Beats, Boxing and Mayhem
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Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is moving forward with plans for Manny Pacquiao to fight Antonio Margarito for the vacant WBC junior middleweight championship on November 13.
The news was first announced late on Friday and then subsequently confirmed yesterday.
The hurdle for the fight as of today is the location. Antonio Margarito is still without a boxing license after being suspended by the California Athletic Commission last year for attempting to use illegal hand wraps against Shane Mosley.
He has been unable to get reinstated in California and currently has a lawsuit pending against their athletic commission. Arum then attempted to get a license in Las Vegas, but that commission decided by a 4-1 vote on July 9 that Margaritos should complete his reinstatement in California where he was originally suspended.
But this was all before Margarito secured his fight with Pacquiao. Now, the Las Vegas commission is considering granting Margarito a conditional one fight license. In addition, the former welterweight champion suddenly jumped to #1 in the WBCs 154 pound rankings despite his only win in the last year and a half being over fringe contender Robert Garcia in May.
The Las Vegas Athletic Commission hold their next meeting on August 9, and will likely rule on Margarito-Pacquiao at that time. If he is again denied, Pacquiao-Margarito will be staged in Mexico on HBO PPV.
This fight is a huge disappointment but not unexpected. Earlier this month Arum issued a public deadline to Floyd Mayweather to make the Pacquiao fight, going as far as to list a countdown clock on his website. When the deadline passed unanswered (July 16), Arum speculated that Mayweathers team didnt want the fight this year due to trainer Roger Mayweather facing possible jail time if hes convicted on August 2 of assaulting a female boxer last year.
The fallout took another turn when Mayweather advisor Leonard Ellerbe vehemently denied any negotiations took place.
So again where are back to the same problem we had earlier this year when the first Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations fell through. Who is to blame?
Whether you side with Mayweather or Pacquiao, the one figure thats been at the center of controversy each time was Bob Arum. The talks fell apart in February because Arum was constantly leaking information to the media and depicting the Mayweathers negatively. He also pulled Pacquiao and signed him to fight Clottey while Mayweathers side was still negotiating and offered a 14 day cutoff compromise on the drug testing issue (something Arum claims Pacquiao agreed to in the latest negotiations).
Arum maintains that he was negotiating terms for the fight this time with HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg, who was then relaying information to Mayweathers other close advisor Al Haymon. But that claim cannot be verified, as both Haymon and Greenburg have refused to comment.
The sad truth is that neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao really want this fight. If both sides had come to the table determined to make this fight, it wouldve happened. The squabbles over countdowns, drug testing cutoffs, and purse splits have been exercises of ego and vanity.
After having to watch this circus since December 2009, Ive concluded there is only one man that can get Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in the ring.
For all of his previous shady dealings, King has never let a big fight not happen. From the Thrilla in Manila to Mike Tysons legendary run to Felix Trinidad, King has an unmatched promotion ledger. Take a look at the rundown of all of his accomplishments.
If King needed to come up with a couple million in duffle bags to sway Mayweather or Pacquiao, it would have been done. Just in May, he did the same thing to prevent Ricardo Mayorga from fighting on a MMA card (Mayorga and King have since reconciled). Floyd doesnt cal himself Money for no reason, and King would make sure he had plenty of that on hand to sway Mayweather.
What is also great about King is his focus on making the full cards competitive. Too often fans have had to pay upwards to $60 for essentially the main event and a trash undercard (admittedly Golden Boy has been better about this on recent PPVs). King always did his best to prevent this. In the 90s older fans remember guys like Julian Jackson and Ricardo Lopez fighting on Tyson undercards, and more recently cards that would have Zab Judah, Hasim Rahman, and Bernard Hopkins all competing on the same night. The sport needs that back.
And most importantly, King knows how to play to fighters egos. Even after being sued by legends like Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson, they normally come back and do business with him because they know King gets the job done on the promotional front. Even now, King has quietly put together a double header in St. Louis for August 7 featuring Devon Alexander vs. Andriy Kotelnik and Glen Johnson vs. Tavoris Cloud. And King along with Gary Shaw were the only promoters pushing to make a 140 pound Super Six-styled tournament (Golden Boy opted not to participate).
They say only in America could someone like Don King be a success. And right now hes the only American that could finalize Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Ronnie Shields Interview
I got the chance to sit down with former Trainer of the Year Ronnie Shields to discuss his fighter Juan Diazs upcoming PPV rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez on July 31.
Their 2009 clash won Fight of Year, but since then both men have suffered losses in their last bouts. This fight is considered do or die and more so for Diaz, who has gone 2-3 in his last 5 fights.
Juan is very focused fighter and an intelligent person. He knows how to put things in perspective. He realizes that this fight has a lot to do with his [future] boxing career. He loses this fight [and] it puts him in a bad situation, he explained to Beats, Boxing and Mayhem. I think we had the perfect game plan last time, up until Juan stopped using his jab. Once that happened that caused Marquez, one of the best counter punchers in boxing, to not have to worry about anything. He just had to get off on the counter. We have to fight the same fight as last time, but we have to remember that we cant fall in to punches and be smart.
Shields has trained several Hall of Famers in Pernell Whitaker, Mike Tyson, and Evander Holyfield. When asked about his past heavyweights competing against the dominant Klitschko brothers, Shields was certain the class of the 90s (Holyfield, Bowe, Tyson, Lewis) would have been victorious.
Oh man Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis; all those guys wouldve beaten them. Look at Evander. Holyfield was a religious guy. It didnt matter how big you were; his boxing skills were so good he could match up with anyone, explained. Thats how he was able to match up well with big guys like Bowe and Lewis. When Lennox fought Vitali, he was just as big and strong. With Wladimir, Lennox would have knocked him out early because Wladimir is the one who takes more chances.
A former title contender himself at 140 in the 1980s, Shields discusses today junior welterweights, and gives further insight into Diaz-Marquez II. The rest of the interview can be read HERE.
Mayweather to Meet with Cotto Representatives in Puerto Rico
Despite all the controversy surrounding his now dead fight with Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather was spotted vacationing this week in Puerto Rico. A representative for Miguel Cotto confirmed that a meeting with Mayweather would be taking place to review joint promotional opportunities.
There were additional rumors that the two may be looking to discuss a fight, a bout that fans had originally clamored for in late 2007 and early 2008.
But Cottos lawyer Gabriel Penagaricano downplayed a potential fight, since Cotto has two years remaining on his contract with Bob Arums Top Rank.
These are separate issues, he said. He [Mayweather], besides being a boxer in a division similar to that of Miguel, is a promoter, like Miguel, and is interested in developing fighters. And he also came here for other issues, apart from business. Hes on vacation
Mayweather uses his own Mayweather Promotions banner to promote his fights in conjunction with Golden Boy.
In June Miguel Cotto signed a deal with Golden Boy to co-promote fights in Puerto Rico.
Very interesting developments. Its good that Cotto is already looking closely at his retirement career. Its a shame that Mayweather-Cotto didnt happen when both were undefeated and prime in early 2008. And because Cottos contract runs until 2012 its doubtful it could be signed now with all the bad blood between Team Mayweather and Arum.
Shot of the Week
Beibut Shumenov took a unanimous decision over ViacheslavVyacgeslav to retain his WBA light-heavyweight title on ESPN2s Friday Night Fights. Shumenov scored this knockdown after getting dropped himself in the 1st.
New and Notes