The Spit Bucket is your weekly source of random thoughts, opinions and comments about the Manly Art, compiled by TSS boxing writer Diego Morilla. Make your suggestions and comments and dare to give us your own short commentary on this week’s boxing issues by sending us an email at email@example.com.
Oscar Asks Boxing for a Love Test
A few days ago, retired former champion and current promoter Oscar De La Hoya teased the idea of making a comeback to face 0-1 MMA superstar Conor McGregor, saying that he was “faster and stronger than ever” and indicating that he was “secretly training” for the bout. His longtime buddy and sidekick Eric Gomez seemed to corroborate this notion when asked about it.
De La Hoya, who is now 44 and retired in 2008 with a 39-6 (30 KO) record after a loss to Manny Pacquiao, has floated the idea of returning to the ring more than once, but never quite as seriously as now.
But is he serious?
As a promoter, De La Hoya has struggled with his ability to engage fans and media alike for his promotions, and as a fighter he was never his own best cheerleader either. Perhaps this is just another way for him to ask boxing for a “love test,” to see how much interest there would be in a fight that he loudly denounced as a fraud when his former foe Floyd Mayweather carried it out.
The casual tone that he used to float the idea that he was trying to promote– not during a real interview but during a radio show linked to his company — suggests that he intentionally chose the setting to drop the idea on a slow Monday and then watch the headlines write themselves. And he got his wish, with every major boxing outlet already drafting predictions for a fight that will likely never happen.
Oscar’s intention, then, may be to just gauge the reaction of fans and press and test his own popularity a little bit, rather than spark interest in a fight that he himself encouraged fans not to purchase when Mayweather faced McGregor back in August. For now, the whole thing is just a footnote in history, but I expect both Oscar and Conor to continue exploring the opportunity and pushing the limits of our patience for quite a while before deciding that it was a great what-if, at best.
Hopefully, the nonsense will stop there. But with spotlight-hungry guys like Oscar and Conor, you never know.
388 Losses and Counting…It’s a British Thing
When promoters of small, low-budget shows in England address their matchmakers, they invariably invoke the famous line from the movie Casablanca: “Round up the usual suspects.” It’s a British thing like a mid-afternoon snack of tea and crumpets.
This past Saturday at a community center in Worksop, Nottingshire, the seven fighters on the “A” side of the bout sheet were collectively 9-0. No one in the septet had more than three fights under his belt and three were debutants. The seven fighters on the other side of the ledger had 567 losses between them. The most inept – or the most adroit, depending on one’s perspective – was junior welterweight Ibrar Riyaz who lost a 4-round decision, advancing his inglorious record to 6-130-4.
The previous Saturday, an equivalent show was staged in Liverpool. The ten “B” side fighters at this event were collectively 66-673-34. The “ace” of the B side was Kristian Laight who has emerged into something of a cult fighter in England. Laight has incurred 258 losses in a career that began in 2003 when he was 14 years old. He is booked to fight again this coming week and again the week after that where two promoters are vying for his services.
Men like Riyaz and Laight have more in common with mimes than with prizefighters. In the aggregate, Riyaz and Laight have been stopped only eight times in 417 bouts. Hey, a fellow has to make a living. – Arne K. Lang
Rigondeaux and Lomachenko: Clouded by the Risk of a Dull Fight
The impending Rigo-Loma matchup will keep our typewriters clanking and spitting out letters and spaces for a while. And in the early stages of our analysis of this great matchup, it is always wise to listen to the people who know these guys best.
“In my view, the fight between Rigondeaux and Lomachenko faces the danger of becoming a dull fight, lacking meaningful exchanges and provoking the rage of the fans,” says veteran boxing scribe and Zona de Boxeo contributor J.J. Álvarez. “The quality of the fight will depend on the tactical plan that each one of them brings into the ring. In the case of Rigondeaux, he is a counterpunching expert, always ready to make his opponent pay for any openings that they may leave unattended. Meanwhile, Lomachenko has a more aggressive boxing style but he can also change his tune to stop depending on his jab and not take so many risks. That way he may avoid Rigo’s power, but if this is the road they choose, the fight could become a monotonous and colorless fight that will leave fans feeling unfulfilled, regardless of who is the winner. I can only hope that this is not the case and that the fans will witness a real fight in which the mastery of the best fighter up there will shine through.”
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