Ref Cortez holding up Kirkland, who looks like he had a few too many tequilas. Actually, he just took on too much of Ishida. (Hogan)
In honor of the refreshing two-man broadcast booth HBO Pay-Per-View gave us on Saturday night, we’ll start this week’s Rants column with a refreshing two-email mailbag. Don’t get used to it. It’s just a little something extra because I’m in a giving mood (and because both emails are rather brief).
Great interview with Holt McCallany. Terrible shame about the show, which I think even objective, non-boxing-fan critics could agree was outstanding. McCallany comes off in your interview as a very classy guy. Hope to see him achieve the success he deserves. How likely (or unlikely) might it be for “Lights” to be picked up by another network, I wonder? I read somewhere that it would take a miracle … however, it seems a natural for HBO for reasons I’m sure I needn’t point out. Those are my thoughts, thanks for the read. —Sean Newman
Holt is indeed a class act. I’m not sure if I’d call Lights Out “outstanding,” but it was at least a very good show. Everyone I know who watched it from the start enjoyed it and wished there could be a second season. I think you’re right that the show might fit nicely with HBO’s overall approach to programming (and they could amp up the gratuitous nudity, which is always fun). But what are the chances a network says, “This series drew insufficient ratings somewhere else, we want it!” Unless Lights Out takes on a shockingly huge second life on DVD, it just doesn’t make business sense for anyone to pour money into another season. As a fan of the show, I think you just need to accept that 13 episodes is all you’re getting, and be happy they gave us a reasonably satisfying conclusion rather than a brutal cliffhanger. (And you’ll always have those two chilling words, “Who won?”, to ring in your ears.)
If Marcos Maidana is coming off a loss to Amir Khan in December, how is Erik Morales fighting him to become the first Mexican to win titles in four weight classes? I just realized that. WTF?
Obviously, your question was of the rhetorical variety. But it’s worth stopping to examine the absurdity in all of these fighters pursuing “history” by winning titles in however many divisions. Manny Pacquiao is no more an eight-division “champion” than Imelda Marcos is. He’s an eight-division “titlist,” and there’s a big difference. Sometimes winning a title qualifies as a major accomplishment; other times it just means you had the connections to make a fight against the 17th best boxer in the division somehow fill a vacancy. Or, in the case of Maidana-Morales, an “interim” vacancy. As you point out, Maidana lost to Khan, and Khan still has the alphabet title he defended against Maidana, yet Maidana’s next fight was for the interim version of that same alphabet title. Shame on everyone who played up Morales’ “four weight classes” angle prior to this fight. Morales is a great fighter. He’s going to the Hall of Fame five years after he retires. But his performance against Maidana will not be remembered for how close he came to winning some stupid belt. It will be remembered for how close he came to beating a quality fighter seven years his junior—and four years after we all assumed his ability to compete on that level to be over.
Now let’s continue the Morales-Maidana discussion in the weekly Rants:
• Three simple words: I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Excuse me (and almost everyone else) for not anticipating that 34-year-old Morales was going to fight better than 30-year-old Morales could. But he did. “El Terrible” deserves enormous credit, and I was delighted to have been so wrong. Now just imagine what Morales could have done with two functioning eyes?
• You know you witnessed something extraordinary when every single postfight article leads by talking about the guy who lost.
• Since we all enjoy comparing fights and fighters of today with fights and fighters from the past, did anyone else have Roberto Duran-Iran Barkley flashbacks during the Morales-Maidana fight? Of course, Duran actually won against Barkley, but there’s no shame in coming up a little short in a comparison with “Manos de Piedra.”
• The phrase of the weekend: “What are you looking at?” Hey, anytime a grown man can borrow from the Biff Tannen playbook, you have to applaud that. It’s just a shame Robert Guerrero didn’t come back at Michael Katsidis with a comeback so it could then devolve into an intense round of “I know you are but what am I” or perhaps some “yo momma” jokes.
• Runner-up for phrase of the weekend: “Remember guys, I’m fair but I’m firm, and I’m especially firm about jumping on top of a fighter quickly so he can’t even try to stand up. Hey, anyone know if Nevada uses the three-knockdown rule?”
• Slightly irritating stoppage or not, you can’t take anything away from what Nobuhiro Ishida did to James Kirkland. Some people are now talking about Ishida vs. Sergio Martinez, but I have a better idea: Ishida vs. Ann Wolfe. Come on, tell you wouldn’t pay to see that.
• I don’t have a crystal ball (as my predictions in Maidana-Morales and Ishida-Kirkland make clear), but I must give myself a public pat on the back for an observation made in the middle of Friday night’s stirring Marco Antonio Rubio-David Lemieux fight. As the fifth round was beginning—in a fight in which Lemieux had clearly won every round to that point—I noticed that Rubio was off his stool a few seconds before the bell, ready to fight, walking halfway across the ring, while Lemieux was sitting on his stool until the last possible second. I got a weird vibe from the body language and jotted in my notes, “Wouldn’t be shocked to see the pendulum swing.” It’s not exactly Sergio Martinez’s trainer writing on a napkin that his man would knock out Paul Williams in the second round with a left hand, but I’m proud of myself just the same.
• I finally watched Hernan “Tyson” Marquez’s win over Luis Concepcion a few days ago, and I’d say it was the best fight since Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez III. That’s partially due to the fact that the last two years haven’t given us a true classic … and partially due to how ridiculous Marquez-Concepcion was. If you haven’t watched it on YouTube yet, you’d better have a hell of an excuse. Like “the dog ate my laptop.” Or “I don’t actually like boxing, I’m just reading this column because I’m Eric’s mother.”
• I don’t mean to stereotype, but was anyone else not exactly shocked to learn that 6’3” welterweight Willie Nelson doesn’t have Tex Cobb’s chin?
• I solve problems. That’s what I do. So here’s my idea: Let’s just get Roy Jones and Floyd Mayweather in the ring together in an “Uncle Sam Takes All” match, they each dance around each other harmlessly for 12 rounds, then neither has to fight again.
• With the news of her induction into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame, it’s safe to say that the Lewis-Holyfield draw is no longer the worst decision Eugenia Williams has been involved in.
• Normally, I end the Rants by plugging the most recent episode of Ring Theory (http://ringtheory.podbean.com); this time, I’ll plug next week’s episode instead. Two words for you: special guest. One more word for you: Baggmeister. (And you thought last week’s episode was politically incorrect?)
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.