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Rios AcostaHey, some of us LIKED that rendition of “Maggie's Farm” on the Grammys!

It was a slow week for quality mailbag material until after the Brandon Rios-Miguel Acosta fight, at which point a solid email came in. So let’s start with that for our mini mailbag (or, as it was known a few web ventures ago, “I’m Raskin, You’re Askin’”), then dive into some Rants.

 (By the way, a quick reminder, if you have a question or comment for the mini mailbag, you can hit me up at

Hey Eric,

I just got done watching Rios beat up Acosta. You were right that Rios isn’t trying to be the bad guy, he was very reserved and likeable in his interview after the fight, and I, for one, think he can make everyone forget all about that “shaky” Roach impression if he keeps going like this. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen cojones like Rios showed, since it looked like he had no shot at winning after three or four rounds. When was the last time we’ve seen a young fighter dig that deep to win a big fight? And in light of what happened in the Marcos Maidana-Victor Ortiz fight, could Rios have done anything more perfect to distance himself from his bitter rival?

What a performance, what a win, “Bam Bam” thank you, man! Insensitive Freddie Roach impression or not, I’m rooting for this guy.

Thanks for your time,


Hi Smackie,

Smackie? Where the heck do you get a nickname like that? If it’s either drug-related or you earned it by beating your wife, I guess I don’t want to know.

Your observation about Ortiz is a good one. Rios and manager Cameron Dunkin have very real disdain for Ortiz, they’ll talk trash about him with no provocation whatsoever, and they especially like telling stories of how his behavior in the gym over the years made his surrender against Maidana entirely predictable.

And speaking of Maidana, you don’t have to go back far at all to find a young fighter who showed cojones like Rios did. Amir Khan looked like a beaten man in the 10th round against Maidana last December and found a way to win. But your point is well taken. Whereas Khan knew he was in a position to win if he survived Maidana’s assault, Rios’ mission was starting to feel almost hopeless after four rounds. And that says very good things indeed about Rios, that it looked hopeless to the outside observer but never did to him.

Okay, let’s get to the Rants, starting with a few more Rios-Acosta observations:

• My favorite random little moment from the fight was Rios trainer Robert Garcia giving himself a quick squirt from the water bottle in between the seventh and eighth rounds. Hey, a trainer has to stay hydrated too, I suppose.

• Rios-Acosta was a perfect example of why I don’t bet on boxing. When Steve Albert and Al Bernstein explained that Rios was a 2-1 favorite in what I perceived to be a pick-’em fight, I was wishing I was in Vegas so I could jump all over that. Ten rounds later, I was delighted to be anywhere but Vegas.

• Just one minor criticism for Rios: The primal victory scream has got to go. Bob Dylan’s present-day live vocals are easier on the ears than that.

• Speaking of famous singers, I thought Cyndi Lauper held her own nicely against Antonio DeMarco in the Rios-Acosta co-feature.

• Also, a fine job by Fred Rogers alongside Brian Kenny on the ESPN2 Friday Nights Fights studio this weekend. Yes, Bernard Hopkins, I will be your neighbor.

• According to FNF’s Joe Tessitore, former 105-pound titlist Roberto Leyva threw his IBF belt in the ocean as a tribute to his late father, a fisherman who was lost at sea. Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new favorite fighter! Hopefully this can develop into a competition for which titlist can find the most creative way to dispose of his bogus alphabet trinket. I won’t be satisfied until there’s a belt tossed into the mouth of an active volcano.

• While on the subject of Leyva, what does it say about a guy when he looks chubby at bantamweight?

• I caught wind of an intriguing rumor last week that there was a conflict between Freddie Roach’s reality-show deal with AMC and the Showtime/CBS Fight Camp 360 series and that we might not see Roach on the latter, but it turns out it was untrue—or at least had become untrue by the time I asked a Showtime rep about it. “The rumors are false,” I was told. “There are guidelines that both networks have discussed and agreed to, and Freddie Roach will appear on Fight Camp 360 on Showtime and CBS.”

• If you thought the world of pay-per-view had bottomed out with Evander Holyfield vs. Sherman Williams, think again: Coming up March 11, it’s Michael Grant vs. Tye Fields on pay-per-view! If that sells more than two dozen PPVs, government leaders should take it as a sign that the American public is not quite broke enough yet.

• Happy belated 34th birthday to Floyd Mayweather! Hey, remember when Roy Jones was 34, still on top of the world, and picking and choosing the fights he knew he could win? How did that turn out? Just sayin’, Floyd, the window to take the toughest fights and actually win them doesn’t stay open forever.

• I have to disagree with anyone who has opined that there’s a double standard in play in HBO turning down Sergio Martinez vs. Sebastian Zbik but approving Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Zbik. Martinez-Zbik is a mismatch, whereas Chavez-Zbik is roughly an even fight. Martinez is the middleweight champion of the world and a top-five pound-for-pounder who should only face elite opponents; Chavez is little more than a prospect and should still face non-elite opponents. It’s not a double standard. It’s simple matchmaking logic.

• Let’s wrap up Raskin’s Rants with Raskin’s Recommendations: The Adam Carolla Show ( featured Amir Khan last Thursday and is definitely worth checking out, as long as you’re prepared for Carolla to annoy you at times with his casual-fan level of knowledge of the current boxing landscape; perhaps I’m a little late to this party, but I’m finding the opinionated musings of Carlos Acevedo in his “Sound & Fury” column ( to be some of the most entertaining boxing blogging out there (at least until he starts ragging on me); and, of course, there’s a little podcast called Ring Theory ( that several inside sources have told me is the greatest thing in the history of boxing journalism. I guess maybe I’ll check it out one of these days and see if they’re right.

Eric Raskin can be contacted at You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at


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