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Kiss Mayweather-Pacquiao Goodbye

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MayweatherCotto Hoganphotos2Let's make one thing perfectly clear. Regardless of how some people scored the fight, Floyd Mayweather did a masterful job in dethroning Miguel Cotto on Saturday night, in what I consider one of his best ever nights. Yes, there have been better performances in the past from Mayweather – his ring artistry in the Corrales and Gatti fights remain his signature performances – but this may have been his most complete performance in showing both his offensive and defensive brilliance. However, despite Mayweather chalking up his 43rd career win, against zero losses, you could say May 5th was the night that finally ended any and all hope of this generation's defining fight involving boxing's biggest and boxing's best, between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacqiuao.

Prior to Saturday night, Floyd Mayweather was in pole position so to speak, with regards to the ongoing saga that is Mayweather versus Pacquiao and in particular, how the fight would actually turn out. Boxing has always been full of triangle theories – if fighter A beats fighter B and B beats C, then surely fighter A beats fighter C. Of course, as any boxing enthusiast will tell you, there is a styles dynamic to boxing that doesn't always allow the sport to work in this manner. Nonetheless, before Saturday night, Mayweather would have been a clear favourite over Manny Pacquiao, based on his dominance – and Manny's lack of – in besting Juan Manuel Marquez.

As we all know, Floyd prides himself on how he managed to master Marquez with relative ease, whereas Pacquiao somewhat struggled with the very same Marquez across three fights. Agree or disagree, I believe it's Mayweather's way of establishing dominance over Pacquiao, without actually having to climb into the ring with him. To further my point, I believe that Miguel Cotto was specifically chosen as Mayweather's opponent on Saturday night to further enhance his percieved domination over Pacquiao – if Mayweather fared better against Cotto than Pacquiao did, then he would have even more reason to claim superiority over his Filipino rival. Bragging rights would well and truly belong to Mayweather.

As we all know by now, things did not quite go according to plan. Like I said earlier, I thought Floyd was brilliant on Saturday, especially in taking the fight to Cotto. However, because Mayweather put on one of his most aggressive displays in recent memory, you could say he may have won the Cotto battle on Saturday night, but he may have lost the Pacquiao bragging rights war. More importantly, events on Saturday night could result in never seeing Mayweather and Pacquiao in the ring together in a competitive way.

Mayweather's wish list.

Make no mistake, Mayweather would have loved nothing more than to top Manny Pacquiao's -12th round stoppage – winning effort over Miguel Cotto. This is why we saw a Floyd Mayweather who threw nearly 400 power punches – almost more than the average number of total punches Mayweather usually throws in a 12 round fight – against Cotto. Mayweather also nearly threw in excess of 700 total punches, a huge output for the normally conservative Floyd Mayweather. Undoubtedly, Mayweather was going for the knockout on Saturday night. The fact that he didn't get it may have resulted in irreversible damage to the ego of maybe the most egotistical sportsman currently walking the planet. As good as I thought Mayweather was on Saturday night, apart from a brief moment late in the 12th round, Mayweather never really looked close to stopping Cotto. Manny Pacquiao on the other hand, managed to hurt Cotto on numerous occasions. Against Mayweather, Miguel Cotto fought as if the trophy at the end of the fight would be his life. Against Pacquiao, Cotto appeared to run for his life.

On Saturday, Mayweather hit Cotto with some really spiteful punches, particularly his overhand right and left uppercut combination. Yet Cotto remained undeterred. On the other hand, Pacquiao inflicted damage upon Cotto even with glancing blows. It's not hard to imagine what Floyd Mayweather must be thinking right now is it?

I consider Saul Alvarez to be one of the hardest punchers in boxing – nobody knocks out the ever durable Carlos Baldomir with a single shot without possessing some serious fire power. Saul Alvarez – who must have weighed around 165 pounds on fight night – hit Shane Mosley with some truly terrible shots on Saturday night. Alvarez was throwing bombs, and I mean…bombs. Shane Mosley's response? He walked right through them. Let's go back to Shane Mosley's fight with Manny Pacquiao. Early in that fight, Pacquiao landed a left hand on Mosley that did not appear to be that big of a punch. Mosley went down. His response upon beating the count? Mosley fought the rest of the fight in survival mode, and then claimed Pacquiao was the hardest puncher he ever faced. Mayweather, who was hurt big time himself in round two against Mosley, didn't really come close to stopping Sugar Shane throughout their bout.

Again, if Floyd believed there was something suspicious with regards to Manny Pacquiao's punching power before May 5th, one can only imagine what he maybe thinking now.

Suddenly, it's Manny Pacquiao who now appears to be in the driving seat. A quick glance at their respective results against common opponents suggests this;

Pacquiao TKO 8 De La Hoya      Mayweather  SD De La Hoya
Pacquiao TKO 2 Hatton             Mayweather TKO 10 Hatton
Pacquiao TKO 12 Cotto             Mayweather  UD Cotto
Pacquiao  UD Mosley                 Mayweather  UD Mosley *
Pacquiao  UD/SD/D Marquez      Mayweather  UD Marquez

* Pacquiao was more dominant over Mosley than Mayweather was. Unlike Mayweather, Pacquiao scored a knockdown and was never hurt himself.
 
We know Floyd Mayweather thrives on his own perceptions – there is no doubting, he believes his own words. When he says he is the greatest of all time based on the notion that he has never lost a fight, whereas fighters like Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali have, rest assured he believes it. Before Saturday, Mayweather believed he was superior to Pacquiao because of what he was able to do to Marquez in contrast with what Pacquiao was unable to do to Marquez.

It is no secret that before May 5th, one of the biggest stumbling blocks that stood in the way of making the mega-fight a reality was Mayweather's obsessive allegations that Pacquiao's weight jumping exploits were not legit. Now ask yourself, are we really any closer to the fight becoming a reality? During the post fight interview, Mayweather again mentioned Pacquiao's name, claiming that Pacquiao is refusing to take the test. So we are back on the testing protocol are we? Last week it was the purse split, the week before it was the arena, the week before that it was the lawsuit.

The point is, we are probably now further away from the fight becoming a reality than ever before. The fact that Mayweather could not stop Cotto, and Pacquiao could and that Alvarez, a huge junior middleweight could not put Mosley on his keester and Pacquiao could, will further enhance his beliefs that something is awry. On a personal note, I believe Mosley saw every one of Alvarez' shots coming and was able to take the mustard out of a lot of them, whereas Pacquiao caught Mosley on the blindside – it's the punches you don't see that hurt, remember.

Nevertheless, Floyd Mayweather truly believes that something is amiss with regards to Manny's freakish power as he likes to say. In reality, Pacquiao hasn't scored a knockout over anyone weighing 147 pounds or over, yet we have heard Mayweather boast about how unnatural it is for a featherweight to be knocking out junior middleweights.

I've always felt Pacquiao's style, not power, would be very problematic for Mayweather. Yet after Saturday night, I think Mayweather's strength could be more of a deciding factor than I first thought – Mayweather was like a venus flytrap in tying up and man handling Cotto at close quarters. After Saturday night, I now view the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight a lot closer, after originally believing Manny would have the upper hand.

None of this really matters though, Floyd had already, it is quite possible,  made up his mind before May 5th that the fight was never going to happen. The events of May 5th have only but enhanced this notion. The fantasy fight that we all crave, will forever remain just that, a fantasy.

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Fast Results from Brooklyn: No Surprises as Garcia and Hurd Win Lopsidedly

Arne K. Lang

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Tonight, Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia made his eighth appearance at Barclays Center. Garcia’s 2017 fight with Keith Thurman drew 16,533, the attendance high for a boxing show at the arena. A far smaller crowd was in attendance tonight to see Garcia take on Ivan Redkach in a non-title fight slated for 12 rounds.

Redkach, a 33-year-old LA-based Ukrainian, is a southpaw. That’s no coincidence. Garcia hopes to land big-money fights with Errol Spence and/or Manny Pacquiao, both southpaws.

Redkach (23-4-1 coming in) turned his career around in his last fight with a career-best performance, a sixth-round stoppage of former two-division title-holder Devon Alexander, a 15-year pro who hadn’t previously been stopped. But there was a class difference between he and Danny Garcia, a former WBA and WBC 140-pound world title-holder and former WBC 147-pound champion.

Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) was simply sharper. His workrate slowed late in the fight, allowing the game Redkach to steal a few rounds, but at the final gun he was relatively unmarked whereas Redkach was conspicuously bruised. The scores were 118-110 and 117-111 twice. The crowd booed at intervals, understandable as they were subject to a drab 7-fight card that was even less interesting than it was on paper.

Co-Feature

In the 10-round co-feature, Jarrett Hurd, making his first start since losing his WBA/IBF super welterweight title to Julian Williams last May, went on cruise control from the opening bell and jabbed his way to a lopsided 10-round decision over Francisco Santana. Hurd, who improved to 24-1, finally let loose late in the 10th frame, putting Santana (25-8-1) on the canvas with a succession of left hooks, but by then many in the crowd had probably nodded off.

This was Hurd’s first fight with new trainer Kay Koroma who has drawn raves for his work with America’s elite amateurs. The scores were 97-92 and 99-90 twice. SoCal’s Santana has now lost five of his last eight.

The opening bout on the main TV portion of the card was a 12-round super bantamweight contest between Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton and fellow unbeaten Arnold Khegai who currently trains in Philadelphia.

Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) simply had too much class for Khegai (16-1-1), a Ukrainian of Korean heritage. Although Khegai frequently backed Fulton into the ropes, the Philadelphian had an air-tight defense and connected with many more punches. The fight went the full 12 with Fulton prevailing by scores of 116-112 and 117-111 twice.

If the WBO has its way, Fulton will proceed to a fight with Emanuel Navarrete, but don’t hold your breath as Navarrete is promoted by Bob Arum who undoubtedly wants to extract more mileage from him before letting him risk his belt against a crafty fighter like Stephen Fulton.

Photo credit: Amanda Westcott / SHOWTIME

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Sacramento Honors Diego ‘Chico’ Corrales

Arne K. Lang

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Tonight (Saturday, Jan. 25) former two-division world boxing champion Diego “Chico” Corrales will be posthumously inducted into the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame at the organization’s eighth annual induction ceremony at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

Corrales, who grew up in Sacramento, the son of a Columbian father and a Mexican mother, turned pro at age 18 and went on to compile a record of 40-5 (33 KOs). He won his first title in 1999 with a seventh-round stoppage of previously undefeated Robert Garcia. Now recognized as one of boxing’s top trainers, Garcia was making the fourth defense of his IBF 130-pound title.

Five years later, Corrales won the WBO world lightweight title with a 10th-round stoppage of Brazil’s previously undefeated Acelino Freitas. That set up a unification fight with the WBC belt-holder Jose Luis Castillo.

Corrales and Castillo met on May 7, 2005, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. To say they put on a great fight would be an understatement. The boxing writers in attendance will tell you that this was the greatest fight of all time. It was named Fight of the Decade by The Ring magazine.

The final round, the 10th, was unbelievable. Heading into the round, Corrales was ahead on two of the three scorecards, but his left eye was swollen nearly shut and during the round he was knocked down twice. No one would have faulted referee Tony Weeks for stopping the fight after the second knockdown. But, somehow, Corrales was able to rally, pulling the fight out of the fire with a barrage of punches that had Castillo out on his feet when Weeks waived it off.

Two years to the very day of this iconic fight, Diego “Chico” Corrales died in a motorcycle accident in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas when he rear-ended a car while traveling at a high rate of speed. He was 29 years old.

Corrales was a thrill-seeker. In a 2006 profile, Las Vegas Review-Journal boxing writer Kevin Iole enumerated these among Castillo’s hobbies: jumping out of planes from 14,000 feet, bungee jumping from 400 feet, snowboarding in treacherous terrain and scuba diving amid a school of sharks. “He lived his life the same way he fought,” said his promoter Gary Shaw, “with reckless abandon.”

It might seem odd that it took so long for Corrales to be recognized by the Sacramento Sports Hall of Fame, but there was a period when Corrales’s name was mud in his hometown and perhaps the organization’s founder, Las Vegas sports radio personality T.C. Martin, a Sacramento native, thought it appropriate to let old wounds heal.

In 2001, shortly after suffering his first pro loss at the hands of Floyd Mayweather, Corrales pled guilty to felony domestic violence in the beating of his first wife and would serve 14 months in prison. “The whole family has worn a black eye for it,” Diego’s brother Esteban Corrales told Sacramento Bee reporter Marcos Bretan.

For all his recklessness, the incident didn’t jibe with his persona. In the company of Las Vegas sportswriters, the soft-spoken and well-spoken Corrales came across as polite and humble.

Corrales, one of five inductees in the 2020 class, joins three other boxers already installed in the Sacramento Hall: Pete Ranzany, Loreto Garza, and Tony “Tiger” Lopez.

Ranzany, a welterweight, fought four former or future world champions and was a fixture in Sacramento rings in the late 1970’s. Garza wrested the WBA super lightweight title from Argentina’s Juan Martin Coggi in France and successfully defended the belt here in Sacramento with a one-sided conquest of Vinny Pazienza. Lopez, Sacramento’s most popular fighter ever, made the turnstiles hum at the city’s largest arena where he fought eight of his 14 world title fights beginning with his 1988 humdinger with defending IBF 130-pound champion Rocky Lockridge.

Among the speakers at tonight’s confab will be Kenny Adams. Perhaps best known as the head trainer for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team that won eight medals in Seoul, Adams currently trains Nonito Donaire. He was with Diego Corrales for 24 fights, during which Corrales was 23-1, avenging the lone defeat by Joel Casamayor. Festivities start at 7 pm.

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Boxing Odds and Ends: Ramirez-Postol, Taylor-Serrano and More

Arne K. Lang

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It takes a strong constitution to be a boxing promoter because things always go wrong. The only law that governs boxing is Murphy’s Law.

Carl Frampton’s first fight under the Top Rank banner was slated for Aug. 10 of last year in Philadelphia. With the fight five days away, Frampton suffered a freak injury while sitting in a hotel lobby. A boy playing behind a curtain knocked over a seven-foot pillar which fell on Frampton’s left hand, fracturing it.

This was the second time that a Frampton fight was knocked out by a freak injury. Two years earlier, a homecoming fight in Belfast had to be scrapped when Frampton’s opponent, Andres Gutierrez, slipped in the shower in his hotel on the eve of the battle and suffered severe facial injuries.

The latest bout to fall out because of an odd development is Jose Ramirez’s Feb. 2 WBC/WBO lightweight title defense against Viktor Postol at a Chinese golf resort south of Hong Kong. The event fell victim to the coronavirus, more exactly the fear it has instilled.

The virus, which produces flu-like symptoms that are resistant to conventional antibiotics, apparently originated at an outdoor food market in the city of Wuhan where live animals are sold. The numbers vary with each new story, but according to one account there have been 444 confirmed cases in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital city, and 653 cases worldwide including two in the United States, a man in his 30’s living near Seattle and a Chicago woman in her 60’s.

The fear of a pandemic (an epidemic becomes a pandemic when it spreads across multiple geographic regions of the world) has led to some drastic measures. The Chinese government has reportedly put 12 cities on lockdown, blocking traffic in and out. At many airports, visitors arriving from China are being screened. There are now thermal cameras than can record a person’s body temperature remotely.

Jose Ramirez (pictured with his promoter Bob Arum) was scheduled to leave for China yesterday (Jan. 23) but was intercepted. Viktor Postol is already there and apparently stranded until an outgoing flight can be arranged.

The Ramirez-Postol fight was to air on ESPN. No make-up date has been set.

– – –

British promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s close to finalizing a fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano. Hearn says the fight will take place in the U.S. in April. It figures that Madison Square Garden is the frontrunner.

If the fight comes off on schedule, this will be the biggest women’s fight in history!

That’s because the odds attached to the fight figure to be in the “pick-‘em” range and that guarantees that boxing writers and others in the boxing community will be surveyed to get their picks – about which there figures to be considerable disagreement – and that will greatly enhance the pre-fight buzz.

Taylor, 33, last fought in November in Manchester, England, advancing her record to 15-0 (6 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Christina Linardatou, a fighter from Greece via the Dominican Republic. It was Taylor’s first fight at 140 after previously unifying the lightweight title with a hard-fought decision over Belgium’s Delfine Persoon.

Amanda Serrano, a 31-year-old southpaw, born in Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, has won titles in five weight divisions. She last fought as a featherweight, turning away gritty Heather Hardy, but has competed as high as 140. Boasting a 37-1-1 record, she’s won 23 straight, 18 by stoppage, 10 in the opening round

What sets women boxers apart from their male counterparts is that the women have a significantly lower knockout ratio. Amanda Serrano is the glaring exception.

Despite a less eye-catching record, Taylor has arguably fought the stiffer competition considering her extensive amateur background. As a pro, her victims include Cindy Serrano, Amanda’s older sister by six years. Taylor whitewashed her in a match at Boston Garden, prompting the elder Serrano sister to call it a career.

– – –

The most bizarre (non)story to appear in a boxing web site this week involved former unified heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe. A man representing Bowe, identified as Eli Karabell, was frustrated because Eddie Hearn wasn’t returning his calls. Karabell had offered Hearn the right of first refusal on Bowe’s next fight.

Bowe, now 51 years old, last fought in a boxing ring in 2008 when he returned to the sport after a three-and-half year absence for an 8-round bout in Germany. In 2013, he appeared in a kickboxing fight in Thailand where he was stopped in the second round after being knocked down five times by leg kicks.

“Will there be another chapter to write for Bowe?” concluded the author of this piece.

Egads, let’s hope not.

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