by Sean Morehouse:
Some random thoughts on the state of the sport as we begin the New Year…
Let’s all calm down just a little bit about the Pacquiao-Mosley fight that we all got as our Christmas present from Bob Arum. Sure, Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KO) probably doesn’t deserve it. Sure, Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO) has been taking it a little easy the last few fights. To be honest though, every great fighter takes advantage of their name to make a payday against a lesser opponent now and then. Besides, Shane still has the ability to hit hard if he can connect, so who knows what might happen if he catches Manny with a couple of the right hands he rocked Floyd Mayweather (41-0-0, 25 KO) with last May. Of course it is very possible that Shane just can’t pull the trigger and gets blown out, but even then we can hope it ends up being Manny’s tune-up fight for a fall clash with Mayweather.
As confident as I am that Lucian Bute (27-0-0, 22 KO) has the goods to be the class of the 168 pound division, a title defense against Brian Magee (34-3-1, 24 KO) does nothing to prove it. Hopefully his signing with Showtime means he will move past these home town fights against fringe contenders and get in with some fellow P4P players.
In an era where American boxing has faded out of the mainstream at home, there will be a bright spot this month when Timothy Bradley (26-0-0, 11 KO) and Devon Alexander (21-0-0, 13) go at it in a junior welterweight unification bout. While the fight may not be action packed, it should be very interesting as two elite, undefeated fighters duke it out for the title of best young American boxer. Here’s hoping that the neutral site choice of Pontiac, Michigan doesn’t end up a disaster. There have been some dreadful whispers of ticket sales numbering in triple digits just a couple weeks before the bout.
ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights got off to a great start last week with Ruslan Provodnikov (17-1-0, 11 KO) being upset by Mauricio Herrera (16-1-0, 7 KO). This is the type of fight that can get a casual fan who happens to flip past the channel interested in boxing for a few minutes, exactly what we need from the show.
Speaking of FNF, as much as I love and respect Teddy Atlas as a trainer and commentator, I have to wonder if there is some hypocrisy in his constant criticism of the easy fights Demetrius Andrade (12-0-0, 8 KO) is finding himself in. Sure the kid isn’t matching up against world beaters, but it’s not like he’s a 31 year old top 10 contender like Teddy’s charge, Alexander Povetkin (21-0-0, 15 KO), who is also taking the slow road.
If I’m the only one, so be it, but I think the middleweight title bout between Sergio Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KO) and Serhiy Dzinziruk (37-0-0, 23) is a fascinating match-up. The sport’s ultimate pure athlete (Martinez) against a superior tactician (Dzinziruk) will make for a good, competitive fight. Expect Martinez’s big fight experience to be a deciding factor, however. He has fought guys as good as Dzinziruk before, and Serhiy cannot say the same.