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FLOYD MAYWEATHER PRESSER

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mayweatherjrMoneyFloyd Mayweather, Jr. is the biggest money maker in boxing because he figured out a long time ago that the key to that kind of success is not about popularity alone.

It's about skills to be sure, which Mayweather has in abundance, but it is also about the inverse of popularity. It is about just as many people wanting to see you lose as wanting to see you win because in the end the only thing that really matters is that they want to see you period. Why isn't really part of Mayweather's business model.

“When I go into an arena, if they're cheering, then it's a great thing,'' Mayweather said during an international media conference call to hype his fight next week with WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

“If the fans boo, that's a great thing too because they're letting me know I'm relevant, that they know who I am,'' he added. “If they didn't make noise, then I'd have a problem with that. When they boo, or cheer – they know who I am. I'm relevant and at one point in their life, they paid attention to me. It's a good thing.''

It's been so good that Mayweather has become the highest grossing fighter in boxing, a pay-per-view sales producer like no other. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions whose company is serving as the front man in this promotion, is predicting Mayweather-Cotto will do bigger business than Mayweather did with GBP owner Oscar De La Hoya, which was a record night in which an estimated 2.2 million buys were achieved.

Topping that next week seems difficult to believe but not for Mayweather, who when it comes to boxing and sales sees only the sky as his limit. He is, he knows, a fighter who needs no one at the moment, a performer who does over a million buys shadow boxing (read fighting Victor Ortiz) and approaches records when his opponent is a top line performer like Cotto.

Cotto (37-2, 30 KO) is a wildly popular fighter with Latino fans, an earnest and technically proficient boxer who will resolutely pursue the man in front of him until he has walked him down and broken him down. He likes to attack opponents on the ropes, which is often where Mayweather enjoys retreating to, and he is a relentless tradesman who comes to the arena to win.

Mayweather (42-0, 26 KO) understands this and respects it about Cotto. Unlike some of his past opponents, Mayweather has made no effort to insult him in the lead up to this event but this week he did have a suggestion for him, one he said wouldn't improve his chances of winning but might give him some peace of mind in the final days before they meet.

“If my opponent is (watching) on Live Stream he has to say 'I can't watch this!''' Mayweather said of his live workouts broadcast over the internet. “My opponent may let his trainer watch because the trainer won't have to get in the ring with me.

“I respect Miguel Cotto as a man, always. I don't really know him but he seems like a cool guy. But come May 5th, Cotto is gonna have to make me respect his boxing skills and earn my respect. That's not something you just get from me.

“(Juan Manuel) Marquez, he made me earn his respect. Shane Mosley made me respect his power. I'm pretty sure they respect my fighting skills also.”

The implication was that Cotto will be made to do the same if he already doesn't. Although Mayweather admits you never know the measure of a man until you actually are in the ring with him, he is sure that come May 5, Miguel Cotto will quickly understand that the boxer he is in with is faster than the man who badly beat him some time ago – Manny Pacquiao.

Speed is everything in boxing. If you have it you set the agenda. You lay out the boundary of the battle. You dictate the pace and more often than not you start the exchanges and most importantly you end them.

That has been the pattern in the previous 42 Mayweather fights and he fervently believes nothing will change next week. As with all great movers, he will lead and Miguel Cotto will follow because, he says, he will direct Cotto into dark places he doesn't see coming.

“It was a mind trick when Bob Arum made him fight Manny Pacquiao at a catch-weight,'' Mayweather said of Cotto. “He fell for that didn't he? Another mind trick is when his corner didn't thoroughly check out the hand-wraps of Antonio Margarito. He fell for that didn't he? If a guy falls for certain tricks, he'll fall for it again.”

If there is one thing Mayweather is it's tricky. He is elusive, intelligent and a supreme master of the dark art of boxing. He sets traps and makes opponents pay dearly for falling into them and his instincts are perfectly honed.

He is a defensive fighter but one who turns defense into offense with speed and counter punching ability. In other words, he is a problem for which Miguel Cotto may have no answers.

“My skills are at a different level than any other fighter,'' Mayweather said. “In the end, skills pay the bills.

“I'm a guy who really doesn't believe in taking no punishment. I believe in dishing it out. I don't want to be praised for being in a war. I don't think a rough, tough fight is cool. I work on my skills day in and day out (to avoid those kinds of nights). I study the sport of boxing.

“I put in the hours. I am mentally ready. I am physically ready. No fighter in the history of the sport is as dedicated as I'm dedicated. I been in front of every style. I'm a master of my craft.''

But Mayweather believes he is more than that. He is also a leader of his craft, a man whose responsibilities are not only in the ring and at the pay window but also in the dark corners of boxing where things are going on that only he wants to talk about.

Ever since a fight with Pacquiao was first proposed, Mayweather has consistently insisted random drug and urine testing for performance enhancing drugs be a part of the agreement. For over a year it was a sticking point because Pacquiao refused to agree to random blood testing up to the weekend of the fight.

He has since relented and fight negotiations have broken down over financial matters, as is more the norm. Yet Mayweather has continued to insist his opponents agree to random blood testing, a position he now says may be his true legacy after it is all said and done.

“I'm the face of boxing,'' Mayweather claimed. “I have totally changed the sport of boxing and I'm the reason why people don't talk about heavyweights anymore. I'm doing record breaking numbers. Since I'm the face of the sport, I should always be trying to change the sport and make the sport a lot better.

“The best thing is to always put every man on an even playing field. Manny Pacquiao should be standing behind me and saying we should clean up the sport and that he's a clean athlete. I'm letting the world know that Floyd Mayweather is a clean athlete. Eventually random blood and urine testing will be a part of boxing, I truly believe that, and everyone will say Mayweather was the first one. I'll be a part of history and a part of cleaning up the sport that's been around for ages. If you're the best then take the test.”

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will face both tests on May 5, the drug testing he is championing and the test of facing Miguel Cotto not at a catch weight but at the 154-pound junior middleweight limit.

It will be a night of numbers. Pay-per-view numbers. Weight numbers. Punch stats. And the one number that means the most to Mayweather.

It will be the night of zero. Or so he hopes.

“Forty two times the game plan hasn't worked,'' Mayweather said of his previous opponents. “May 5 we'll have to see. But my game plan is to go out there and be me.''

Why should he have any other plan, considering how that one has worked out so far?

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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