Posts Tagged ‘boxing’
You can’t give some people too much of one thing, because then they’ll always want more of the same. This appeared to happen after Guillermo Rigondeaux’s unanimous decision victory over Nonito Donaire on April 13, which has been described by some boxing observers as “boring” and a “snore fest.”
Writers Chris Mannix and Dan Rafael were two of the most vocal detractors on Twitter. Mannix tweeted “If I never see Rigondeaux fight again, I’ll be OK. He has no interest in engaging. He’ll win a lot of fights but entertain in very few.” For his part, ESPN’s Rafael lamented, “Sitting here thinking about what a terrible fight that was tonight. So disappointing.”
Mannix also quoted Top Rank President Bob Arum: “This was the exact opposite of the last two @HBOboxing fights. This was not an engaging fight.” This was a reference to the second brawl between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado — held on March 30 — and Timothy Bradley’s all-out war with Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16.
Arum has seen more boxing than I likely ever will, but his comment came from a simple business calculation. He’s sore that the more marketable Donaire lost to a Hispanic fighter who is neither Mexican nor Puerto Rican — the sport’s biggest Spanish-speaking audiences — and who does not speak English in interviews.
For his part, boxing promoter Lou DiBella — a former HBO Sports executive — called the fight a “snore fest.” If anything, blame for that should fall on Donaire, who was unable or unwilling to engage until very late in the fight. But credit for neutralizing the stronger Donaire must go to Rigondeaux, who proved to be a puzzle that the California-raised fighter simply could not figure out.
There has been a streak of high-profile fights that have turned into fan-friendly wars. That probably led analysts like Mannix to expect more of the same from Rigondeaux and Donaire, both of whom possess knockout power. But not all fights can be Rios. vs. Alvarado, nor should they be.
I think this fight was far from boring. Those who fault Rigondeaux for refusing to engage should have taken a better look at Donaire’s swollen face and purple-tinged right eye. There were hardly any clinches in what turned out to be a technical battle interspersed with moments of action and real drama. Assumptions were laid to rest: Rigondeaux battled back from a 10th-round knockdown and showed he could take on elite competition in the pros after a legendary amateur career. For Donaire, the setback could prove to be a blessing as he moves up to 126 pounds, since he confessed after the fight to not having taking Rigondeaux seriously.
Comparing the battles between Rios and Alvarado to a street brawl does a disservice to the technical skills both fighters possess. And calling a fighter like Rigondeaux boring — when he throws a decent amount of punches, can take a punch and hardly ever holds or clinches — is also unfair.
Guillermo Rigondeaux put on a boxing clinic last night. After this performance, I’m more encouraged than ever to see what he does next.
Juan Manuel Lopez’s team presented a strange defense in Monday’s hearing at the Puerto Rico Professional Boxing Commission. According to a story by Carlos Gonzalez of national daily Primera Hora, Lopez apologized once again for his comments about referee Roberto Ramirez after his loss to Orlando Salido earlier this month. But he added that he did not recall making the accusations until he was told about them in the dressing room.
More on this: A premature idol
“It’s not the first time that I lose track of time after a fight,” he said. “It happened to me after the fight against Bernabe Concepcion, when I didn’t remember how I got to the dressing room or having taken the [post fight] doping test.”
And that was a fight he won.
In a sports world that is taking serious steps to prevent brain injuries — if only to stave off future litigation — this admission is extremely disturbing. It makes you hope Lopez and his team were actually lying.
But what if it’s true? According to El Vocero, this has happened to Lopez three times in his career. Shouldn’t that be of greater concern to his team than how quickly he can get back in the ring?
Critics of boxing complain about its brutality and wonder why it’s not simply banned. It’s a convenient stance, but it ignores the economic and cultural realities of the sport.
The 28-year-old Lopez has said that boxing is his way of life. This is the sport he has chosen, just as NFL or hockey players choose theirs. His attack-first, defend-maybe-later boxing style made him a big draw and has provided him a relatively comfortable living. That’s why as boxing fans and observers, we share responsibility in the possible damage to his health.
Many in the boxing press quickly labeled Lopez vs. Salido 2 a “Fight of the Year” candidate, because it was the type of slugfest that will likely be talked about for years to come. That’s because although we appreciate technicians like Floyd Mayweather Jr., we reserve reverence for brawlers like Lopez. But we conveniently and understandably forget about the long-term negative effects of this style, until it hits us square in the jaw.
I hope Lopez and his team were lying about the severity of his temporary brain trauma. But if it’s true, our role in his condition is much more complex — and possibly far uglier — than any unsportsmanlike outburst.
I don’t believe in fake humility in sports. You don’t get to the top levels of a game without having an ironclad belief in your abilities. By the same token, if you’re gonna be a talker, you’d better be able to back it up.
Puerto Rican boxer Juan Manuel Lopez, a former champion at 122 and 126 pounds, lost by technical knockout this past weekend to Mexican fighter Orlando Salido. The latter also gave Lopez his first professional defeat last April.
Although the end result was the same, Lopez meted out some punishment and had a better performance this second time around. He ruined it, however, with his over the top postfight comments.
“In the first fight, his son stopped it,” Lopez told Showtime’s Jim Gray. “Now the father stopped it. The referee stopped the fight because he has gambling problems. I told the (Puerto Rican Boxing) Commission the referee was a gambler.
“And they did wrong by putting him as the referee. It was very irresponsible to put him as the referee.”
The next day, Lopez issued an apology. He stated that he was angry at having let down his country. But Ramirez was having none of it, and the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission, as well as the World Boxing Organization, seek to sanction Lopez for his “unsportsmanlike” verbal assault.
As he rose through the super bantamweight and featherweight divisions, knocking out one rival after the other, Lopez said that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Felix “Tito” Trinidad. He would be the anti-Miguel Cotto, who’s been the best Puerto Rican boxer of his generation, but who’s by nature too introverted and serious to carry Tito’s torch as boxing’s “everyman.”
But Lopez forgot the most important thing.
There’s a reason Manny Pacquiao is a heroic figure in the Philippines. Not only is he a tremendous boxer, but he is also incredibly humble. Above all, it’s not a role he asked to play. He was just trying to feed his family when he turned pro at 16.
Lopez wants to be that hero for Puerto Rico. But you can’t choose to be an idol for your people. It’s the people who choose whether or not to make you an idol.
Many will see Floyd Mayweather’s choice of Miguel Cotto as his next opponent to be just like him. It’s all about “Money May” choosing an opponent who’s past his prime, they’ll say, for a fight that should’ve happened four years ago, after Cotto defeated future Hall of Famer Shane Mosley in late 2007.
While it’s true that Cotto (37-2, 30 KO) seemed to reach his physical peak in that win, I think he would have been a much weaker opponent for Mayweather (42-0, 26 KO) at that time.
Cotto’s current improved technique — thanks to his time with trainer Emanuel Steward — harkens back to this earlier days as a hard-hitting body puncher who could also box beautifully. That rediscovered form helped him beat washed-up but physically strong Ricardo Mayorga and thoroughly annihilate Antonio Margarito, both in 2011.
It’s also clear that this upcoming fight, schedule for May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, seems to prove the accusations that Top Rank President Bob Arum has been the obstacle to any marquee matchup involving Mayweather and one of his fighters. Just a little over a month after Cotto’s contract with Top Rank expired, he’s signing up for what will potentially be the most lucrative fight of his career, likely topping the $7 million he reportedly pocketed in his lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2009.
Back in the ring, though, it’s likely the story will be the same one we’ve seen from Mayweather the last few years. Cotto is a more technically sound fighter than three years ago, but he also has much more wear and tear. He can’t expect to outpace or outlast Mayweather, and he certainly can’t try to be quicker than him. To his credit, Floyd has also shown he can actually take a punch.
But I think there is hope for Cotto. Mayweather has not faced a powerful body puncher like Cotto, and certainly not anywhere near the 154 super welterweight range. This has long been Cotto’s specialty, and if he can somehow get through Mayweather’s defense, it could get interesting.
The fight is still three long months away, so any sort of prognostication is unwarranted. One thing you can safely predict, however, is that Mayweather will be in top vocal condition to relentlessly needle and insult Cotto. He’ll pretty much be forced to do it, too, since mainstream sports fans who were expecting him to finally face Manny Pacquiao will likely greet Cotto with a collective “who?”
It’ll be interesting to see how Cotto reacts to Mayweather’s name-calling. He’ll likely be more mature than Victor Ortiz and not let it get to his head. But who knows? Mayweather possesses a pointed and maddening ability to make boxing stars look silly, outside and inside the ring.