Two guys who typically wear the villain hat, facing off...What are viewers who aren't in the Floyd circle of love or Paulie's Brooklyn crew gonna do? Flip a coin?
TSS chatted with the New York based junior welterweight, who like all of us is waiting to hear what's next for Floyd after the Manny-Money megafight went off the tracks. Mouthy Malignaggi made a strong case for why he, and not Matthew Hatton, or Nate Campbell, or Ivan Calderon (LOL) should get to glove up with Mayweather.
"I'm not sure what's going on with a Mayweather fight, I'm hearing a lot of rumors," Paulie said Tuesday afternoon. "I know my name is in the mix."
His name isn't in the mix to face Manny Pacquiao, he said, which flies in the face of those who maintained that his stance that Pacquiao might well have been using PEDs was merely a ploy to land a Pacquiao scrap. You'll recall that Malignaggi talked to TSS on Dec. 31 and put forth some of his opinions on why he thought Manny's rise might not be purely man-made (http://www.thesweetscience.com/boxing-article/7579/paul-malignaggi-explains-why-thinks-manny-used-peds/).
"I think that story ended my chances of fighting Manny. My name was in the mix. I think Team Pacquiao is scared what I might say, that I might shine more light on them. If as some say I'm not in Manny's caliber, my name wouldn't have come up. I think it was about the fear of me opening my mouth.
"As for Nate Campbell fighting Floyd l I think Richard Schaefer is just putting that out because Nate is with Golden Boy. That said I can't say he doesn't deserve it. But it's all up in the air. I'm waiting," he said.
"I think I'm the best junior welterweight, over Tim Bradley or Amir Khan. Bradley is no joke. Hey I'm not saying I'm the best pound for pounder in the world, I'm saying I'm the best junior welterweight. Put me in with anybody and they have their hands full. 2008 is my problem. I had a trainer that didn't know what he was doing with me. I wasted a lot years. It took me a long time to get the right team together. It's no coincidence that I went straight down and came straight back up. 2008 shouldn't exist. I can make the case that I'm the best junior welter in the world, power or no power."
Pro Pacman fans come on this board and hammer Malignaggi for his bravado. They slam him for his lack of pop--he has just five KOs in 27 wins--and the fighter is tired of hearing and reading that slam.
"My game has nothing to do with power, and power had nothing to do with any of my fights, except for the Cotto fight. Lack of power is never the issue, that's not why I have lost. The media and fans are all into power, the media should all get a hobby. These guys are so moronic, all they can come up with is 2008." Onward and upward, the Twitter Hitter said. I will have only good performances from here on out. If I can fight twelve rounds and I can control things, it isn't about power."
Of the names being thrown in the mix for Floyd's next bout, Malignaggi's mouth would do the most in the marketing department. Course, Floyd doesn't really need any help in that arena, but the hype-o-rama counting down to Mayweather-Malignaggi would be something, wouldn't it?
"Anyway, whether I get it or not is up to Team Mayweather. But I'm the most marketable of the guys mentioned. Could he pick Matthew Hatton over me? I don't know how. He hasn't held a title. That should eliminate him. He's so low on the ladder."
If he does get Floyd, Malignaggi says his speed, which Zab Judah and Oscar De La Hoya used to good effect before Floyd made adjustments, would make it hard for Mayweather.
"Floyd is the best fighter in the world because he's the smartest fighter in the world," Malignaggi said. "It's about the adjustments he makes. It's not that he's impenetrable, flawless. He's just the most complete fighter I've ever seen. The trick with him is to maintain your speed and consistency. "
The book on Floyd has been that a pressure rumbler like Jose Luis Castillo is his Kryptonite, but Malignaggi says Floyd's grown so much since he met Castillo, in 2002, that a rumbler wouldn't be his worst nightmare.
"I'd keep Floyd on his back foot, not getting off so much. I'm a speed guy, I don't get reckless. I do little bursts and then leave you there. I know how to fight Floyd, make him do things he doesn't want to do.
The media backlash could get pretty intense if Mayweather goes from entertaining a clash with top pound for pounder Pacquiao, to a clash with a guy who's the second best boxer in his own family, Matt Hatt. Malignaggi recognizes this, and bolsters his case why he should get the plum assignment.
"I'm 29. I'm in my prime. And I'm not gonna be like, 'I'm happy to do this,' and be like Hatton, all respectful and nice. I won't be run of the mill 'I respect my opponent,' 'I'm in shape,' all that corny stuff on the podium."
The New Yorker sees he and Mayweather in the same boat, often hammered my media and fans because they aren't cookie-cutter sportsmen, humble hitters revered for their Everyday Joe personas.
"I'm in the same boat as Floyd, though he is definitely the best in the world. I know he's accomplished more. But guys like us, whatever we accomplish, it's never enough, people still s--- on us. It's based on envy and jealousy from the media and fans. If you ask me about boxing, I'll tell you I'm good. I'm gonna give it to you the way I see it. Most guys would be the same way if they were in my shoes, or Floyd's. People hate us, people do tune in to see us lose. They say, 'I'm not watching his next fight,' and they do. A million people watched him against Juan Manuel Marquez. My fights on HBO always are among the highest rated. No matter people say, they can all s--- my ----. They will tune in to watch Paulie Malignaggi fight."
Can the public handle a villain vs. villain scrap?
"It makes for an interesting situation," Malignaggi said. "People do want a guy to root for. But if we do fight, people will not be sure what we're gonna say or do. And we both do know how to fight."
Of any of the rumored foes for Mayweather I've heard, Malignaggi makes as much or more sense to me than any of them. Maybe 140 is a little light for Floyd at this time, though, so would that put Paulie out of the running?
"It'd probably be at 147 which isn't a problem because I've been at 140 for almost eight years so it's a good excuse to see how I feel at 147," Malignaggi said.
140, 147, whatever, you know the kid's mouth will still function, whatever the weight. Bottom line--the countdown to the bout would feature all-star trashtalk, and the bout would be a purists' delight.
Once again Pacquiao seeks to fight one of the best and toughest fighters out there - what more can be asked of Pacquiao? Sure it'll be said by some that Clottey is a slow one dimensional fighter who fights just good enough to lose when he's matched against elite opposition. But one of his defeats was a DQ versus Carlos Baldimor in a fight he was winning and the other two were by decision to former welterweight title holders Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto in his last fight.
The last time we saw Clottey he was on the verge of seizing control of his bout versus Miguel Cotto and then stopped letting his hands go during the 11th and 12th rounds, which turned out to be just enough to let Cotto escape with a split decision victory over him. However, what's forgotten about the Cotto-Clottey fight is it was Clottey who dealt out most of the punishment during the fight. And with the exception of being caught by a short jab with his feet too close together and suffering a flash-knockdown in the first round, Clottey was never hurt or in trouble during the entire bout. It also cannot go unmentioned that Clottey has a cast-iron chin, is physically strong and his high guard defense is very technically sound.
Clottey's problem has been when he's fought the likes of Margarito and Cotto, he stopped getting off and letting his hands go for no outward reason. It wasn't like he feared getting hit or mixing with Margarito or Cotto. And what hurt him just as much was the fact that neither opponent really went after him and looked for the stoppage. Both Margarito and Cotto were content with just boxing their way to the finish line avoiding a massive fire fight in case Clottey woke up and decided to fight with a sense of urgency and like he actually cared about the outcome of the bout.
When taking a quick glance at how Pacquiao-Clottey will unfold, it's easy to make the case for Pacquiao. He's faster with his hands and feet, he has a much more sophisticated and varied offensive attack. Pacman throws more punches and is clearly the more accurate and sharper puncher. He's also more aggressive and looks to win inside the distance instead of leaving the fight left up to the judges scorecards.
And it's Pacquiao's aggression that perhaps opens a window for Clottey and provides him his best chance for an upset victory.
As mentioned earlier, Clottey fights in a very deliberate and complicit manner. The past two upper-tier opponents he's faced didn't bother him nor forced him to have to fight them off. They were content to out-work and out-box him for the better part of 12-rounds. Whereas Pacquiao is of a different mindset. He wants to end the fight with every punch and if Clottey isn't fighting too hard and just going through the motions, Pacquiao will go at him and look to get him out. And in doing that Clottey will finally be forced to have to fight Pacquiao off of him to stay in the fight.
Clottey is very strong physically and is a pretty good puncher especially if his opponent is not afraid to bring the fight to him. And when Clottey lets his hands go he can be a dangerous opponent even for a terror like Pacquiao. On top of that, Clottey has heard so much over the last three years how he's lost big fights because of his lack of intensity and not fighting to his optimum potential. But one has to assess that fighting Pacquiao will bring out the best in him being all that can be gained by beating him. Pacquiao represents the fight of a lifetime for Joshua Clottey and it must be assumed that whatever his "A" game is - he'll bring it on fight night.
Clottey is the bigger and stronger fighter. No, he's not the class of fighter that Pacquiao is, but his strength and toughness are a pretty good equalizer and if he's motivated and fights with the urgency he's lacked in a big spot in his previous signature fights - he's a dangerous opponent and capable of scoring the upset over Pacquiao.
At this time Pacquiao gets all due credit for immediately trying to fight one of the top welterweights in the world, excluding Shane Mosley and Andre Berto who meet later this month. Hats off again to Manny Pacquiao for trying to give boxing the best fights he can.
Joshua Clottely is a very dangerous opponent and is capable of giving Pacquiao more trouble than Miguel Cotto did - and it shouldn't come as a shock if he beat him.
The 33-year-old Harris (20-14-2, 10 KOs) is genuine, no hype, and the often mismanaged fighter plans to get back into the heavyweight title picture with his new promoter, Boxing 360. He’s beaten some of the best, lost to inferior opponents on several occasions, and overall has failed to live-up to his physical potential.
The primary reason for his record is he turned pro at 17 with only nine amateur fights behind him, losing a 4-round decision to Joe Kenna in 1992, and then Maurice was soon thrown to the wolves. “I’ve had an up-and-down career,” Harris explained. “I was hanging (at the gym) with pros like Al ‘Ice’ Cole and Ray Mercer and decided to join them as a pro when I was only 17, not realizing I didn’t have the valuable experience gained from boxing in amateur tournaments. But I was a hungry kid from the projects who wanted a way out. I was thrown-in tough early, in way over my head because I didn’t have any real experience. I didn’t even know how to tie-up or battle fatigue, leaving me tired during fights.”
Harris lost three of his first five fights and was 5-4-2 midway through 1994, including a draw against Zuri Lawrence, who was making his pro debut. Back-to-back losses by knockouts to world title challengers Vaughn Bean and Dale Brown followed, but Harris bounced back strong with a win by 8-round decision versus David Izon to start 1996.
When Harris stopped 32-7 Jimmy Thunder in the seventh round of their 1997 fight, it set the stage for Maurice to take on come-backing former world champion Larry Holmes, who won a 10-round split decision that most observers felt Maurice should have been awarded.
The resilient Harris, however, reeled-off seven straight victories, including a 10-round decision against world title challenger Jeremy Williams in 1999. “I didn’t really get the experience I needed until later, when I started sparring with Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson,” Harris noted. “That experience gave me confidence to beat the top guys, but I was still taking fights on short notice. I beat Williams on 5-days notice.”
Harris lost to Derrick Jefferson in one of 1999’s best and most entertaining fights of the year, but he then became more inactive from that point on, winning his only two fights in 2000, and losing his 2001 showdowns to former and future world champions, Chris Byrd and Henry Akinwande.
In 2002, Harris knocked out previously unbeaten and future world title-holder Sergey Lyakhovich (16-0) in the ninth round. Harris earned a spot in that November’s “Thunderbox” tournament, eventually capturing the $100,000 winner’s purse by out-pointing Gerald Nobles, Israel Garcia and Anthony Thompson, respectively, in 3-round matches in the same evening.
Harris has fought only four times in the last six years, his last more than two years ago, but now he will be much more active fighting under the Boxing 360 promotional banner. “I signed with Don King and he left me on the shelf,” Harris remarked. “I’m climbing back now. I had trouble getting fights because everybody in boxing knew I could fight but I wasn’t always in proper shape and didn’t do my homework. Now, I’m a young but an experienced 33. I haven’t been beaten up. I had a lot of gaps in my career and now I have a promoter pushing me for the first time, Boxing 360. I’m preserved and my instincts are still good. I’m going to get out there and prove it, starting January 29 against Zumbrun. I am not losing that (6-round) fight.
“The heavyweight division is wide open. Kevin Johnson talked his way into a world title fight and he got exposed. That’s what set a fire under my butt. There are a lot of fakers. Too many promoters, managers and trainers protect their fighters. Nobody wants to fight; it’s not like in the 80’s or back in the 50’s and 60’s, when everybody fought each other because they were competitors. A loss shouldn’t setback a fighter for years. Today, I’m older, wiser and my experience is my greatest advantage. I’m ready. I’m 6-4 and weigh 245; I’m going to really crack this guy January 29th.I’m going to bring something new that people haven’t seen from me. Look out heavyweights, I’m coming for you.”
That's not a negative assessment. Menzer had almost as good a year inside the strands as Vitali Klitschko in 2009, and Klitschko had a very good year.
Comparing Menzer's pair of close wins over Esther Schouten and decision over Franchesca Alcanter in '09 with Klitschko's trifecta against Juan Carlos Gomez, Cristobal Arreola and reluctant Kevin Johnson is an apples and oranges situation. The main punching point is that Menzer, like Klitschko, provided evidence that she was an active champion willing to meet top competition and would be tough to dethrone.
For his professional performances last season, Boytsov did pretty well himself. Boytsov scored three dramatic, one-sided stoppages and further introduced himself to fans outside Germany as a strong potential contender. Boytsov isn't ready to dethrone either one of the Klitschko brothers yet, but more and more people in these parts are talking about his chances.
Still, for Boytsov the question remains as to when he will step up against a legitimate threat, a proven heavyweight with some sting in the measuring stick.
"I'm very happy with my progress last year," the Russia to Germany transplant Boytsov indicated in a media release that some outlets treated like an exclusive interview, "I'm ranked in the top ten by all sanctioning bodies. I'll take a title shot any time, but I trust my promoter Universum and I'm willing to wait and see."
It was almost a business as usual situation at the Borderlandhalle in Magdeburg Saturday night as Menzer pounded out a hard fought victory against an accomplished opponent. Menzer, now 26-0 (10), stopped previously undefeated Ramona Kuhne, 15-1 (4), in the 6th session after a profusely bleeding cut emerged from ripping right hands.
The give and take main event was a perfect example of why women's boxing is featured prominently here, even on cards with recognized male contenders.
It was a close contest, with Menzer taking the opening frames but Kuhne roaring back behind some brutal inside action before the sudden conclusion. The pro Menzer crowd booed not the outcome, but the early ending of a match that was shaping up as very hard to call.
"I would have postponed attacking for sure (after the cut)," said Menzer, "But then I probably would have hurt her worse."
Earlier, Boytsov blasted out an overmatched foil with a so so slate and just about no chance to triumph unless you consider longshot emotional odds at around 20-1 for lasting the distance, which didn't happen as Boytsov notched his 22nd KO in a now 27-0 resume.
Menzer was deservedly the star of the ZDF televised show, with the live broadcast co-feature as Robert Stieglitz's initial defense of his WBO super middleweight belt. Stieglitz pounded out a 5th round TKO at 1:48 over substitute Ruben Acosta from Argentina. Stieglitz dominated Acosta the entire way, scoring knockdowns in the 3rd and 5th before the affair was waved off. Stieglitz was hoping to prove himself against Edison Miranda, who had to pull out from illness. Stieglitz and Miranda could still meet before summer.
Whatever unfolds her way, Menzer will be almost certainly be matched pretty tough yet again, her pronounced preference. Still, it might not be long before she gets sick of the grind. The appearance of bruised swelling around her left eye after the Kuhne fight seemed to bother her much more than the wound itself.
Outside the ring, the attractive and fashionable Menzer often carries herself like a model. She seemed delighted by the way she had photographers draped over the ropes during her weigh-in as she pranced around with her title belts and teased. Menzer probably means what she says about the worthwhile, painful price of being a champion, but that's likely going to get old.
If the 29 year old Menzer is still fighting in three years she would seemingly consider that a not so great situation. Maybe by that time, Boytsov will have faced a solid gatekeeper.
As usual, in a supporting role the powerful, efficient Boytsov scored some more big shots, including three knockdowns for the highlight reel during his two round steamrolling of Kevin Montiy, 256, 17-7-1 (13).
Its getting time to wonder when Boytsov will step into the potentially harsh spotlight against a foe who actually poses a threat. Meanwhile, Boytsov remains in learning pattern mode, which could turn out a positive or negative in itself. The effect, if any, of Boytsov's primary trainer Fritz Studnik limiting his clients and stepping into more of an advisory role with Boytsov remains to be seen. Boytsov is currently trained by Arthur Grigorian from the same Universum stable, so it should be a smooth transition but there are no guarantees.
Boytsov can continue to build his fan base and defensive skills, but he could also wait too long and get stale. Hopefully, everyday life will continue smoothly for the stable seeming Boytsov as he moves up the ladder, but some unstruck irons only remain hot for so long.
Menzer and Boytsov have almost identical records. Boytsov has a lot more knockdowns and stoppages. Menzer has a lot more championship fights.
Menzer knows she can and has performed at just about the highest level of the sport. Boytsov, yet to find that out, has the potentially multi-million dollar future and plenty of unproven pressure.
As for this year, Menzer will probably meet another European woman with a respectable, undefeated slate or go for a trilogy against the very worthy Schouten. The thing I'd like to see most is how Menzer would fare against some top North or South American talent, anywhere near her 126 pound weight class.
Catchweight battles against opponents like Layla McCarter or Melissa Hernandez could be classics.
For me, Menzer is the best female boxer on the planet.
If Boytsov does stay in a holding pattern, he should continue to learn from Menzer's example on how to conduct yourself at the top of the game. She remains one of the best role models in boxing's ranks.
ARLINGTON, TX (January 10, 2010) – The stars will fight, big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas!
Jerry Jones and Bob Arum, owner of the Dallas Cowboys and chairman of Top Rank, respectively, announced today that Cowboys Stadium would be the site of the MANNY PACQUIAO vs. JOSHUA CLOTTEY World Welterweight Championship fight taking place on Saturday, March 13 and broadcast Live on Pay-Per-View. Formal news conferences at Cowboys Stadium and in New York next week will provide details on tickets and the pay-per-view broadcast. Pacquiao vs. Clottey will be promoted by Top Rank, in association with the Dallas Cowboys and MP Promotions.
Pacquiao and Clottey boast a combine record of 85-6-2 (59 KOs) -- a winning percentage of 91% and a victory by knockout ratio of nearly 70%.
“I have wanted to bring a major boxing event to North Texas for many years, so why not bring in the biggest and the best?” asked Jones. “Manny Pacquiao is boxing’s No. 1 pound for pound attraction and the world champion. Manny defending his title against Joshua Clottey is not just a great fight, it’s a great event, and one we can showcase to the fullest in Cowboys Stadium. We’re going to promote this like it was the Super Bowl.”
Cowboys Stadium will be configured for 40,000 fans for the event.
“Jerry Jones knows exactly how big and important this event is which is why it was so easy to put this deal together,” said Arum. “As a lifelong Giants fan I had to receive special dispensation from Steve Tisch, the Giants’ Chairman and Executive Vice President, to bring this event to Cowboys Stadium and he blessed the deal. If Jerry could sell me on Cowboys Stadium and the North Texas market, you know he is going to have no problems selling out Cowboys Stadium on March 13. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and promote Manny’s debut as World Welterweight Champion. Manny Pacquiao is the lone star of boxing. There isn’t a more appropriate place in the world for him to fight!”
Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, will be defending the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title he earned in his last fight, produced by a 12th round knockout of three-time world champion Miguel Cotto. Pacquiao’s victory made him the first man to win seven titles in as many different weight divisions, with his last three world championships coming by way of knockout. The consensus Fighter of the Year for the third time in the past four years, Pacquiao’s resume features victories over future Hall of Famers, including Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Lopez and Cotto. His knockout victories over Cotto and Hatton made him the 2009 pay-per-view king, exceeding two million buys combined.
Clottey (35-3, 21 KOs), a native of Accra, Ghana, now fighting out of Bronx, NY, captured the International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight title in 2008 by trouncing three-time world champion Zab Judah. His career has been a highlight reel of thrills featuring victories over two-division world champion Diego Corrales and undfeated contender Richard Gutierrez and a close decision losse to world champion Antonio Margarito. In his last fight Clottey lost a controversial split decision to defending WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden. Clottey is currently world-rated No. 1 by the WBO and No. 4 by the World Boxing Association (WBA).
Karmazin (40-3-1, 26 KOs) needed a win to continue his quest for another world title but didn’t face a patsy in Colombia’s Miranda (20-5-2, 18 KOs) who wielded serious firepower as the former junior middleweight champion discovered at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.
After a slow two rounds it was Miranda who erupted with some overhand rights that wobbled Karmazin in the third round. Several more rights found their mark for the Colombian.
Karmazin worked the body in the fourth and found success. Both fighters were cut from a clash of heads around the eyebrow area.
In the fifth and sixth rounds Karmazin mainly sat back and countered against Miranda who kept trying to land that right hand. With 10 seconds remaining in both rounds Karmazin stepped on the gas to win the rounds.
The seventh round saw Karmazin open quickly then cruise by. Miranda began shooting a stiff jab that found its aim but it was too little too late to win the round.
A big Miranda right hand connected in the eighth and the Colombian followed it was some accurate jabs that forced Karmazin to rethink strategy a bit. It was Miranda’s best round in a while.
After nine rounds of not firing left hooks, Miranda shot a hook to Karmazin then followed it with a here-it-comes right hand that floored the Russian fighter. Though he could never follow up cleanly, it was a sure 10-8 round for the Colombian.
In the 11th round it was Karmazin rallying with some well-placed combinations. A right hand dropped Miranda with a thud to suddenly turn things around. Karmazin opened up with some more combinations and crashed a right hand on the chin that sent Miranda down for good. Referee James Jin Kin didn’t even bother to count at 2:34 of the frame. A happy Karmazin has escaped yet another grueling test.
“Roman never does anything easy,” said Steve Bash, one of the co-promoters of the fight along with Art of Boxing Promotions.
Russian junior welterweight Anatoliy Dudchenko (8-2, 6 KOs) knocked down Denver’s Isaac Atencio (2-2, 2 KOs) three times on his way to a lopsided six round decision. All three judges scored it 60-51 for Dudchenko.
Heavyweight prospect Andrey Fedosov (21-1, 17 KOs) stopped veteran Lionel Butler (32-16-1) of Perris in 2:30 of the second round.
Chris Davis (1-0) knocked out Netza Wilson (0-1) at 2:58 of the first round. It was both fighters heavyweight debut.
Former junior middleweight contender Shibata Flores (44-10, 26 KOs) returned to the ring after a seven years and looked pretty sharp against veteran Roberto Valenzuela (51-49-2). Two rounds of pounding forced Valenzuela to end the fight in his corner.
Armenia’s Arthur Bernetsyan (1-0) shut out Oxnard’s Francisco Solis (0-4) after four rounds in a junior lightweight bout. A point was deducted from Bernetsyan for holding and hitting but he still won every round. The judges scored it 39-35.
James “Lights Out” Toney headed a long list of boxing and entertainment celebrities. Also in attendance was Charles Dutton, Cedric the Entertainer, Mia St. John, Kina Malpartida, Francisco “Panchito” Bojado, Terry Norris, Wayne McCullough and others.
What was expected to be the richest fight in boxing history, one guaranteeing Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. $30 million each and projecting gross revenues of $200 million, collapsed Wednesday after a nine-hour mediation session between the two sides the previous day could not come up with an agreement on blood testing for performance enhancing drugs.
Mayweather had insisted on random testing right up to the fight as well as in the post-fight locker room as part of any agreement for the two of them to meet. Pacquiao refused, citing various reasons why, from a fear of needles to righteous indignation that a man is innocent until proven guilty. What he never agreed to was the kind of testing most drug experts say would be the only effective ones for discovering performance-enhancing drugs in an athlete’s blood stream.
Ironically, a case in point is Shane Mosley, who has admitted before a grand jury to injecting himself with PEDs before fighting Oscar De La Hoya, yet never tested positive before or after the fight in Las Vegas. Mosley is now a partner in De La Hoya’s company, which is the one representing Mayweather in these now failed negotiations.
Drug experts would say Mosley’s shame remained undiscovered until his name came up during the now infamous BALCO case in San Francisco because the Nevada testing procedures are so ineffective they make it all but impossible to catch anyone using today’s PEDs, human growth hormone, EPO or participating in any form of blood doping. The masking agents and other ways used to hide such usage have become so sophisticated they are far more advanced than the testing procedures used to expose such usage.
Pacquiao has never tested positive and so took a public stance that he was being unfairly treated, but the fact is neither have a host of professional and Olympic athletes who later were forced to admit PED use or blood doping when exposed via other means... so what does that prove?
Nothing, which is the same thing Mayweather’s insistence on drug testing proved. Certainly an insistence on random testing, while arguably implying a fear that something is amiss with Pacquiao, is proof of nothing untoward having been done by Pacquiao.
Only Pacquiao and the people closest to him know for sure why he refused the random testing but athletes long ago lost the right to the presumption of innocence in this kind of situation. This is not a criminal case (unless you agree it’s criminal that what should have been the biggest fight in the sport in years has instead become another black eye on boxing). It is a case where two world class athletes could have stepped forward and said they wanted to be part of the cleanest sporting event in the post-PED era, one in which they would agree to be tested and tested and tested yet again to insure that a level playing field existed and a sense of fair play was paramount. That certainly was not the case when Mosley defeated De La Hoya; when Roy Jones, Jr. tested positive in May 2000 after a fight in Indianapolis for PEDs; when James Toney defeated then WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz only to come up dirty post-fight and when so many others in all manner of sports from Olympic competition to major league baseball and the NFL did great things only later to have been found running on high test while others had regular in the tank.
Pacquiao’s refusal to accept random testing does not make him guilty but it does cast a dark shadow over his accomplishments. Why would anyone let a potential $30 million or more payday disappear over a blood test when you have spilled so much of your own blood over the years in the sport just to get to this point?
Boxing is, after all, a blood sport. It is the most difficult job in athletics. It requires great skill, great courage, great conditioning and great self-control, all of which Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KO) has in abundance. So how could a series of blood tests daunt him? How could they throw such fear into him that he would let their presence stop one of the biggest fights in boxing history unless…well, let’s not go there even though much of the public surely already has.
Manny Pacquiao lives a life surrounded by a cone of silence in the Philippines, surrounded by a wall of sycophants and supporters 10-men deep who have perhaps made him tone deaf to what the larger world now fears about him. He has won somewhere between five and seven world titles in different weight classes (depending on whose statistics you want to believe) and is without question the most popular fighter in the world today. Yet his decision not to face Mayweather because of an insistence on blood tests has hurt his reputation and cast a shadow over his accomplishments. This may be unfair but it was his choice and the one he made – to say, in essence “No Mas pruebas de sangre’’- has now become his legacy just as much as those world titles, acts of kindness to many of his countrymen living in poverty and his international acclaim have been.
As for Floyd Mayweather, Jr., he doesn’t escape unscathed either. After the fact he issued a press release that said, “Throughout this whole process I have remained patient, but at this point I am thoroughly disgusted that Pacquiao and his representatives are trying to blame me for the fight not happening when clearly the blame is on them. First and foremost, not only do I want to fight Manny Pacquiao, I want to whip his punk ass.
"Before the mediation, my team proposed a 14-day, no blood testing window leading up to the fight. But it was rejected. I am still proposing the 14-day window but he is still unwilling to agree to it, even though this is obviously a fair compromise on my part as I wanted the testing to be up until the fight and he wanted a 30-day cut-off. The truth is he just doesn't want to take the tests.
"In my opinion it is Manny Pacquiao and his team who are denying the people a chance to see the biggest fight ever. I know the people will see through their smokescreens and lies. I am ready to fight and sign the contract. Manny needs to stop making his excuses, step up and fight."
All well and good but if you want to “whip his punk ass’’ that bad you could simply say “All right, skip the test. I’ll beat you regardless of what you take.’’
If he has real fears that Pacquiao may not be clean, the fact that he didn’t agree to fight is understandable. But skip the street talk when you’re standing behind a line of lawyers, promoters and men in business suits. If you really wanted to fight, you would have.
And if Manny Pacquiao really wanted to fight, he would have…unless … well let’s not go there.
While one might wonder what more could be said about the great Ali and the social impact he had on the world, they need not look further than director Pete McCormack’s “Facing Ali,” a wonderfully, though-provoking and inspiring 2009 film that was just released on DVD.
McCormack traces the trajectory of Ali’s career, from his days as a loud-mouthed amateur even before he won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, to his embrace of Islam, which should resonate even more with younger viewers in light of what’s happening in today’s world.
He follows Ali’s defiant refusal to be inducted into the armed forces to serve in Vietnam, a war that was as unpopular as today’s overseas conflicts, his three championship reigns, and his ongoing status as a global hero despite the tremendous physical and mental handicaps he lives with today.
While it can be argued that all of this has been done before, and that there is no more to be said, McCormack masterfully weaves the lives and trajectories of 10 of Ali’s most formidable opponents to give this film its knockout punch.
George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks, Ernie Terrell, Earnie Shavers, Ron Lyle, George Chuvalo and Henry Cooper don’t just tell the story of what their bouts against Ali meant to them from a personal perspective. They are intelligent, eloquent and erudite enough to comprehend the enormity of the historical significance their fights with Ali had from both sporting and social standpoints.
Ali came of age in the early 1960s, just as the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. It might be hard for younger viewers with no real sense of history to realize just how much has changed in the world between the times that these fighters, all of whom are now in their sixties or seventies, were growing up as youngsters and later developing as fighters.
Shavers, for example, speaks of being a terrified young child at his family’s farm in the Deep South when angry Ku Klux Klan members raided the house. They were looking to kill his father for not being able to make a payment on a loan. Realizing that they were coming that night, his father had fled to Ohio and later sent for his family to join him.
Chuvalo talks proudly of his parents, both of whom had immigrated to Canada from their native Croatia, and how they toiled for decades at tedious, menial vocations. Despite having a permanently damaged arm, his father didn’t miss a day of work in 40 years. And not a day went by that he didn’t voice his thanks to Canada for giving him a job.
Lyle had been sent to prison for murder at a young age. During his many years in solitary confinement, he often subsisted on nothing more than a bowl of spinach a day. With the little strength and nourishment offered by that meager amount of food, he still managed to pound out 300 push-ups a day in his dank, damp cell.
Once he made his way back into the general population, where he was fed three square meals a day, he worked his way up to doing 1,000 sit-ups an hour. The duality of prison and boxing tales are nothing new, but what really rocks you is Lyle describing how he could relate to Ali’s anti-war stance because his own brother had been killed while fighting in the jungles of Vietnam.
McCormack must have personally selected these opponents because all are astutely aware of the link between their relationship with Ali, as both fighters and ordinary men who hailed from divergent backgrounds, during the particularly memorable decades in which they lived and fought.
Fight fans will love the manner in which these opponents discuss their often failed strategies against The Greatest, while other viewers will be enthralled by the way the intertwining lives of these mesmerizing characters are juxtaposed.
From McCormack’s perspective, these fighters were not just bit players in the Ali saga. The way he sees it, it was their unique personal stories that were tantamount to creating the Ali legacy that shows no sign of abating.
Terrell and Frazier, for example, were both demeaned by Ali as being Uncle Tom’s, meaning they were subservient to the white establishment. It could be argued that Frazier, the son of a one-armed sharecropper, was blacker than Ali could ever be. Ali’s grandmother was white, and he was raised in a comfortable middle class home in Louisville.
And Terrell, who despite being black did not ascribe to the Nation of Islam’s extremist thoughts, was basically “punished” by Ali for having the audacity to disagree with him. During their fight, after continually beating Terrell to the punch, Ali followed up by demanding to know “What’s my Name?” This was in response to Terrell’s steadfast refusal to call him by his post-conversion name of Ali, preferring instead to call him by his pre-conversion surname of Clay.
Despite an abundance of mixed feelings during their ring encounters and in later years, all of the opponents are extremely thoughtful, soulful and decent men who seem genuinely saddened by the current physical and mental condition of Ali.
Most importantly, they seem to understand that they are much more than footnotes in boxing history. The reality is that they are as much of a part of the Ali myth as the man himself. It just took a director of McCormack’s skill and insight to make what now seems obvious so readily apparent.
On McCormack’s web site, he wrote that meeting all of the opponents was “a completely wonderful, insightful, nostalgic, fantastic, surreal experience. To seek their story, their soul, and try to capture that in one film – what an opportunity. May watching it be the same intense and joyful and enlightening experience for you.”
Every once in a while a film, or a particular performance in a film, really touches my soul. Immediately after seeing Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry” and Charlize Theron in “Monster,” I knew in my heart that they would be Oscar winners.
The same thing happened after watching Jeff Bridges in the recently released gem of a movie called “Crazy Heart.”
And I can’t stop thinking about or saying enough good things about “Facing Ali.” Not only should it be required viewing for boxing and social science buffs, but also for every high school or college student in America who is covering the tumultuous eras in which these great fighters, and honorable men, squared off against each other.
“Facing Ali” might just be the documentary of the decade, and in my opinion is more than deserving of recognition come Oscar time.
A fight pitting Manny and Joshua Clottey is close to fruition, but there is still a chance, Freddie said, for Pacman and Mayweather to take place in the late winter. Or, perhaps, the fall if cooler heads prevail, the trainer said. "Hopefully Mayweather will come to the table," Freddie said.
Roach said he understands some will say that Pacquiao is ducking drug tests by refusing to get blood taken for examination no less than three weeks before a bout. "He just doesn't feel right" when he gets blood taken, Freddie said.
The trainer also expressed disbelief that a boxer is dictating the terms of testing, instead of an athletic commission.
He thinks that Mayweather avoids the toughest tests, and wants no part of the Shane Mosley-Andre Berto (Jan. 30) winner.
"Who's he gonna fight, Paulie Malignaggi?" Roach snorted.
“Absolutely this fight is all or nothing,” said Karmazin.
Karmazin (39-3-1, 25 KOs) meets Colombia’s Dionisio Miranda (20-4-2, 18 KOs) in an IBF middleweight title eliminator at the Glendale Civic Auditorium on Friday Jan. 8. The fight will be shown on ESPN2. The fight card is promoted by Art of Boxing Promotions and Bash Boxing.
Only recently has Karmazin ventured into the rugged middleweight division. His first foray into the 160-pound weight limit was against another veteran with experience and knowledge Bronco McKart.
“The reality is that it was a real tough fight. Going into the McKart fight after the first three rounds I told myself I’m in the ring with an extremely capable fighter,” said Karmazin about the fight that took place a little over a year ago at Hollywood Park Casino. “It was almost like a reality check.”
McKart, a left-hander, used every trick and angle in his vast repertoire to offset Karmazin’s volume punching and power. After an initial attack, Karmazin changed the pace of the fight and picking his shots more carefully. It was a tactical fight that saw both fighters use brainpower as much as manpower. In the end, Karmazin got the win.
“I’ve always said that’s it s a lot easier for me to fight a tough guy and aggressive fighter. It’s a lot tougher to fight a tricky fighter that pulls out all of the stuff,” said Karmazin regarding McKart. “He was a thinking fighter and I had to out think him more than just fighting an aggressive fighter. It lines up with my game plan a lot more.”
Next came hard-hitting middleweight slugger Antwun Echols. The one-punch knockout artist can blow out an opponent with a single punch. Karmazin got a taste of that power in the fifth round, but he rallied and stopped Echols in the seventh.
“I’m very realistic in everything I do in life. If I had stepped in the ring and wasnt successful, I would have stopped fighting,” said the Russian boxer about his come-from-behind win over Echols at the Playboy Mansion in March 2009. I felt comfortable and that’s why I continued fighting.”
A four round beating over Brazil’s Luiz Dos Santos last May has brought the former champion back to Southern California where he trains. Now he fights a Colombian called “Mr. Knockout” and he’ll be fighting in front of a fan base comprised of fellow Russians and Armenians.
Karmazin says that fighting at a heavier weight class has its advantages and disadvantages.
“Not much of any major differences. Probably that I was sometimes much bigger than anyone as a welterweight and junior middleweight. But here, in the middleweights, they’re much bigger than me, but I’m also faster. I’ve lost something in size but gained in a speed advantage,” Karmazin says.
He hopes to have a speed advantage over Colombia’s Miranda. Only a win is acceptable for the Russian boxer.
“I’ve seen one or two videos. What I saw was a real strong, tough fighter with a real dangerous right hand. That’s was predominately what I saw and something to be concerned about,” Karmazin said through a translator. “If it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted to, I can go away to the sunset.”
It’s a strong fight card that takes place in a town that for more than 60 years would not allow pro boxing to take place. Thanks to promoter Kahren Harutyunyan and Steve Bash the city that has a large Armenian population has now opened its doors to pro boxing.
The second Glendale fight card is a good one. Also on list of bouts will be Art Hovannesyan (10-0-1) in a lightweight battle with former world champion Freddie Norwood (43-3-1); heavyweight Andrey Fedosov (20-1) tangling with Lionel Butler (32-15-1); the return of Shibata Flores (43-10) after a seven-year absence from the ring facing Roberto Valenzuela (51-48-2) in a middleweight clash; light heavyweight Anatoli Dudchenko (7-2) meeting Isaac Atencio (2-1-1) and possibly two other bouts.