Weekend Review: Pacquiao-Mayweather burn out
Pacquiao-Mayweather talk: Enough is enough. We have two compelling welterweight fights coming up – Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey and Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Shane Mosley – and we continue to discuss failed efforts to make Pacquiao-Mayweather and the fall out. The journalists keep asking about it and the participants have no qualms about responding, in part because they don’t want to get one-upped by the other side. OK, we’ve heard all the arguments and everyone has come to their own conclusions, whatever they are. Let’s move on and enjoy the fights on the horizon. We can revisit Pacquiao-Mayweather if and when they enter negotiations a second time.
Cowboys Stadium: Promoter Bob Arum said the new stadium in Arlington, Texas, will be configured for 45,000 for the Pacquiao-Clottey fight on March 13 and that sales are approaching 40,000. He added that expansion in the event of a sell-out is a possibility, although that would be up to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The last time a crowd that size saw a fight in the U.S. might’ve been the reported 45,368 that filled the Sun Bowl in El Paso to watch Oscar De La Hoya fight Frenchman Patrick Charpentier. The large crowd expected for Pacquiao-Clottey is a testament to both Pacquiao’s popularity and Arum’s promotional skills. Imagine how many people Pacquiao-Mayweather could attract? Is the Rose Bowl (capacity about 100,000) available in the fall?
Cowboys Stadium: One aspect of this event that will be unique to boxing is the high-definition video screen, which hangs from one 20-yard line to the other – or 60 yards. That’s mind boggling. Fans in the far reaches of the stadium, too far to see the fighters clearly, certainly will have no trouble following the action. “Wait until you see them on that big screen,” Arum said, “it is something really special. Until you see it and until you’re there, it is very difficult to describe the experience. I know that they just had the NBA All Star Game and the players were on the bench waiting to get in as the game was going on and many of them were watching the game on the screen rather than right in front of them on the floor. When I saw the Cowboys-Eagles game sitting in Jerry Jones’ box, I found myself half the time watching the game on the screen than watching the field just because the picture is so incredible.”
Clottey doesn’t watch videos: Clottey said on a conference call with the media that he doesn’t watch video of his opponents before they fight, which isn’t unusual. Some fighters want to focus on what they do more than what their opponents do. Besides, Clottey said, “I know how he fights.” Still, I wonder whether this is wise going into a fight against Pacquiao. The Filipino throws an astonishing array of punches from every conceivable angle. He also has learned to avoid punches by moving his unnaturally quick feet. I would think any opponent would want to study his tendencies carefully to avoid being surprised. I keep thinking: “Clottey is going to find himself in a hurricane and will have no idea what to do.”
Mike Jones: The undefeated young welterweight contender wasn’t dazzling in his one-sided victory over capable Henry Bruseles on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J. because he didn’t let his fists fly as much as he could have. His unusual skills were plainly evident, though. He seems to be a complete fighter – athletic, well-schooled, powerful, well-conditioned and confident. He controlled the fight with an excellent jab and enough power punches to keep Bruseles from mounting an effective attack. I also sense a fighting spirit even if he didn’t demonstrate that against Bruseles, perhaps because he didn’t need to. Welterweights beware: This guy is for real.
Kendall Holt: Holt was a 140-pound titleholder and one of the most-respected fighters in the world less than a year ago. Now, his future as a legitimate contender is murky. He put Timothy Bradley down twice but lost a decision and his title last April. And, on the Jones-Bruseles undercard, he was dominated by a relatively unknown fighter from South Africa, Kaizer Mabuza, who beat Holt into submission after the sixth round. The underdog apparently was just too physically strong for the favorite. Holt, 28, might be young enough to rebuild but I wonder how much he has left after that unexpected beating.
Ortiz KOs Alatorre: Hector Alatorre was never going to give Victor Ortiz much trouble in the main event of the Fight Night Club card Thursday at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. The journeyman, 1-8 in his previous nine fights, was hand-picked for what amounted to a public workout. The only question was whether Ortiz could become the first to knock out Alatorre, which came to pass: Ortiz scored a 10th-round KO. However, this was an important fight for Ortiz. He looked tentative against Antonio Diaz in his last fight, a KO victory, and that followed his KO loss to Marcos Maidana. Ortiz needed to go some rounds to shake off any residue. Now he seems to be ready for the likes of Nate Campbell, who is expected to be his next opponent.
Jessie Vargas: The most impressive thing on an impressive night at Club Nokia was the performance of Vargas, the junior welterweight from Las Vegas who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather Jr. I don’t much about his opponent, Robert Luna, other than he was 5-0 going into the fight and looked competent – for a few moments. Vargas mounted a fierce attack almost from the opening bell, putting Luna down three times with pin-point blows before the fight was stopped only 1:56 into the fight. I’m not sure how much he proved but I definitely want to see where he goes from here.
Escalante vs. Roman: Antonio Escalante and Miguel Roman say they once engaged in a street fight in their native Juarez, Mexico. They had another street fight on Friday in El Paso, Texas, only this time in a ring . Escalante, now a resident of El Paso, and Roman gave us the kind of fight that made us boxing fans, two courageous warriors determined to demonstrate who has the bigger heart. The non-stop give and take was so intense that the fans at Don Haskins Center simply couldn’t stay in their seats Escalante won a unanimous decision in the end but both fighters won places in our hearts with that effort. I salute them.
Lucas Matthysse vs. Vivian Harris: This occurred last week but it still bothers me so I wanted to mention it. Matthysse and Harris were engaged in a competitive fight on Feb. 20 in Mexico City when Matthysse landed a hard right to the head of Harris, who seemed to absorb the punch reasonably well. Then, out of nowhere, referee Gelasio Perez Huerta took out Harris’ mouthpiece and stopped the fight. Harris was bitter afterward and had a right to be. The former titleholder is trying to re-establish himself as a contender. To have a referee hand his opponent a victory, thereby setting him back, is unconscionable. The fight should be declared a no-contest.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer: “I do want to fight (Mayweather) to shut him up. I know Manny would knock him out and the whole world would be happy.” Well, most of the world.