by Paul Magno
I take a lot of swipes at people and lob a lot of bombs. Basically, I don’t feel the need to play the nice guy and I don’t worry about networking myself to bigger and better writing gigs. I just call ’em as I see ’em and if I burn a few bridges along the way, so be it.
Honestly, if more writers concerned themselves with telling the truth rather than making buddies out of fighters and management, the boxing media would be a hell of a lot better and most sites would stop coming across like Facebook fan pages or repositories for publicist press releases.
But, yeah, I do come off a bit harsh…So, this is my effort to counteract some of the venom I spew with a few well-deserved kind words for some of my most common subjects:
Chris Arreola: He’s fat, unmotivated in training, and gets way too much attention for his rather unimpressive body of work, but the Cali big man is probably the most exciting heavyweight in the world today. Arreola always comes to fight and you won’t get cheated when you see his name on the marquee. He even managed to through 988 punches over 12 rounds in his most recent performance against Manny Quezada despite a broken left hand and ligament damage in his right.
Bob Arum: Anybody who follows and really understands the sport knows what Arum is about and the kinds of low-down tactics in his repertoire. However, there’s no other promoter I’d rather have in my corner. He’s the master of cheap publicity and a bonafide genius at matchmaking for his fighters. Arum has a history of selecting the right opponent at the right time, designed to make his fighter look outstanding while, really, never being in any danger of losing.
Examiner.com: Make no mistake about it, this site rests on the bottom of boxing’s proverbial canary cage and most of it’s writers are little more than novice fans pandering for penny clicks. Their most experienced writer and de facto community leader writes with all the class and style of a staff writer for the Weekly World News and has even misquoted writers from his own site. However, the business model behind Examiner.com is pure genius. They have wannabe writers providing content for a very low price while doing all the work of promotion. “Examiners,” if they want to make those penny clicks, are pushed into the real world and forced to promote their own articles. In return, readers are brought back to the site and, with all the back links generated by their own writers’ self-promotion, they get a very high ranking on Google.
Zab Judah: He’s not the brightest bulb and has found ways to lose most of his biggest bouts, but nobody can doubt Judah’s willingness to engage the very best. He may be unmotivated to enter the ring at times, but when he’s active, he only has eyes for the best. In the last five years or so, Judah has faced headliners like Cory Spinks, Carlos Baldomir, Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, and Joshua Clottey. Although he’s only 1-4 in those last five marquee fights, he’s been competitive in all of them and always puts on a good show on the main stage. Judah is still a supreme talent and a quality match-up for anyone at 140 or 147.
Manny Pacquiao: The Filipino Buzzsaw reaps the benefits of blind adulation and very careful Bob Arum matchmaking, but this shouldn’t completely diminish the work or the talents of this first ballot hall of famer. Pacquiao is one of the modern day greats and one of the sport’s most exciting competitors. It’s a shame that he’s being associated with a true pariah like Antonio Margarito when there are better challenges available to him. Pacquiao deserves better than the coddling that his fans and management have insisted upon.
Nothing is black and white in boxing. The frustrating fact is that most boxing articles are little more then fluff pieces, pretty much done under the supervision of fighter management. Angry words are often needed, especially if boxing is a sport near and dear to your heart. However, sometimes the positive side of the sport needs to be explored and that’s why I wrote this column…just don’t count on too much sunshine and rainbow talk from me. I’ll leave that to the guys who don’t really care.