement (certainly uncalled for, since avid and hardcore boxing fans enjoy Floyd’s virtuoso performances every time he practices the Sweet Science) came at the heels of an impressive stoppage victory over Ricky Hatton.

In this day and age, it’s no longer an exaggeration to say that immediately after Pacquiao TKO’d De La Hoya, Money Mayweather saw dollar signs dancing in front of him. Mayweather Jr. had a grand time dancing with the stars, but he would probably have a grander time dancing with Pacquiao, the new Pay-Per-View king.

Apart from Mayweather Jr., a lot of fans and boxing pundits alike are salivating at the prospect of the current pound-for-pound champion going up against the former p4p king. And on paper, it truly is a match-up worth looking forward to: Pacman’s speed, agility, and relentless pressure against the Pretty Boy’s defense, ring smarts, and superb boxing ability. Add to that master tactician Freddie Roach’s recent hint that Mayweather Jr. is a boxer who doesn’t like pressure fighters, and you have an instant recipe for a great fight.

Of course, not everyone is ecstatic about all this premature hoopla. Especially Ricky Hatton.

The Hitman, fresh from a smashing TKO victory over Paulie Malignaggi last month, told the UK Sun that he wants to fight Pacquiao next: “I’ve put the hard work in and would like to get the chance to take on Manny,”

Hatton also expressed his displeasure regarding a possible fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather Jr.

“I’m not surprised Floyd is considering a return — but I’d be disappointed if he got in ahead of me,” Hatton said.

For one, Hatton worked his ass off training for the Malignaggi fight, and he delivered. Surely he has a point being disappointed should Mayweather Jr. jump ahead of him in the queue?

In Floyd’s case, he walked away from the game for a second time, enjoyed his money and retirement, and now he wants to come back to fight and get an immediate shot at Pacquiao?

Going back to Roach’s claim that Floyd doesn’t exactly enjoy dancing with pressure fighters, he might have struck gold there. Roach named Jose Luis Castillo as one of the pressure fighters that gave Mayweather Jr. fits. But Roach could have gone further and mentioned one Antonio Margarito. Apart from Pacquiao, the Tijuana Tornado is one of the toughest pressure fighters this game has ever seen.

Margarito COULD HAVE given Mayweather Jr. a run for his money, if only they met each other in the ring.

But wait, didn’t Margarito call out Mayweather Jr. several times in the past when the Pretty Boy was still fighting?

So why didn’t tough guy Floyd accept Margarito’s challenge? Why did he retire instead?

Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. afraid of Antonio Margarito? Is he ducking him? Yes or no?

Only Mayweather Jr. can answer all these questions.

Nobody is questioning Floyd’s skills. His ring generalship, speed, and evasive techniques will be more than enough to make a competitive fight against Margarito. A fight against Margarito would definitely be a winnable one. But what is speaking loudly here, and is perhaps the biggest thing that is keeping the fight from happening is Floyd’s own assumed name, Money.

Simply put, why not fight Margarito first for the glory and Pacquiao next for the money?

Oscar De La Hoya made the mistake of choosing the supposedly “easier” fight with Pacquiao because he knew the match-up would be a bigger draw. Again, it seems Mayweather Jr. is looking at a fight with Pacquiao instead of a Margarito fight because he figures that this would be the biggest paycheck available with minimum effort.

Maybe he should watch a rerun of the Pacquiao – De La Hoya fight and re-evaluate the meaning of “minimum effort”?

In the meantime, to be fair to all concerned – especially to Ricky Hatton – maybe it is better and wiser for Mayweather Jr. to wait in line along with the growing number of fighters who are scrambling to win the Pacquiao sweepstakes and get a crack at the Filipino firebrand.

After all, Manny Pacquiao the current pound-for-pound champion has earned the right to choose whoever he wants to fight next.

Irrespective of glory, money, or both.