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Knockout Nation: Berto Pulls Out, Mayweather vs. Mosley Finally in March?! Taylor, Jones-Hopkins Farce, Who Wins Between Pacquiao And Prince Hamed?

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Andre Berto Pulls Out of January 30 Unification Bout

Earlier today, Haitian welterweight titlist Andre Berto officially announced his withdrawal from his highly anticipated showdown later this month against Shane Mosley.

Berto released a statement today acknowledging that he lost several family members in the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake last week, in addition to learning his sister and niece are now homeless.

Since the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday evening, I have been focusing on my family and the Haitian people who are facing an inconceivable battle for survival while still trying to continue to prepare for an opportunity I have dreamt of since childhood. I lost several family members to the earthquake and after two days without word, was relieved to learn that my sister, Naomi and her daughter, Jessica survived, but were left homeless. I have seen the pain in my parents’ eyes as they attempt to understand what has happened to our homeland and recognize a place they once called home.As a result of this disaster, I am mentally and physically exhausted and therefore I have no choice but to withdraw from my bout on January 30. Throughout the past six days, I have received an incredible outpouring of support, and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s prayers for the people of Haiti . I hope that everyone will continue to keep the Haitian people in their thoughts and prayers as we work to rebuild this proud nation.

The rebuilding of Haiti is not something that will happen overnight, but I am fully dedicated to helping the Haitian people recover from this catastrophic event.

The bout would have been Berto’s biggest as a professional, and I completely understand his reasons for stepping down. For all its physical brutality, boxing is an acutely mental discipline that requires 100% focus. With what’s transpired in his family that is impossible.

The most immediate example I can think of is Carlos Monzon-Rodrigo Valdez I, where Valdez decided to go through with the contest despite his brother being shot the death a week earlier. As a result, Valdez was listless and lost a one-sided decision.

On behalf of the entire AllHipHop.com staff, I would like to let Andre Berto know our prayers and support are with him and his family.

 

Mayweather-Mosley, Anyone?

If you’re in camp Mayweather, you may feel like you’ve received a belated Christmas gift.

After the collapse of his negotiations with Manny Pacquiao last week, Floyd Mayweather was left with a still open PPV date of March and no dance partner. To compound his misfortune, Manny Pacquiao immediately took a gamesmanship lead by securing a Top 5 ranked welterweight in Joshua Clottey for the same March 13 date. With all the other welterweights either locked up fights (Berto-Mosley), or licking their wounds (Cotto, Margarito), Mayweather was left with assorted list of junior welterweights (Timothy Bradley, Paulie Malignaggi, Nate Campbell) and a decent junior middleweight (Kermit Cintron) to choose from.

Now with Berto gone, Mayweather can shut down any big interest in Pacquiao-Clottey if he can come to terms with Shane Mosley for the March 13 date.

Even now, the net is going crazy about the potential. As noted in my interviews with Mayweather and Mosley, there’s a heated rivalry between both men going back to the late 90s. Both regularly accuse of each other of ducking. Now, each of them can put that talk to rest in a big money showdown.

There will be the issue of the January 30 date. HBO boxing dates are rigid and sparse. The network, having already invested money in promotion and locking down the Mandalay Bay venue, may still try to push to have Mosley fight a substitute on January 30. Of course, if that happens it won’t be Mayweather, and Shane wouldn’t be able to fight again so soon.

They may take a loss now, but I have to believe HBO will see the biggest dollar signs in March and allow the date to just be a wash, and move forward with Mayweather-Mosley. HBO has not confirm their participation in the Pacquiao-Clottey PPV, which leads to speculation maybe they knew the Berto announcement was imminent.

The rivalry aside, there’s also the intrigue of who benefits the most from the recent turn of events. You can argue that Mosley is already in shape, and the extra weeks will just serve to make him sharper against a man he spent the majority of last year calling out.  For Mayweather, you can point out that by the time March hits, Mosley will have been out of the ring for over a year. Plus, you can’t ignore the mental breakdown. Shane will have spent the last several months preparing for Berto’s style, to now having to do a complete 180 in planning for Mayweather.

I was looking forward to Vegas later this month but I will cancel my hotel reservations to see Mayweather-Mosley in March. How long has boxing been waiting for this fight? Take a look at the cover below and check out the publication date.

 

 

 

Jones-Hopkins II Confirmed for April 17

17 years after their first fight, Roy Jones, Jr and Bernard Hopkins will finally lock horns.

Golden Boy has announced that the two aged legends will complete their rivalry on PPV  live from the Mandalay Bay.

In December, Jones was TKO’d in one round by Danny Green. Hopkins, coming off a one year layoff, took a pedestrian decision from Enrique Ornelas.

Pacquiao and Mayweather should take a long look at this entire saga. When they had the boxing world’s attention following Hopkins’ knockout of Felix Trinidad, their egos prevented them from coming to terms. Now with Jones 41 and Hopkins 45, this fight is all but meaningless. Manny and Floyd are following the exact same script, believing in their minds their primes will be forever and the public demand for the fight will always be there.

Hopkins likely sees this as an easy payday, and a chance to avenge a loss to a guy who belittled him over the years. For Roy, he has no leverage following the embarrassing loss to Green.

For what it’s worth, Roy Jones’ career as an elite fighter ended in 2004 when he was shattered by Glen Johnson. We’ll see in April if their names still hold weight with casual fans.

 

Amir Khan Signs with Golden Boy, Malignaggi Not Impressed

Newly crowned WBA champion Amir Khan will look to make an impact in the United States via his signing with Golden Boy Promotions.

Khan bounced back tremendously last year from a 2008 1st round KO to Breidis Prescott by defeating Marco Antonio Barrera in March, Andreas Kotelnik in July for the WBA title, and Dmitriy Salita by 1st round TKO in December.

“Amir Khan is one of the most talented fighters in the world at any weight,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya stated. “That talent, combined with his charismatic and outgoing personality, makes him a promoter’s dream, and I feel will one day lead him to being the face of boxing.”

WBO champ Paulie Malignaggi doesn’t share De La Hoya’s sentiments. In an interview with boxingscene.com, the outspoken Brooklynite explained he’s willing to face Khan should be fulfill his obligations against mandatory challenger Marcos Maidana.

“I’more more of a star in England than Amir Khan is in the United States,” Malignaggi boasted. “I’m not saying I’m a star in England and Khan is not a star heer but if you compare our notoriety, I’m more known in England than Khan is known in the United States. I think I fought the higher caliber of opponents overall. All of the fighters who beat me are former champions and the guy that beat him, Breidis Prescott, nobody knows who he is. I think Khan is a solid fighter but what’s right is right.”

“If HBO puts up the money and give me the date, I’ll fight Maidana right now. People think just because you can punch, that it means you can fight, but that’s not the case. I’m up for fighting Amir Khan, and I’m up for fighting Marcos Maidana.”

At press time, Khan is negotiating terms for his defense against Maidana.

 

Jermain Taylor Pulls Out Super Six Tournament

Last week, former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor made choice that many great fighters have been unwilling to do.

He decided to put his health and family first.

In light of the recent damaging back to back 12th round knockouts to Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham, Taylor has elected to withdraw from Showtime’s World Boxing Classic.

I’m going to take some time off from the sport of boxing and take myself out of Showtime Sports World Boxing Classic tournament. It’s important that I give my body and mind some much needed rest, because I have been boxing for nearly 20 years. I plan on keeping myself in shape and making a return to the sport sometime in the future.  This was not an easy decision for me, having discuss it with my family, trainer, friends and my adviser Al Haymon, because I’m a very competitive person-but I know this is the smart road for me to take. I want to thank Showtime Sports for everything and I wish the best for my 5 counterparts who will continue on in the Super Six tournament. Most of all, I want to thank the many fans for their continued support.

Taylor was scheduled to face new WBA Super Middleweight champion Andre Ward on April 17.

For all of his faults as a boxer, Taylor has fought nothing but top ranked fighters since beating Bernard Hopkins for the belt in 2005. His brain has suffered immense trauma in his recent fights, and boxing should be the last thing on his mind at this time. Take all the time you need, Jermain.

A replacement has not been announced, but the leading name is Allan Green. There has been no word if Showtime has reached out to Lucien Bute.

Notes

-          Z “The Dream” Gorres is on the road to a successful recovery following brain hemorrhaging and collapsing in the ring following his November fight against Luis Melendez. Doctors forecast that he will be able to go home by mid-February, and make recovery of feeling on his left side in six months.

-          Vanes Martirosyan (27-0,17 KOs) retained his undefeated record with a unanimous decision over veteran Kassim Ouma. Scorecards read 97-93 twice, and 97-92.

-          For his comeback, Ricky Hatton is eyeing a rematch with IBF champion Juan Urango

 

 

 vs.

Throwback Mythical Match of the Week: Prince Naseem Hamed vs. Manny Pacquiao

Over the last few years, Manny Pacquiao has turned into a pound for pound legend. But in the early 2000s, Manny Pacquiao was an exciting featherweight who emerged just as the sun set prematurely on the career of Prince Naseem Hamed.

Both fighters possess great power and speed, but utilize them in drastically contrasting styles. Hamed rarely put punches together, but still posted 31 KOs in 37 fights with his lethal left hand, whether through straight or uppercuts. In addition, he possessed a jarring right jab, hook, and corkscrew uppercut. He used awkward angles to generate immense power from his legs, and his quick reflexes and adept footwork kept him out of danger at his absolute mid 90s physical prime. These attributes can be seen in Hamed’s efforts against Steve Robinson,  

 

 

The featherweight incarnation of Manny Pacquiao was seek and destroy, firing his laser like left hand straight down the middle, and wild, clubbing hooks whenever the battle went inside. Pacquiao was relentless and showed disdain at any return fire, as seen in his career-highlight beating of Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003.

 

 

At featherweight, this is a difficult fight to call. Pacquiao was still very raw, and didn’t stay long at this weight (leaving for Super Featherweight following the draw in 2004 with Juan Manuel Marquez). He could be timed as evidenced from the Marquez fight, and Hamed was more decorated at the weight, defending his title 15 times from 1995-2000.

The pick comes down to how highly you rate Pacquiao’s chin at featherweight. He’s going to come right at Hamed, similarly to how Kevin Kelly did in spots in their classic 1997 shootout. Yes, Pacquiao has never felt power like Hamed’s at featherweight, but Manny had only been stunned or hurt by precise, combination counters from Juan Manuel Marquez. Hamed for all his power and speed isn’t a technician, and won’t be able to catch Manny coming in, nor would he exchange bombs on the inside.

I see Hamed cracking Pacquiao hard early with the left, and then going into retreat ala his fights with Wayne McCollough and Ceasar Soto when he sees no give in Pacquiao. Pacman’s straight left down the middle will find the button several times, and the Prince will be the victim of a few balance knockdowns. Hamed showed a sturdy chin through his career, so I believe he’ll lose a clear decision but hang on to finish the bout.

Let’s read your verdict. Who do you have, Pacquiao or Hamed at featherweight?

 

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