Knockout Nation: De La Hoya Ups Pacquiao Offer, Judah Wants Mayweather, US Olympic Team Bombs, “The Celtic Warrior” Steve Collins

De La Hoya Increases Pacquiao Offer

Oscar De La Hoya is not a man used to being told no. For over ten years, the Golden Boy has been able to dictate purse splits over all his opponents due to his immense mainstream marketability.

But in 2008, things have changed.

Just a week after his 70-30 split was rejected by Filipino star Manny Pacquiao, De La Hoya is reportedly upping the bid in hopes of securing the blockbuster super-fight.

As reported here last week, De La Hoya refused to negotiate to 60-40 from a flat 70-30 split for the proposed December bout. While this tactic worked last year on Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao promptly turned down the offer and instructed his promoter Bob Arum to begin negotiations for a November bout with Humberto Soto.

Shocked, Oscar’s team immediately derided Pacquiao as making an uninformed decision and losing out on millions of dollars. To counter, De La Hoya publicly stated he would begin negotiations with junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora, pending he defeats Vernon Forrest again next month.

However with some time to sit on that plan De La Hoya likely realized a Sergio Mora fight is not exactly a blockbuster swan song to end a career.

A few days ago, news broke courtesy of Filipino writer Dennis Principe that the offer has been raised to 67-33 in favor of De La Hoya.

While details have not been confirmed, rumors are circulating that Pacquiao would get a 67-33 split for a certain number of PPV buys before changing over to 70-30.

While on paper a 3% increase may seem insignificant, it means a difference of millions of dollars and can result in Pacquaio actually making more than the $25 million Mayweather grossed for outboxing the Golden Boy last year.

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has offered to forego his training fee if Pacquiao loses. Golden CEO Richard Shaefer and Top Rank head Bob Arum have told media they would prefer to have the deal done in time to make an announcement this week.Pacquaio’s gamble appears to have paid off, much to the surprise of many.

Will he be content with 67-33, or will Pacquaio push his luck and remain firm on his original 60-40 split?

Judah Looks to Hire Floyd Mayweather, Sr as New Trainer

Former undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah thinks his figured out the solution to his post-title woes. The problem may be his trainer, and Judah is seeking to rectify that by replacing his father Yoel Judah with Floyd Mayweather, Sr.

Publicly, Yoel Judah is claiming the switch is due to him focusing on getting Zab’s promotional company off the ground. According to him, despite Zab’s abysmal record since losing the title and his recent stoppage to Joshua Clottey, the Brooklynite remains a hot commodity.

“Everyone wants to fight Zab. We know that we’re very marketable, and we know that when Zab comes he’s going to fight, win, lose, or draw,” Yoel reasoned to boxingscene.com. “Zab is like an Arturo Gatti at this point. Sometimes, a lot of good can come from a loss.”

The Gatti comparison is correct in more ways than Yoel envisions.

Since being upset for the title by journeyman Carlos Baldomir in 2006, Zab has gone 2-3 with 1 no contest in his last six fights. The two wins were lackluster decisions over unheralded Ryan Davis and Edwin Vazquez.

At this stage, Zab is becoming a stepping stone for fighters to make their names or stay-busy. He’s offensive enough to give a few good rounds, but then takes a sustained beating over the second half of the fight.

According to Yoel, offers have come in for a possible rematch with Miguel Cotto or Joshua Clottey. Also, Yoel mentioned his son facing Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams, and Andre Berto.

Mayweather, Sr. or not, I give Zab only a chance early against Berto. A promoter who puts Judah anywhere near Margarito is sadistic and must damn near hate Zab.

If anything, Zab needs to strongly consider dropping back down to 140 pounds, where he is not undersized and can make exciting matchups with new titlist Timothy Bradley, Kendall Holt, Paulie Malignaggi, rematch Junior Witter, or take on champ Ricky Hatton.

US Olympic Boxing Team Records All Time Poorest Showing

In past decades the boxing world would look to American Olympic medal showings to gauge the sport’s next top fighters.

The ’60s saw gold medal wins from Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The ’70s and ’80s featured the same from greats like Michael Spinks and Ray Leonard. Even recently, we’ve seen super-middleweight Andre Ward take home the gold in the 2004 games.

However in 2008, the US Boxing team made its worst showing ever, taking home one bronze medal in the heavyweight division.

China took home two gold medals in light-flyweight and light-heavyweight, while boxing powerhouse Cuba secured no gold but eight medals overall. America’s lone medal was courtesy of Deontay Wilder at heavyweight, who ironically was the most inexperienced pugilist on the team.

The clear advantage other countries have gained over the US is that their teams are dedicated exclusively to amateur boxing.

With the amateurs seen merely as a stepping stone in the United States, many young fighters opt early on to juggle many responsibilities from their managers and promoters while eyeing professional stardom.

Due to this we’re seeing more glossy records, but fighters with poor boxing acumen, who get brutally exposed the first time they step up in competition.

While this situation won’t change overnight, let’s hope that amateur boxing starts to take steps at improving their system for 2012’s games.

Calderon Headlines Low-key August 30 PPV

Undefeated top ten pound for pound fighter Ivan Calderon (31-0, 6 KOs) will defend his WBO title in a rematch with hard puncher Hugo Cazares (26-4, 19 KOs).

In their 2007 bout, Calderon was dropped in the eighth and struggled to fight off Cazares’ pressure. Despite this, the champ was able to escape with a split decision win over his larger foe.

While this is not a mandatory PPV to get, it’s a chance to see one of the lesser known pound for pound elites in a very stiff test. If you have some cash to spare, definitely check it out.Highlights from the Calderon-Cazares I

Lamon Brewster on the Comeback Trail

Also on August 30, former heavyweight titlist Lamon Brewster (33-4, 29 KOs) makes his return to the ring in an untelevised bout against Danny Batchelder (25-5-1, 12 KOs).

Already looking ahead, Brewster wants revenge after being stopped in a lopsided rematch against reigning champ Wladimir Klitschko last year.

“I’m going to brush this rust off then go and knock Klitschko out,” he vowed.

Brewster was a welcomed addition to the heavyweight division over the last few years. But after all the grueling rights he’s had since 2004, we’ll see what the former titlist has left in the tank.

Throwback Fighter of the Week: “The Celtic Warrior” Steve Collins

Iron-chinned Steve Collins began his career as a middleweight in 1986.

Despite besting b-level competition it appeared early that Collins may never win the big one as he dropped decisions in his first three title attempts to Mike McCallum, Reggie Johnson, and Sumbu Kalabay.

That stigma changed in 1995 with a pair of memorable battles with WBO super-middleweight champ Chris Eubank.

Holding obvious disdain for each other, Collins dragged superior boxer Eubank into a bar-room brawl and outlasted him as both men tasted the canvas.

In a rematch six months later, Collins again roughed up Eubank, and his constant pressure was enough to eek out a close split decision.

From there Collins went on to eat the best power shots from dangerous Nigel Benn to grind out two entertaining stoppage wins in 1996.

Collins initially signed on to face a then unknown Joe Calzaghe, but withdrew on an injury and was stripped of his WBO title. Failing to secure a bout with Roy Jones and unwilling to reschedule with Calzaghe (“Joe is a good up-and-coming kid, but he wouldn’t fill a parish church.”), Collins retired in 1997.

However, Collins reconsidered in 1999 after Jones offered him millions and began preparations for a mandatory bout against Calzaghe before taking on Jones.

Unfortunately, Collins collapsed in training and was informed by doctors that he could potentially die from any further head trauma. Wisely, Collins retired again for good in 1999.

Never to be confused with a technically skilled fighter, Collins made his reputation as a punishing, wild swinging  brawler who was near impossible to hurt even with flush power punches. His will was strong enough to outlast his rivals Eubank and Benn, and many consider him the top fighter of Europe’s “golden age” of super-middleweight boxing.

Steve Collins’ final record is 36-3, 21 KOs.

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