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He May not Be Good but He’s Important

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)


This Saturday from the Venetian Casino and Resort in Macao, Zou Shiming faces Jesus Ortega in his second professional outing. There is some derision over Shiming being showcased by HBO2 (5:30 p.m., ET/PT). Yeah, he’s a two-time gold medalist but Guillermo Rigondeaux he ain’t. To be blunt, Shiming isn’t all that good. He’s awkward and gangly and at 32 years old, there doesn’t seem all that much room for growth.
 
So, yeah, why is he the main event on this telecast?
 
Well, it says here that while, to the Asian customers at the Cotai Arena, he’s the featured attraction, to the rest of the world, Shiming is the walk-out bout after Evgeny Gradovich vs. Mauricio Munoz and Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Milan Melindo take place.

(And get this; because he’s the last bout of the broadcast, you have the option of changing the channel as he walks into the ring. Yeah, imagine that; you don’t even have to watch him flail away if you so desire. But tell me that watching those other two fights on HBO2 doesn’t beat viewing it on some stream.)
 
Shiming may not be the most talented professional fighter but make no doubt about it; he’s vital to the professional boxing business in Asia and Top Rank’s expansion into it. You don’t have to be Teddy Brenner to figure out he has a very limited ceiling (like many other modern-day amateurs, his amateur accomplishments are more about his style - and perhaps politics - than actual skill). But he is a pioneer in many ways. Hey, Shiming doesn’t have to be a great fighter to make an impact. Fact is, that may have already happened.
 
“We’ve already succeeded far more than we realized. He’s become a big, big star in Macao,” said Bob Arum, who has taken on the task of promoting Shiming. “He’s largely responsible for both of these shows in April and July. He’ll be part of the November card [featuring Brandon Rios and Manny Pacquiao]. His last fight, there were over 11,000 articles written about him. So we’re going to stay with Macao, Singapore for awhile longer and then eventually bring him over to the United States and hope to create a fan-base for him - particularly among the Chinese who live in the United States.”
 
Perhaps Shiming can gain the support of Asian-Americans the way Yao Ming did in the past or Jeremy Lin does presently. But the NBA is much more popular in the States and it has to be pointed out (again) that Shiming isn’t as adept at his sport as Ming or Lin were/are at hoops.
 
But in the big picture, does that even matter?
 
Even Arum - who probably has a hard time believing his own words as he props up Shiming as a future world champion - concedes that his biggest impact might be that of someone who creates avenues of opportunities for other boxers.
 
“Well, certainly opening doors for Asian fighters, particularly Chinese fighters. We have a number of other Chinese fighters that have come to us,” said Arum, who recently signed Japanese gold medalist Ryota Murata. “So yeah, he’s very, very important and he’s a great person to be the first Chinese star because he’s such a nice boy and he conducts himself so well.” (this much is true; you won’t meet a more amiable individual than Shiming).
 
Yeah, he may not be good but he’s important.
 
And because he’s important, that’s good enough.
 
COBRA
 
It was officially announced today by promoter Eddie Hearn that IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch will face George Groves at a site and date (sometime between late November and December) to be determined. If it ends up being November 23rd, this means HBO would not televise it given they have a pay-per-view card on that date.
 
Groves is a talented young fighter with a solid skill set. This should be a well-contested prizefight wherever and whenever it takes place.
 
AMWAY
 
The official announcement of the October 5th bout between Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez was made on Tuesday afternoon at the Amway Center in Orlando, where the fight will be held. Here’s the ticket info (from a Top Rank release):
 
Tickets to Cotto vs. Rodriguez will go on sale, Tuesday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. ET.  Priced at $150, $100, $50 and $25, tickets can be purchased online at amwaycenter.com, Chase® Box Office at Amway Center, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster.com. All dates, act(s) and ticket prices are subject to change without notice. All tickets are subject to applicable taxes, service, handling and facility fee charges. For Amway Center box office and ticket information, visit amwaycenter.com (phone purchases are not available through the Amway Center box office). The Amway Center is located at 400 West Church Street and the box office is located on the north side of the Amway Center, near the intersection of Church Street and Hughey Avenue.

TNR

Here’s the latest edition of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thenextround/2013/07/23/episode-443

FINAL FLURRIES
 
 
The heavyweight bout in Macao between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Joe Hanks will be part of the UniMas broadcast on Saturday night...Gary Gittelsohn is now managing IBF lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez...WealthTV will carrry the WBO title tilt between titlist Ricky Burns and Ray Beltran...RIP to Emile Griffith...Mickey Donovan (portrayed by Jon Voight) might be my favorite character in all of TV, right now...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, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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