LAS VEGAS, July 13 – I blew off the Mosley-Vargas press conference yesterday and not simply because it interfered with my Bastille Day preparations. Sugar Shane and Fernando are two of my favorite characters, but frankly, I’m fed up with all the prefight hype crap.
I mean, it’s a big deal that James Toney threw a glass of water, glass included, at Samuel Peter’s manager the other day? Hell, before his thumping by Roy Jones Jr., Toney answered one of my questions by throwing a folding chair at me (no, I don’t remember the question). If there’s a press conference, chances are Toney is going to get into an altercation, even if it’s not about any of his fights.
So instead of telling you “he said, he said,” or reminiscing about the good old days of Muhammad Ali press conferences – he’d come in, dressed in suit and tie, and call his opponent names like “Big Ugly Bear” and “Rabbit” and “Washerwoman” and “Acorn” and “Peanut Head” and “Frankenstein” but how the hell can you feel nostalgic about “Uncle Tom?” – let me take the opportunity to ramble.
If Mosley is serious about not being able to make 147 pounds by the end of the year and thus delaying any considerations for a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr., boxing’s best will have nowhere to run but to Bob Arum for that promised $8 million for a fight with Antonio Margarito, the promoter’s greatest con job since Butterbean, Mia St. John, Evel Knievel’s Snake River jump and John Tate….I mean, say Mayweather’s people offered Arum and Margarito a couple of million to split up, where could they possibly come up with $8 million for their side?…Carlos Baldomir, even if he upsets Arturo Gatti (a good bet, I think, at plus $1.80), would mean two cents plain on pay-per-view….The biggest shock is still Winky Wright turning down $4 million to fight the limited, and for him, smaller Margarito.
So there’s Don King, mumbling something on Showtime about starting a heavyweight title tournament and Jim Grey nodding his head up and down in approval. When Don controlled the tournament, he didn’t’ make any unification fights. Now that he is in partners with Willie Sauerkraut on the dubious Mr. Valuev, he’s going to unify?….Shannon Briggs is one of the things wrong with boxing. A few “victories” over lamp posts and futons somehow qualifies him for a possible match against Wladimir Klitschko.
I seldom think Sugar Shane Mosley can lose, but the rematch with Fernando could be troublesome. John David Jackson, who helped devise the game plan for the Feb. 25 bout in which Mosley turned Vargas’s left eye into a gargoyle worthy of the Notre Dame (the one on the Ile de Cite, not South Bend), is no longer in the corner. Jack Mosley is back while John David prepares Allan Green, his latest client, for an ESPN2 bout in Tulsa in eight days against Anthony Bonsante. Jackson became available when Mosley, instead of getting someone to condition him for the Vargas rematch and bringing in John David after Jackson finished his work with Bernard Hopkins, decided for the family reunion.
Also, Vargas knows another loss and he’s finished as a big-time fighter. He’ll be pumped, even if he’s deluding himself into thinking he was winning the first fight….He’s also delusional if he thinks he can move to 160 and beat Jermain Taylor. Lou DaBully, who is tired of seeing Taylor against the best, is very open to having Vargas challenge his strong kid. At least it’s more fan-friendly than having Taylor face Sergio Mora….Nevada has decided to allow Gatorade or any other nutritional drink in the corners between rounds to help fighters recuperate. Next thing will be pipe and slippers and maybe some roasted marshmallows.
As good as Cory Spinks danced his way into the ring last Saturday night, I don’t think he’s a match for his father, Leon, on the floor. Dad could really move – he was also a great rope-jumper…..Sugar Ray Robinson saved his dancing for the Ed Sullivan Show….How could I leave out Oscar de la Hoya from my pound-for-pound ratings? I hereby sneak him in after Mosley and before Miguel Cotto, which puts the Golden Oldie at No. 19, not bad for a guy with one victory in more than two years or so.
A hundred years ago, I covered the football Giants for the New York Times and wrote about a high draft choice who didn’t make it that he was “fat, lazy and egotistical,” according to someone in the front office. The Times told me that “blind” quotes – not attributed – were not allowed to be pejorative, so I sneaked the line into the story thusly: “Fat, lazy and egotistical are of course not necessarily pejorative.” My editors laughed so hard at my self-description, they let it pass. I bring this up to tell you that James Toney is “fat, lazy and egotistical,” and maybe that’s why I love him, especially against Samuel Peter.
Hey, it was 107 or so degrees out there, why would I ever leave my air-conditioned home for a press conference? It wasn’t like Mike Tyson was going to be there, either to bite someone on the leg or, more likely, put his head on the dais and feign sleep….Lennox Lewis should become a role model for fighters. He’s apparently enjoying retirement with his family….How can HBO turn down the proposed O’Neil Bell-Chris Byrd cruiserweight title bout – a nice matchup shopping for backers – when it puts on Vivian Harris vs. Michael Arnoutis? Harris, when with Main Events, couldn’t get on HBO when he had a title; now, AFTER getting knocked out by the legendary Carlos Maussa, there he is. Maybe his new promoter, Gary Shaw, got the date because he didn’t sue when HBOxing Boss Greenberg met on the sly with the promoter’s then client, Winky Wright, and Richard Schaeffer of Golden Boy. Just a guess.
According to recommended new rules in Nevada, lightweights will be wearing same size gloves – ten-ouncers – as heavyweights. Previously, all weight classes below 154 used eight-ounce mittens. The idea behind the rule change is that the added padding will better protect boxers’ brains. It is the commission’s brains I’m worried about – the added fluff is likely to allow boxers to take more punches and thus have the gray matter crashing into the skull more often…. I’m beginning to suspect you can get dementia from SEEING too many punches….One of the reasons I like Oleg Maskaev is that early in his career, he confessed that several of his pro victories were really in amateur fights in the old Soviet Union – in front of his then management. Such honesty is rare in this business and, to be honest, though he may not deserve his title shot, he does indeed have a chance to beat Hasim Rahman again. Rahman is not the smartest fighter in the world. Even with his corner telling him to stay back from James Toney, he insisted on falling inside where the fat, lazy and egotistical genius could do his best work. That “draw” shouldn’t have been close and if Rahman has similar strategy lapses against Maskaev, he could go flying again.
Is everyone excited about Arturo Gatti possibly winning the welterweight title in another week?….Mosley-Vargas is a nice fight, but the outrageous pay-per-view price of $50 is only made palatable by having Juan Diaz on the undercard. The lightweight titleholder is as much fun as a barrel of Gattis….Can’t wait to see what some of my old pals at maxboxing will say after “Fraud” exposes Margarito….Boy, have I got a match for Bob Arum: Butterbean and James Toney on July 4 at Coney Island in a hot-dog eating contest. Toney is such a big hot dog, he’d probably swallow that Japanese kid who wins every year at Nathan’s….The Constitution isn’t the only thing that George W. has weakened during his tenure. Since he became captain in chief, the United States has slipped in world boxing, tennis, soccer, basketball and even baseball, losing the WBC – which is a hell of a thing to name a “classic.” I think it’s due to Bush undermining of the moral fiber of this country. We need Pat Robertson or Jose Sulaiman in charge….I’d settle for Johnny Bos.
PENTHOUSE: Maybe it was the Soviet water, but like Maskaev, Roman Karmazin was refreshingly honest when asked whether he thought he beat Cory Spinks last Saturday in St. Louis, he replied, “In reality, he tricked me.” He correctly criticized the referee, Mark Nelson, for not allowing the infighting that favored Karmazin, then conceded “unfortunately, it did take me to the seventh round” to figure out the slippery southpaw. Good for him, and good, also for Spinks – though of course Cory didn’t deserve it. Oh, off TV I thought he won clearly despite tiring badly in the latter rounds, but he did not deserve the title shot….see below.
OUTHOUSE: Yeah, it’s shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s rotten fish and it’s difficult to resist jumping on the Intolerable Bad Fishsmell. Cory Spinks had not fought in 17 months, hadn’t won in longer and had never contended at 154 pounds….Mind you, I wouldn’t accuse the IBF of allowing him to cut the line just because Don King promotes him….Tomorrow’s another day. It’ll probably be 110 degrees here.