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Trying To Make Sense of Manny-Khan Meeting, and Floyd’s Next Move

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UPDATE 2: It is Wednesday, and are we closer to seeing Money-Manny, or are we destined to see the wheels spin like a vehicle caught in a snowdrift, while we got no shovel or salt? Maybe; we saw on Tuesday night the principals get together, in a coincidental way, at a basketball game. Depending on who you ask, their meeting, which included a brief chat, during halftime of the Heat-Bucks game, went amiably, or included Mayweather telling off Pacman and his advisor Michael Koncz for “lying.” Expectations rose when we saw them chatting, and heard that cell phone numbers were exchanged. Then hope dipped when the he said/he said something else account of the meetup leaked out. I was told that the meeting was indeed coincidental, that Pacman was due to fly home, but his flight was grounded because of weather, so he hit a game. Floyd is a Heat fan, so he was there as well…People caught video of the chat, but no audio, sadly.

There you have it, what passes for news in this day and age…

Also, Pacman promoter Bob Arum popped up on Wednesday, before that hoop-de-do, and spoke to Wallace Matthews and Teddy Atlas on their SiriusXM show, “Going the Distance.” No, we didn’t hear that The Fight was made. But Arum said he was “hopeful” it would be made, for May 2nd, and repeated a couple times that his level of optimism stems largely from the involvement of CBS boss Les Moonves. You all know I have pointed to that person’s presence in this fifth round of talks between the two parties as being potentially a game-changer, as I believe that a Les Moonves would be at the level of importance that even a Floyd Mayweather could be pursuaded to be swayed to his logic.

Arum also said Pac doesn’t have money woes, that his purses are usually larger or as large as Floyd’s because Uncle Sam doesn’t take a taste; Arum said he dropped the ball promoting Floyd because he was out of touch with the urban market, and didn’t understand young black persons of today; he said him and Floyd get along well enough; he said that Showtime loses $10-12 mill on each Floyd fight, and that a Mayweather-Cotto rematch wouldn’t happen, likely, because Cotto would want $13 or so million, and Floyd would want an extra $10 million or so on top of his guarantee, and that fight would do maybe 1.1 million PPV buys, and thus, Showtime/CBS could/would lose about $20 million on it.

I messaged Showtime to ask if they wanted to weigh in, or refute, and will add that info if they choose to do so. WEDNESDAY 9 PM UDATE: “There is no truth to Bob’s assertion that Showtime is losing money on Mayweather PPV events,” Showtime spokesman Chris DeBlasio, VP of sports communications, told me. “Beyond that, we don’t have any comment on Mayweather’s next fight.

In fact, Arum labeled Mayweather-Cotto 2 talk as “absolute nonsense.”

Also, Arum said the public might lose interest in seeing Money-Money, especially if one or both look so-so in their next outing. Now is the time, he iterated. The promoter ended the segment by taking a shot at Al Haymon, for blurring the line between promoter and manager, and then on a high note, basically wishing him well on bringing back boxing to primetime, network television.

Get on my Twitter timeline for more on the Arum hit on SiriusXM. https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069

UPDATE: It is Sunday, a day of prayer and rest and reflection for some. I’m thinking those folks, the ones that follow boxing, might want to add an extra request to the Almighty, if such a deity indeed could or would be influenced to help a prize-fight get made, to help the Manny-“Money” fight get off the tarmac, and reach flight stage.

Or, maybe, we would be better served to simply move forward with what many folks are now assuming to be the case, Plan B being activated for The Congressman and the “Money” man….

HBO’s Jim Lampley told Elie Seckback last night that he’s thinking we see a Mayweather-Cotto rematch on May 2, so are we at a point to acknowledge that continuing discussion of contracts, and terms, and agreements and status of negotiations is nothing more than wasting of time and energy? Pacman promoter Bob Arum spoke to Fight Hub a couple says ago and said, “We’re all done. We’ve signed everything, agreed on all the terms. As far as we know, we’ve been told by the highest authority that Mayweather’s people have agreed, that the networks have agreed. But like they say, you can’t do a play about Hamlet without Hamlet, and Hamlet — meaning Mayweather — has not signed on.”

Team Floyd folk take issue with terminology used by Arum and Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza has stated that no true-blue contracts or contract has been crafted…so he takes issue with Arum presenting anything being “done.”

We are all spinning wheels on this element of the endless flirtation and breakup cycle, because we don’t know who was repping Team Floyd for the terms that are referenced by Arum, though we guess that Arum’s “highest authority” is Al Haymon; we don’t know if the terms are indeed then and now agreeable to Mayweather; we don’t know if they WERE that the goal-post doesn’t get moved, as people who argue that Floyd doesn’t really want this fight, for whatever reason(s), would be prone to do; we don’t know the format of the document, if it’s a list of terms, or actually a contract that can be signed and cited as proof of intent in a court of law.

The behavior of Pacman, in meeting with Amir Khan in England, in acknowledging that a May 30 scrap with Khan is current Plan B if The Fight falls through for the umpteenth time, is akin to that of a fella maintaining an active Tinder account while simultaneously attending marriage counseling sessions with his wife…It’s not indicative of a level of optimism that bodes well for the union…or for the prospect of an early summer Manny-Money clash. For the record, I do think we see The Fight, but it feels like Floyd would maybe rather string the process along, maybe build his leverage even higher, maybe wait for a Superbidding War to break out when his Showtime deal is done, after two more bouts. Of course, like so much of this tangled web, this is speculation.

But the speculation is bolstered by the talk from those who have a better instinct than us on where chips are going to fall. Oscar De La Hoya has said he doesn’t think Manny-Money is a go for May 2, and he’s been operating, with his top draw Canelo Alvarez, with that certainty guiding him for weeks now. Now you have Lampley saying it…and I had one of the smartest men in boxing tell me a good five weeks ago he thinks we see Mayweather-Cotto 2 and Pacquiao-Khan instead of The Fight.

My bottom line: can we just declare the prospects for this union, for Manny-Money in May, dead for now, if prospects are being uselessly and artificially held aloft, and move on to concrete reality? This spinning of wheels is I suppose interesting to some and keeps us intrigued to a point…but boxing isn’t building new fans this way. Maybe Manny and Money hook up in the fall, or even more likely, early in 2016…but if they aren’t going to walk down the aisle for May 2, let’s finish the speculation-a-thon, and return ourselves to actual, not speculative reality.

 

 

So Manny Pacquiao is meeting with Brit royalty, and now fight-game UK royalty, in Amir Khan.

What to make of it?

Purely a negotiating shove in the direction of the “Money” man, Floyd Mayweather–who takes his sweet time deliberating…or, heck, not deliberating, I do not pretend to know what he does with his 24-7—-to help propel his thumb up or down on whether to accept or refute the offer on the table to meet Manny Pacquiao in the what would be the sport’s most anticipated super fight since Lennox Lewis tangled with a faded Mike Tyson, in 2002?

Or a meaningful meet up, a possibly accelerant to a place where I dare say we all want to be…a place of clarity.

The negotiation period for this latest round—what is it, the tenth, the twelfth, the twelve thousandth?–of Manny/Money “talks” has dragged on to a level beyond absurd.

As it stands now, as far as we know, Pacman has agreed to “terms” which his crew maintains were acceptable to a person or persons who can speak for Floyd Mayweather, and now The Congressman and his crew awaits Floyd’s acceptance of said terms. Now, would Floyd’s acceptance result in popping of corks, exultation that this no brainer match is finally a go.

Er, no..

It’s been been pulling teeth, sans novocaine or laughing gas, to this point…so why should we not expect more shedding of blood, more muddying of the mix from the Arizas and the proxy reps for Floyd and his crew, who maintain that Pacquiao’s stated belief that he’s accepted all terms not he table for a fight are farcical, being that no official contract has been drafted.

Indeed, no less a player than Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza has been vocal on the Twitter that talk of terms being accepted are moot, because if said “terms” are not part of a real-deal contract, then said terms are as real as watches they sell on Canal Street.

“Signing what? No contract has been drafted yet,” Espinoza Tweeted on Jan. 21.

The focus is off that he said/the other he said back and forth, and not on the tell-all book from a former Floyd Mayweather alleged confidante, which spills alleged specifics on how the hitter was bilked by a con man out of an obscene amount of money, and various other transgressions and missteps.

In England, Pacman and Khan, who ex Khan trainer Freddie Roach said was in the mix as a Plan B if a Manny-Money waltz falls through yet again, met and…who knows what?

Did a photo op meant to shove Mayweather in the direction of a decision? Or talked turkey, and firmed up the basics for a square-off, which could perhaps take place in Dubai, where the Muslim Khan has a considerable fan base of rooters, and where money flows like crude oil…

All of us wait with that proverbial bated breath, and all of us includes high-level players, as well.

I was told by Miguel Cotto advisor Gaby Penagaricano that he had nothing to report, as of Thursday late afternoon, so the Cotto teams, and the Canelo crew, which includes promoter Oscar De la Hoya, are, seemingly, waiting to see if Floyd will drop the other shoe. Mayweather holds the bulk of the cards, he’s the game’s A side decider, so when he makes a move, other puzzle pieces will slide into place.

Or…has Pacquiao, who put out a “request” for Floyd to make up his mind one way or another by the end of January, reached a patience limit?

Khan’s deadline for Floyd to make up his mind has come and gone already…

Has The Congressman gotten a message that Floyd is willing to joust some about terms and contracts and such, but not looking to go the extra yard, and actually activate a true fight, in the ring? That’s mystifying to most of us, who are conditioned to see things in term of what makes most money is what occurs…but I have thought for awhile that Mayweathers’ dismay with the way he and ex promoter Bob Arum parted ways could be keeping him from agreeing to do any bit of business with the Bobfather…and yes, this would be a perfect example, some would say, of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, to the tune of maybe leaving $50 million on the table, because of a personality conflict. And Floyd folk will tell you that Arum is the gum stopping up the works, which I have always found hard to swallow, to be honest, as his cut from The Fight would be immense.

Mayweather, word is, will be doing a promo tour of Australia starting on Jan. 27, if a visit visa is granted to him, possibly no given because of his considerable rap sheet legacy, as well as the multitude of allegations which could well spur public sentiment there to prod deciders to bar the hitter at the gate of entry.

Off the top of my head, visiting Melbourne and the like doesn’t have the same zest as Pacman’s meeting with Khan; would Floyd meeting Anthony Mundine catalyze any other potential foes to reduce their ask, or change their behavior? I think fan reaction to a Mayweather-Mundine bout nullifies any leverage that could be considered….but anyway.

Also, with Al Haymon, consummate man of mystery, advising Floyd, and being so active with mega-moves lately, could we see some rabbit out of the hat, maybe some Super Bowl special announcement, wow us with a development we didn’t see coming? Stranger things have happened, even in our delightful red light district of sporting chicanery.

I reached out to Oscar De La Hoya, to see if he wanted to shed any light, see if his antennae are picking up intel on what Floyd will do next, and I will insert his info should he respond. I will also add comments from Bob Arum if and when I hear from him, as I requested.  As always, I’d love to hear from the Floyd side, but they are of a narrow scope on the media they deal with so you are better off clicking on FightHype.com to snag news and opinion from that side of the fence.

Recent news that Team Canelo and De La Hoya are holding firm to that vaunted May 2 date indicates to me, maybe, that they are thinking Floyd-Manny on that date is a no go. I mean, we wouldn’t see Canelo being in a cannibalization situation from the HBO perspective, fighting May 2, the same night HBO was putting in resources and personnel to help produce Manny-Money. Oscar might be sitting with Canelo as we speak, in San Diego, and talking options for the red-head, which might include a tangle with James Kirkland. Several phone calls to Kirkland rep Mike Miller were not immediately returned.

So we wait…we all wait…same as before…we wait for “Money” to end the speculation, to clarify the murky picture. Sadly, I say, stay tuned…and hurry up, and wait for the picture to clear up.

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Fast Results From London: Joshua Takes Out Povetkin in the 7th

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UK sporting

It was a very wet night at Wembley Stadium, but the dampness didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of the crowd which welcomed UK sporting hero Anthony Joshua into the ring with a thunderous ovation. And Joshua didn’t disappoint. After six relatively even rounds, he found his range in the seventh and became the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin. A three punch combo that began with an overhand right sent Povetkin sprawling into the ropes. The Russian beat the count, but Joshua smelled blood and as soon as the ref allowed the proceedings to continue he moved in for the kill. The official time was 1:59.

Povetkin started fast and in the eyes of many observers won the first three rounds. A sharp right hand in the waning seconds of round one reddened Joshua’s nose which leaked blood in the next round. The tide began to turn in round four when Povetkin suffered a cut above his left eye.

Povetkin (now 34-2), was the lighter man by 23 pounds. Joshua had a four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage. And it mattered greatly that AJ was the younger man by 10-plus years. Povetkin wasn’t intimidated by Joshua and had several good moments but, at age 39, his reflexes betrayed him once the fight had crossed the midpoint.

Joshua, who owns three of the four meaningful heavyweight title belts, improved to 22-0 with his 21st stoppage. His next fight is penciled in for April 13 of next year against an opponent to be determined. His promoter Eddie Hearn has reserved that date at Wembley Stadium.

Other Bouts

In a 12-round lightweight bout, Joshua’s Olympic Games teammate and fellow gold medalist Luke Campbell (19-2) avenged the first loss of his career with a unanimous decision (119-109, 118-111,116-112) over France’s Yvan Mendy (40-5-1). This was Campbell’s second start since coming up short in a bid for Jorge Linares’s lightweight title and his first fight under his new trainer Shane McGuigan.

In their first meeting in December of 2015 at London’s O2 Arena, Mendy won a split decision that should have been unanimous. Campbell insisted that he had improved greatly in the interim and tonight’s fight bore witness. However, he needs to develop a harder punch to rank among the top lightweights in the world, a list headed by Mikey Garcia. As this fight was framed as a WBC title eliminator, Campbell is next in line to meet Garcia, but Mikey has indicated that he will pursue bigger game.

Lawrence Okolie, a 2016 Olympian who trains with Anthony Joshua, won a Lonsdale belt in only his 10th pro start with a 12-round decision over defending BBBofC cruiserweight champion Matty Askin in a messy fight. The undefeated Okolie had a point deducted in round five for leading with his head and had two more points deducted for holding, but banked enough rounds to get the nod on all three cards: 116-110, 114-112, and 114-113. Askin, who declined to 23-4-1, had won five straight heading in.

A 10-round heavyweight match between Sergey Kuzmin (13-0, 1 NC) and David Price (22-6) ended suddenly when Price retired on his stool after four relatively even rounds. The six-foot-eight, china-chinned Price claimed to have aggravated a biceps tear.

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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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