Is it just me or has HBO Boxing completely lost its luster? I remember, and this was not so long ago, when every single fight that HBO aired, whether on HBO Championship Boxing or Boxing After Dark, was an anticipated marquee fight. Amir Khan vs. Paulie Malignaggi just did not seem to generate that same excitement or level of quality that old school HBO Boxing fans have grown to expect. Why are HBO pushing the talented but protected Amir Khan, recycling the used up Paulie Malignaggi, while boxing out the top ranked in the division like Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander? I give credit to Khan for dominating Malignaggi in such a one-sided fashion, forcing a referee stoppage, but why was this match up made in the first place? The buzz for this fight was almost nonexistent as evident from the very few number of emails I received talking about Khan vs. Malignaggi.
Welcome to the mailbag by the way. I had to get my weekly rant out of the way first, bashing HBO’s latest meager attempt at putting on a boxing program. I have heard speculation that HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg is purposely sabotaging the once great boxing programming on HBO because he doesn’t like boxing and would rather not deal with it. If that is true, which I doubt since I prefer to believe that Greenburg is just incompetent at picking quality match ups, then perhaps Ross got the idea from boxing-hating newspaper editors all across the country who successfully purged boxing from local press.
HBO should take a page from Showtime’s book and create a Super Six style tournament for the junior welterweight division. There is plenty of equally matched talent in the division. The tournament should consist of Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, Victor Ortiz, and possibly Ricky Hatton if he is willing. I can only imagine the jolt of life boxing would receive if elite tournaments were held in every division.
In other fight action over the weekend, the UFC’s main competitor, Strikeforce, put on a significant heavyweight match up between their champion Alistair Overeem and Brett Rogers. Overeem dominated from start to finish, scoring a first round knockout with about a minute and a half left to go in the first period. As much as UFC would like to downplay Strikeforce as a legitimate MMA organization, there is no denying that Strikeforce has excellent fighters, especially in the heavyweight division. If Fedor Emelianenko can get past Fabricio Werdum this summer, Overeem vs. Emelianenko is the best fight that can be made in all of MMA (since Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar apparently can’t be made).
Looking forward to future events, next weekend boxing fans will be treated to the fourth installment of the epic rivalry between Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez. Neither has been active recently, and for good reason. Marquez and Vazquez beat the crap out each other in their previous three fights and deserved a good rest. Even with the long layoffs, I doubt that either could ever be the same after those wars. Expect another brawl since I don’t think these two Mexican sluggers could fight any other way against each other.
Later this month is the next UFC PPV between Rashad Evans and Quentin Jackson. Betting odds have that fight as dead even, although I slightly favor Evans since Jackson has been busy making movies instead of fighting. Also on May 29th is the epic mismatch between Vitali Klitschko and Albert Sosnowski. I am curious to see the over/under that bookies make for that fight since a Klitschko KO is almost certain.
Onto the mailbag, we start of this week chatting with a grumpy gambling addict. Enjoy!
Amir Khan was a huge favorite against Paulie Malignaggi, at -500, so everyone knew that he was going to win. I wasn’t going to touch that line. I went with Khan by decision at +145 thinking that Malignaggi was tough enough to finish the fight considering that he went the distance against a prime Miguel Cotto and all.
I thought that my bet was in the bank until the referee stopped the fight when Paulie wasn’t hurt or knocked down. What the hell? Malignaggi easily could have finished that fight. That referee robbed me. Sure, I’ll admit that Khan was more dominant than I expected, but he didn’t earn that knockout.
Boxing is stupid and rigged.
-Jaded in New Jersey
Yes, Paulie Malignaggi probably could have made the final bell. He was getting hit hard and clean repeatedly in his face causing his face to turn bright red, but to his credit his chin held up and he did not appear hurt at anytime, only overwhelmed.
But why let Malignaggi finish the fight when there was no reason to go on? Khan easily had the fight in the bag. There was no way that Paulie was going to come back, especially since he doesn’t have the big knockout punch. Nobody knew of or cared about your bet I’m sorry to say. All the referee did was try to save Malignaggi unnecessary punishment because he was getting pummeled. I agree with the stoppage and am impressed that Khan was able to stop Malignaggi when other marquee fighters, like Cotto, were unable to.
Funny how the only ones who are mad about these kinds of stoppages are the ones who had money on the fight. Quit being so selfish and think about the fighters and their safety!
Miguel Cotto vs. Yuri Foreman
I keep hearing about this fight that is going to take place at the new Yankee Stadium in New York. Seems like more than the fighters the promotion is hyping up the venue.
A couple of years ago I would have favored Cotto no problem in this one. Cotto might be a little shell-shocked now. Pacquiao has a tendency of ruining guys and sure enough Miguel doesn’t look the same. I’m not that impressed with Foreman but he might just be able to beat the worn down former champ. What do you think?
I think I am more excited about the venue than the fighters as well! Boxing and Yankee Stadium have a long, storied history but we haven’t had a fight at Yankee Stadium in many years. Major championship and historical fights were held at Yankee Stadium to packed crowds and worldwide press, including Rocky Marciano vs. Archie Moore, Willie Pep vs. Sandy Saddler, Max Baer vs. Max Schmeling and many more. I love that Bob Arum is taking us back through time, and also that he is making a concerted effort to hold fights at local sports arenas instead of defaulting to the casinos every time. This will help the sport by making boxing a live event again instead of just a TV sport.
Concerning the match up Yuri Foreman vs. Miguel Cotto, I agree with you man. A while ago I would have strongly favored the hard-hitting and supremely skill Cotto. But like you said, Cotto looks really shop worn and has since perhaps the loss to Antonio Margarito. Those cement gloves may have ruined him. Miguel looked less than himself against Joshua Clottey as well. If his decline started before the Pacquiao fight, Manny completed the decline. With that said, the younger, well-schooled Foreman is a very good boxer. His jab and defense could trouble Miguel en route to a unanimous decision.
However if the analysis of Cotto’s demise is exaggerated at all I think he’ll win. Cotto, in his prime, had the perfect style to take out light hitting defensive boxers. Foreman vs. Cotto should be an interesting fight at the very least simply to see Cotto’s current form. I’m looking forward to June 5th.
Overeem Looks Scary
Alistair Overeem is an intimidating guy, especially after his beat down of Brett Rogers on Saturday. Is this guy on steroids or what? How do you think that he would do against Fedor Emelianenko? Brock Lesnar? Some of the other UFC guys?
Overeem is an explosive, offensively dynamic heavyweight MMA fighter. He has weaknesses that could potentially be exposed by a top notch heavyweight, such as stamina, but with the way he has knocked everyone out in the first round lately he doesn’t need much stamina. I have heard rumors that Overeem is on HGH, but as I learned after dealing with the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather situation, one shouldn’t listen to unsubstantiated rumors when it comes to performance enhancing drugs.
Here is how I think Overeem does against the top MMA heavyweights:
Overeem vs. Fedor Emelianenko – Fedor has not looked like the invincible legend that he used be after his last few fights. Even the inexperienced, one-dimensional Brett Rogers roughed him up. My suspicion is that Emelianenko is getting old and might be past his prime enough that he could be taken by one of the top ranked heavyweights. I’ll go with the upset and take Overeem, only because I think Fedor is ripe for his first loss.
Overeem vs. Shane Carwin – I once said that Brett Rogers is the Shane Carwin of Strikeforce. They are essentially the same fighter: big, strong, devastating strikers, but that is about it. They are one-dimensional and if you get them in a place where they are at a disadvantage then the fight is over. Overeem would beat Carwin like he beat Rogers.
Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar – This is a tough fight to call. Lesnar usually bull rushes his opponents with his size and speed, but I don’t think that would work against similarly large and fast Overeem. Plus, Overeem is so skilled that he could handle any type of attack that Lesnar threw at him. Lesnar, a terrific wrestler, should try to get the fight on the ground. Overeem has the edge on their feet, and Lesnar has the edge on the ground. I’ll say that Overeem wins the first round but Lesnar scores a take down in the second against a slightly winded Overeem and forces a tap out.
Overeem vs. Cain Velazquez – Velazquez is the future of the UFC heavyweight division in my opinion. I look for an explosive battle while it lasts with Velazquez winning by knockout in the fight of the year.
Can Boxing and MMA fans Coexist?
“Boxing is better than MMA. Boxing is a man’s sport and MMA is for girls. MMA sucks you dumdum!”
I quoted that from a hysterical boxing nut, it was the more lenient of the bunch so…
Look, I love boxing with all its highs and lows but does boxing have Dan Miragliotta of the UFC? I believe no other referee has ever had more authority in sports history. He makes things happen just by thinking it. If Dan Miragliotta favors a player over another, rest assured that he will find a way to make him win. Name a boxing referee/official whose credentials are tough enough to take on this guy, I’m almost certain that you’ll split your head in the process.
Hmm, are your trying to say that said referee fixes matches? And if you are, it appears like you are suggesting that this is a good thing, in awe of the all powerful fight fixer. Strange argument in favor of MMA.
Boxing fans and MMA fans like to hate on each others sports but I sense that more and more fans are getting into both sports. Boxing fans are starting to warm up, especially when they see good action fights and match ups that make sense. MMA has brought new fans interested in fighting sports and they are starting to discover the virtues of boxing. High profile events like a Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather fight (assuming the fight isn’t boring), are great for boxing.
In my column I talk about both sports even though the majority of RSR’s readers are only boxing fans. Perhaps I am naive but I dream of a day when both sports and fans can happily coexist. No reason that one can’t be a fan of both, just like there is no problem with someone being a fan of both football and basketball.
News About Pacquiao/Mayweather Negotiations?
I am very excited about the possibility of Manny Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather. Trainer Freddie Roach very much thinks that this match will happen and I was happy to hear that. Is there any word or news regarding the renewed negotiations for this super fight? I haven’t heard or read anything but perhaps you know something that I don’t. Sorry but I just can’t stand waiting. The suspense is killing me!
There is no news that I have seen that confirms that the negotiations between Manny’s and Floyd’s camps have commenced. Based on quotes from the media, the drug testing procedure is still the big issue that needs to be hammered out. Neither man wants to be dictated to so I’m not quite as optimistic as Freddie Roach in thinking that this fight can get agreed to. All of the current news at this point have to do with Pacquiao’s big political win. I’ll keep the readers updated as the news comes.
Thanks for reading this week everyone. Take care until next time and send in those emails folk!