Mayweather-Pacquiao Almost Done for March 13?
Let the hype begin.
Word has broken that Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are close to finalizing the most lucrative fight in boxing history.
Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole confirmed that Mayweather had already signed the contract [terms have not been disclosed], and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is already in route to the Philippines to close Pacquiao’s end of the deal.
For the last two years, both fighters have exchanged high-profile, and in many instances dominating wins over common opponents. Mayweather scored a split decision win over Oscar De La Hoya and a TKO of Ricky Hatton in 2007. After a brief retirement, he returned in September to dominate Juan Manuel Marquez in a lopsided unanimous decision.
Manny Pacquiao edged Marquez in a disputed split decision before emphatically stopping De La Hoya in 2009. This year, Pacquiao solidified his #1 pound for pound status with a chilling 2nd round knockout of Ricky Hatton in May, and breaking down Miguel Cotto for a stoppage in November.
With both men posting million plus buys for their most recent fights, the demand has reached a fever pitch for them to face each other. After Pacquiao’s win over Cotto, the crowd loudly chanted “WE WANT FLOYD!”
Previously, both camps were looking at a May 1 date. However, Manny Pacquiao’s decision to run for the Philippines May 10 Congress elections prompted an earlier date rather than delay the superfight until the Fall.
At press time, a venue hasn’t been decided, but the leading candidates include MGM Grand Garden Arena (Las Vegas), Dallas Cowboys Stadium (Dallas), and the New Orleans Superdome (New Orleans).
Thankfully, both sides negotiation posturing/bluffing to take others fights didn’t prevent them from looking at the bigger picture. Mayweather apparent immediate signing was also smart. Now, if Pacquiao attempts to delay the announcement by requesting a catchweight or any other stipulations, public sentiment could quickly turn against him and allow Mayweather to take his cause to the media.
But enough about business, let’s begin breaking down this fight. Floyd Mayweather historically has been a more aggressive fighter when paired against southpaws. In his fights with Demarcus Corley, Zab Judah, and Sharmba Mitchell, Mayweather was assertive and walked down his foes with precision right hands. But, that aggression also resulted in the veteran champion getting stunned with a counter against Corley, and dropped for an uncalled knockdown against Judah.
Pacquiao has been on a tear his last three fights, taking out fighters who rely heavily on left hooks (De La Hoya, Hatton, and Cotto). Mayweather supporters cite Juan Manuel Marquez’s success against Pacquiao as proof that Floyd will be able to counter all night in route to an easy victory.
This theory fails to account for the fact that Marquez was countering Pacquiao with combinations. On the other hand, Mayweather since his jump to welterweight has relied primarily on single potshots to outclass his foes. That strategy could prove dangerous against Pacquiao, who’ll be working the full 3 minutes whether he’s landing clean or not. His aggression just may be enough to sway judges, who may side with a 7-8 punch barrage from Pacquiao where 4 punches land over one Mayweather potshot that snaps Pacquiao’s head back.
Additionally, Freddie Roach will need to spend these next short months improving Manny’s ability to cut off the ring. In the latter rounds against Cotto, Pacquiao became visibly frustrated when Miguel took to his bicycle rather than trading. Despite the beating he had taken, Cotto was at times easily able to keep Pacquiao at bay with jabs and occasional counter rights while backpedaling.
Mayweather would love to keep the fight at that range, where his significant reach advantage would allow him to pick Pacquiao apart in ring center. The Filipino icon will have to feint and use his underrated jab to drive Mayweather to the ropes before unleashing his fast hands. Yes, he’ll undoubtedly eat counters and possibly a knockdown, but the consistent pressure will at some point force Mayweather to hold his ground and fight.
Fight night can’t get here soon enough.
Lucian Bute Stops Andrade in 4!
Super-middleweight titlist Lucian Bute solidified himself as the top challenger to the winner of Showtime’s Super Six tournament with a shocking KO win over iron-chinned Librado Andrade.
Last year, Bute was the recipient of a hometown robbery when a local referee gave him over 20 seconds to recover from a 12th round knockdown to Andrade. The referee’s disgraceful behavior allowed time to expire and Bute to escape with his title.
In the rematch, Bute vowed to redeem his reputation while Andrade promised to pick up where he left off in the 12th.
As expected, Bute outboxed Andrade early on before catching his nemesis with a short, perfect counter left hook that dropped Andrade on his face. The tough challenger made it to his feet, but was quickly dispatched with a thudding left hook to the body.
This was a signature win for Bute’s career. Check out the deciding round.
On the undercard, Ali Funeka (30-2-3, 25 KOs) was robbed off an emphatic victory over an inactive Joan Guzman (29-0, 17 KOs) in a lightweight IBF contest for the vacant title. Funeka dominated the fight and nearly KO’d Guzman late. A baffled Funeka could do nothing but stare in amazement after the scores of 114-114, 116-112, and 114-114 were read.
Winky Wright Fight Canceled By Promoter
Winky Wright’s scheduled comeback fight against Grady Brewer in Puerto Rico has been canceled.
The PPV fight was abruptly called off when the event’s co-promoter San Juan City Knockout decided to cease any further support.
The decision came as a shock to Wright, who was looking to prove naysayers wrong after turning 38 last week and losing a definitive decision to Paul Williams in April.
“I still am a bit shocked the show was cancelled by the promoter in Puerto Rico, but I want to make it perfectly clear it was not because I asked for millions of dollars to fight,” Wright told Knockout Nation in a prepared statement. “We had done everything possible to make this show come together and I knew the financial considerations I needed to make in order for it to happen. Unfortunately now this is not the case, and I will look to find another alternative so I can fight as soon as possible. I hope that we can work something out so that I will be fighting in the early part of 2010, as I am anxious to use all the hard work and training I have already put in for this show. I just hope everyone has a great holiday season, and look for me to fight again soon after the New Year.”
Reportedly, Wright’s weight is at 162 pounds, and his goal with this comeback is to eventually have a showdown with current middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik.
“I am really disappointed the show can’t happen as I was training very hard and really wanted to get back in the ring. I was so looking forward to fighting in Puerto Rico in front of all the Puerto Rican people who are boxing fanatics and really know and appreciate the sport,” he added.
At press time, Wright has not disclosed whether he will reschedule his fight with Brewer.
Hopkins Victorious/Roy Jones Disposed in 1
The proposed March 2010 rematch between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones appears to be in jeopardy following Jones’ embarrassing TKO1 loss yesterday (December 2) to Australian Danny Green.
Jones began the round jabbing effectively and making sure to spend minimal time against the ropes. But as the Pensacola native with backing away into a corner, Green clipped Roy on the top of his head with a seemingly glancing right hand shot.
But the power had an immediate effect on Jones, who crumpled to the canvas and then flopped his face when he attempted a quick rise. Green gave the former pound for pound #1 no reprieve, and turned him into a punching bag for hooks and uppercuts. Jones maintained a high guard, but had the legs of a newborn calf and was visibly shaken by each punch.
After 10-15 seconds of no punches, the referee had seen enough and called a halt to the contest with 2:02 remaining.
A shell-shocked Jones could do nothing but give credit to Green and finally acknowledge that his Hall of Fame career was likely over.
“I don’t know, I guess I go back into retirement now. I got to take my hat off to Danny,” Jones stated. “He had a great performance tonight. I thank everyone in Australia for supporting the event.”
The win improves Danny Green’s record to 28-3, 25 KOs, and he retains his IBO cruiserweight title.
Jones falls to 54-6, 40 KOs.
Back in the States, Bernard Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs) scored a dominant unanimous decision (118-110, 120-109, 119-109) over a game but outclassed Enrique Ornelas (29-6, 19 KOs).
Before his hometown Philly fans, Hopkins turned the bout into a glorified sparring session; he kept a methodical pace and picked his spots with potshot right hand counters. And of course, B-Hop roughed Ornelas up on the inside with headbutts, mauling, and short hooks.
When watching footage of Jones’ loss, Hopkins refused to dismiss the rematch being canceled, arguing that his longtime rival may have been the victim of an overanxious ref. In addition, the former middleweight kingpin proclaimed his intention to make a heavyweight title challenge before the end of 2010 (possibly against David Haye).
At this point, it seems ridiculous that Hopkins is still entertaining fighting Jones, but obviously it’s an easy payday for the Executioner.
“I am the modern day Archie Moore of this era. I’m that throwback fighter that didn’t let the streets and outside lifestyle destroy me,” Hopkins stated to Knockout Nation. “I’ve invested in my 20’s and 30’s and [I’m] still getting the dividends now. Anything is possible. December 2 starts a marathon for me to super greatness. The boxing world will be scratching their heads. I need drama, that’s been part of my success. I need that adversity.”
Hopkins did no eliminate the possibilities of fighting Jones.
The Punisher Cometh
Paul Williams will be making his return to ring this Saturday (December 5) on HBO in a risky fight against Sergio Martinez.
There is the possibility of the letdown for Williams (think Quintana I), who’s been chasing middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik the entire year to no avail. Their fight has been rescheduled several times this year due to Pavlik’s staph infection on his left hand. Pavlik pulled out of the December 5 date with Williams, but then signed on to fight Miguel Espino December 19 on Pay Per View, claiming his hand will be healed in time.
Martinez is very slick with fast hands, and Williams should be given a tough test. If he succeeds, and Pavlik handles business December 19, there should be no further excuses or delays in finalizing their championship fight.
Throwback Fight of the Week: Dwight Muhammad Qawi vs. Leon Spinks (March 22, 1986)
By 1986, the luster of Leon Spinks’ shocking upset title win over Muhammad Ali in 1978 had faded. After losing the Ali rematch and suffering KO losses to Gerri Coetzee and Larry Holmes, Spinks decided to try his luck at cruiserweight.
Spinks amassed a respectable 7-1 record at that weight and picked up a few marginal belts before being fed to the “Camden Buzzsaw,” Dwight Muhammad Qawi.
All of 5’5, the fearsome ex-con had served hard time for armed robbery at Rahway State Prison, and even fought a professional bout inside the penitentiary. Built like a tank and with the mentality of a Joe Frazier, Qawi had won a portion of the light-heavyweight crown before being outpointed by Michael Spinks in 1983.
Now a cruiserweight, Qawi took out brutal revenge on the lesser talented Spinks brother. Reportedly, Leon’s problems were compounded when he weakened himself by coming into the bout at 190 pounds instead of his more comfortable 195.
Early on, it was apparent that Spinks had no movement and was a sitting duck on the inside for the relentless Qawi. With a sinister smile on his face, Qawi rained down flush right hands and left hooks on Spinks, who could do little but eat all the punishment.
During the 6th round, referee Mills Lane mercifully stopped the contest and likely saved Spinks from suffering permanent damage.
Qawi would lose his WBA title in his very next bout against a young Evander Holyfield in the last classic 15 round fight. In the rematch, a now declining Qawi suffered a 4th round KO in 1987, and then lost by TKO to a comebacking George Foreman in a valiant effort. He would retire with a final record of 41-11-1, 25 KOs, and get inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004.
Leon Spinks would never again challenge for a major title, and went 9-12-1 before finally retiring in 1995 with a record of 26-17-3. His son Cory Spinks would go on to win the undisputed welterweight championship and titles at junior middleweight.