Every day I check the headlines to see if my NBA season still has a chance. It’s getting bleak. I love seeing Lakers Derek Fisher give an update on a lack of a progress and it saddens me. I tuned in to NBA TV and saw Jordan Farmar playing for some Turkish League, I think? Oh, it breaks the heart. Kobe had been out and about in Europe – but I saw him in a pic with Pacquiao so maybe he’s around here somewhere. My boy Pau Gasol is in Spain and I get Facebook updates. I give up. I’ve become a college football fan and I did watch the USC – Stanford game that resulted in a triple OT game. I’ve managed to get my lack of NBA season sports fix through college football and even catch an occasional NFL game. Yes, RSR fans, I know Los Angeles doesn’t have a team, but we’re working on it – supposedly. Also, I actually had tuned into the USC – Stanford game when the UFC fights were over.
This weekend, RSR Readers, is the penultimate in a combat sports weekend. First, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao goes up against Juan Manuel Marquez in the third installment of their fighting trilogy. Second, the UFC fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez will be broadcast as a non-PPV event on Fox Sports. Dana White really wants to make a point here. It’s a combat sports weekend and I am loving it. However, there will be an inevitable comparison. And sadly, the UFC just might squeak by as the viewers’ choice. As for me, I’m DVR’ing the UFC fight, but watching the Pacquiao vs Marquez bout with family in conjunction with my nephew’s birthday. I have to bring the cake.
But let’s start with the boxing portion of Saturday night. As we’ve covered, my beloved sweet science has been hit hard with some really bad fights. This is not to call out Golden Boy by any means. Two fights this year have really given boxing a black eye – bad pun intended folks. And luckily, I didn’t purchase either fight. Had I bought both Mayweather vs Ortiz and Dawson vs Hopkins, I surely would have had DISH network on my speed dial to get an immediate refund. Both bouts ended too quickly and under rather strange referee decisions that had many people, all fight fans alike, call for the F-word (FIXED). The Mayweather vs Ortiz bout was a sad lesson in “protect yourself at all times” rule of boxing 101. The Dawson vs Hopkins bout, which I have DVR’d, I have to watch again really. I’m left speechless. Regardless, in the strange coincidental and by chance world of combat sports, it’s unpredictability that is the real draw.
This past weekend, HBO broadcast both Pacquiao vs Marquez’s previous bouts. I loved watching both bouts because we all now know how each fighter has fared since. Pacquiao’s development since 2004 then later in their second bout in 2008 shows an evolution in skill in becoming the best pound for pound fighter of his generation. Pacquiao vs Marquez III may not be as exciting as the first two and I say this because both Pacquiao and Marquez are different fighters from over 7 years ago. Both are better boxers and I foresee 12 rounds. In a recent episode of HBO’s 24/7, the KO rumor is 6 rounds.
For right now, however, the Saturday showdown between Pacquiao and Marquez needs to be a good fight. By a good fight, I mean at least going beyond 2 rounds. I can’t think beyond this fight on Saturday. Except for one point perhaps. I think we all know who is going to be sitting ringside next to 50 Cent. Although the rumors have been starting for over 2 years now about a Mayweather – Pacquiao bout, it is perhaps the singular bout that needs to happen sooner rather than later. I’m sick of all the ducking between both Mayweather and Pacquiao. Seriously, two of the best boxers in the world simply cannot agree on terms of a fight? Don’t they already know whoever wins or loses should and will get an automatic rematch? Go Pacquiao! I’ll leave it at that.
From now until the end of the year, boxing still has some excellent fights to get in. There is Ward vs Froch – the final grand finale in the soap opera that has plagued the Super Six Middleweight Tournament. It has indeed been a lesson in what you can’t expect to happen will ultimately happen. There is Cotto vs Margarito and I’m already getting tingles about the installment of Max Kellerman’s Face/Off episode. Cotto vs Margarito on December 3rd should be a good one. But as for a combat sports weekend, it may be a split screen weekend for some.
Now for the MMA portion of Saturday. I’m getting a little tired of the MMA vs boxing argument. I’ve been lectured at, talked down to about the merits of MMA over boxing. As far as I see, MMA has evolved in the last couple of years in striking. In one season of the Ultimate Fighter, UFC champ GSP brought in Freddie Roach to coach in one episode. Striking in MMA needs to be a bit more refined while balancing its explosiveness to knockout. It cannot be argued enough that boxing is truly the forerunner for the success of MMA. So yes, split screen for me. Although I think Velasquez is going to win.
So this is my Saturday. Bring birthday cake for nephew. Set DVR for Fox. Be at party, drink a beer (or two), watch boxing undercard, drink a beer (or three or four). Finally, Pacquiao vs Marquez fight. If I drink and have cake, I won’t be going anywhere. Then again, it is a combat sports Saturday. I’ll be tuned to see a battle, a skillful interplay between two warriors skilled in their respective combat sport. I want a fair fight and I want blood. I want the fight to be interesting and keep in mind the athleticism and skill the fighters express against one another. A fighter emerges victorious. There is no such thing as second place in combat sports. No NBA games. No college football for me. It’s a combat sports weekend and I’m ready – birthday cake and beers in hand.