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
Maidana Keeps Gunning for Trouble
First, he got in trouble by posting a picture of himself with one of Colombia’s most notorious ‘sicarios’ (hitmen) of the late evil-great Pablo Escobar, the very personification of a drug kingpin responsible for thousands of deaths in his country and abroad, embracing the man while holding two guns in his hands. But the tsunami of criticism that ensued did very little to teach him a lesson, apparently, because Marcos Maidana did it again.
A few days ago, the former WBA junior welterweight titlist posted a picture on Instagram smiling broadly next to the tombstone of the man himself, Pablo Escobar. The reaction from fans and foes alike was even worse than in the previous occasion, and Maidana eliminated the pic from his profile, but the damage had been done already, and his public image as a loving father and friend living large and enjoying life after an entire lifetime of poverty and sacrifice as a kid and a terrific run as a prizefighter has taken a beating unlike any other he may have endured in the ring.
While I understand that the reasons why he’s done this are quite impossible to understand, there is something to be understood here anyway: a boxer does have a public life after he exits the ring, and that life has a potential “residual” value for him as well, with the possibility of becoming anything from motivational speaker to spokesperson for any brand or commercial endeavor being just a few of the possibilities. If they squander their good image doing reckless things like this, they’re not only affecting their good name, they’re hurting their chances to have any kind of career after boxing. Some of the fine people who guided Maidana from a non-entity to fighting Floyd Mayweather twice need to sit him down and show him some tough love, pronto. Unless they want to be accomplices in wrecking Maidana’s career after these two inexplicable photo ops gone awry. – Diego M. Morilla
Much Ado About Double
In case you’re not into keeping tabs with your favorite fighter’s amateur records (or if you’re living under a rock, in this case), there is a fight this week in which both combatants have been awarded a grand total of four Olympic gold medals at a rate of two apiece. A big deal has been made about this, and with good reason. After all, that reason is not only the fact that this is an unprecedented situation, but it is also the fact that both Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux have been able to translate their extraordinary accomplishments on the Olympic stage into the professional ring to some extent, and that they will face each other in a period of their life that, although it is far from their prime, it is a good enough moment to make us believe they will produce one of the most technically dazzling fights ever.
All good and peachy up to that point, yes. But let’s pause for a minute and take a quick look at the names that both of them have faced and defeated. Have they really earned the praise and the anticipation that this fight has produced based solely on their professional runs so far? Or are we giving their amateur feats too much importance in a fight in which we expect them to finally show what they’re made of in the hurt business, so far removed from the realm of scoring pillow puffs on each other and just with the white part of the glove, please? A lot of people have a lot of expectations about this fight, yes, but some other people have a lot of questions. And I am one of them. – Diego M. Morilla
The WBC and HBO Clash over Salido-Roman
One of the more interesting developments this week was the decision by HBO to knock down Saturday’s Salido-Roman fight from an interim WBC world title fight to a generic 10-round contest.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman was infuriated. In an article on the WBC web site titled “The 12th Round, The Abuse of Power,” Sulaiman chastised HBO for preventing Salido and Roman from accomplishing their dreams. Perhaps unwittingly, he diminished their fight further by comparing “a simple 10-round fight” to an NFL pre-season game, an event “with no meaning what so ever.” Left unsaid was that HBO’s action cost the WBC a sanctioning fee.
The view from here is that the networks have exercised their power more responsibly than the sanctioning bodies. With all due respect to Salido and Roman, tough hombres who always give their best, we would like to see this become a trend. Although the fight hasn’t yet been signed, it appears inevitable that Manuel Charr will fight Fres Oquendo in a match certified by the WBA for a world heavyweight title. I wouldn’t care to watch it, but might change my mind if a network insisted on packaging it as a non-title fight. – Arne K. Lang
Mayweather’s Money was on the Money
Floyd Mayweather Jr. let the cat out of the bag this week when he acknowledged that he gave away the early rounds to Conor McGregor in deference to a gentleman’s agreement. I was at a confab at Mayweather’s gym where a reporter asked Floyd if he would carry McGregor if he determined early on that the MMA superstar was no threat. Mayweather deftly evaded the question.
The guess is that Mayweather just couldn’t take it any more after McGregor kept insisting that he was screwed by the ref and that he would knock Mayweather out in a rematch. You can’t believe everything that an athlete says in a sport like boxing where mendacity is rampant, but in this instance I firmly believe that Mayweather was telling the truth when he fessed up and set the record straight. – Arne K. Lang
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.