It’s interesting; is HBO once again trying to anoint or create a star, much like they did prior to the fight between Tim Bradley and Devon Alexander, when it comes to Ward-Dawson? (which also has a companion “24/7” and “Face Off with Max Kellerman” in its lead-up). Some in the industry speculate that Ken Hershman, who came over from Showtime (and created his former network’s “Super Six” tournament), has a bit of an emotional attachment to Ward and is committed to making him into a name-brand fighter as vindication for his faith in him. Others say that long before Hershman was brought aboard, they had their eyes on Ward, believing he was the next American star. They would’ve made a strong push for him, regardless.
But the question has to be asked; if this much has to be done to prop up this fight, is it really worth what HBO is doling out to begin with?
According to the CSAC, the July 7th card at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California that featured Nonito Donaire against Jeffrey Mathebula (in a 122-pound title unification bout) sold 2,667 tickets, adding up to $149,246 in gate revenue. It’s clear that Donaire, for all his pound-for-pound accolades and achievements, is still not a draw and his brand is not all that strong (it didn’t help that Brandon Rios had to pull out of this card. Bottom line, losing a notable Mexican from this region is never a good thing if you’re looking for a successful promotion in Southern California).
It further puts the emphasis on Donaire once again being in an exciting contest, which is why Top Rank is so eager to match him with Jorge Arce (who couldn’t be in a bad fight if he tried) and is still working hard to find an open date in October at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Right now, Donaire is just another fighter who’s very lucky television executives seem to like him a lot more than the viewing public.
Here’s an email I got from a fan who’s about as big an admirer of the recently retired Glen Johnson as I am:
Hi Steve, just finished reading your tribute to our guy Glen. You did a nice job of giving him a much deserved last moment in the spotlight and I’m sure all his fans appreciated reading it. As you know, he’s been my favorite for a long time now and I will miss his dogged determination and absolute professionalism. I hope the Battleship will be happy and successful in his retirement. Glen seems like such a nice guy, you hope only good things come his way! Nice job and thanks for allowing Glen to “take a bow” for his many years and success in the ring. He will be missed!
Bill, as always thanks for the email. And yeah, Johnson was a pro’s pro and guys like him won’t come around much more often because the current marketplace just won’t allow it. Simply put, not many fighters will have the sheer will and determination to keep fighting the good fight when that system shuns them. In an era when so many talk of having misguided “swagger” while possessing a sense of entitlement, through it all, Johnson was a man of character and dignity.
BOXING AFTER FARCE?
I have no real objections to welterweight prospect Keith Thurman being featured on Saturday night’s HBO broadcast before WBO junior lightweight titlist Adrien Broner faces Vicente Escobedo at the U.S. Bank Arena in the main event. Opening slots on “Boxing After Dark” are designed for such appearances. However, what is very questionable is just who Thurman (a heavy-handed banger with a record of 17-0 with 16 knockouts) is being paired with.
Yeah, the same guy who was white-washed by Paulie Malignaggi last October on the Dawson-Bernard Hopkins I undercard in Los Angeles. But that isn’t really an indictment of Lora; after all, the “Magic Man” is a good boxer and now holds a welterweight belt. That said, in his two subsequent fights, Lora beat Francisco Villanueva (who came into the fight with a record of 11-27-2) in a six-rounder and then in early June, he fought to a six-round draw versus Francisco Rios (7-2-2 at the time).
This would be a questionable match-up on “ShoBox.” It’s even more head-scratching that it’s on HBO for a six-figure license fee several times that of “ShoBox.” Once again, I wonder just who is working for the network- and their subscribers- at HBO and who is working for the Haymon Boxing Organization.
Speaking of “ShoBox,” its August 24th card has a crossroads bout between Michael Perez and Fidel Maldonado and Randy Caballero could be facing Manuel Roman at the Fantasy Springs Casino...November 10th looks like it will be the date of Manny Pacquiao’s next fight. Now, the question is just who will he be facing?...Rising junior welterweight prospect Antonio Orozco got married on Thursday, so congrats to him and his bride, Claudia...Here’s the ticket info (from a press release) for the September 29th “Boxing After Dark” show at the Foxwoods featuring Edwin Rodriguez: Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 10 AM ET and can be purchased through the Foxwoods MGM Grand box office by calling 1 (800) 200-2882. Tickets are priced at $45, $75, $100 and $200...Andrew Luck getting his deal done with the Colts and getting into camp is the first step in having a good rookie campaign. I think he’s the real deal...So what, Dwight Howard is now willing to sign a long-term deal with the Lakers? Geez, this guy is wishy-washy...Honestly, if I was the Knicks, I wouldn’t have paid what the Rockets did for Jeremy Lin. That would’ve been plain Insanity (you see what I did there?)...Speaking of September 1st, that is a strong college football weekend with prime-time games featuring ‘Bama-Michigan and Clemson-Auburn...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.