I have come to the sad realization today that Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao will never happen.
Team Pacquiao gave Team Mayweather until the middle of July to accept their final contract offer. They agreed to the drug testing policy demands that killed the negotiations last time, putting the ball in Mayweather’s court. Floyd has not responded, and to hold out hope for a last second response is foolish; like a desperately hopeful child wishing that his divorced parents will get back together.
Pacquiao vs. Mayweather is dead. The dreamed up fight put the entire sport of boxing on hold, with all of its millions of fans around the world holding their breath in anticipation. Well, the negotiations have dragged out for months with no progress to report and those fans holding their breaths have suffocated.
The implications of this non-fight will be far reaching. No other fight in boxing can be made that would be even one third as appealing. Previously I was stoked to watch the conclusion of the Super Six tournament. Now I am so jaded with the business of boxing I shrug my shoulders. The Super Six has the appeal of a regular season game between playoff hopefuls. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather was like the Super Bowl between two 16-0 teams.
If Pacquiao and Mayweather are not going to fight each other, they might as well both permanently retire.
Can boxing recover from this massive letdown knowing that there is no fight that can swoop in to save the day? I have always been optimistic, but right now I am having trouble seeing the light. Bob Arum has made it clear that potential young super stars like Juanma Lopez are not going to be put in against quality fighters of their own size. The same trend can be said about Golden Boy Promotions, who won’t allow Timothy Bradley within 20 miles of their guy Amir Khan. Such careful match making is sickening, but rampant in boxing today. Why bother getting invested in boxing when the payoff fight is so infrequent, and in the case of the biggest potential bout in 25 years, does not happen at all.
HBO has abandoned the Heavyweight Champions, blaming the Klitschko brothers for their own inability to market opponents. The quality of fights being shown for free is plummeting every year. Juan Diaz vs. Juan Manuel Marquez II, a rematch that could be fun but is unnecessary and nobody asked for, is inexplicably heading for Pay Per View, alienating the majority of its potential audience.
And people ask me why I have started including MMA and the UFC into my columns. At least that sport, despite being an inferior product without boxing’s storied history, sees the best fighters pitted against each other on a regular basis. At least in the UFC we get our money’s worth when we order a PPV. At least in MMA you don’t have to worry about disgustingly careful match-making because the goal is to please the fans, not to build an undefeated record. At least in the UFC, if there is a colossal Super Bowl-like showdown out there, you don’t have to worry about ego, politics, or shameless duckers letting everyone down.
Even though I am a boxing guy through and through, I am starting to appreciate MMA more by the day because of the way they handle their business and generate excitement.
Sorry to start the column off on that note, but I have to call it like I see it. In the mailbag this week, I cover a wide range of topics including Juanma Lopez, Nonito Donaire, Mike Tyson, Brock Lesnar, and Manny Pacquiao. Shoot me an email and let me know what you are thinking at or fill out the form box on the Feature Writers page.
Where Lopez and Concepcion Go From Here
Juanma Lopez vs. Bernabe Concepcion was fun while it lasted! I felt the real difference was Lopez’s ability to dish out crisp, straight punches while maintaining his high guard (though he got careless at times). Concepcion always had a puncher’s chance but I felt he loops his punches too much and he wasn’t able to put up enough combinations to make Lopez respect his power.
I was rooting for a Concepcion upset but looking objectively at all factors in this fight it really points to Concepcion losing this one. No offense to Buboy Fernandez, but I feel Concepcion needs a better trainer (+ conditioning coach) to get his game on a higher level. But I guess there wasn’t much money on the line for Concepcion to get Roach on his team or maybe Roach didn’t feel Concepcion would be ready for a Lopez fight at this stage so he refused to train the kid. Concepcion needs to be matched better if he is to get back on track with his career. I hate to see this kid become just an opponent.
Where does Juanma go from here? I think he can dominate every top-ranked featherweight except for Caballero. Do you see him taking a fight with Caballero down the road? Who wins that fight and why?
I don’t think Bernabe Concepcion is low enough on the totem pole to be considered merely an opponent, but I agree that he is clearly a step below Juanma in skill and class. I commend Concepcion for being able to catch Lopez with a hard shot to make the fight interesting. He should be able to land a couple more title shots before his career is over. Whether or not he makes the most of those opportunities has to do with whether or not he improves his game.
Juanma vs. Celestino Caballero is too close to call. I’d say that Caballero’s length gives Lopez problems in the first fight; enough to score a decision win. Lopez should get a rematch clause, make the proper adjustments and score a TKO revenge win in the second match.
Taking on someone like Caballero would be great for Juanma’s development. Denying Lopez the chance to fight the top notch opponents does not help him in the long term. A tough fight against Caballero, win or lose, could help him just like the Erik Morales fight helped Manny Pacquiao. Such a learning experience could help him develop into the elite pound for pound level fight that I think he has the potential to become.
Up next for Lopez is Rafael Marquez apparently. Marquez will likely be in the hall of fame someday and is fresh off of a very nice win over Israel Vazquez. Rafael however, will be at a serious weight disadvantage. The only reason Vazquez was able to steal two wins against him was that he was not as durable at 122 pounds. I can just imagine how he reacts to a dynamite punching, full-size featherweight. This reminds me of when Jermain Taylor was coming up and they would match him up against blown up welterweights to make him look like a monster.
The only other featherweight besides Caballero who has a realistic shot of beating Juanma is Chris John. I doubt that we see either of those matches. Arum only wants to match Lopez against other Top Rank fighters, in particular ones who won’t pose too much of a threat.
Pac and Money, All Time Rankings.
How would you rate Manny Pacquiao in the All Time Greats list if he beats Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Paul Williams?
Can you also rank the same for Floyd Jr. if he beats Pacquiao and Paul Williams?
Those are some pretty big ifs (especially considering that the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight is extremely unlikely to even happen), but if Pacquiao was able to do that I would have him top 3 all time, behind only Henry Armstrong and Sugar Ray Robinson.
I would have Mayweather top 15 if he beats Pacquiao and Paul Williams. The discrepancy between the rankings is due to Pacquiao starting his career at flyweight, the amount of weight classes he has spanned, and his quality of opposition all along the way. Mayweather’s quality of opposition is spotty during some stretches of his career.
Thinking Ahead: Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel
I’m an avid fan of yours, you know you’re very cute..hehehe. Hey bry, I’d like to watch a fight between Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel. Who do you think would win? And if Donaire will win, he’ll go up to featherweight and challenge the likes of Juanma Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Do you think he has the chance with the two featherweight champs? For me I think so. What about Donaire vs. Rafael Marquez? Please share your insights. Thanks Brian.
Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel would be a spectacular fight, I don’t blame you for wanting to see that. Montiel has been on a tear lately, proving himself as a terrific champion and worthy enough to crack my top 5 pound for pound. Donaire has some of the fastest hands I’ve ever seen, in addition to sound boxing skills and good power. Both guys are what I like to call “special” fighters.
I should go with Montiel because he has the edge in experience and quality of opposition so he is the more proven commodity. However I have seen Montiel struggle at times against fast, clever boxers. On a gut instinct I will take Donaire by close decision, scoring a knockdown to seal the deal. Let’s hope it happens!
As for Donaire vs. the heavier fighters, I am going to pick against Nonito vs. Rafael Marquez, Juanma Lopez, and Yuriorkis Gamboa, at least for now. Donaire needs to prove that he can carry his power up in weight. For being a bit skinny and frail looking I am pessimistic that he will be able to be as effective when moving up in weight. Even in a pound for pound mythical match up, Marquez and Lopez would be a handful for Donaire. Those two are overwhelming talents.
Tyson In The Hall of Fame?
Enjoy your column very much. I know your answers are well thought out. The rumors about Mike Tyson coming back…I don’t believe. But it has been written that Mike Tyson will most likely be inducted into the IBHOF (International Boxing Hall of Fame) in Canastota. I do believe that, how about you?
Mike Tyson is bipolar so you never know what you are going to get with him. If you get him in the right mood he is probably gung ho about making a comeback. Most of the time though, and he has gone on record saying this several times, he respects the sport of boxing too much to come back in his current state. I would also say that the Tyson comeback is unlikely because Mike is unlikely to go along with this plan, and think it is a good idea, for a whole 6 months, which is how long it would take for him to get in shape then go through a whole training camp.
As much as his “people”, “friends”, and creditors would like him to return, I would bet against a Tyson return. At least I am hoping against it.
Absolutely Tyson should and will be elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Say what you will about his accomplishments falling short of what they should have been. Sure, Tony Tucker may have been the best heavyweight on his resume. But regardless of all that, Tyson was the face of boxing for almost 20 years. Heck, he might still be the guy that the general public thinks of when they think of boxing.
Tyson probably falls short of making the top 15 heavyweights of all time. But there is more to making the hall of fame than being high on all time great lists. Impact to the sport and popularity also matter. Tyson’s impact on boxing, and his popularity worldwide, rival any other fighter in the history of boxing. In terms of being an icon in boxing during his era, Tyson is right up there with Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, and Muhammad Ali. We are talking about the Hall of FAME, and no one was more famous during his era than Mike Tyson.
The way that people took to Tyson so quickly was unreal. He become a pop culture phenom and will be remember for as long as people remember boxing.
So, my Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin prediction bombed… again, it favored the other guy. People should probably bet against me everytime I call a fight. It seems cardio would be the bane of Shane Carwin’s fighting life. He was completely wasted after the first round, what a pity. How Cain Velasquez would do against Lesnar should give us an idea as to how a Fedor – Lesnar tousle will turn out.
You almost had it though my friend. That first round was all Carwin and the referee had a few spots where he could have called off the fight, declaring Shane the winner, and nobody would have argued. Brock has the heart of a champion for surviving the round, then coming back in the very next round to win the fight with a choke out. Forget about it.
Cain Velasquez is a quality opponent and should be a handful for Lesnar as well. I think I have stated this before, but I have Velasquez above Fedor right now because Emelianenko is past his prime as shown by his less than stellar performances in his last few fights. But you are right, Velasquez is a younger, but not as polished or dynamic, version of Fedor. Velasquez vs. Lesnar will happen on October 23 as the main event for UFC 121. I’m looking forward to it.
See you all next week.