One of our resolutions for the New Year is to use the power of this platform and our new adherence to The Secret to call for more pick 'em fights to be booked in 2012 than in 2011. If we all concentrate really, really hard and give out the office phone numbers and personal emails of promoters so fans can flood the suits with demands for the best matches possible, we figure we will be rewarded with a stellar calendar in 2012.
We find The Secret repellent and while the guerrilla side of us likes the idea of fans flooding inboxes of the power brokers, we understand that such a tactic would put our approval ratings among those power brokers just above Jerry Sandusky. Besides, fans send the most potent message to promoters and content providers with their interest, or lack thereof, and inclination or disinclination to purchase PPVs. If you only buy the best, they will be required to book the best. If you reward mediocre booking, mediocre booking you will continue to get.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has a lot to do with what sort of fights get booked in 2012. He's the top promoter in the business, and his stable of talent is immense. Of course, he is a businessman first, so most often he seeks to protect the assets he has, and sell the most tickets he can without putting risking the health and well being and often undefeated status of his fighters.
Arum put together a card which will run Feb. 4 in Texas at the Alamodome in San Antonio, and I think most fight fans are pretty happy with the quality of the matchups. I'm not sure they are pick 'em tangles, but they are headed in the right direction. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (44-0-1) won't be a too-heavy favorite against Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1), while NonIto Donaire (27-1) figures to be in much tougher against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr (21-1-1) than he was in his last scrap, against Omar Narvaez on Oct. 22. HBO will show the bouts.
Vazquez Jr spoke of his opportunity against Donaire. He spoke in Spanish, and then a translation was offered. He thanked the WBO for getting a shot at the crown he held before. He said he knows Donaire is a good athlete and promised a good fight. He said that he got experience from his second-to-last last fight, a title loss to Jorge Arce.
Arum then spoke of Donaire. He said that Donaire comes from the same location as Manny Pacquiao, General Santos City, and pointed out that his resume is solid coming in to this tussle. “He's an exceptional young man and an exceptional fighter,” Arum said of Donaire. “Happy New Year's everyone,” Donaire said during his turn at the mike. He joked that he would be happy to act as fashion consultant to HBO's Peter Nelson, who earlier joked that he'd be securing the services of Donaire for his sartorial wisdom. Donaire said this fight won't be a stinker like the Narvaez fight. He said that he knows he will be fighting the best Vazquez Jr on Feb. 4, and said he foresees “fireworks.” He said that he likes to respect boxers and then have each other try to tear their heads off. “Come and join us and watch the fight because it's going to be exciting,” he said.
Arum joked that he was happy that none of these fighters were looking ahead to a fight with Manny Pacquiao. He said that the Chavez Jr-Rubio fight was one he didn't have to work hard to sell. He said the fight would be “tight” and “a battle of attrition.”
Chavez' trainer Freddie Roach took to the mike. He said he'd studied tapes of Rubio, knows he has a good right hand and is a good fighter.
Arum said Rubio has been on a hot streak and referenced his surprise win over David Lemieux last year. In Spanish, Rubio thanked HBO and Top Rank. A translator then shared what he said in English, but my stream was cutting out.
Arum then spoke of Junior. He said the kid has kept on improving. He called Rubio “his toughest test as a professional.”
Junior spoke in Spanish. Translated to English, he said he was happy to be back in Texas, after his last fight was in Houston, against Peter Manfredo. He said that in the past that Rubio had said Junior wouldn't fight him, but said he is ready to fight Rubio and show his true colors. He thanked his training team, and then said he was excited to fight Rubio, because Rubio has already faced such high level opposition. He invited all to come to the fight, whether you come to cheer him or Rubio. He said he'd be willing to die in the ring on Feb. 4.
Arum then said he could get Texas Governor Perry some votes at the Iowa caucus. This showed his level of sincerity as a promoter, because this true blue Dem is no fan of Perry's politics. Business is business, right?