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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Alexander Overcomes His Addiction First, Then Castillo
In a fight that took place on Tuesday, Nov. 21 in St. Petersburg, Florida, former two division champion Devon “The Great” Alexander produced a throwback performance against Nicaragua’s Walter Castillo in what turned out to be a 10-round one-sided pummeling, worthy of Alexander’s best years, back when he was on a short list of future pound-for-pound entrants and considered one of boxing’s finest.
But things went awry for Alexander (pictured on the left) starting in Dec. 2012 when he lost to Shawn Porter to start a 1-3 streak over the next two years before disappearing from the scene. We now know that Alexander was battling an opiod addiction during the long layoff before his Castillo fight, and it is nothing short of amazing to see him return in full force after such a potentially devastating situation. Thousands of people die in the United States every year from this epidemic, and yet Alexander not only overcame his addiction but he also recovered well enough to steer his career back towards the promise of “greatness” embedded in his nickname. Castillo is no measuring stick in that quest, that’s clear, but the signs are encouraging, and now the talent-rich welterweight division has one more contender to include in its championship brackets.
Like him or loathe him, Tyson Fury is one of the most interesting characters in sports. And for a fellow who hasn’t fought in two years, he sure knows how to keep his name in the news. The self-styled “Gypsy King,” who is 29 and looks 39, is the best showman to come down the pike since the young Muhammad Ali.
Fury jumped at the opportunity to challenge Tony Bellew when Bellew’s Dec. 17 fight with David Haye fell out. Fury offered to fight Bellew in May after he sheds six stone, the equivalent of 84 (!) pounds. Goodness that’s a lot of weight to lose, even if it’s distributed over a six-foot-nine frame.
“It’d be no contest,” he tweeted, “one uppercut.” After destroying Bellew, Fury said he would offer Bellew’s trainer a job holding his spit bucket. As for the current crop of heavyweight title-holders, Fury dismisses them as a “bunch of bums.”
Fury is back in training, but whether we see ever him in the ring again is questionable. In October of last year, after he pulled out of his rematch with Wladimir Klitschko for a second time, conceding he wasn’t fit to fight, Frank Lotierzo wrote, “Fury just doesn’t want to be a fighter any longer. It is as simple as that. He achieved his career goal and the thought of putting himself through the agony and torture he had to endure to get the title is overwhelming him.”
History informs us that Fury will inevitably return, even if his heart isn’t in it. It’s a simple matter of economics. The great baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax, who retired at age 31, once said that he miscalculated. He retired with enough money to last the rest of his life, but found out this was only true if he stopped spending. — Arne K. Lang
Dueling Fight Cards Reflect Poorly on Oscar
HBO has an attractive card on Saturday, Dec. 9. The fight between Orlando Salido and Miguel Roman shapes up as a barnburner and there are several other intriguing bouts on the TV portion of the show. But the timing is terrible.
The HBO card goes head-to-head with the Top Rank card in New York which will attract a much larger audience on ESPN. The undercard on that show is junk, but the main go between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux is far more compelling than all of the HBO fights wrapped into one.
The HBO show is co-promoted by Golden Boy which arranged most of the matches. It wasn’t long ago that Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya was throwing venom at Floyd Mayweather and his collaborators at Showtime for stealing his thunder. Oscar had already locked in a big show at the StubHub Center when the Mayweather-McGregor fight was potted on the same date. Oscar was understandably livid. But here he goes trying to wean some of the audience away from a show that was set in stone before he and his cohorts concocted an alternative.
Oh well, better too much boxing than too little. And we can always tape the HBO show for future viewing. — Arne K. Lang
We Haven’t Seen Mayweather’s Best Hand Yet
Even before his retirement, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has managed to exploit his name as a brand in many other ventures. Notably, he had a cringe-worthy participation in Wrestlemania against the towering Big Show in a multi-million dollar appearance, he opened a “gentleman’s club” in Las Vegas (don’t ask me how I know this, but word in the streets is that cab and Uber drivers have had to google the location of the venue at the request of certain boxing observers interested exclusively in the journalistic and anthropological value of visiting such a place) and his TMT brand merchandise is among the most heavily counterfeited sports merchandise brands in the Western Hemisphere.
Now, Mayweather is trying his hand at something different. Literally.
It was recently announced that a company called One Entertainment announced a deal between Playtrex (developer of social casino games) and Hero Digital Entertainment (mobile games publisher) that will make Floyd Mayweather a “virtual host” and participant of their mobile game called Wild Poker, in which “Money” will be prominently featured among virtual players who take the form of wild animals and play the game according to their real life features. If you choose to be a shark, you will be an aggressive predator in your poker hands, and so forth. If the players chooses Mayweather as their avatars, they will be able to take advantage of Mayweather’s special skills in the game and use them in a poker context.
And if this doesn’t fit your idea of finally fulfilling your dream of getting in the ring with Mayweather, fret not, for there are options for you too. Mayweather is planning to launch a gym franchise all over the US and presumably abroad as well, with the first Mayweather Boxing + Fitness facility set to open in the Los Angeles area in January.
Photo credit: Douglas DeFelice / Premier Boxing Champions