Hey Sport’s fans as we roll out the carpet of match ups for 2017 you’ll notice a lot of stains from last year come along with it. While there are some exciting fights signed and sealed that guarantee a brush fire of excitement, the first half of calendar year is already littered with cheap talk, phony promises, steroids, cherry picking, threats of contract breach, excuses, court cases, and one bitter pill. Look let the cable giants, fighters, managers and promoters bullshit you, but I’m here to tell you, “Glory Days” doesn’t play that game.
Certainly the ride is going to be worth taking, but there is already enough debris on the horizon to confuse and muddle the landscape after the first third of year slides into spring where the second wave of fisticuffs usually ignites enthusiasm again. So instead of handicapping this week or highlighting the next big fight here’s a glimpse behind the scenes of our beloved sport, good and bad, shooting from the hip with no holds barred.
Forgive me if things are out of sequence as my mind is like a giant snow globe of boxing tidbits shaken not stirred. The only way to cleanse brain matter is one tall highball of Grey Goose Citrus on ice and then shake my head violently like a giant Etch-a Sketch and start typing…
Let’s start at random with Oscar De La Hoya who has graced the news lines several times in last week. He was arrested for drunk driving in Pasadena California. OK, we’re all human and make mistakes so come on Oscar you have too much to live for. Perhaps losing his 300 million antitrust lawsuit against Al Haymon’s Premiere Boxing Champions which was dismissed Judge John F. Walter led him to drown his sorrows. Maybe this in turn isn’t as bad as the public snickering at his golden goose Canelo Alvarez signed to meet Julio Cesar Chavez, JR. on May 6th at a catch weight of 164.5. Writers and fans alike sing hallelujah as Canelo has claimed for three years running that he can’t meet Gennady Golovkin yet because he isn’t a middleweight, yet usually enters ring at 170 lbs for years after making his opponents agree to 155 catch weight.
Should Chavez, JR. pull a miracle out his ass and win puts Oscar’s 100 million dollar extravaganza against “GGG” is in jeopardy. Regardless of how well this bout is promoted De La Hoya picked Chavez, JR. as a safe opponent. Question is if Golovkin turns back the challenge of Daniel Jacobs possibly his best foe to date will Oscar still deride him as the “B” side of promotion and still insist on offering a 10 million guarantee while Golden Boy takes 90% is just another way of ducking fight which has an expiration date this year? If “GGG” is wearing Jacobs belt in March adoring his shoulder with other hardware would leave only Billy Joe Saunders WBO belt out of his possession. If I were Abel Sanchez I’d make that fight first forcing Oscar and Canelo to concede a split of pay per view bonanza. Sanchez has acknowledged Alvarez’s drawing power and has asked for a 60/40 split in challenger’s favor.
Steroids have become a black eye for the sport, but not getting the press that baseball cheats get. I stand with my fellow writers and ask for commissions to install a lifetime ban to protect the integrity of the sport. To be fair to the cheaters recently caught like heavyweights Alexander Povetkin and Andrzej Wawrzyk… It would not be retroactive, but they need to be dealt a severe punishment and fine.
Speaking of these two cheaters who both lost title shots in tandem to WBC champion Deontay Wilder saw their golden opportunity passed on to undefeated Gerald Washington on 2/25 In Birmingham Alabama. (Will handicap this one before fight night in detail)
Wilder turned down Luis Ortiz claiming he didn’t have enough time to prepare for such a choice. Well, what the hell have you been doing in gym? Last time we saw Ortiz he was rusty, out of shape and terribly predictable looking nothing like the terror he was a year ago. Deontay missed a golden opportunity to get past him now because he surly won’t if Luis is allowed more time to train. Remember I said it here first.
Anthony Joshua takes on Wladimir Klitschko on 4/29 for bragging rights as the best heavyweight or changing of the guard as I predict. Tyson Fury made usual fool of himself calling out winner in the press.
Chris Eubank, JR. takes on pointless match against Renold Quinlan for the silly IBO super middleweight title (RSR doesn’t recognize this title!). Damn, it disgusts me to even type that let alone say it. Here’s a brash young fighter who never shuts up about how great he is yet last year passed up “the” title fight with “GGG” as Eubank, SR. notoriously misguides his son’s career and over estimates his market value and status among the boxing elite. Sorry guys, you just aren’t there yet. Billy Joe Saunders spanked you one handed and even if you looked great in final round, you as a team both looked average to me. Going after a fighter who has an 11-1, 7 KO’s record is laughable, and gents do not make me laugh while I am drinking hence the possibility of losing Vodka on my keyboard. Billy Joe is a year overdue to make his mandatory defense.
Big props to both Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia for making their title unification March 4th a reality. While I have gone on record picking a Thurman win, the winner of this bout needs to focus on a sequel, and I’m not talking rematch. Danny is famous for not granting rematches in close bouts that many deemed gifts. With two more belts out there held by respected champions it would be in everyone’s best interest to get in at least one more unification bout this year. I suspect Bob Arum who controls WBO champion Manny Pacquiao has other plans so calling out IBF King Kell Brook makes perfect sense. Brook currently is on a limited time frame to decide if he will defend against mandatory Errol Spence, JR. or move up to 154 pound division where his name will no doubt garner a title shot on request.
Angel Garcia, Danny’s father has been banned from all future press conferences concerning this bout because of a racist rant that took place two weeks ago. No one has the authority to prohibit him from working the corner unless it concerns proof of wrong doing. Any fine or suspension will be handed down by N.Y. Athletic Commission. When this cat used to talk shit he was hilarious. He’s gone too far and his act is getting old. There simply is no place in boxing for racism.
The world spins on an axis not on self-imposed privileges. Keep having fans write in telling me how bored they are with the colossal ego of Andre Ward who has hinted at retirement instead of honoring his rematch clause with Sergey Kovalev. Yours truly through 20/20 vision saw Ward gifted with absurd decision where he was given rounds simply for fighting back after literally giving first half of bout away including being dropped early putting him seven points behind going into round seven. I gave Andre rounds 7, 8, 9, and 11. What infuriates fans and burns my ass is that Ward has the brass balls to say he needs to get paid what he’s worth! This coming from the one time challenger who received 150% more up front guaranteed money than the long standing triple belt holder. As of this writing it isn’t clear if Main Events will sue to enforce contract and no possible date has been mentioned.
Naturally Adonis Stevenson who ducked Kovalev for three years was calling out the winner. Pathetic!
Miguel Cotto takes on James Kirkland on 2/25 in Texas hosted by HBO PPV. Sorry this is for hardcore fans only as Kirkland is not a pay per view worthy foe. Last time we saw both men in ring they had just faced Canelo Alvarez. Cotto lost a clear cut decision but in his heart he believed he won. James on the other hand was counted out and left for dead in the third round becoming high lite KO of year. If Canelo couldn’t get the good wood on Miguel what chance does Kirkland have? Save your money gents, go live stream! As this article was about to go to editor this bout has been canceled due to Kirkland suffering a broken nose. The entire promotion has been scraped without enough time to promote a substitute replacement for Cotto. This doesn’t fare well for HBO who had a slumping year in ’16.
Amir Kahn is in the midst of not only personal disarray, but his career is also. Coming back from career ending hand reconstructive surgery it’s not even known if it will hold up under fire. Kahn has just omitted to open press that a video of him engaging in a sex act on Skype talking with a young model is indeed him, but was filmed before he was married. He has denied divorce rumors. This week he has dismissed family members who controlled the business end of his career. Foolishly he over estimates his self-worth in today’s market and also was last seen in the ring left for dead courtesy of Canelo Alvarez right hand. He has balked at fighting Kell Brook unless he received the lion’s share of gate and profits. This bout too has an expiration date. The very next boxer who defeats Kahn makes this once appealing match null and void. Wake up Kahn, your over embellished sense of your ranking in market place has caused you to lose out on mega paydays against Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, JR. Your options are dropping faster than you do.
Pacquiao takes on limited Jeff Horn on 4/22 in Australia. Unless Horn brings in his own judges this turns out to be merely a tune up for a bigger name for spring, and possibly the last on Pac’s ledger.
Bob Arum has run out of welterweights from his own stable to match Manny with teasing fans of the possibility of junior welterweight champ Terrence Crawford stepping up to 147 in a quest to officially pass the torch. On paper, it has as good a shot as any for fight of the year.
Adrien Broner is two weeks shy of tangling with Adrian Granados. On paper this looks like another hand fed bone being thrown by Showtime to keep Broner in spotlight as Granados sports a record of 18-4-2, 12 KO’s. The kid has never been stopped and riding a four bout win streak. Besides a draw with one time champion Kermit Cintron back in 2013 his record is barren of contenders. If Broner is ever going to get back in the game he needs to close his mouth and let his hands go.
Come March 18th Madison Square Garden returns to its former glory hosting “GGG” Vs Daniel Jacobs. I’m excited about this one as Danny boasts the power, speed, and experience to give Golovkin his best test to date. Some things to keep in focus. Jacobs has only one loss on his record. Dimity Pirog stopped him in five back in 2010 from a bone jarring overhand right. It is speculated by time frame that Jacobs was already suffering osteosarcoma cancer which was diagnosed the following year. Since then and his miraculous recovery Jacobs has stopped his last 12 opponents. The WBA had mandated this bout twice in last year in which Jacobs refused to deal cards and somehow was allowed to keep one of the versions of their belt. The longer this fight goes by the better it will get giving credence to both combatants. If Danny upsets the applecart as G will be the betting favorite he will become a star overnight. If he loses by stoppage or clear decision it will be fascinating to hear the “haters” disqualify Jacobs as a real threat. Interesting that trainer and analyst Teddy Atlas has removed “GGG” from his top ten P4P list this week. Wake up call Teddy. Sorry Golovkin ain’t no “fireman” but he belongs in top three until someone proves otherwise.
Floyd Mayweather, JR. had my ear last month along with assembled media post-fight after the James DeGale/Badou Jack super middleweight fight. He made it perfectly clear he will not engage in another boxing match unless it was against UFC fighter Conor McGregor. From a financial standpoint it is the only bout that makes sense for Floyd as mixed martial art dance partner is a high draw with pay per view and would guarantee him 100 million plus against a guarantee of 25 for Conor.
Boxing trainers around the world will testify it takes at least three years to develop a talented kid into a boxer. History has proven that MMA skills don’t translate when in a boxing ring with leather gloves. Floyd seemed over joyed at being officially retired and having the prospect of this bout come to fruition. Rumors have surfaced that McGregor is not having an easy time of it sparring welters on Mayweather, JR.’s, real estate. One can argue Floyd’s place in history but not his business acumen. Floyd always had supernatural skills at promoting himself while earning more money than anyone who ever came before him. Odds this spectacle take place are 3 to 1 because Floyd wants it and knows the strings to pull and buttons to push to make it happen. Another pill I’d pass on and live stream.
The Degale/Jack unification was ruled a MD. James took an early lead just to see it vanish with a strong second half by Jack. I scored it a draw, but the crowd at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn were behind Jack. At the finish, he looked like he was just warming up in the championship rounds while James looked worse for wear. While both kept their belts Badou said post-fight he was moving up to light heavyweight. On the undercard we saw the coronation of Mayweather, JR.’s protégé’ Gervonta Davis. Super featherweight looks to be the goods and really has his own style.
Speaking of super featherweights they just raised hell last week with memorable fights conjuring up memories of the glory days where boxers put it all on the line or be carried out on their shield. Takashi Muira stopped rugged Miguel Roman in the 12th round of a brutal affair.
Carl Frampton rematched Leo Santa Cruz and lost his belt back to his taller foe who was able to make the necessary adjustments from the first fight taking full advantage of his height and reach capturing a majority decision. Fans were screaming rubber match but I seriously doubt if a third match would look any different than this one. Cruz has Frampton’s number and I doubt he could do anything to overcome the odds stacked against him.
Miguel “The Scorpion” Berchelt stopped favored Francisco Vargas in eleven entertaining rounds of fistic mayhem. It’s this scribes contention that both Muira and Vargas should take a year off to allow their facial wounds and bodies to heal completely before engaging in another bout where instinct takes over and they lead with their faces going for broke.
Mikey Garcia raised his record to 36-0, 30 KO’s in a workman like yet easy stoppage of Dejan Zlaticnin in three rounds and liberated his lightweight belt. The boxing world’s pulse went up to fever proportions with the prospect of Garcia tangling in future with superstar Vasyl Lomachenko whose contrasting style makes the bout a sure fire classic. Vasyl is penciled in for a defense against Jason Sosa on 4/8 in Washington DC.
Guillermo Rigondeaux gets back in the ring in three weeks on 2/25 meeting Moises Flores as he defends his WBA super Bantamweight belt. “Rigo” has fought only twice in past two years.
Finally, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez defends his WBC super-flyweight title against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on the Golovkin/Jacobs undercard March 18th.
Stay tuned…Contact the Feature Writers