Every once in awhile a few thoughts get into my mind that get me wondering. No, not thoughts like, 'why is the sky blue?' but more important things like,' who was the last figter who didn't come out to walk-in music?' You know, things that are really important like that.
I had a few minutes and here a few things that came to mind.
* Mike Tyson on the Jimmy Kimmel Show: Now, if you're a regular viewer of this latest foray into the late night talk show genre, you know that Kimmel has a pretty funny show, highlighted by his self-effacing manner and a celebrity guest host that appears one week at a time. In it's short run Kimmel has had luminaries like Don King and Snoop Dogg. Recently, he had on Michael Gerard Tyson.
And for one week Tyson provided us with some of the most compelling, strange, prevocative and bizzare television you could ever ask for. And it was also quite humorous to on many levels. It was another attempt by 'Iron' Mike to re-invent himself in a time when his credibility as a prizefighter is at an all-time low and he needs the public support and backing to make one last lucrative run as a heavyweight.
Tyson oftentimes looked sedated or flat out high. Sometimes he had the innocence and curious nature of an adolescense. At other times he looked completely disinterested and in a vacuum. But he was a good sport as he participated in inhaling from a helium balloon and speaking in a tone where we're pretty sure that only dogs around the country could hear. I mean c'mon, his voice is already high without the helium, isn't it?
There was an interesting segment where Kimmel's crew actually went back to Brooklyn with Tyson that focused on his fascination with pigeons and his care of thousands of them high above an apartment building he purchased with his riches.
Even for the most ardent Tyson hater, it was a revealing look inside his strange life. But then there was his karoake serenading of model Ali Landry, that was funny but also more than a bit uncomfortable.
Throughout the week, Kimmel and his guests interacted fairly well with Tyson but you always got the sense that there was an uneasiness about it. Which is quite understandable, afterall if Tyson was sitting next to you on the couch on national TV, do you want to make an innocent crack about him that gets you killed? He wasn't so much a guest host but a novelty that you had to be weary off. Almost like a caged animal that was let loose that you hoped wouldn't do something everyone would regret.
I couldn't help wonder, are we laughing with Tyson or is everyone laughing AT him? But of course, if it's the latter, we'd do it so that he doesn't hear us.
It's been quite a ride for Tyson, from his ascension as one of the most dominant heavyweights of his era, to his well documented fall to his second and third reincarnations that has seen him do everything from having a stint in the WWF, to putting a tattoo on his face and to having talk of actually having a reality show based on his life.
Yes, Mike Tyson has been reduced to being another version of Anna Nicole Smith. But however it ends, you know it wont end well but there will be a lot of people there gawking at his final downfall.
* The Buddy System: Now, let me preface this by saying that former two-time world champion Buddy McGirt is one of the game's premiere trainers. My question is, is he spreading himself too thin?
The last I checked he has Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver, Freddie Cadena, Jameel McCline, Nate Campbell, Chantel Stanciel and a few others that have slipped my mind. The question is, can any trainer, no matter how good they might be, really give world-class fighters the proper time and attention they need if they have more than two or three fighters under their tutelage?
McGirt, recently signed an exclusive deal with Main Events that gives the promotional firm the right to use McGirt exclusively as their trainer and has veto power on him working with rival promoters boxers. Just a few weeks ago, he was restricted from working with Hasim Rahman because he was promoted by Don King. But McGirt worked with 'the Rock' anyway at this Vero Beach gym but didn't work the corner the night he fought David Tua. Yeah, he became Panama Lewis.
I see several problems with any trainer having that many fighters in his stable. First of all, world championship caliber fighters have more at stake than a four-round prelim fighter, so right there, it'll be impossible to devote the same kind of attention to every fighter. Which brings us to the next point, fighters can be like children and ego's are involved. And if a trainer takes time away from one fighter to work with another, there can be conflicts that arise. Then there is the issue of burnout.
Hey, there's no doubt about it, you learn something new everyday and if you're a trainer you need to spend time at the gym. But at what point do you spend too much time there and get burnt out?
Then there is logistical problems that arise when you have more than a few fighters. Fights take place all across the globe and when a fighter travels they usually come in about a week or so at their venue to acclimate themselves to the environment. How effective can a trainer be if he's always on the road and traveling with different fighters? And have you ever been inside a crowded gym overflowing with fighters trying to get their work in for the day or get a few rounds of sparring? Good luck trying to get a heavy-bag or enough room to shadow-box.
Trainers, are in a tough spot. Oftentimes, they are underpaid and used as pawns in conflicts that occur between fighters, managers and promoters. Because of the nature of this sport they are the most dispensible off all the people in the sport. So by all means they themselves must treat this sport as a business and as independent contractors make the most of their assets while they can.
But the question is, at what point do trainers spread themselves too thin?
* De La Hoya-Mosley II to Vegas: As a resident of Los Angeles of course I was dissapointed that Bob Arum decided to put this fight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand despite getting a better offer from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, where both fighters basically came out off.
Now, it's not a terrible thing that this bout is in Vegas because the atmosphere at a hotel-casino for a truly big fight is unmatched. But it does seem strange that after their first bout was at the STAPLES and there was a hometown flavor to this event that it ends up in 'Sin City'
But this just goes to show you once again that Las Vega and nowhere else comes close to being the capital of the boxing world. Not New York, Atlantic City or anywhere else for that matter really comes close.
* The Executioner's Song: Yes, he might be paranoid, devoid of good judgement, disloyal and just plain old crazy, but Bernard Hopkins can flat out fight, no matter what Larry Merchant and HBO might have you thinking.
No, I'm not basing that on his farce against Morrade Hakkar, but at 38 he is a physical marvel that is still in the prime of a Hall-of-Fame career. You couldn't tell that much by the resistance put up by his opponent but it was clear that Hopkins' legs, reflexes and boxing savvy haven't gone anywhere.
It's going to take one helluva fighter to beat him- and that might not be for awhile.
* Quick Jabs: Five years ago, when Vince Phillips still had some youth and his legs, he knocks out Ricky Hatton. Instead he got suffocated by 'the Hitman' this past weekend....Seriously, I think Juan Manuel Marquez could be the games best featherweight right now. Yes, above guys like Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales....I'm wondering, now that Wladimir Klitschko fell like a Saddam Hussien statue in Baghdad, who is HBO's newest heavyweight hope?....
In looking at how Joe Calzaghe and Hatton have been moved, is there any promoter who's more protectful than Frank Warren?.... Well, maybe Artie Pellulo, who's been protecting Acelino Freitas like the Secret Service shields the president.... I'll say it right now, Mohammed Abdullaev would beat Miguel Cotto....Is it just me or do you think Ricardo Mayorga will beat Vernon Forrest in their July rematch. He's just unorthodox enough, wild enough, crazy enough and gutsy, to neutralize all of Forrest natural advantages....
Antonio Tarver could be the best interview in the sport....I think Gatti-Ward III is a repeat of the second bout... James Toney beats Vasilly Jirov, but it wont be easy....Has John Ruiz come out of hiding yet. He's like the modern way Floyd Patterson...The best verbal battle in boxing is between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Sr.....Speaking of trilogies, if the third bout between Barrera and Morales doesn't happen that will be a shame....Is it time to officially concede that David Tua is what he is?.....
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