Let’s just cut to the chase:
Rant #1: Did you see the drama and intrigue produced by the Brandon Rios-Anthony Peterson bout on Saturday night? You could sense the tension as Rios pushed forward and Peterson ditched his game plan to fire back. And how about the raw emotion in Rios as he was declared the winner?
Forget the low blows and why Peterson rifled them off, this is the type of drama fight fans love and it’s more common in boxing than in any other sport. It’s the reason we repeatedly come back to a game that seems to relish pissing on us and denying us what we want.
Rios-Peterson was also a real, living example of why we need young fighters to be matched-up in their primes and not allow these fights to be pushed off until both sides have nothing to lose.
Just go back a decade to see what I’m talking about when, in February of 2000, a 26-year old Marco Antonio Barrera met a 24-year old Erik Morales for the first time. Neither fighter was a major star at the time and the bout, while carried by HBO, was hardly considered a high profile mega-fight.
We all know what happened when these two prime warriors met. The end result was pure boxing magic and it gave rise to one of the best trilogies in the sport while turning both Barrera and Morales into major figures among fans. And, perhaps more importantly, this epic battle allowed future opponents of both fighters to also get a publicity boost when fighting either. Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Amir Khan, Paulie Ayala, and Rocky Juarez, among others, all built their name recognition by taking on Barrera and/or Morales. And without that first mad battle, it’s highly debatable whether either Barrera or Morales would’ve been big enough to transfer the same level of fame to these other challengers.
Now, let’s take a look at a prime example of a big fight currently being kept from the fans: Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez.
Neither Gamboa nor Lopez will be ruined by fighting each other too soon. As a matter of fact, as we have seen throughout the history of the sport, whether they win or lose, both fighters will likely be better for the experience. Plus, the battle, if it’s as good as most expect, would likely propel both into that next level of stardom.
Unfortunately, Bob Arum thinks differently.
Arum wants to make as much money off the backs of these fighters as possible before putting either in against a real challenge. He’s already told the fans that they could “F*ck themselves” regarding this issue, so we won’t even bring up Donaire-Montiel.
To Arum’s credit, though, Rios-Peterson was a Top Rank event. He at least holds an advantage in that area over Golden Boy Promotions, who would rather buy up tough challengers than put them against their stars.
What’s wrong with Amir Khan vs. Victor Ortiz? The battle would be outstanding, the press would be fantastic and, no matter who wins, both fighters would experience the type of baptism under fire that is sorely lacking in today’s game. Hell, Ortiz had been so preciously guarded that when he fought Marcos Maidana, he actually looked insulted when Maidana would even try to hit him.
Here’s hoping that promoters and networks remember that fighters are made in the ring and not through marketing plans and public appearances disguised as prize fights. More fighters fighting one another in their primes is good for the fans, good for the fighters and good for the sport.
Rant #2: Integrated sports desperately needs a new broadcast team, and it’s not because their set-up is reminiscent of Georgia Championship Wrestling, circa 1978.
Shills make my stomach crawl and you just won’t find a shillier shill than Integrated Sports’ play by play man, Col. Bob Sheridan.
For those who missed the Erik Morales PPV on Saturday, Sheridan actually defended the sanctioning bodies and chastised those in the media who refused to acknowledge their “tremendous efforts.”
Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick… He even called Jose Sulaiman a great guy!
Can we just do away with these fossils who gladly adopt the talking points of anyone picking up the buffet tab? How about we draft some people with class and dignity to handle the broadcasting and writing duties for the sport? Let’s at least pretend that we’re a real sport in that sense.
The temptation is to say, “Aw, Sheridan or guys like Michael Marley are just harmless old men. They’re entertaining to have around because of all the old stories they can tell. No harm, no foul”
Well, every spot taken up by a shill and/or crony is one less spot available for those with something to say and the balls to say it. Send them off to a retirement home and let them tell their stories there.
Rant #3: Speaking of Sulaiman, The WBC made Saturday’s Erik Morales vs. Willie Limond bout for their “diamond belt” in the jr. welterweight division. Now, wasn’t the diamond belt supposed to be for legendary champions a class above the actual, reigning titlist? I wonder how their true 140 lb. title holder, Devon Alexander, feels about that?
And to make things even more perverse, neither Limond nor Morales made the 140 lb. limit to fight for that “legendary” belt, but it was still on the line…for a price, of course.
Alrighty…I’ll be back next Monday with some more exes to grind and bridges to burn…