Jim Lampley's "The Fight Game" unfolded after the Nonito Donaire victory over Jorge Arce in Hoston, and the HBO boxing senior sage put forth a potpourri of issues and topics.
First off, Lampley mulled over the Donaire victory. He asked Roy Jones to hang around the arena, and they re-hashed the scrap. Jones did voiceover while we saw video of Donaire bashing his faded foe, who announced his retirement to Larry Merchant after the KO ending.
The Marquez stunner win of Dec. 8 was then dissected. Jones said Marquez went to the body early to help set up the later work up top. RJJ pointed out how Pacman scored his knockdown, in round five. The last half of round five was show, sans talk, which I found interesting, and almost an artistic exercise. Then, we saw the Mexican's crackerjack KO. Jones said he was desperate, but not reckless. "What I liked most about it was he continually attacked to the body," Jones said. The fighter noted that the ten second warning is the most dangerous time in the round, because you can let your guard down.
Lampley chatted with Max Kellerman, and talked about the one that got away, Mayweather-Pacquiao. It would have been big like Ali-Frazier, and the biggest sports clash, period. And, he said, it may still happen. But prime vs prime, "that's gone and it ain't comin back."
Next for Floyd? Max said Floyd would have made more and might have had an easier time with Manny than his potential foes, Canelo and Robert Guerrero. That is irony, for a man nicknamed "Money."
Lampley talked up the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado fight, and the Sept. 15 Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr clash, but that one is the runner up as TFG Fight of the Year, to the Marquez-Pacquiao scrap. Lampley segued into the cloud hanging over the bout, the Heredia-PED angle. Lampley referenced the Erik Morales Tweet post-fight which "joked" that the Mexican pharmacy was better. Lampley likes Danny Garcia's work but said Donaire is TFG Fighter of the Year, because "he committed to random drug testing" as much as for who he fought and beat. Lampley dropped a velvet covered hammer on the lack of testing in the sport. Lampley named Dr. Margaret Goodman as TFG Person of the Year; she now heads up the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency. VADA busted Lamont Peterson and Andre Berto, he reminded us.
Lampley then gave us a Larry Merchant retrospective. We saw him offer a leaden-tongued Ali a ten million dollar check to unretire, and fight him; heard Larry call the Tyson-Douglas shocker; and learned that Larry's "oh shoot" face is in the iconic photo of Ali standing over a fallen Liston. Larry savaged Shane Mosley, sized up the De La Hoya win over Vargas, smooched Manny Pacquiao, busted on Mayweather, and offered his wish to kick Floyd's butt. "I guess I thought I'd never outlive Betty White in showbiz," he said, chuckling, when Lampley asked why he was exiting.
Lampley asked where boxing was when Merchant was being a columnist. He loved boxing always, and the boxing writers, and they turned out to be heroes to him as much as the fighters. And the future of boxing? "It's more global," he said, and it is "no longer mainstream"....but there is more of it on TV than ever: It's "like Broadway, a very lively corpse."
Merchant offered his Gatti List, an all-time Gatti List, the guys who most made his juices flow. Gatti himself made the cut, and so did Evander Holyfield, and also Bobby Chacon. (he dropped the Warren Zevon-Chacon lyric, which made my night.) Brandon Rios made the cut, a Larry nod to the present, and finally Ray Leonard. "He was a great in all senses of the word," he said.
"Larry, you have been my editorial conscience for 25 years, I don't work very well without you," Lampley said in closing," don't change your phone number, Ok? We'll be in touch."
"You'll be the first one to know if it does change. Thank you Jim," said Merchant.
Lampley posted TFG pound for pound list: Marquez, Donaire, Martinez, Ward and Mayweather is No. 1.
He finished with a word on PEDs. A positive test can wreck a whole date, he pointed out, but that doesn't mean we can't test the heck out of the athletes. We have to, in fact; if a PED-aided boxer kills another, Lampley said, the fallout will be immense and catastrophic. Fix it, he implored.
"That'll do it for this addiction..addition of The Fight Game," he said in a marvelous Freudian slip I enjoyed quite a lot.
Who Should Floyd Mayweather fight next: