Weekend Review: Life and boxing go on
Pacquiao-Mayweather is off: Top Rank has announced that Manny Pacquiao will fight Joshua Clottey on March 13 at the new Cowboys Stadium, killing any hope that Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. might still happen. Life and boxing will go on. Pacquiao-Clottey should be well received and entertaining and Mayweather, too, will generate considerable interest regardless of whom he fights. That said, they missed an enormous opportunity – for the money, for the challenge, for the sport. As I’ve written, I’m not optimistic that anything will change between now and the fall. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Let’s hope they realize they have a unique opportunity and will give the fans the fight they deserve.
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Pacquiao-Clottey: No one is jumping up and down over this matchup, which obviously pales next to Pacquiao-Mayeather. However, the consolation is that it could turn out to be a more-entertaining fight than the other one would’ve been. I worried that Pacquiao-Mayweather would turn into a tactical fight and not live up to the hype. Pacquiao-Clottey almost certainly will be action packed, as neither fighter shies away from heavy combat. Clottey is very tough, a good boxer and somewhat awkward, traits that could give Pacquiao some trouble, but Ghanian will be too brave for his own good and get knocked out in the early to middle rounds.
Mayweather’s opponent: Richard Schaefer, Mayweather’s promoter, said he’s close to a deal with someone to fight Mayweather but wouldn’t provide a name. Among those rumored to be in the running are Paulie Malignaggi, Kermit Cintron, Nate Campbell and Timothy Bradley. The most-interesting possibility is Bradley, although the junior welterweight title holder is smaller than Mayweather.
The possibility of Pacquiao-Clottey and Mayweather-TBA going head to head: Pacquiao and Clottey will fight on March 13. That much is certain, barring unforeseen events. Schaefer reitereated Sunday that he has the March 13 date at MGM Grand in Las Vegas booked for a Mayweather fight and doesn’t plan to give it up. Can you imagine the fights going head to head? They would take a big chunk out of each other’s pay-per-view revenues, assuming both would charge for their respective fights. HBO will carry one of the fights, meaning the other will look to another company. Thus, the battle that took place in negotiations might now extend to marketing as each side tries to get the public to buy into their fight. It will be interesting.
Cowboys Stadium: Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of staging a fight at the NFL team’s new stadium, particularly with that gigantic TV screen. And any fight in which Pacquiao participates these days is a big event. So I don’t necessarily think that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made a mistake. However, a stadium like that is best suited for mega-fight like Pacquiao-Mayweather and not just another title defense, which is what Pacquiao-Clottey is. Few people outside boxing even know who Clottey is. And the man lost his last fight to a guy (Miguel Cotto) who was just pummeled by Pacquiao. Pacquiao-Clottey and Cowboys Stadium just doesn’t go together.
40,000: Cowboys Stadium reportedly will be configured for that many seats for Pacquiao-Clottey. I suspect it’ll do around 25,000 even though it’s not an intriguing matchup, although I hesitate to underestimate Arum’s promoting ability. Jones has mentioned the large Hispanic population and fan base in the Dallas area. However, neither Pacquiao nor Clottey is Hispanic. Pacquiao is more or less an honorary Mexican because of his success against Mexican fighters and entertaining style but that goes only so far. No matter how many show up, though, it undoubtedly will be an enjoyable night. And, who knows, maybe it’ll set the stage for a truly big fight there in the near future.
Shane Mosley: Mosley desperately wanted to get either Pacquiao or Mayewather into the ring because he has precious few big events remaining in his future. He decided to fight Berto only when it was clear neither of the other fights would materialize. So what happens? The big fight falls out and Mosley is unavailable. This isn’t to diminish Mosley-Berto, which is a good, competitive matchup. It just isn’t the same as a fight against Pacquiao or Mayweather, which would’ve earned Mosley the biggest payday of his career and given him the opportunity to become the No. 1 fighter in the world. Maybe he’ll get his chance later in the year.
Roman Karmazin: The 37-year-old Russian middleweight’s fine career appeared to be over in the third round on Friday, when Dionisio Miranda rocked him with a right and then went in for the kill. Karmazin somehow survived to make it very close fight and then went down in the ninth. Again, he was ripe for a knockout. And, again, not ready to quit boxing, he survived. Then, in the 10th, he put Miranda down and hurt him and then was able to finish the job in spectacular fashion. Karmazin always had good skills. He obviously also has tremendous will power. It was an inspiring performance.
George W. Bush, former president, according to Bob Arum: “He was excited about the fight and he said to me, ‘Who needs (Mayweather)?'” Arum said he ran into Bush at the Cowboys-Eagles playoff game on Saturday.