Everything in life eventually gets watered down, overdone, and cheapened. Examples from this past week: If Saul Alvarez and Matthew Hatton can fight for a title, then titles mean nothing; putting “#winning” or “#tigerblood” at the end of every tweet was funny for the first day or two but painfully lame when people were still doing it a few days later; Hatton ruined the perfect ring-entrance song, “You’re The Best Around,” by deciding actually being the best around wasn’t a requirement for using it.
This is why I’m continuing to limit my mini mailbag to one solid, interesting email each week. The goal is to leave you wanting more, not leave you complaining that the mini mailbag has jumped the shark like … well … the phrase “jump the shark.” So here’s this week’s best email and my response:
Hi Mr. Raskin,
Thought I would drop you an email saying it’s a shame that you ain’t writing for RingTV.com, but it’s great to see you are writing for TheSweetScience.com, always enjoy reading your articles and listening to Ring Theory.
I think if they could get some money out of it, Sulaiman and co. would make dead men champions. I can imagine Sulaiman at Sugar Ray Robinson’s grave draping that belt over his grave stone announcing him as the welterweight champion of eternity and releasing one of those creepy press releases that read like royal decrees proclaiming that, what the hell, he almost beat Joey Maxim so here’s a light heavyweight title, now he’s a champion in three weight classes.
Larry Merchant, as you wrote, said of Saul Alvarez, “He is, for 20 years old, as good looking a young fighter as I’ve seen.” I think Larry must be losing his memory. Wilfred Benitez was 17 when he beat Cervantes, Pipino Cuevas was 18 when he won the welterweight title, Edwin Rosario was 20 win he beat Jose Luis Ramirez, and Marco Antonio Barrera was only 22 when he beat McKinney in his fifth title defense on B.A.D. I think it’s safe to say Larry might be overstating it.
First off, please don’t call me “Mr. Raskin.” Only my wife calls me that.
Secondly, I pray that Jose Sulaiman doesn’t read my columns, because I think you’ve given him an idea so ludicrous he’d try to make it happen. And why stop with dead fighters? How about titles for unborn fighters? Next time Floyd Mayweather gets someone pregnant, Jose’s personal ultrasound will show little sanctioning fees growing in that womb.
As for Merchant, I agree, he’s going overboard on “Canelo” and maybe losing perspective a little bit. But something about this kid has struck a chord in Larry, who has never been into cautious technical boxers and values Alvarez’s fan-friendly style as much as he values his talent. And on a side note, a couple of months ago, I interviewed Larry for a piece I wrote about his controversial suggestion of an eventual Manny Pacquiao-Alvarez fight, and Larry did something not many interview subjects will do: He called me again two days after our interview to offer additional thoughts after watching Alvarez fight Lovemore Ndou. Merchant is a boxing writer’s best friend, someone who cares about the quotes he gives and the articles in which he’s quoted. So with that in mind, I’ll cut him some slack for getting a little carried away driving the Canelo bandwagon.
And now, it’s time for me to get behind the wheel of the Rant-wagon …
• So David Haye is close to finalizing a fight with a Klitschko, huh? I’ll believe it when I see Haye flat on his back in the ring. Er, um, I mean, I’ll believe it when the bell rings to start the fight.
• In all seriousness, if we get one Klitschko against Haye and the other against Tomasz Adamek, that’s about as good a 2011 as we could hope for from the heavyweight division.
• As for Wladimir pulling out of the Derek Chisora fight again because of his nagging abdominal injury: What’s the point in dating Hayden Panettierre if she can’t use her superhero healing powers on you?
• What can you really say about the Alvarez-Hatton fight? Canelo was good but not great and Hatton was freakishly game but never had any chance of winning. My only knock on Hatton (other than his choice of entrance music) comes from his pathetic bid for a DQ after Alvarez hit him on the break in retaliation for a low blow. Hatton’s acting was so bad, Vin Diesel called me to criticize it. Good for ref Lou Moret for not buying it for a second.
• I really want to like Adrien Broner. He has talent. He has personality. I loved that he had a cornerman brushing his hair during the prefight introductions. Cocky young punks inject energy and excitement into the fight game—when they back it up in the ring. Broner did not back it up against Daniel Ponce De Leon. He can theoretically bounce back from this; let’s face it, this fight wasn’t half as bad as Andre Dirrell vs. Curtis Stevens, and it only took Dirrell about a year or so after that to get some momentum back. But right now, I’d much rather see Ponce De Leon back on HBO in his next fight. Ponce De Leon does this thing called “throwing punches,” which I find makes for good TV.
• If judge Tony Crebs thought Broner won that fight 99-91, then he probably also thinks Chris Arreola deserved a draw against Tomasz Adamek. What’s that you say? He DID score Adamek-Arreola a 114-114 draw? Tony, please drop the pencil, put your hands where I can see them, and slowly back away.
• As you may have heard, Mark Wahlberg hinted last week about a possible sequel to The Fighter that would focus on the Micky Ward-Arturo Gatti trilogy. It’s doomed not to be as good a movie as its predecessor, but I have no objection to them trying to make it. I figure Micky’s health issues between the second and third fights—he later told me that he bluffed his way through the physicals to get that last seven-figure payday—could make for compelling drama, and the Ward-Gatti relationship could replace the Micky-Dicky relationship as the emotional centerpiece of the film.
• Is it too late to go back, fix the blown knockdown calls and the questionable judging, and reverse Freddie Norwood’s win over Juan Manuel Marquez? I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t look right on JMM’s record.
• ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons tweeted the draft order of his “next celeb to go off the deep end” pool on Saturday night, and you might be interested to know that Floyd Mayweather was selected 25th. Manny Pacquiao was not selected. So there you go, Floyd; you rank higher than Manny in something.
• Once again, let’s bring it home with Raskin’s Recommendations: Adam Carolla’s podcast (http://www.adamcarolla.com/ACPBlog/) makes the cut again with another boxing-themed episode, as Lights Out star Holt McCallany appeared on the show last week and somehow Carolla and McCallany hitting the pads together for five minutes made for semi-compelling radio; I’m sucking up to my editor here, but it’s well-deserved, as I think everyone will get a lot out of Michael Woods’ article on Don King and Bob Arum http://bit.ly/g1XO1p and lastly, the Ring Theory podcast (http://ringtheory.podbean.com/) returns this week with special guest Rich Marotta, one of the true class acts of the boxing broadcasting world. So thanks in advance to Rich for slumming it with two low-class individuals such as me and Bill Dettloff.
Eric Raskin can be contacted at RaskinBoxing@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @EricRaskin and listen to new episodes of his podcast, Ring Theory, at http://ringtheory.podbean.com