The disintegration of the potential March Mayweather-Pacquiao fight has left a sour taste in everyones mouth. But it appears Manny Pacquiaos camp remains hopeful the fight can come off sometime before the end of 2010.
In an interview with KTLA News, Pacquiao denied the steroid allegations and stated hed be willing to take tests to verify his statement.
I dont know what hes talking about. Im willing to do a medical or drug to be [prove Im] clean, he said.
Well fight him for free! trainer Freddie Roach boasted from training camp. Well take winner takes all.
Pacquiao will face Joshua Clottey on March 13 from Dallas Stadium. The 100,000 plus seat venue will be a good gauge of the Filipinos popularity, and also the fiscal health of the sport. If the event does well, its possible promoters will work on similar future attractions.
At this point, any talk from Mayweather and Pacquiao about fighting each other ring hollow. They had the opportunity in their grasp to have the biggest sporting event of the year, and an unprecedented split of $50 million. Both fighters were given a once in a lifetime opportunity in a superfight that presented the biggest payday and legacy benefit.
And yet through ego and pride, that opportunity was squandered, and now both pugilists have gone their separate ways. It appears to be an underlining feeling of regret on both sides despite the occasional posturing.
If Mayweather and Pacquiao win their tough challenges over the next 3 months, it almost certain theyll return to the negotiating table, and hopefully with more sense.
But just imagine the ultimate irony if they both lose their upcoming bouts.
Miguel Cotto to Make Junior Middleweight Debut at Yankee Stadium
Former welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto is prepped to make a big return in June through a bout at Yankee Stadium against WBA junior middleweight champ Yuri Foreman.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is in ongoing negotiations with Yankee officials to bring boxing back to the Bronx after a 34 year lull. The last fight was a 1976 heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton, which ended in a highly controversial 15 round decision for Ali.
A big stumbling block was resolved in a scheduling conflict with Scott Ballan, the son of prominent lead bond lawyer and Yankee Stadium deal closer Jon Ballan. The Ballans had planned on holding Scotts bar mitzvah there on June 5, but was persuaded to relinquish the date for Cotto.
Foreman will be making the first defense of his title and is cognizant of the venue’s rich history, which has seen previous fights from legends like Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and Joe Louis.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity. It’s something I’ve never ever dreamed,” he stated to the Associated Press. “It’s where Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling, you know? For me to be fighting in Yankee Stadium is historical, being part of the history.”
With the two biggest names (Mayweather, Pacquiao) likely tied up for the rest of the year, the fight gives Cotto the chance to make an immediate impact in a new and wide open division.
At press time, the fight has a backup option of moving to Madison Square Garden on June 12 if the Yankee Stadium negotiations fall through.
This is a tough comeback fight for Cotto, who took a prolonged beating in his November fight against Manny Pacquiao. Foreman isnt a puncher, but hes a slick boxer and a spoiler. Historically, Cotto has eaten up boxers by bullying and walking them down (Malignaggi, Quintana, Judah), but Foreman will be the larger man, and its unknown how well Cottos power will carry up to junior middleweight.
June 5 (or 12) will answer a lot of questions about Miguel Cottos future.
Pavlik Camp Speaks on Paul Williams
Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik have been hurling accusations of ducking at each other for over a year. Now that after signing on to face Sergio Martinez, who lost a controversial decision to Williams in December, Team Pavlik is back on the offensive against the Punisher.
According to Pavlik Jack Loew, it was Williams who sabotaged the fight following his close call with Martinez, forcing Pavlik to look elsewhere.
We tried to fight Paul but for some reason, I guess he thought he looked so spectacular against Martinez that he deserved more. Not that it wasnt a great fight, but I thought he lost the fight, Loew explained to doghouseboxing.com. It sure as hell didnt make him look like some superstar, thats for sure. And all of a sudden, instead of agreeing to the deal we had before, he wanted more money and his promoter wanted more money. (Bob) Arum said no and thats our promoter so we went with Martinez, who I thought won the fight anyway.
Pavlik had signed on to fight Williams last October, but pulled out due to a bad staph infection on his right hand. The fight was rescheduled for December 5, with Pavlik again pulling out because of hand problems, asking that the date be pushed back to December 19.
Williams refused to wait any further, signing on to fight Sergio Martinez on HBO for that date, while Pavlik fought Miguel Angel Espino on a lowly PPV.
Those hopeful that Pavlik and Williams would resume talks later this year received further bad news, as Loew verified they would be looking elsewhere.
Well, after we beat Martinez, Kelly wants to fight Felix Sturm later this year. Were not looking past Sergio, hes a very good fighter and its gonna be a good fight but were confident we will win, he said. We also want (Lucian) Bute, to test the waters at super middleweight, see how we do, and then wed love to be done with that right in time to fight the winner of the Super Six Championship.
Kelly Pavlik faces Sergio Martinez on April 17. Paul Williams is set to face Kermit Cintron on May 8.
Antonio Margarito and his promoter Bob Arum have decided not to push forward with a Texas relicensing attempt to make a return on the Pacquiao-Clottey undercard.
Margarito was suspended for 1 year by the California State Athletic Commission following his January 2009 loss to Shane Mosley, when officials discovered an illegal plaster-like substance in his wraps. To date, Margarito has maintained his innocence, placing blame on his trainer Javier Capetillo.
Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya has remained steadfast that Margarito should be banned from boxing. Margarito is a former sparring partner to De La Hoya, and tried to secure a fight with Oscar in 2008 after his TKO victory over Miguel Cotto.
“I know boxing is Margaritos job, but what he wanted to do was dangerous, to play with someones life in the ring,” De La Hoya explained to The Record. “Yes, many have said Mosley made a mistake by doping, and Margarito did not because he didnt fight with the bandages with the plaster but the situation is different. Mosley may have had more energy but he didnt play with someones life.
At press time, Margarito does not have a hearing date with the California Athletic Commission.
News and Notes
– Edwin Valero (27-0, 27 KOs) is close to a deal to move up to junior welterweight to face Lamont Peterson (27-1, 13 KOs). Valero last fight was an impressive 9th corner stoppage of Antonio DeMarco on February 6. Petersons last fight was a decision loss to Timothy Bradley in December.
– Former junior welterweight champion Vivian Harris (29-4-1, 19 KOs) looks to be at the end of the road. Last night (February 20), Harris was TKOd by Lucas Matthysse (26-0, 24 KOs). Harris was hurt by a right hand, but his corner vehemently protested the stoppage. In early 2005, Harris was seen as a threat against then top 140 pounders Floyd Mayweather, Ricky Hatton, and Kostya Tszyu.
– Andre Berto (25-0, 19 KOs) will make his return to the ring April 10 against Carlos Quintana (27-2, 21 KOs). Bertos WBC welterweight title will be on the line. Quintana, a southpaw, is hopeful his stance will give Berto the same problems he faced in January 2009 with Luis Collazo. This will be Bertos first fight after pulling out of a January unification match with Shane Mosley due to losing several family members in the Haiti earthquake.
– Andre Dirrell has suffered a back injury in training resulting in his anticipated Super Six tournament match with Arthur Abraham to be pushed back from March 6 to March 27. Vic Darchinyan, who was on the undercard of the March 6 date, will keep the Showtime date and headline against Rodrigo Guerrero. Darchinyan has been taunting Nonito Donaire in recent weeks in hope of a rematch. Donaire TKOd Darchinyan in 2007.
– Although not getting a HBO 24/7, HBO will air Pacquiao vs. Clottey: Road to Dallas on Saturday March 6 at 11PM. The 30 minute special will follow an HBO Boxing After Dark card.
Throwback Fight of the Week: Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton III (September 28, 1976)
In 1976, Muhammad Ali was a champion on borrowed time. He achieved redemption with a classic victory over George Foreman in 1974, and surviving a hellacious rubbermatch war with Joe Frazier in 1975.
The Greatest was on a very sharp and embarrassing decline. He won a boring, controversial decision against Jimmy Young in April 1976, coming in at a fat, career-high 230 pounds. He secured the final TKO victory of his career a month later against an overmatched Richard Dunn.
Now, Ali could no longer avoid the calls to face his toughest stylistic opponent in Ken Norton. The pair had previously fought twice in 1973. The first bout made Norton a star when he broke Alis jaw and won a decision. In the rematch, an in-shape Ali barely squeaked out a split decision, with many claiming Norton had beat him again.
Standing a chiseled 63 and over 215 pounds, Norton was Alis physical equal and frustrated the champ by taking away his best asset, the jab. Through legendary trainer Eddie Futch, Nortons cross-armed crab defense created a shell that prevented Ali from landing his patented jab-right cross clean. In addition, Futch had Norton counter jab and drive Ali to the ropes to pound the body. When Ali jabbed, Norton would position his right hand high to catch the punch, and immediately fire his own jab. The shot would destroy Alis rhythm and out put him in a defensive mode, allowing Norton to push forward with hooks and uppercuts while Ali would be forced to hold or cover up on the ropes.
A slower, faded fighter, Ali tried to fight flat-footed early on to keep Norton honest with power. But Nortons style still proved superior, and the California fighter built a dominant early lead. Ali could find no consistent attack, and was hurt badly and doubled over by a Norton body shot in the 6th round.
However, Ali never gave in and slowly crept back on the scorecards during the fight’s second half. The rounds were still close and difficult to score, but Ali did better when he became the aggressor and forced Norton to fight going backwards. Norton wasnt being hurt, but he would take his foot off the gas and allow Ali to get off with eye-catching flurries.
Going into the 15th round, ringside press had Norton ahead (some as wide as 9-5), but the feeling was Norton would have to close strong as Ali was the popular champion. Amazingly, Nortons trainer Bill Slayton advised Norton to lay back and be careful not to get caught.
Ali controlled the majority the round by simply dancing and working the jab. Norton followed him around, but finally opened up in the last 30 seconds, pinning the champ in a corner and raining down hooks.
Sure that he had won, Norton taunted a dejected looking Ali at the final bell. But it was Nortons bad corner advice that dashed his title dreams.
All three judges had awarded the bout to Muhammad Ali with scores of 8-7, that final round being the difference with each judge giving it to the champ.
Norton was devastated; visibly sobbing in the ring after the verdict was announced. Years later, Norton still maintains he won the fight, and lists it as the point where he lost his desire to fight.
I lost my edge for boxing, I didnt put as much into it as I did before. I didnt run as far, Norton admitted in an interview with Frank Lotierzo. I didnt train as hard. I didnt eat correctly. I started drinking a little bit every now and then. Of 1-10 I put in about a 5. I felt that no matter what I did that they would do what they want anyway.
Norton would fight for 5 more years, winning bouts against Jimmy Young and Duane Bobick. He lost a classic 15-round battle with a young Larry Holmes, and suffered two blowout 1st round losses to Earnie Shavers in 1979, and Gerry Cooney in 1981. He retired after the latter bout with a record of 42-7-1, 33 KOs.
Muhammad Ali was running on fumes after this contest. He was nearly KOd by Earnie Shavers in 1977, but held on to narrowly outpoint the puncher before losing the belt in a stunning upset to unheralded Leon Spinks in 1978. He regained the title the same year before retiring on top.
Muhammad Ali made an ill-fated comeback in 1980, losing by corner stoppage to Larry Holmes in 1980, and by decision to Trevor Berbick in 1981. His record stands at 56-5, 37 KOs.
Both Ali and Norton are enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Even today, both fans and experts debate who really won the Ali-Norton series.
Rounds 13 and 14
Round 15 and Decision