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Been There, Done That (?)

Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao


 

This weekend, promoter Bob Arum will fly to the Philippines to meet with Manny Pacquiao to discuss just who the “Pac-Man” will face on November 10th in his next pay-per-view event in Las Vegas (and no, it will not be Floyd Mayweather, so just stop it- but more on that later). It seems like some familiar names are in the mix to face Pacquiao again.
 
“It’s [Juan Manuel] Marquez, Tim Bradley and [Miguel] Cotto if we can arrive at a weight,” Arum told Maxboxing on Monday (it was reported that Cotto- who for years was a Top Rank client - had given the green light to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer to proceed with his next fight at Madison Square Garden on December 1st: ringtv.craveonline.com/blog/. To this Arum replied, “He’s lying; typical Schaefer, who everyone is wondering why he’s so crazy and why he’s so spooked because we haven’t done anything to spook him and now we know.”).
 
Of the three names put forth by Arum, regardless of who makes the cut, there is still a bit of a problem they face. While the trio is comprised of quality fighters, there seems to be a bit of a fatigue regarding Marquez (who has faced Pacquiao three times) and there may not be much public demand for Bradley who, despite being gaining the decision over the Filipino icon in June, was thought to have received a gift. As for Cotto, Pacquiao soundly defeated him back in November of 2009.

 


It really looks like the race to face Pacquiao next is between Marquez and Bradley given that Cotto seems to have his heart set on headlining at the Garden and Arum has stated in the past that because of the tax situation in New York, Pacquiao would most likely never fight in that state.
 
“Well, you have to understand who you’re talking to,” explained Arum of what they are dealing with. “Marquez’s strength is the Hispanic support that he brings- which is not to be overlooked- and the Marquez fight [last November] did 400,000 buys higher than the Bradley fight. So without Anglos and so forth, boxing people, I think it’s the Bradley fight because of the Hispanic element. That changes the computation.”
 
The Pacquiao-Marquez fight last year was believed to have done fewer than 1.3 million pay-per-view purchases.
 
You have to wonder if the next Pacquiao fight will have a “Been there, done that” feel to it.
 
TMT
 
So what’s Arum’s two cents on the formation of TMT Promotions, headed by 50 Cent and rumored to be Floyd Mayweather’s newest promoter of record?
 
“I think it’s really good for boxing because if anybody has an idea on how to energize the urban community, it’s somebody like 50 Cent,” said Arum. “So I think that if he comes in and promotes and is able to do that, I think everybody benefits. Everybody benefits because, as you see, when we energized the Hispanic community and Hispanics turned on to boxing, that benefited non-Hispanic fighters because of the Hispanic fans. Well, the same thing will happen with the urban fans. So if he can reinvigorate the urban base, well, that’s great for everyone in boxing.”
 
So with this development, does it increase the percentages of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in 2013?
 
“Yeah, I just got off the phone talking with certain people and I think so because it strips away a lot of the non-essential issues that were present with a Golden Boy-Top Rank promotion. Those issues would not be the same,” answered Arum.
 
Perhaps, this is a case of “My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Regardless of his personal relationship with 50 (who recently paid a handsome sum to Top Rank for the services of Yuriorkis Gamboa), Arum says, “I have never met him; I met some of the people around him and I like what he’s saying and yeah, I look forward to doing stuff with him and I think it’s a positive thing.”
 
FILIPINO FLASH
 
There are a few changes regarding the next fight for Nonito Donaire, who was thought to be facing Jorge Arce on October 20th. This card has been moved up a week to accommodate Filipino television and it looks like he won’t be facing “Travieso” after all.
 
“That is correct,” said Arum. “We want to make sure because it’s a major HBO card- we’re talking Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado- that we want to get Donaire the biggest challenge and the biggest challenge that’s out there that’s readily available- and that’s [Toshiaki] Nishioka.”
 
But hold on; that’s a nice fight and all but did he say Rios and Alvarado on the undercard?
 
“Yeah, and who says it’s the undercard?” replied Arum. “They’re going to fight each other on that card. We’ll determine what the main event is.” OK, cross your fingers on that coming to fruition. Seeing is believing.
 
As for the potential match-up between WBO featherweight titlist Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia, which was talked about as a possible opener for Donaire, it could possibly end up on the Pacquiao undercard. But Arum notes, “We have an obligation to Showtime and we’re telling them, ‘Look, you have rights on this fight because you did the other fight in Puerto Rico [between Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez back in March]. Let us know if you want to do it or not.’”
 
BATTLE
 
In what is a sign of the times in boxing, with Donaire moving to HBO on October 13th, this means he will be fighting on the same night Abner Mares performs on Showtime. So what we have are two guys who should be on a collision course with each other (in what would be the most commercially viable and perhaps best stylistic match-up at 122) instead seemingly moving opposite ways on separate networks, fulfilling their destinies without one another.
 
Yeah, it’s the “Cold War.”
 
EMAIL
 
I got this in my inbox on Tuesday from a dedicated reader, who I wish would write in more often with his thoughts:
 
What’s good Steve!
 
 
To underscore your point, boxing is a hard business – littered with the wreckage of failed promoters, managers and poor souls who thought they could hustle the system. Mayweather will not be “muscle” forever; TMT won’t be able to use him as leverage forever. Floyd looks to have lost a step, so they may only have another 2-3 years of Mayweather muscle left to flex. After that, you’re going to have to create a real firm – one that can withstand the loss of its cash cow and weather downturns. I’m of the opinion that the average street hustler is as good a business man as the guys I see in conference rooms every day. So I won’t discount Mayweather and 50. But, it won’t be long before TMT faces serious existential issues.
 
I finally caught up on a bunch of fights. Just my opinions:
 
·         I am really excited about Ward-Dawson. I pride myself on not being a “fan” of anything but the sport itself, but I really like Ward; he fights old-school. And I haven’t been this excited about a fighter since Tito left a wake of destruction through the welter, jr. middle and middle weights.
·         Martinez-Chavez. Martinez is a small middle-weight. Chavez is a huge middleweight – a beast; Chavez may be Bane to Martinez’s Batman (no I didn’t see the movie). Martinez is no spring chicken. Taken together it is recipe for disaster for Martinez. I can envision Chavez simply walking through Martinez’s punches – forcing Martinez to move constantly. Everything depends on conditioning: if Martinez can keep moving for 12 rounds and if Chavez is fit enough to chase him down. Did I mention that Martinez is no spring chicken? That being said, I’m really excited about this fight.
·         From the outset, a blind man could see that Garcia had conceded the speed advantage to Khan and was committed to timing him. It was only a matter of time before Garcia caught him. The question was: how would Khan handle it? I was never sold on Amir Kahn. I like him: he’s personable, likeable, good for the sport. But my early assessment was that he was fast, strong and talented – but not exceptionally so (he doesn’t have Bronner type talent). I felt he was hiding behind his superior height and size (he towers over his opponents). Virgil Hill said he was well into his career before he understood why threw the punches he did. Khan seems to throw punches without knowing why he is doing it – he just knows he has to keep his hands moving. And he takes punches flush (in this way, he reminds me of Fernando Vargas) and doesn’t know the meaning of clinching. In a nutshell: he lacks ring intelligence and doesn’t seem to be getting any smarter. I’m no trainer, but I would make Khan spar without throwing a punch. Basically three minutes of slipping punches.
·         Nonito Donaire. Since he’s moved up, the only thing that I see in Nonito is diminishing returns. He doesn’t seem as fast – or strong as he was in lower weights. On top of that he has a disease: fast-twitch-itis. It’s a disease that emerged in the late 20thcentury and was first diagnosed in one Roy Jones Junior. The victims of this disease, although seemingly gifted,  tend to be lose all sense of boxing fundamentals, become incapable of throwing a jab and can’t control the urge to leap in and lead with their dominant hand.
·         Adrien Broner really is a problem. He’s certainly gifted. But that swagger is annoying!
·         Victor Ortiz has succeeded Kermit Cintron as the king of fighters who can’t get out of their own way. Cintron seemed to be hard luck fighter – but the truth is he always did just enough to sabotage his career. Ortiz is the same. Something about Ortiz makes him seem stupid (I hate to use that word). Maybe it’s the vapid look in his eyes.
·         Canelo easily beats Lopez. Lopez was clearly over-powered against Ortiz. He will be too aginst Canelo -
 
Have a good one.
 
oo
 
Honestly, most of what you said about the fights/fighters, I can’t disagree with (except the part about Ward-Dawson. Honestly, that could be a tactical snoozer and I’m far from convinced that Ward has any real star power) but your opening point about TMT Promotions is very interesting and true. While many out there are already hailing 50 and “Money” for changing the business, cleaning up the sport, etc., I think we should all perhaps let them put on their first card before making any proclamations.
 
That said, most of your points are spot on and it’s interesting, if you look at the boxers they have inked (Gamboa, Andre Dirrell, Billy Dib and perhaps Zab Judah, Celestino Caballero and Andre Berto), you have some notable names. And it’s a nice collection of talent but if you combined the attendance of their last fights, you probably don’t have what Mayweather gets for his weigh-ins. I see guys who can fill out pay-per-view undercards and perform in small ballrooms on HBO. It’s one thing to sign talent to lucrative contracts; it’s a whole ‘nother thing to make those deals profitable over the long haul as part of your business plan.
 
Making it in this industry isn’t easy as you pointed out. Many have tried; few have succeeded.
 
It’s easier said than done.
 
OLYMPIC FLURRIES
 
Watching Olympic boxing is a chore (yeah, I said it) but one guy who has gotten my attention is Puerto Rican lightweight Felix Verdejo...Pier-Olivier Cote will face Ali Chebah (and the 40 Thieves) November 3rd on the same card featuring Lucian Bute vs. Denis Grachev at the Bell Centre in Montreal...Thomas Oosthuizen faces Rowland Bryant in the latest edition of “Broadway Boxing” this Thursday night in New York...Nice pick-up by USC with Silas Redd; he’s that change-moving running back that was the missing piece to this high-powered attack...Is Michael Phelps the greatest U.S. Olympian ever?...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.


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