Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Woods
This Saturday in the world of college football, Colorado is a hefty 24 point favorite over San Diego St., Washington St. is a big 28 point favorite over Idaho, Maryland's spread against underdog Akron in 23 points, Tennessee is expected to down Middle Tennessee St. by at least 27, and then finally Kansas St- long known for scheduling out-of-conference patsies- is giving up 40 points to UL-Monroe.
Blowouts are expected in each game. And you know what? They're all probably going to be more competitive than the bout between undisputed light heavyweight champion Roy Jones and his WBC mis-mandatory challenger Clinton Woods. You see, Jones must get his fight itinerary done by the Kansas St. athletic director. Don't believe me? Just look at his last several bouts: Glenn Kelly, Julio Gonzalez and Derrick Harmon. All were heavy underdogs but Woods, who comes out of Sheffield, England, takes the cake. Noted odds-maker Herb Lambeck lists Woods as a 100-1 underdog.
Woods comes in with a ledger of 32-1, but 17 of those wins have come against fighters who's record is at .500 or below. He is the very definition of a built-up fighter whose management has successfully been allowed to exploit the corrupt rankings system. This time the WBC is the culprit and we shouldn't be surprised. For so long Jose Suliaman has been protecting his big money champions by feeding them an endless list of no-hopers to feast on. While the Oscar De La Hoya's get Patrick Charpentier as their mandatory challenger, Stevie Johnston's would get legitimate tough guys like Cesar Bazan.
It's pretty clear, if you're a marquee money maker, you get free rides. If you're not, well, we'll just find somebody who can be to defeat you.
It's another farce being perpetrated by not only the WBC but Roy Jones himself, who pockets right around $4 million for what amounts to a highly glorified sparring session. I give Jones this, he's a great manager. Anyone that can get that much money for that easy of a fight has to be doing something right. But just don't call him an all-time great, ok?
He's basically had one big fight (against James Toney in 1994) and since then has avoided any live bodies that could have given him trouble. And this talk of him being up there with the likes of Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles, and Bob Foster amongst the all-timers at light heavyweight? Puuuuh-leeeeze. If you saw Jones struggle with Montell Griffin the first time out or against a one-armed Eric Harding for nine rounds, to say that would be straight out sacrilege. And let's be honest here, I don't see any Yaqui Lopez's or even any Mike Rossmans around as contenders.
Yes, some of his apologists will argue that he is a victim of circumstances and such. But, on the flip side, he MADE those circumstances all too prevalent. Remember it was he, himself that stated he would make the Dariusz Michalczewski fight happen, it was he, that stated he would go up to heavyweight and fight Buster Douglas in 1998, and now he's using protracted negotiations with Bernard Hopkins and talk of a bout with John Ruiz to fight the likes of Clinton Woods. It'll be the same old song and dance after he disposes of Woods. While Larry Merchant of HBO grills him, Jones will boast he only did this fight because he had to and that bigger and better things are on the way.
It'll sound like the same broken record to me.
Now, if Jones should face his IBF mandatory next, Antonio Tarver, nobody should raise a protest about that bout. Tarver, in his last four bouts has downed Lincoln Carter, Chris Johnson, Reggie Johnson and then gained revenge on Eric Harding this past July for the IBF light heavyweight title eliminator. No, it may not be the Mt. Rushmore of 175-pounders, but I will say this, in the context of today’s game, it's a pretty impressive run and all the above-mentioned names were
ranked within the top 10.
And you know what, just compare those last four names to the last four guys Jones has defeated: Kelly, Julio Gonzalez, Derrick Harmon and Harding.
THE BUDDY SYSTEM
One of the reason why Tarver has improved so much recently is that he hooked up with Buddy McGirt. McGirt, once a highly respected welterweight champion, is quickly earning a rep as one of the game's premiere teachers and trainers.
“Tremendous knowledge and experience," says Tarver of his trainer." The guy has walked in my footsteps. I'm trying to walk in his. Buddy McGirt is a tremendous trainer; he's not a one-dimensional trainer, that's what I love about him. I mean, he takes each fighter and maximizes their positives and he works hard on their negatives as far as being a complete boxer."
BY THE WAY
Does Tarver know who Woods is?
" Unfortunately, not," said Tarver with a chuckle." I'm like the rest of the boxing world. But hopefully he can get it over with quick and move onto the next stage."
As I'm writing this, Johnny Tapia is still awaiting word from Al Mitchell on whether Mitchell will train Tapia for his November 2nd date against Marco Antonio Barrera.
Regardless of who's in his corner that night, it's been evident for a long time that Tapia is one of these guys that trains himself. Just wind him up and go. He's a born fighter, and will be one to the day he dies. When you're in his corner what you're really doing his working as his pit crew, just setting down his stool, cleaning out his mouth-piece, getting him some water and then getting out of the way.
But I will say this, if there's anybody that can give you an honest assessment of all the trainers out there today, it's gotta be Tapia. After all, it seems like he's worked with every single one of them- at least twice.
With the announcement that Lennox Lewis will be dropping his IBF belt, Chris Byrd and Evander Holyfield will duke it out for the vacant title, most likely in December on HBO.
Also, it looks like Wladimir Klitschko could be facing Jameel McCline later this year.
As for Lewis, he will most likely take on his WBC mandatory Vitali Klitschko next.