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Mayweather vs. Pacquiao Is Bullet-Proof

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How many things in life are actually bullet-proof? I would venture to say not many, but in sports there are a few things that really are bullet-proof and can’t miss.

The Super Bowl is bullet-proof. By that I mean it doesn’t matter which two teams play in it, it’s going to draw the biggest television audience of the year. The tickets will be more money this year than they were last year and the commercials will also be more expensive than they were for last years’ game. There will be parties at residences and restaurants everywhere the day of the game. And if you are traveling on the road while the game is being played, you can count on no traffic. No, it doesn’t matter if the game is between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Arizona Cardinals. If the Jaguars and Cardinals ever met in the Super Bowl, it would be the biggest and most widely covered game of the year regardless of the fact neither team has much juice outside of Florida and Arizona. So you see, the NFL can’t lose regardless of what two teams meet for the Lombardi trophy on the first Sunday of every February.

Unlike the Super Bowl, the World Series, NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals need at least one big market or establishment team in it to draw really big numbers. Can you imagine the putrid numbers a San Diego Padres vs. Tampa Bay Rays World Series would bring? Or an NBA finals featuring the Charlotte Bobcats vs. Memphis Grizzlies? MLB and the NBA along with the television networks broadcasting the games would be praying for some kind of monumental controversy to stir interest if they were stuck with a Padres-Rays World Series or a Bobcats-Grizzlies NBA final.

Some say professional boxing is on the decline. However, boxing has it’s own version of the Super Bowl, it’s titled Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. And it is as completely bullet-proof as the Super Bowl.

You can bet the house on it that the moment it’s announced and becomes official, look out, because it’ll dominate everything boxing until the night of the fight. I remember in 2009/2010 it was Mayweather-Pacquiao 24/7 but it never happened. I say because of Mayweather’s reluctance, but there are those who disagree. Back then it was a legitimate Super Fight and a case could’ve been made for either fighter winning, which is paramount in the making of a Super Fight. (Of course that is by no means the case today.)

Last weekend, Pacquiao avenged his decision loss to Timothy Bradley from two years ago. And ever since the moment his hand was raised in victory, all talk has centered around when he’s going to fight Mayweather. In less than three weeks Mayweather will fight and handily defeat Marcos Maidana, and after the fight all anyone will want to talk to him about is fighting Pacquiaio.

Remember when they were both thought to be unbeatable about four years ago? A lot has changed since then. As of this writing Mayweather is 37 and will soon be on the decline, I think. Pacquiao is 35. In addition to that, Pacquiao has been officially defeated twice, has been knocked out cold for two minutes lying face down on the canvas, and he hasn’t won by knockout in five years. What will it take for the boxing media and fans to grasp that Mayweather-Pacquiao isn’t a big fight and there’s no longer a scintilla of drama as to who will come out on top? Is there really one boxing observer left who doesn’t think that Mayweather played his hand perfectly waiting Pacquiao out and for him to shows signs of undeniable erosion? Are there still boxing aficionados around who don’t see Mayweather administering a one-sided boxing lesson to Pacquiao once they step into the ring when they finally meet? It’s blatantly obvious that Pacquiao no longer has the punch or power to make Mayweather do anything that he doesn’t want to. And without that he really has nothing else to fall back on to swing the fight in his favor. With Floyd not having to worry about getting stopped or really stunned to the point where he can’t recover, he can do what he wants in order to control the fight.

It seems that nothing matters, all boxing fans care about is Mayweather and Pacquiao fighting. I could see if Manny was still the non-stop punching dynamo he used to be, but he’s no longer that fighter. Even if you think he beat Bradley the first time, and he did. There’s still a great case to be made that he should’ve lost the decision to Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight. It was close but I had it for Marquez. And the disputed decision in their third meeting is what really prompted their fourth fight, and Pacquiao was knocked out in one of the most devastating fashions we’ve recently witnessed in that bout. Also, has everyone forgotten that Mayweather tortured and dominated a younger Marquez over 12-rounds back in late 2009? In fact Marquez didn’t win a round, no, he didn’t win a minute of that fight. Yet for some reason Mayweather and Pacquiao have to fight so the world keeps rotating?

I can’t explain why but the media and fans feel their lives won’t be complete if they don’t see Mayweather and Pacquiao fight, regardless of the fact that there isn’t a morsel of a doubt as to who will win. In fact, I bet the day of the fight Mayweather is about a 12-5 favorite and nobody will bet Pacquiao without getting odds. If Mayweather-Pacquiao were really so intriguing why will those betting Mayweather have to lay over 2-1 in order to bet him in the fight? That’s pretty overwhelming in favor of Mayweather for a fight that’s supposed to be must see and a toss up.

I really believe Pacquiao could fight and get knocked out by the Marquez-Alvarado winner in the first round, yet if he announced at the post fight press conference that he’s signed to fight Mayweather five months from now, the fight would still be the biggest grossing bout in history. Actually, I’ll go one further. Pacquiao could fight and get knocked out by Marquez and Alvarado in consecutive fights and still meet Mayweather five months later and break all PPV buy records. I’ve lived through big fights during my time, like Ali-Frazier I, II & III, Ali-Foreman, Leonard-Duran I & II and Leonard-Hearns…and believe me Mayweather-Pacquiao is nothing compared to those Super Fights.

Mayweather-Pacquiao is about as bullet-proof as any sporting event or fight that I’ve seen in my life. There is only one thing that could derail a fight between Floyd and Manny, and that too is bullet-proof. You know what that is, if Mayweather lost before they fought. That might be its death blow. But what are the odds of that? First of all there’s nobody around Mayweather’s weight who can beat him, and if that fighter existed, say a prime Paul Williams who forced Mayweather to retire once already, we know Floyd wouldn’t fight him. So the only thing that could cancel Mayweather-Pacquiao can’t happen. And once it’s official, regardless of how eroded Pacquiao may have looked in his previous bouts, the moment his name is joined with Floyd’s, it’ll become the latest fight of a life-time.

There’s nothing that can change that won’t make it a big deal once it becomes official. I’ve never seen anything like it where clear thinking, reason and logic have been so completely rejected and thrown out the window. Since 2010, Pacquiao has been defeated twice, knocked out and lost a decision he should’ve won and was given one he should’ve lost. But that doesn’t matter because everyone wants to see if he can beat Mayweather, despite there the fact there isn’t a morsel of evidence to suggest that he can. When Mayweather and Pacquiao are mentioned most boxing fans are like sharks during a feeding frenzy. In other words, Mayweather and Pacquiao are going to fight, I don’t care that Pacquiao is eroding and the result is a forgone conclusion. And that’s exactly what makes Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bullet-proof.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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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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