Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Weekend Review: Pacquiao-Mayweather progress


Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations: The fight everyone wants to see seemed to have been near reality before only to crumble before our eyes. Still, there seems to be reason for optimism in the second round of negotiations. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday that the only remaining issue is whether Mayweather wants to fight in November or wait until next year. Arum has said repeatedly that Pacquiao will fight someone on Nov. 13, possibly Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto if not Mayweather. Arum also said that the dispute over drug testing, which scuttled the original negotiations, has been resolved but he wouldn’t go into detail. Mayweather has demanded random blood testing, which Pacquiao rejected the first time around. Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather’s promoter, has declined to comment on negotiations.

Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora: Mora, returning from a 1¾-year layoff, looked sharp en route to a seventh-round knockout of Calvin Green on the Bernard Hopkins-Roy Jones Jr. undercard April 3. The Los Angeles product is a very good boxer, as his 2008 victory over the late Vernon Forrest indicates. That’s the same Vernon Forrest who twice beat Mosley in 2002 (and beat Mora in a rematch). And we know that Mosley looked all of his 38 years in a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 1. Thus, we might have a competitive fight if the Mosley-Mora matchup on Sept. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles is finalized. The feeling here? Mosley isn’t Green and Mora isn’t Mayweather. Mosley will win by a clear decision. If he loses, he’ll be finished.

HBO: Ross Greenburg, president of HBO Sports, told that he doesn’t plan to showcase the Klitschko brothers’ fights because few Americans are interested in them, the main exception being a fight against David Haye. I presume that Greenburg based his comments in part on weak ratings for past Klitschko fights, which would support his argument. I think he might be shortsighted, though. I agree that the Klitschkos have a boring style of fighting but they’re interesting outside the ring, particularly Wladimir. I think the U.S. public would embrace them as people if given a good opportunity, which would in turn give the sport a lift. Plus, I think boxing fans still find the heavyweight division intriguing and always will.

Demetrius Hopkins: Hopkins has fought only twice at 147 pounds, including his one-sided victory over Mike Arnaoutis on Friday, but he probably could give most welterweights some trouble because of his boxing ability and experience. That includes the winner of the Timothy Bradley-Carlos Abregu fight on July 17 or Andre Berto, although I would pick him to lose both fights. His problem is that he’s not fun to watch. He would need to face an aggressive opponent to make for a compelling fight. Someone like Berto, who is a true warrior, might be a good matchup for the nephew of Bernard Hopkins.

Mike Arnaoutis: The New York-based Greek was 17-0-2 – including a draw against tough Juan Urango — and a legitimate contender after he knocked out Mike Walker in the first round in 2006. Then he stepped up his opposition and reality set in. Since the Walker fight, he’s 5-6, with losses to Ricardo Torres, Kendall Holt, Victor Ortiz, Tim Coleman, Delvin Rodriguez and Demetrius Hopkins. Hopkins nearly pitched a shutout Friday night in Ontario, Calif., Arnoutis’ fourth loss in his last five fights. Arnaoutis is only 30 and could probably compete effectively against second-tier opponents but, with a world title seemingly out of the question, he might be advised to move on. At least no one can say he was afraid to face some of the more-talented fighters at his weight.

Ulises Solis: The Mexican junior flyweight, rated No. 8 by THE RING, has bounced back nicely after Brian Viloria stopped him and took his title in April of last year. He has won his subsequent three fights, including a drubbing of Eric Ortiz in a 10-round junior bantamweight fight on Saturday, and has looked good. Solis is one of the better boxers in the sport, particularly his ability to counterpunch, and he also has some pop on his punches. Solis is like Hopkins, though: Not terribly exciting. He, too, would need an aggressive opponent to stir the fans. A matchup with No. 1 Giovani Segura, a talented banger, would be intriguing.

Jack Johnson: One thing I admire about the late heavyweight champion was his unusual nerve. Think about it: A large percentage of the white majority hated the idea of a black champ and would’ve loved to have seen him dead yet he fanned the flames by flaunting all the racial conventions of the time, including consorting with white women. And he survived into his 60s. That’s nerve. “It’s a wonder they didn’t lynch him. He defied the devil himself,” one of Johnson’s descendants told me recently. One must admire a man who lives his life as he sees fit in the face of such hatred and extreme danger. Johnson was an amazing man.

Gary Wurst, great-great nephew of James J. Jeffries, speaking to The Associated Press on a proposed pardon for Jack Johnson: “I think it’s time for it. It would rectify the wrongs of the past. Times have changed so much.” Johnson, who fought Jeffries in the race-charged original “Fight of the Century” in 1910, was later convicted on trumped up charges of transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes.

Doug Fischer contributed to this report