THE NO. 1 P4P RANKING
If Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather doesn’t get made in May or June, I think Pacman should forfeit his #1 P4P ranking. My reasoning is not punitive or vindictive. It goes like this: if the fight doesn’t happen it’s Pac’s fault, not Mayweather’s. Blame Arum if you want, but in order for Arum to block the fight, Pac first had to abdicate his decision-making function to Arum, so really it’s Pac’s fault. That means, in my view, that it’s simply too long since Pac actively sought out the best competition at his weight – something which Mayweather and Martinez both consistently prioritize. Add to that how bad Pac looked against a bloated Marquez, and before that against a Mosley who had absolutely nothing left, and you have got to wonder how anyone who isn’t a blatant groupie can still think this guy deserves the top spot.
Do you have an Xbox or a Playstation, Doug? I’m enjoying Fight Night Champion, but I’m a bit bewildered how David Haye gets a higher rating than both Klitschkos.
Best. — Pierre
I don’t play video games unless they came out in the 1970s and ‘80s, so no, I don’t own an Xbox or Playstation, but my guess is that the designers of Fight Night Champion know about as much about boxing as I do about video games.
The mythical No. 1 pound-for-pound title could go to either Pacquiao or Mayweather. I have no problem with anyone recognizing Floyd as the man, nor do I care if you think Manny rules. As to who’s really the better fighter, that debate can only be settled in the ring.
Who’s No. 1 P4P is not going to be settled by who’s to blame for the super-duper-mega-fight not happening.
There’s enough blame to go around. Mayweather, and his reps at Golden Boy Promotions, say Arum is to blame because the 80-year-old promoter will not deliver his fighter for Floyd’s May 5th date, which the undefeated American claims is set in stone.
But whose fault is that? Is it Arum’s or Pacquiao’s fault that Mayweather has to check his ass into a county jail on June 1? They didn’t force him to treat the mother of his children the way he did last September.
They certainly didn’t force Mayweather to draw a line in the sand of the 2010 and 2011 negotiations with his so-called “Olympic drug testing” stipulations. Maybe I’m just a diehard “May-hater,” but it didn’t seem to me that Floyd really wanted to make this fight when it made the most sense (in late 2010). Now that Pacquiao has finally looked beatable (during his third go-around with JM Marquez) and Mayweather is feeling the legal heat, Floyd’s suddenly in a hurry to make the ultra-uber-fight that every sports fan in the world has begged for over the past two years.
Now he’s tweeting the word “jump” and expecting Arum to jump, which is sheer insanity: A) Arum’s at a stage in his life and career where he ain’t gonna jump for anybody (especially Mayweather and GBP president Oscar De La Hoya, who he views as ingrates), and B) if the spite-driven codger actually decides to make the monster event he’s naturally going to want to do it after Mayweather does some time in hopes that the jail stint detracts from the ’96 U.S. Olympian’s preparation.
Now before you brand me as an “Arum apologist” let me state for the record that I’m not like some of my boxing writer peers who believe the cantankerous old coot can do no wrong. I’m not cool with Arum. He banned me from Pacquiao-Marquez III, which was the first time in more than 15 years of covering boxing that I was denied a media credential for a major event. Needless to say, the crotchety old man is not on my list of favorite people and I’m sure the feeling is mutual.
I didn’t send Bob a Hanukkah card last month and I didn’t get a Kwanzaa card from him. (And that’s fine since I celebrate Chocolate Christmas, anyway. It’s kind of like Kwanzaa, but with lots of alcohol and no spiritual foundation to speak of. I’m told that Mayweather also celebrates Chocolate Christmas.)
But I digress. My point is that it’s a waste of time for fans to play the blame game with all of this Mayweather-Pacquiao madness.
The only person on earth who should look to assign blame in this mess is Mayweather, and he should point his finger at the man in the mirror. I’m not talking about the fight not happening last year or in 2010, or even his pending jail bid. I’m talking about Pacquiao being THE RING’s No. 1 P4P fighter.
Yes, Mayweather is to blame for Pacquiao’s current position. Why do I say this? Because that No. 1 P4P spot belonged to Mayweather by the end of 2007 (even on the personal P4P list I compiled while at MaxBoxing). But he gave it up when he decided to “retire” in mid-‘08, which opened the door for Pacquiao to seize the mythical honor. PacMan did more than earn Fighter of the Year for ’08 by outpointing his arch rival JM Marquez for the 130-pound title, assaulting David Diaz for a lightweight belt, and then beating De La Hoya into retirement; he became a star that year.
And it was the upset victory over De La Hoya that was PacMan’s real breakthrough into mainstream celebrity status. Now, who was originally supposed to fight De La Hoya in late ’08? If you said Mayweather, you’re not suffering from amnesia like a lot of fans and fight scribes. Floyd and Oscar were supposed to do it again. Mayweather’s “retirement” left De La Hoya without a dance partner, so in stepped Pacquiao and the rest is history.
Pacquiao earned the Fighter of the Year honor for 2009, which helped the Filipino icon clinch the Fighter of the Decade award from the BWAA. Mayweather has closed the gap in 2010 and 2011, but he’s still playing catchup.
MARTINEZ-MAYWEATHER @ 150
Just one question: If Mayweather vs. Sergio Martinez takes place at 150 pounds (and I doubt it) what will be the outcome? – Matthias, Königswinter, Germany
If it does happen (and that’s a huge “IF”), I like Martinez by decision. I’d pick THE RING middleweight champ by knockout but there’s no telling how much making 150 pounds will take out of him. He hasn’t made that weight in nearly nine years.
A COUPLE OF 8-COUNTS FOR 2012
Now that I’m finally recovering from that huge New Year’s hangover, I’ll try making it into your mailbag for the first time since last year. Nothing grand. Just an outstanding eight-count concerning some predictions for the big 2-0-12. Plus a dream-bout 8 count.
Prediction number 1. Andre Berto will once again get his ass kicked by Victor Ortiz and get knocked out of the rankings. Fans will rejoice.
2. Despite the urgings of fans for Eric Morales-Juan Manuel Marquez, both fighters will still act like neither of one another dosn’t exist. We’ll instead get Morales-Walter Mathysse and probably Pacquiao-Marquez 4.
3. Pac-man will once again beat Marquez by a very narrow decision and fans will again go ape-s__t over the verdict. The frustrated powers-to-be will agree to throw them both in a cage for fight number 5 in vain hopes for a clear winner.
4. Mayweather will keep calling out Manny who just can’t be bothered anymore which Mayweather really does hope for. Instead Mayweather will get Mia St. John and beat her by (what else) cheapshot. Merchant will again confront Mayweather. Mayweather will back off and call out Mrs. Merchant for his next fight.
5. Bernard Hopkins will slip on the canvas in his next match and injure his leg or something like that. While still in traction B-hop will already be carrying on about about he’s going make history again in his next fight.
6. Boxing’s next big tragedy. James Toney will defeat Chris Arreola in huge buffet-eating contest which includes large amounts of ham,eggs and beans. Toney will unwittingly light his victory cigar just when the air gets really gaseous, setting off a real toxic explosion. There will be no survivors.
7. Andre Ward will move up to light-heavyweight and keep winning. Same with Lucien Bute.
8. Pacquiao-Mayweather obviously won’t happen. Fans and writers will just carry on how it will happen for sure in 2013. Doug the Hater’s never-ending crusade against the obnoxious nut-huggers of both fighters will go into full throttle.
And now those 8 fights:
1. Julio Ceasar Chavez-Paul Williams. Junior needs to tackle a top-ten contender and P-Will needs a clear-cut controversy-free “W”. Why not match them up. My money will be on J.C.
2. Brandon Rios-Eric Morales. This will be a real f___ing war! As much as I love Morales, Rios will be the guy standing in the end.
3. Brandon Rios-Victor Ortiz. These two guys really hate each other. Expect lots of hurting, knock-downs, and blood. The stuff we all love.
4. Tim Bradley-Lamont Peterson 2. Yes I know. Ho-hum. I’m just curious on whether Peterson can win this one after beating Khan who would have been slightly favoured to beat Timmy or would Timmy still have it over Peterson.
5. Lamont Peterson-Marcos Maidana. Now this is a fight. Two of the most crippling body-crunchers tenderizing each others rib-cages. It’s tempting to predict a clear win for the more skilled Peterson but he’s been dropped in each of his most crucial fights to date. But then, that just makes it more interesting.
6. Andre Ward-Tavoris Cloud. Ward can really war it out in the trenches, box and counter, or do both in a fight. It will be interesting to see what he does against a bomb-thrower like Mr Thunder-Cloud here and how he does it.
7. Lucien Bute-Jean Pascal. As a Canadian fight-fan and a Montreal fan I’ll just love to see this one.
It will certainly be huge in Montreal. Bute will probably take it but if we see the Pascal we saw against Carl Froch, Adrian Diacunu and Chad Dawson it could be an intense battle.
8. Floyd Mayweather-Anne Wolfe. Since Floyd is at bravest against the ladies lets throw him in against a tough-as-nails bitch like Anne here. She’ll probably make Mayweather wish he was in against a less threatening apponent. Like James Kirkland.
Well Doug. That’s it. Let us know who you think will win these matches and how you think this year will go. Have a good one! — Todd The Terminator
Well done, “Triple T.” I’ll respond to your list of eight dream fights first and then tackle your predictions:
1. Chavez-Williams would be a damn good fight. My money would also be on Chavez, the heavier, stronger, and technically sharper fighter at this stage of their careers. Picking Junior over P-Will was inconceivable 18 months ago.
2. I’m not sure if “El Terrible” beats Danny Garcia. I’m picking Morales to win that one, but I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t, so of course, I gotta go with “Bam Bam” to win – what else? – a crowd pleasing war.
3. Rios-Ortiz would be Bad Blood II, and I’ll go with the Golden Boy in this decade’s Mexican-American grudge matchup (since I didn’t do so in Bad Blood I).
4. I don’t think Bradley-Peterson II would be “ho-hum.” I thought their first fight was entertaining, and I know I’m in the minority with this opinion, but I thought it was a close fight. As much as I respect “the Desert Storm,” I wouldn’t count Peterson out of a rematch.
5. Peterson-Maidana is a good fight (when is Maidana in a bad fight?). I like Peterson by hard-fought decision.
6. Ward-Cloud is a fascinating 175-pound matchup. I think Ward would pull out a very close unanimous decision in a grueling fight.
7. Bute-Pascal would be the fight to finally get me to travel to Montreal. I think Bute outpoints Pascal in a crowd pleaser (and since the fight would take place in Montreal there would actually be a large crowd present for it).
8. War Wolfe!
Prediction response No. 1 – I won’t be surprised if Ortiz beats Berto again, but I would be shocked if either boxer-puncher wins their rematch “easily.” I visited Berto’s camp last week and the former two-time welterweight beltholder’s combo of explosive speed and raw power is scary. The Florida fireplug looks strong. I’m dropping by the Ortiz camp this weekend, so I can’t tell you how the Vicious One is looking, but Showtime’s Fight Camp 360 crew told me the Kansas native was in phenomenal shape. I think we’ll be treated to another shootout on Feb. 11.
2. I’m actually interested in Morales-Matthysse. Pacquiao-Marquez IV? Not so much.
3. Put ‘em in a cage, dunk ‘em into a fish tank, shoot ‘em out into orbit to duke it out in spacesuits, it won’t matter. There’s never going to be a clear winner when you match Pac and JMM.
4. My money’s on Mrs. Merchant. If she can put up with Larry she can handle anyone.
5. This might actually happen.
6. OK now you’re just being gross.
7. I agree. Let’s hope they fight each other at some point.
8. Sadly, I think you’re on the money (no pun intended) with this one.
LACK OF UNIFICATION BOUTS
First of all, big fan of your work. Sorry if this question is either too broad or too basic for a mailbag, but I am wondering about the lack of unification fights, and the general lack of interest in them. For example, in your last mailbag you dismissed the idea of Takashi Uchiyama fighting any other titleholder as something we will obviously never see. Another blogger this week talked of Lamont Peterson rematching with Timothy Bradley if he wanted to unify the belts, “for whatever reason.”
To me, the reasons for unifying seem clear. First, a unified titlist is easy to market, and would be able to make others except for less money for the right to fight him. Second, fans are confused by the multitude of champions and weight divisions; it seems to me that unified titlists would make the sport more fan friendly. Third, in a sport so heavily driven by ego and public displays of bravado, don’t the boxers themselves want to know with absolute certainty that they have laid waste to all potential foes in a certain division before moving on to another? It seems to me so strange that Marco Huck would move to heavyweight without first taking care of business with Steve Cunningham or Krystoff Wlodarcyk. Or I cannot understand why Giovanni Segura went up to 112 without first settling business Roman Gonzalez. To a fan, it’s perplexing. I realize we never got the Timothy Bradley vs. Amir Khan fight, but to me it was refreshing to see a couple of titlists seemingly WANTING to bring order to a weight division.
How come nobody wants to indisputably be THE MAN in a division anymore? Seems weird. – Joseph, Milwaukee, WI
I think a lot of promising young fighters dreamt of collecting all of the alphabet belts in order to become the undisputed champ in recent decades. They probably grew up with posters of Marvin Hagler, Mike Tyson, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins draped with three or more major belts on their walls.
But then they learned about the business side of their dream after a few years in the pro game, and the reality of holding two or more major belts is that A) it’s expensive with the combined sanctioning fees, and B) it’s almost impossible to satisfy the mandatory challenger requirements of the sanctioning organizations (who are quick to strip a fighter in case you haven’t noticed).
If you’re going to hold three or four major belts, you better be able to fight three or four times a year (often against unknown, unproven challengers that networks have no interest in). And even if a fighter is willing and able to fight all of his mandatories, he still might have to deal with the crazy politics of the sport. Let’s face it, sometimes a particular sanctioning body doesn’t want a particular fighter to hold their belt (as Timothy Bradley and Sergio Martinez found out).
And just because one titleholder wants to unify belts doesn’t mean the others do. For every fearless badass who wants to be the undisputed king, there are three or four titleholders who are more than happy to hang on to their one belt and milk it for all it’s worth over time. It’s not just the fighters. Most managers and promoters are leery of risking their titleholder against another beltholder, unless there’s a huge payoff at stake.
So I think many experienced fighters view the road to title unification as too winding and complicated to bother taking. They have to deal with enough headaches from the punches they take, they don’t need more from multiple alphabet groups.
Email Doug Fischer at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @dougiefischer