Fight fans havent been so invested in the political sphere since Muhammad Ali and our government butted heads over his induction into the US armed forces back in 1967. But a political tussle that is slated to go down on May 10 has boxing fans suddenly interested into the workings of the Filipino congress.
Thats because their national treasure, Manny Pacquiao, is running for a congressional seat in the province of Sarangani, opposing 61-year-old Roy Chiongbian, of the Chiongbian dynasty. Roys late father, James, authored the 1992 law that created Sarangani province, and was their first congressperson, so Pacquiaos quest is by no means a cakewalk. Roys mother Priscilla served as governor and Pacquiaos foe seeks to succeed his older brother, Erwin, who is served nine years and must step down because of term limits. This battle wont be Clottey-easy. The Chiongbian business empire is vast, and includes shipping, real estate, and agriculture holdings.
“I don’t want to be just your boxing idol, Manny told the crowd during a recent rally. “I also want be your idol in public service.
If, as expected here at TSS, Mayweather does enough to get past Shane Mosley, the next most significant date in the world of pugilism is May 10, that congressional election.
Pacquiaos promoter Bob Arum told TSS hell be in the Philippines for the vote. Hes rooting for a Manny win, he says, but whatever way the vote goes, Arum will be ready with plan.
Recent polls show Manny leading Chiongbian, but this being politics, a dirtier endeavor than even the fight game, it could turn on a dime. Might some Chiongbian backer release an 11th hour smear to try and sway voters to the dynastic heir?
Arum cant worry about that. Hell have all angles covered regardless. Tomorrow night, hell be on his sofa, watching Mayweather-Mosley, and will plot the Pacquiao course according to the outcome of that match.
Ive seen so many of Mosleys fights, Arum said. And a lot of Floyds of course. If this was the Mosley of five years ago, thered be no contest, Mosley would annihilate Mayweather. But I feel now Mosley doesnt have the energy for twelve rounds.
Arum started his career as a promoter in 1966, so his storehouse of knowledge is vast, and in fact, hes underrated as an analyst. He points out that Mosley has had trouble when people have backed him up, as Vernon Forrest and Winky Wright did, especially by utilizing a stiff jab. And Mayweather isnt really able to do that, Arum said. From the outside, Mosley has a chance, if hes not being backed up. The problem is, hes too effing old. I can say that, Im 78, I can say whatever I want, he said, chuckling.
Who does he want to win?
Im a promoter, I dont root for anyone, but I like Shane personally, and Im a little put off by Mayweather. What will be, will be.
If Mosley wins, Arum expects Mayweather to exercise his rematch clause. If Mayweather wins, Arum said hed start virtually right away on another round of negotiations for Pacquaio-Mayweather. If that goes down is a big if, as PED issues still loom over that prospective event, and a case lodged against Team Mayweather by Team Pacquiao for defamation is still in play. That muddies the chance of this megafight happening, and Pacquiaos political foray also limits clarity.
If Manny wins, their congress meets in July, so maybe Manny would fight in November, Arum said. If he loses, he could fight in September or October.
And, Arum was asked, what if Pacquiao and Mayweather cant come to terms? Arum of course has option B and C mapped out. Manny could fight Margarito if Margarito wins his fight on against Roberto Garcia on May eighth in Mexico. Or Juan Manuel Marquez if he beats Juan Diaz…or maybe that fight doesnt happen.
That bout is set for July 10, in Las Vegas, and is being officially announced on Saturday.
Top Celebrities, Athletes, Boxers and Trainers Weigh In:
WHO R U PICKING?
LAS VEGAS, NV (April 30)…Some of the most recognized boxing fans in the world are weighing in on the match-up between undefeated six-time world champion Floyd “Money Mayweather and WBA Welterweight Super Champion Sugar Shane Mosley, who are set to meet in Mayweather vs. Mosley: Who R U Picking? on Saturday, May 1 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a mega-bout which will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
From real estate moguls to NFL Pro-Bowlers, NBA All-Stars to Hall of Fame fighters and trainers, we have their opinions on who they believe will emerge victorious this Saturday. Below please find the predictions of these prominent personalities as they lend their thoughts on this historic match-up.
“I’m picking Mayweather.Although I think they are both champions and I’m really looking forward to the fight!
– Donald Trump, Chairman and CEO of The Trump Organization, host of NBC reality-series The Apprentice
Some people fight with their fists, some people fight with their mouths…May 1st FIST meets Mouth. Sugar Shane by knockout!
– George Lopez, comedian and host of Lopez Tonight!
“I like the weather in what month? May. Put it together – Mayweather.
– George Wallace, comedian and Las Vegas headliner
“I predict the hurricane punches of Floyd Mayweather will prove to be too much for the Sugar Shane Mosley.
– Frank Caliendo, master impressionist and headliner at Monte Carlo
“I dont see any advantage for Mayweather. Mosley in a 9th round KO.
– Omar Miller, actor CSI: Miami
“Mosley will chin check Mayweather!! But alas. Mayweather will win a decision!
– Andre Royo, actor The Wire
“I will take Mosley with a TKO in the 10th.
– Louie Anderson, stand-up comedian and star of “Louie Anderson: Joker of the Castle at Excalibur ® Las Vegas
“Knock-out! Mayweather, though April weather is better.
– Carrot Top, stand-up comedian and star of “Carrot Top at Luxor Las Vegas
“I have to go with Mayweather on this one…Because Money can buy Sugar, but Sugar can’t buy Money.
– Terry Fator, ventriloquist and star of “Terry Fator: Ventriloquism in Concert at The Mirage ® Las Vegas
“Pretty Boy Floyd wins! Mayweatheris a great boxer withamazing defensive skills and the ability to hurt guys in bunches. He likes to hang on the ropes luring opponents to make them punch themselves out so he can capitalize on their fatigue and mistakes. He’s a craftyboy with superior footwork. Floydis a warriorbesides evenbeing aesthetically….‘hot.’
– Angelica Bridges, actress and star of “Fantasy at Luxor Las Vegas
I am a fan of BOTH of these amazing fighters, but in boxing, there can only be ONE TRUE winner. So if I had to bet the farm on it…“Pretty Boy Floyd Mayweather is going to win. Sorry Sugar, but not this time.
– Tichina Arnold, actress, “Everybody Hates Chris
“I’m going with Money Mayweather in 12!
– DJ Drama, critically acclaimed Hip-Hop DJ
“I give the edge to Mayweather. How can I not based on his unblemished record? Mayweather is the man to beat and if there were any fighters that I thought had a chance to beat Floyd Mayweather, one would be Shane Mosley. We will find out on May 1st. One thing I personally know is that Shane has to become “Sugar again to become victorious. Intriguing fight.
– Sugar Ray Leonard, Seven-Time World Champion
“This fight will be a real welterweight contest. Mosley can win if he is capable of closing Floyd’s [Mayweather] exits and using his speed along with his power.
– Juan Manuel “Dinamita Marquez, WBA, WBO and The Ring Magazine Lightweight World Champion
“I’m for Shane Mosley…He must do the right preparation. If he does, then he has a very good chance against Mayweather.
– Manny “Pac-Man Pacquiao, WBO Welterweight World Champion
“I think it’s a 50-50 fight. It’s the most dangerous fight Mayweather has ever had. Mosley could upset him, but I think it will be close.
– Joe “The Pride of Wales Calzaghe, former WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring Magazine Super Middleweight Champion
“Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley are my two favorite modern day warriors, who Ive studied in-depth over the years.Both fighters are guaranteed to go down in history as ‘Greats’ as theyve fought and beaten great World Champions in many different weight divisions. This fight will be a very tense and competitive contest from the start, similar to the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight, but the difference I feel will be that Mosley will push hard down the final straight. This fight can go either way, but I edge towards Mosley. If theres anyone on the planet with the tools and experience to beat the pound-for-pound King Floyd “Money Mayweather, Sugar Shane Mosley will be the man.
– David “The Haymaker Haye, WBA Heavyweight World Champion, former Unified WBA, WBC, WBO and The Ring Magazine Cruiserweight World Champion
“I think it’s going to be a good fight, but it’s a pick’em fight for me. I don’t know. They both have a chance.
– Ronald “Winky Wright, former Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion
“I think its going to be a great fight. I’m picking Mosley in the early rounds but in the end, Mayweather will take the decision.
– Juan “Baby Bull Diaz, former Unified WBA, IBF and Lightweight World Champion
“I believe Shane will impose his strength and speed in the early rounds, but after the first few rounds Floyd will adapt and figure Shane out, and start picking his shots as the fight goes on and Shane starts to slow down. Mayweather will win by decision.
– Andre “The Beast Berto, WBC Welterweight Champion
“I want Mosley to win but I think by the 6th round Mayweather’s talent will start taking over anything Mosley has to offer. Mayweather wins a unanimous decision in a typical Mayweather fight.
– Sergio “The Latin Snake Mora, former WBC Junior Middleweight World Champion
“It will be a very competitive fight. Mosley will press the action, but Mayweather will use his defense to out-box him. Many people want Mayweather to lose because of his personality, but no one can take it away from Mayweather that he is, pound for pound, one of the best fighters in history. It will be close, but Mayweather will win.
– Sergio “Maravilla Martinez, WBC Junior Middleweight World Champion and WBC and WBO Middleweight World Champion
“It’s a close fight to call, but I pick Floyd in a competitive fight. He’s had the ability to get up for the biggest moments of his career and this will be no different.
– Paulie “Magic Man Malignaggi, NABO Junior Welterweight Champion and former IBF Junior Welterweight World Champion
“I believe Mosley is going to get the victory. Shane has the talent and skills to beat Mayweather.
– Saul “Canelo Alvarez, WBC Youth Welterweight World Champion
“I strongly believe Floyd has a lot of talent, but Mosley is so strong and still has a lot of speed, so it will not be a surprise if he wins.
– Israel “Magnifico Vazquez, former Three-Time World Champion
“I’m picking Mayweather by decision, but he won’t knock Mosley out.
– Fernando “The Aztec Warrior Vargas, former WBA and IBF Junior Middleweight Champion
“I think Mayweather is going to win by close decision, but I’m pulling for Mosley.
– Ricardo “Rocky Juarez, Junior Lightweight contender
“It’s going to come down to whoever’s got the best strategy. That’s the guy who will take the other guy out. Mosley’s bigger, but has good speed. We’ll see how Shane is going to press Floyd, and how Floyd is going to press Shane. How they adapt to each other is going to be the difference. Shane is definitely Floyd’s biggest test. I couldn’t tell you who’d win. I’d pick it a draw. I really don’t care who wins, but I want the winner either way.
– Paul “The Punisher Williams, former Two-Time Welterweight World Champion
“Shane’s my friend and I hope he wins, but he has trouble with speed and movement and likes guys to come to him so it’s going to be difficult.
– Freddie Roach, Trainer of Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan
“This is a very interesting fight. Mayweather will have his toughest fight yet against Mosley, who came up the ranks and fought every tough Mexican. When Mayweather covers up and brings his right hand up, Mosley is going to hit him with left hooks to the liver. He’ll go under the elbow. This is a tough, tough fight, and a great fight. I’m looking forward to it. Mayweather is going to really have to hustle because Mosley is at the top of this game. Mayweather has to fight his best fight ever, because Mosley’s stronger, more mature than anyone Mayweather has ever faced. While Mayweather is truly a one of a kind fighter, I would have to give the edge to Mosley by decision.
– Angelo Dundee, Hall of Fame Trainer of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman
“I like Floyd in this one. If it was 3 years ago I would have said Shane, but styles make fights and I just think that at this point in time Floyd’s style is going to give Shane problems. Margarito stands in front of you, and Mosley just hit him up. I have to go with Floyd. He makes adjustments very well and once he makes that adjustment it could be a boring fight. Mosley is saying he’s going to knock Floyd out. Floyd rises to the occasion. The better his opponent is, the better Floyd is. Shane has a shot, don’t get me wrong, and Floyd has to be on his p’s and q’s all night. But I’m picking Floyd in a decision.
– Buddy McGirt, Trainer of Arturo Gatti and Antonio Tarver
“I think Floyd Mayweather is going to win. I think he’s too good of a counterpuncher for Shane Mosley. Shane is going to have to make the fight and that’s going to play into Floyd’s hands. Mosley is a really good fighter, but watching his last few fights, I just don’t think he can keep up with Mayweather. He’s not going to be able to keep up the pace that can stop Floyd from throwing punches. I think Mosley will have a good first four rounds, but then Floyd will take over after that. Mosley’s got a shot, but if he tries to box Floyd, Floyd will dominate early. His best shot is to jump on Floyd and dominate early, and hurt him. If he tries to come out and make it a slow pace he’s in trouble. He has to come out and hurt Floyd, but I don’t see him doing that. I pick Mayweather in a wide decision.
– Ronnie Shields, Trainer of Tomasz Adamek, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Juan Diaz
“I’m picking Shane Mosley. I think he will stop Mayweather. Mayweather hasn’t had the competition that Shane has. Mayweather always had the advantages. He never went into an even fight. Mosley has the knowledge, ring generalship, speed, power and just the ability in general that will lead to a win. Mayweather has been cherry picking and not challenging anyone. Mosley by knockout. No doubt about it.
– George Peterson, Trainer of Paul Williams
“Magic votes for Floyd all the way!
– Magic Johnson, Five-Time NBA Champion, Three-Time NBA MVP, Twelve-Time NBA All-Star, Three-Time NBA Finals MVP
“Mayweather in a decision. He [Mayweather] is a smaller guy who can dance. Mosley can’t let him hit him.
– Charles Barkley, 11-Time NBA All-Star and TNT/NBA TV basketball analyst
“Mayweather in a unanimous decision. Mayweather will knock down Shane once but Mosley will be his toughest fight to date. Mayweather is the best boxer this world has seen in 20 years so he’ll win.
– Chris Webber, Five-Time NBA All-Star and TNT/NBA TV basketball analyst
“Mayweather KO in the 9th. He is in his prime and blazing it right now.I see his strength, speed and endurance being just too much for Mosley.Mayweather is a beast!
– Caron Butler, Two-Time NBA All-Star Forward, Dallas Mavericks
“Shane has a great chance. I will predict a victory. He has a great chin, and he’s the type of fighter who can give Floyd problems, with the pressure and the discipline, and he still has the quickness. So it’s going to be a great fight.
– LaDainian Tomlinson, Five-Time NFL Pro Bowler, 2006 NFL MVP, Running Back, New York Jets
“I need to hold one of them belts and walk in the ring with Money May on May 1st. No way I am missing this one.
– Chad Ochocinco, Six-Time NFL Pro Bowler, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
“I want Mosley to win but I really have no clue. Floyd is a badass andwill be tough to beat.
– Jared Allen, Three-Time NFL Pro Bowler, Defensive End, Minnesota Vikings
“Money Mayweather is going to get Mosley in the 10th round by TKO.Mayweather’s the best fighter around right now, at least until someone can prove otherwise by beating him.
– Shawne Merriman, Three-Time NFL Pro Bowler, 2005 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Linebacker, San Diego Chargers
“I think that Mayweather is going to win in eight rounds.Mayweather is 40-0 for a reason. He’s got youth behind him and he’s just too quick for Mosley.
– Patrick Willis, Two-Time NFL Pro-Bowler, 2007 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Linebacker, San Francisco 49ers
“I think Mayweather’s going to win versus Mosley. Floyd is way more athletic and technically sound than anyone else in boxing right now.
– Kellen Winslow II, NFL Pro-Bowler, Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“I’m picking ‘Money’ Mayweather. I say he gets unanimous decision but it goes full length.
– Ryan Grant, Running Back, Green Bay Packers
“Im calling a7th round knockout and Mayweather wins
– Shaun Phillips, Defensive End, San Diego Chargers
“I like Sugar Shane in a split decision. Floyd probably is the better talent, but that only gets you so far.Shane WANTS this more, and at 39, and 5 losses, hes fighting for redemption!
– Tiki Barber, Three-Time NFL Pro-Bowler, Former New York Giants Running Back
“I think Floyd will win based on his speed, his ability not to get hit and how he counter-punches. Also his ability to fight any style, but I think this going to be his toughest fight to date.
– John Starks, NBA All-Star, Former New York Knicks Guard
“Mayweather is the master of not getting hit. His quickness and defense will be too much for Shane to match.
– B.J. Upton, Center Fielder, Tampa Bay Rays
“Shane Mosley will win, because Orlando Hudson picked Mayweather and he also picked Roy Jones in the last fight and was way off!
– Justin Morneau, Three-Time MLB All-Star, First Baseman, Minnesota Twins
“Mosley. He’s got the power, the size and the reach.
– Gordon Beckham, Second Baseman, Chicago White Sox
“Mayweather will take it. He’s undefeated so he must be doing something right.
– Justin Verlander, Two-Time MLB All-Star, Pitcher, Detroit Tigers
“Money Mayweather is winning this fight. He is the Muhammad Ali of our generation. His swagger, his demeanor – Mayweather has it all. I think the fight will go the whole way, and I think he just beats him [Mosley] up throughout the fight. It will go to a decision, but Mayweather will outclass him because he is the real deal.
– Santino Quaranta, Midfielder/Striker, DC United
WHO R U PICKING?
LAS VEGAS, NV (April 30)…Six-time World Champion Floyd Money Mayweather and WBA Welterweight Super Champion Sugar Shane Mosley, are set to meet in Mayweather vs. Mosley: Who R U Picking? on Saturday, May 1 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a mega-bout which will be produced and distributed live on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Below please find predictions from top writers and media members, as they weigh in on who they believe will emerge victorious this Saturday.
TOP WRITERS AND MEDIA
Im picking Mosley. Im not sure how much Floyd has lost having fought just once in two years. Mosley has equal if not better hand speed, and I just dont know what Mayweather has or has not lost in his defensive genius in two years. Mosley in a decision.
– Bert Sugar, boxing writer and historian
Mayweather by decision due to his speed and boxing skills.
– Gordon Marino, The Wall Street Journal
This is such a good fight. Id long thought that Shane is the one guy that had the tools to beat Floyd. Hes almost as fast, I think Mosley is stronger, has good skill. What he has to do is cut off the ring and stop Floyd from getting away. If Floyd times Shane, hes going to be in trouble. But if Shane keeps him in place, I think he has a really good chance to work Mayweather. If I was a betting man and was forced to make a pick Id have to go with Floyd, but I think Shane has a great chance. Whoever wins, its going the distance.
– Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters/ESPN.com
There are 50 variables for this fight I can think of without even thinking, not the least of which is how the 16-month layoff will affect a 38-year old Mosley or if Floyds foot speed at 32 will be enough to withstand what I expect to be a relentless assault. I expect Mosley to try and dictate the tempo but I also expect Mayweather to frustrate him with a flurry of counterpunches. Take Mayweather in a unanimous decision.
– Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated
Floyd with a knockout in Round 6, duh! Hes quick and talented with a touch of cocky, thats enough for me to believe.
– Jason Kennedy, E! Entertainment correspondent
I think both Mayweather and Mosley will come out fighting smartly. But Mosley will eventually lose his patience trying to hit Mayweather, and in trying too hard to get at Mayweather will leave himself open to Floyds superb counter-punching. Mayweather wins by unanimous decision.
– Bob Velin, USA TODAY
This is a fight Floyd has wanted for years. Hes heard the criticism about not fighting the top welterweights and he wants to prove a point. I expect him to put on one of his best performances in this fight and win a clear-cut unanimous decision.
– Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
Mayweather wins by decision. Floyd has pushed himself as never before in training camp, surrounding himself with top sparring partners and grinding through exhaustive workouts that Mosley, at 38, will have trouble matching. Clearly, Shane will attempt to pressure Floyd, but Mayweathers defensive brilliance is still in peak form which should protect him from Mosleys knockout power. Thatll reduce the fight to a workout session, precisely the formula Mayweather needs to improve to 41-0.
– Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times
Mayweather to win…too quick, too slick. Mayweather on decisive points decision.
– Gareth Davies, The Daily Telegraph
Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. are both superbly skilled boxers at the top of their game. But Mayweather may be the best defensive fighter of this generation and that will negate Mosleys greatest assets – speed and power. Mayweather by decision.
– Tim Smith, NY Daily News
Sugar Shane Mosley has been counted out before and thats what motivates him in this fight. Its easy to say that hes been in too many tough fights over the years. But I think thats his edge here. Mayweather hasnt been in a competitive fight since winning a split decision over Oscar de la Hoya in 2007. Tough fights are the norm for Mosley. Shane will make Mayweather fight like no one else has made him fight before. Also consider that Mosley is faster than any other fighter Mayweather has faced and it all adds up to a unanimous decision win for Mosley.
– Bobby Cassidy, Newsday
Mayweather on points. Mosley is too old, and Mayweather is a better fighter.
– Jeff Powell, The Daily Mail
It should be a great fight. I dont think Mosley can knock out Mayweather and I think hes probably going to have to do exactly that to win the fight. Mayweather should be on form and satisfy his sweet tooth on Sugar Shane, remaining unbeaten by unanimous decision. If he brings anything less than the full Money mayhem, though, Mosley will quickly make him pay.
– Jim Slater, Agence France Presse
Mosley will throw more punches and Mayweather is too conservative. The judges like activity. Mosley by decision.
– David Avila, Riverside Press Enterprise
I think Mayweather wins a close decision. Mosley will have problems cutting the ring off, and Mosley is stronger, which is probably a concern for Mayweather. Mayweathers activity and consistency will pull out the fight, possibility in a split decision.
– David Mayo, Grand Rapids Press
Shane Mosley is really, really good. But Floyd Mayweather is great, and the difference between really, really good and great is enough for me to go out on a thick enough limb to predict Money by unanimous decision. Say what you will about Floyd – and some critics insist hes boring because he usually wins so easily – but Ive got to see him lose, or at least be pushed to the limit, before I saw off that limb on which Im perched by picking someone else to beat him.
– Bernard Fernandez, Philadelphia Daily News
I like Mayweather by decision. Too young, too fast, too much like Shane. Mosley will have his moments, especially early in the fight. He will test Mayweather early but Mayweather will prove to any doubters remaining that for all his defensive skills and movement he is, at his core, a fighter. In the end, speed will be the difference, as it always is.
– Ron Borges, Boston Herald
Money is precisely that when it comes to huge fights.Floyd is the best counter puncher and defensive fighter Ive seen and will give Shane nothing but problems.Fans and media always disrespect Mayweather, but 40-0 says it all.Hell control this one throughout, while Shane tries in vein to knock him out. Mayweather wins in aunanimous decision and breaks the pay-per-view records that he already owns. As always, Floyd will put on a show and take advantage of an older fighter.
– Scott Ferrall, host of The Scott Ferrall Show on Sirius XM Radio
Floyd Mayweather in a close decision. This is Shanes last shot and he goes out firing, but Floyd is too much at the end.
– Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
I think the effort to cast this fight as a complete toss-up is optimistic.Shane comes in as heroic dragonslayer after beating Margarito, but that doesnt mean hes equal to the task of being the first guy ever to beat Mayweather. Mayweather by decision.
– Don Steinberg, Philadelphia Inquirer
Mayweather by decision. This has the makings of an epic fight. Mosleys strength and experience along with having Naazim Richardson in his corner will give him a great chance to win. But in Mayweather, were talking about the best defensive fighter of his generation and now that hes already had a fight under his belt in his comeback. Heshould prevail.
– Steve Carp, Las Vegas Review-Journal
My guess is that Mayweather will be inflicting damage up the middle as Mosley tries to go for the body. The more Mosley misses – and I believe that he will miss often as relative fatigue sets in – the more Mayweather builds momentum toward a 12-round split-decision.
– Lem Satterfield, AOL FanHouse
Mayweather by decision. I think hes the best fighter in the world right now. Hes too technical and Shane wont be able to keep up with him.
– Brett Okamoto, Las Vegas Sun
Judah To Fight Mbuza March 5 In NJ
Totowa, NJ – Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO, announced their promotional firm won the purse bid held at IBF headquarters in East Orange, NJ, Thursday. The bid was for the right to hold the IBF's junior welterweight title fight between Zab Judah of Brooklyn, NY and Las Vegas, and South Africa's Kaizer Mabuza.
IBF Championships Chairman, Lindsay Tucker explained, “It is a 50-50 split of the earnings between the two fighters. Kaizer is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, and Judah is No. 2. Where the fight will be held is up to the winning bidder.”
Judah (39-6, 26 KOs) is promoted by Main Events and his own firm Super Judah Promotions, and Branco Milenkovic, of South Africa, promotes Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs).
Kathy Duva confirmed the fight will take place at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, late February or early March this year as part of Main Events' Brick City Boxing Series. (Saturday Update: the fight is March 5th, in NJ at the Pru Center. The bout will be part of a PPV card.)
“We are very happy that Zab has the opportunity to fight for the IBF Junior Welterweight title right here in New Jersey. Winning this fight will put Zab right in the mix with the winner of Bradley-Alexander and Amir Khan.” Duva elaborated, ” Zab will work very hard to win this fight so that he will be one step closer to his ultimate goal of unifying all of the Junior Welterweight titles by the end of 2011!”
UFC 125 Preview: Frankie Edgar Vs. Gray Maynard
Few predicted Frankie Edgar would grab the UFC lightweight championship last year but he did. Most felt he would eventually win it but Edgar not only took the title, he beat one of the best mixed martial artists in history to do it.
Edgar (13-1) has emerged from the milieu of nondescript MMA fighters to become one of the more brilliant performers for Ultimate Fighting Championship. Next comes a rematch with Gray “The Bully” Maynard (11-0) tomorrow at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. UFC 125 will be televised on pay-per-view.
All it took was not one, but two victories over BJ Penn.
If you’re not familiar with Penn, he’s one of the most versatile fighters in MMA history and had been nearly unbeatable in the 155-pound lightweight division. That is until he clashed with Edgar. Until he met New Jersey’s Edgar, the Hawaiian fighter chopped down lightweight opponents with ease. It was only the heavier welterweights he had problems against. Namely: Canada’s Georges St. Pierre.
Edgar showed poise, speed and grit in defeating Penn in back-to-back fights. The world took notice.
“You know, if I keep winning fights, the respect will come eventually,” said Edgar during a conference call.
Now Edgar will find out if he can avenge the only loss on his record.
“I just think I grew as a fighter. You know, mentally, you know, physically I, you know, possess differently skills, increased – you know, I think I boxed and got better, my Jiu-Jitsu got better and, you know, just have much more experience now,” Edgar says.
Maynard seeks to find out if Edgar has added any more fighting tools to his repertoire. Back in April 2008, the artillery shelled out was not enough to beat the Las Vegas fighter.
“It’s a perfect time. He had the chance and, you know, he took it and the time is now for me and I’m prepared,” said Maynard (11-0). “Any time you’re going up against the top in the world, you evolve and change and so I’m prepared for a new fight, so it will be good. I’m pumped for it.”
Though Maynard’s record indicates he is unbeaten that’s not entirely true. He did suffer a defeat to Nate Diaz during The Ultimate Fighter series and subsequently avenged that loss last January.
The UFC lightweight title is in Maynard’s bull’s eye.
“Looking to take the belt for sure,” said Maynard. “We’ll see on January 1.”
Edgar versus Maynard should be a good one.
Nate Diaz (13-5) faces Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1) in another welterweight tussle. Diaz is the only fighter with a win over Maynard. Anyone watching TUF remembers Maynard tapping out from a Diaz guillotine choke. The Modesto fighter has a tough fight against South Korea’s Kim.
Chris Leben (21-6) fights Brian Stann (9-3) in a middleweight fight. Leben is a veteran of MMA and if an opponent is not ready for a rough and tumble fight, well, that fighter is not going to win. Stann dropped down from light heavyweight and we’ll see if the cut in weight benefits the Marine.
Brandon Vera (11-5) meets Thiago Silva (14-2) in a light heavyweight match up. Vera is trying to rally back to the promising fighter he was tabbed several years back. Silva is a very tough customer and eager to crash the elite. A victory by either fighter could mean a ticket to the big time.
Clay Guida (27-8) versus Takanori Gomi (32-6) in a lightweight bout. Guida has become one of the most feared fighters without a title. No one has an easy time with the long-haired fighter. Gomi lost to Kenny Florian but knocked out Tyson Griffin. Can he survive Guida?
Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (22-8) clashes with Jeremy Stephens (18-6) in another lightweight fight. Davis is a go-for-broke kind of fighter and is looking to get back in the win column after a tumultuous battle with Nate Diaz last August. Stephens needs a win too. In his last bout he lost to Melvin Guillard.
Borges Looks Back, And Forward With Hope
As the end of another year approaches, there’s no need to invoke Charles Dickens to describe what went on in boxing. It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was just too much time spent on The Fight That Never Took Place.
For the second straight year the sport could not deliver The Fight, the only one fans universally wanted and even casual fans craved – the mix between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. No one has to be singled out for blame for that failure because this time there’s plenty to go around on both sides. The larger issue is what does it say about a sport when it cannot deliver its top event?
What would the NFL be without the Super Bowl? Where would major league baseball be without the World Series? Golf without the Masters? College basketball without March Madness?
They would all be less than they could be and so it was with boxing this year. Having said that, the sport was not without its signature moments. It was not bereft of nights that left those of us with an abiding (and often unrequited) love for prize fighting with good reason to hope for the future.
Three times promoter Bob Arum took the sport into massive stadium venues just like the good (very) old days and each time boxing drew a far larger crowd than its many critics expected. Twice those fights involved the sport’s leading ambassador, Pacquiao, who brought in crowds of 40,000 to 50,000 fans into Cowboys Stadium against inferior opponents Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito. Imagine what he might have done had Mayweather been in the opposite corner?
While both fights were, as expected, lopsided affairs, they showcased the one boxer who has transcended his sport’s confining walls to become a cultural icon and world celebrity. Pacquiao alone put boxing (or at least one boxer) on the cover of TIME and into the pages of such varied publications as Esquire, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, the American Airlines in-flight magazine and even Atlantic Monthly.
As history has proven time and again, that is what happens when boxing has a compelling personality to sell it and Pacquiao is that. Mayweather is such a person as well, but for different reasons.
The one night he appeared in a boxing ring, he set the year’s pay-per-view standard against Shane Mosley while also leaving a first hint of dark mystery when he was staggered by two stinging right hands in the second round.
Mayweather was momentarily in trouble for the first time in his career but the moment passed quickly and Mosley never had another. By the end he had been made to look old and futile, a faded athlete who’d had his chance and was unable to do anything with it. So it goes in this harsh sport when the sands are running out of the hour glass.
As always there were some surprising upsets, most notably Jason Litzau’s domination of an uninterested and out of shape Celestino Caballero and Sergio Martinez’s one-punch demolishment of Paul Williams. The latter was not so much an upset as it was a stunning reminder that when someone makes a mistake against a highly skilled opponent in this sport they don’t end up embarrassed. They end up unconscious.
SHOWTIME did all it could to further the future of the sport, offering up a continuation of its interminably long but still bold Super Six super middleweight tournament as well as the launching of a short form bantamweight tournament which already gave fans to two stirring and surprising finishes with Joseph Agbeko decisioning Jhonny Perez and Abner Mares upsetting Victor Darchinyan in a battle of contusions.
While the Super Six has had its problems – including several of the original six pulling out – it also lifted the profile of former Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward from nearly unknown to the cusp of universal recognized as the best super middleweight in the world this side of Lucian Bute. If Ward continues winning he’ll get to Bute soon enough because that’s why SHOWTIME signed a TV deal with the Canadian and America may get its next boxing star if Ward proves to be what I think he is – which is still underrated and underappreciated.
HBO and HBO pay-per-view put on 23 shows, few of them compelling and many of them paying big money to the wrong people while doing little or nothing to grow the sport that has helped make their network rich. But they did have the knockout of the year – Martinez’s second round destruction of Williams – and some fights in the lower weight classes that were left you wanting more.
Two new names popped up who are causing the kind of fan reaction that also gives us hope for 2011 – American Brandon Rios and Mexican Saul Alvarez. They are two of the sport’s brightest young prospects because each comes to the arena the old-fashioned way – carrying nothing but bad intentions.
Aggression and knockouts still sell boxing faster than anything else and each exhibited plenty of both this year and left fans wanting to see more. Alvarez is already a star in Mexico without having yet won a world title and Rios is the definition of “promise.’’ Whether the star will continue to shine and promise will be fulfilled may be answered next year and so we wait anxiously to find out.
Backed by Golden Boy Promotions, there is no reason 2011 shouldn’t be Alvarez’s year and if it is people will notice and remember him because he has a crowd-pleasing style that is all about what sells most.
That is what boxing needs more of – fresh faces and new stars… so as fans we should root for guys like Alvarez, Ward, Rios and young Brit Amir Khan, who is a star in England but still a question mark with a questionable chin but a fighter’s heart here in the U.S.
Those guys and others not yet as well known are the future of boxing, a sport that for too long has been recycling the likes of Mosley (as it will again in May for one last beating against Pacquiao in a fight that's a joke), Bernard Hopkins (who can still fight although it is unclear why he bothers or where it’s all headed), Roy Jones and, sadly, even 48-year-old Evander Holyfield, who continues to delude himself but not many other people into believing he will soon unify the heavyweight title again.
If fighters like Ward, Alvarez, Rios, Khan, WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and middleweight king Sergio Martinez continue their rise they could be the antidote for the art of the retread that Arum and Golden Boy have been forcing fans to buy the past few years at the expense of what boxing needs most – fresh faces.
The heavyweight division, which many believe determines the relevancy of boxing to the larger world, remains a vast desert of disinterest here in the US. The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, hold 75 per cent of the title belts but few peoples’ imaginations in the US, although to be fair they are European superstars and don’t really need U.S. cable TV money to thrive economically.
Each defended their titles twice this year, Vitali against lame competition (Albert Sosnowski and Shannon Briggs) and Wladimir against better fighters (Sam Peter and Eddie Chambers) but not competitive ones. Sadly, there is no American on the horizon to challenge them, a comment on the division and on our country, where the athletes who used to be Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali now opt for the easier and frankly safer road of the NFL or the NBA. Who can blame them considering all the nonsense a fighter has to go through to just make a living these days?
The one heavyweight match that would be compelling and might lift the sport up for at least a night would be either of the Klitschkos facing lippy WBA champion David Haye. The fast-talking Brit claims to not be ducking them but he’s had more maladies befall him after shouting from the rooftops how much he wants to challenge them that you have to wonder if Haye is simply a case of big hat no cattle syndrome.
For the sake of the sport, we should all be lighting candles each night in hopes our prayers will be answered and Haye will finally agree to meet one of them. It may not prove to be much of a fight but at least it will give us something to talk about for a few months.
Whatever Haye and the Klitschkos decide the fighter with the most upside at the moment however seems to be Sergio Martinez. He has matinee idol looks, a big enough punch to put Paul Williams to sleep with one shot and a work ethic second to none. The Argentine fighter had a year for himself, starting with a drubbing of Kelly Pavlik followed by his demolishment of Williams. Those kinds of victories, coupled with his Oscar De La Hoya-like looks, are the type of things that if HBO or SHOWTIME would get behind him could allow Martinez to capture the attention of both fight fans and more casual ones.
In general, Hispanics fighters continued to dominate much of the sport’s front pages with Juan Manuel Marquez’s two victories in lightweight title fights leading that storyline. His war with Michael Katsidis is a strong candidate for Fight of the Year and his technical skill and calm demeanor make him the uncrowned challenger to Pacquiao. The two have unfinished business that should be settled this year if Arum stops standing in the way.
Two other fighters who gave us moments to remember in 2010 were Juan Manuel Lopez, who knocked out three solid opponents including highly respected Mexican warrior Rafael Marquez, and Giovani Segura, who won four times (that’s three years work for Mayweather) in 2010, all by knockout. Along the way, Segura defeated one of the great minimum weight fighters in history, slick Ivan Calderon, to win the belt on Aug. 28.
Lastly, boxing gave us another magical cinematic moment as well with the release of “The Fighter,’’ a film based on the life and hard times of junior welterweight scrapper Micky Ward. The film has won rave reviews and many awards and seems likely to have several of its actors nominated for Academy Awards, most notable Christian Bale for his sadly humorous portrayal of Ward’s troubled half brother, former fighter Dickie Ecklund.
Boxing has a long history of providing the framework for memorable movies and it did it again with “The Fighter,’’ a film that did more for boxing than any promoter did all year.
All in all, it wasn’t the best of years for boxing but it was a good year that picked up speed in the final months and, like that great golf shot you finally hit out of the rough on the 18th, left us with reasons to hope for a better year in 2011. If somehow it gives us Mayweather-Pacquiao, the emergence of Alvarez and Rios, the ascension of Martinez and Haye vs. the best available Klitschko in addition to the kind of solid performances that always come along, it could be a year to remember.
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