Category Archives: Boxing

Who Manny Pacquiao Should Fight Next

By BJ

On Sunday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum went to the Philippines to present Manny Pacquiao with a list of four options for his next fight, none of which is Floyd Mayweather Jr. Back in November, Oscar De La Hoya stated Arum was the reason for the non-fight, and it looks like that continues to be the reason.

Today, Arum stated that a megafight will have to wait until an outdoor stadium is finished being built at the end of May, possibly turning it to look like it’s on Floyd, who has already set the May 5 date for his next match.

I rank the four fighters on Arum’s list on who Pacman should fight next below.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez  – Admittedly, JMM has given Manny the most trouble, but let’s put to rest this amazing trilogy. If Pacman fights Marquez again, the thought of him beating an opponent four times is historically inane.

3. Lamont Peterson – On December 10, Peterson upset Amir Khan in a split decision that shouldn’t have happened. The incompetent referee penalized Khan two points for pushing, which turned out to be the difference in Peterson’s favor. As a fan, I want to see a Khan-Peterson rematch first, and if Peterson wins, he can be a more viable candidate. But none of this will happen in time for Pacman’s next fight date in late May/June.

2. Miguel Cotto – The thought of having this fight be at a catchweight of almost 154 pounds is the only intriguing thing in a rematch of a lopsided 2009 victory. Pacman’s camp may be talking up Cotto with his three straight TKO’s since, but he’s not all that interesting.

1. Timothy Bradley Jr. – Why I like him: He beat Peterson in a unanimous decision in 2009…He’s 28-0…He’s a junior welterweight titleholder.

Why I don’t like him: He’s dodged fights, most recently, a bout with Khan with an eye on Pacman. Khan then lost to Peterson, ruining his shot with Floyd so Bradley shouldn’t be rewarded for his action – or rather, inaction…He’ll have to move up in weight to fight Pacman…He has no big fights on his resume.

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On Boxing Coverage and Pacquiao-Hatton

By Chris Le

There’s an old adage in boxing that says you’re only as good as your last fight.  Meaning, the perception of any particular fighter is determined by his most recent result.  It’s the ultimate “what have you done for me lately?” criteria.  And really, with current sports fans’ obsession with the now and our tendency to be captives of the moment, this axiom is applicable to all sports.  In this sense, we have the memory of a newborn baby.  It happens, without failure, before every postseason.  A once-hot team that takes a midseason turn for the worse, but still manages to stumble into the playoffs, they are brushed aside — until they go on a tear, at which point everyone flip-flops again, jumping right back onto their bandwagon (the Arizona Cardinals, anyone?).

The sport of boxing, however, finds itself a unique situation.  It has changed a bit since the proverb’s advent, since the golden age when fights were aired on network television.  Changed in the sense that it’s, uh, dying.  The casual fan no longer cares about the sport’s non-premier matchups, reserving their attention to those fights previewed on ESPN, and as we all know, ESPN only covers the bouts that fall into the “Fight of the Year” category. When was the last time you saw Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt profile a “Boxing After Dark” matchup?

ESPN doesnt care about boxing.

ESPN doesn't care about boxing.

So the saying needs to be modified a bit.  It should now read: In the public eye, you’re only as good as your last mega Pay-Per-View fight that was showcased on SportsCenter.

Taking this into account, the general public probably views tomorrow’s fight as being between the Manny Pacquiao who destroyed Oscar De La Hoya and the Ricky Hatton who was battered by Floyd Mayweather Jr.  In reality, however, only half of this equation is true.  The Manny Pacquiao that enters the ring will be the pound-for-pound king of boxing, the one that humiliated the Golden Boy into retirement.  This much is true.  But he’ll be facing a new-look Ricky Hatton.  If anyone expects the plodding, head-first brawler that was dissected by Mayweather, they’ll be sorely mistaken.  No, the Hatton we’ll see will resemble the one who stopped Paul Malignaggi back in November.  (I bet you didn’t know Hatton fought since his loss to Mayweather.  In fact, he’s had two bouts; the Malignaggi victory and a decision over Juan Lazcano.  Thanks for keeping us informed, ESPN!)

Hatton’s move to bring in the audacious Floyd Mayweather Sr. to head his training camp is a good career move.  As senile as Mayweather Sr. comes off at times, and he does to great extent, particularly when he rhymes like a wannabe Muhammad Ali, he’s a decent enough trainer — at least for Hatton.  If anything, he’ll instill in Ricky basic defensive maneuvers (like ANY semblance of head movement, parrying and blocking punches with his gloves and arms as opposed to his face, all of which were absent in his previous career) which will benefit him, particularly against someone like Pacquiao who likes to mix things up and doesn’t shy away from a brawl.

The best fighter in the world

The best fighter in the world.

But in the end, it won’t make that much of a difference.  It will merely delay the inevitable.  Instead of being blitzed out in the first few rounds from a barrage of head-snapping blows, Hatton will have a moment or two of his own . . . until the mid-to-late rounds, when he’ll be stopped from a barrage of head-snapping blows.  There’s no one on the planet that can handle Pac-Man, and that includes the Hitman.

Prediction: Pacquiao by late-round stoppage.

DLH and Pacquiao Set for Dec. 6

By BJ

PacMan and DLH Set to Square Off Dec. 6

The revenue split details, the only obstruction from the two superstars meeting in the ring, were not released (although it appears Manny Pacquiao gave in on this issue), but Oscar De La Hoya announced Thurs. that the two will fight at 147 pounds, an uncomfortable weight for both boxers. De La Hoya hasn’t fought at 147 since 2001 while Pacquiao will move up two weight classes from his most recent fight in June, from where he already moved up to lightweight. Mark your calendars, the biggest fight of 2008 will be on Dec. 6, which now might not be Oscar’s final fight according to some recent remarks.

“My focus is my training and my next fight,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about retirement. I’m not going to think about retirement. I want to be focused on my job in the ring and we’ll see after the fight how I feel. Let’s just say my foot got caught in the door.”

Klitschko Sets Title Date with Peter

Vitali Klitschko, the WBC heavyweight champion emeritus, is ready to return amidst heavy scrutiny ahead of the Oct. 11 fight. Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs), whose last fight was four years ago, has a history of pulling out of fights due to injuries, something current champion Samuel Peter (30-1, 23 KOs) is concerned about. But Peter, whose one loss can be credited to Vitali himself, better listen carefully to his good friend Lennox Lewis, who handed Klitschko one of his two losses and has given Peter tips on how to beat him.

Chad Ocho Cinco

The Bengals’ attention-whore of a receiver Chad Johnson is no more. He legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco, and I assume he would now get to sport the Ocho Cinco on the back of his jersey all the time. Good for you, Chad.

Brett Rogers Shreds Slice and Shamrock

With Kevin “Kimbo” Slice scheduled to fight Ken Shamrock on Oct. 4, up-and-comer Brett Rogers had some choice words about the two. Rogers is 8-0 with 8 KOs, but his opponents’ combined record is 34-43 and like Slice, Rogers has yet to prove he has a ground game. His blog post below:

“As for Oct 4th; that was our spot. Shamrock with his name and giant ego butted in line to get a slice of Kevin. At 103 years of age Ken usurped our rightful place against the YouTube champ. Our sincerest hope is that Ken whips Kimbo and then we can finally euthanize the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” and relegate him to some MMA dinosaur exhibit. Maybe taxidermy him and (Dan) Severn and place them on a rotating pedestal where they can endless circle each other.

If Ken proves to be more sham [than] rock and Fergi beats him, then the Slice hype grows even greater. Dude is already more myth [than] Sasquatch, Chupacabra and a [expletive] unicorn combined. Kevin is the black Yeti.

Kimbo made it a point to go frontin’ to our boys at Big Black. But that street thug B.S. might work well with the fan bois and the Internet dorks who think your street cred means something; but Son … Brett comes from Cabrini Green; the worst 12 blocks of America. Compared to that your street is Sesame Street.”

Dodgers Acquire Maddux

By BJ

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly gotten Greg Maddux in a trade with San Diego on Monday, and it is not immediately known who the Padres will get in return. It is the second time the Dodgers have traded for Maddux midseason, as they swapped him from the Chicago Cubs in 2006. The 42-year-old pitcher is 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA this season, and the Dodgers are currently tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead.

Maddux clearly still has some left in the tank and should help out a rotation that just lost Brad Penny likely for the year. Note: in 2006, Maddux went 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA with the Cubs but 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA with the Dodgers.

The U.S. (5-0) basketball team took care of Germany (1-4) 106-57 on Monday, limiting Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman to a combined 20 points in a game that was over soon after it began. The U.S. now have a quarterfinals date with Australia Wednesday at 7:15a PT, where they are 3 games from the gold but are now in single-elimination play.

It should be an interesting game, as the two faced off in exhibition play two weeks ago and the U.S. had a tough 11-point victory without Australia’s best player, Andrew Bogut.

Oscar De La Hoya is looking elsewhere for his December 6 bout that would mark the end of his career after talks with Manny Pacquiao have broken down. De La Hoya had given in to Manny’s wants on two of the three issues (147-pound weight limit and 8 ounce gloves) but wouldn’t budge from the 70-30 revenue split. Manny demanded 40 percent so now De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KO) is looking at “The Contender” first season winner and current WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora (21-0-1, 5 KO). The two sides are closing in on a deal, but the fight is contingent on Mora defeating Vernon Forrest in their September 13 rematch.

Tough break for both Oscar’s and Manny’s camps, as the issue was whether Manny deserves more than 30 percent, which is what Floyd Mayweather got in his fight with De La Hoya. Should Manny just box and still rake in about $15-20 million, having never earned more than $5 million in a previous bout? He already had Oscar give into the more important issues.

MLB – Six weeks remaining: 

Standings (if the playoffs were to end today) as of Monday:
AL East
(2) Tampa Bay (76-48)
AL Central
(4) Chicago White Sox (71-53)
AL West
(1) Los Angeles Angels (76-47)
AL Wild Card
(3) Boston Red Sox (72-53)
Closest team to playoffs:
Minnesota Twins (70-54)

NL East
(3) NY Mets (68-57)
NL Central
(1) Chicago Cubs (76-48)
NL West
(4) Arizona Diamondbacks (64-60)
NL Wild Card
(2) Milwaukee Brewers (72-54)
Closest team to playoffs:
Los Angeles Dodgers (64-60)

Analysis: The Rays aren’t competing for division lead right now, they’re suddenly contending for best team in baseball. More and more, the Yankees (and their $207 million payroll) aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, currently 5.5 games back from the Red Sox. At least, their $40 million waste of a pitcher Carl Pavano might make it to the mound on Saturday, but no, that’s no consolation. In the NL, the East and West both look they’ll be going down to the wire again, with a different race in the West this year.

Stat projections:
The Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Quentin leads the majors with 34 home runs and is projected to hit 45 for the year, the lowest home run leader since Matt Williams of the San Francisco Giants hit 43 in 1994.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Brandon Webb leads the league with 18 wins and is projected to win 24 games this year, tying Randy Johnson in 2002 and John Smoltz in 1996 for most wins in a season since Bob Welch of the Oakland Athletics won 27 in 1990.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, who is projected to finish with a ridiculous 62 saves, is 10 saves away from tying Bobby Thigpen‘s 1990 record of 57 saves in a season. K-Rod currently has more saves than Seattle (46) and Washington (44) have wins.

Georgia Tops Preseason Coaches’ Poll for College Football

By BJ

The USA Today preseason coaches’ poll was released on Friday, and here is your top five for the upcoming 2008 college football season, which kicks off on August 28:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

So it took a few weeks for the Minnesota Twins to read my article and realize that they needed to bring up Francisco Liriano and cut Livan Hernandez and on Friday, they did just that. Liriano, who spent three months in the minors, took the mound Sunday against the Cleveland Indians and pitched six scoreless innings in leading the Twins to a 6-2 victory and into first place in the AL Central. The lefty recorded his first win in over a year and lowered his ERA on the season to 7.16.

I’m so impressed with the Oakland Athletics’ Brad Ziegler that I’m going to update his record streak until he gives up a run. With two scoreless innings on Friday at Boston, the reliever has now tossed 32 scoreless innings to start his career.

Michelle Wie missed the cut in the men’s Legends Reno-Tahoe Open on Friday by nine strokes with a 9-over par, her eighth straight failed attempt at making the cut on the PGA.

Rafael Nadal fell to Novak Djokovic 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals in the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday to end his win streak of 32 straight matches and five straight tournaments. Notwithstanding the loss, Nadal is set to replace Roger Federer for the No. 1 ranking in the August 18 rankings after over three years of Federer and Nadal being 1-2.

A possible Oscar De La Hoya v. Manny Pacquiao bout could take place on December 6, the date of De La Hoya’s final fight of his career. We would find out as early as Wednesday if the pound-for-pound king (47-3-2, 35 KO) would move up to the 147-pound welterweight to take on the popular boxer’s (39-5, 30 KO) swan song.

Big Brown bounced back by winning the Haskell Invitational in his first race since his Belmont Stakes flop eight weeks ago. The 1-5 favorite had to come from behind to overtake Coal Play for the win.

Team USA basketball 89 – Russia (exhibition) 68
Next game: Tuesday against Australia in their final exhibition game.

Sikahema Knocks Out Canseco

By Chris Le

Former NFL running back Vai Sikahema did to Jose Canseco what many former and current MLB players wish they could do—beat Canseco to a pulp.

Sikahema acted quickly, knocking down Canseco twice en route to a first round stoppage.

Coming into this celebrity boxing match that can only be described as little more than a sideshow–and I think I speak for everyone when I say this–we just wanted to see Canseco get knocked the fuck out. The possibility of seeing Canseco sprawled on the canvas discombobulated was the lure of the entire event. Any other result would’ve been a complete disappointment.

Yet, there were questions if the outcome we all wanted would come into fruition.

Las Vegas odds makers placed the former MLB All-Star as a 3-1 favorite, chiefly because of his significant size advantage. Canseco, 6’4”, 245 pounds, towered over the 5’9”, 205-pound Sikahema.

But, even though Canseco claims to have a “martial arts” background, Sikahema had more than 80 amateur bouts under his belt. And anyone who knows anything about boxing realizes size doesn’t mean jack compared to skill and experience.

Canseco, unfortunately, learned this lesson the hard way.

The Weekly Rundown

By Bryan Jeon

Big Brown Wins Preakness

Big Brown easily won the Preakness by 5 1/4 lengths on Saturday, running away from the pack from the final turn. The colt, who is unbeaten in five starts, will attempt to become the 12th Triple Crown winner and the first since Affirmed in 1978. The last leg: the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

It’s been a 19-year drought, but put me down for at least $100 on Big Brown in three weeks. Hopefully, the odds won’t be as bad as it was in the Preakness, where Big Brown ended up having 1-5 odds. As of Monday, 5 horses entered in the Belmont have been in one of the previous two races.

Relive the Preakness here:

Top Women Abruptly Retire

The No. 1 women’s tennis player Justine Henin retired immediately last Wednesday, making way for Maria Sharapova‘s fourth time she has been ranked the top player. Henin, who at age 25 is winner of seven Grand Slam titles, is the first woman to retire while holding the No. 1 ranking.

Just one day later, 37-year-old Annika Sorenstam decided to call it quits at season’s end. Sorenstam has won 72 tournaments to date, third all-time, including three this year. The woman that Tiger Woods has called “the greatest female golfer of all time” won LPGA Tour player of the year a record eight times, including five straight seasons (something Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can’t even say he did, with his record six NBA MVPs).

How many times do you see athletes go out on top? Historically, this would be the first time in women’s tennis. And to retire at age 25, that’s the life. It’s crazy to hear Henin say she just doesn’t have it in her anymore when she’s the No. 1 player in the world. We’ve watched two of the best players ever in their sport, but I think we’ll pull through with No. 1 Lorena Ochoa virtually winning every weekend and the ever-so athletic build and audibility of Sharapova’s play.

NHL Playoffs – Stanley Cup Finals

Sidney Crosby reaches the Stanley Cup Finals in just his third season in the NHL, helping Pittsburgh back there for the first time since they completed back-to-back championships in 1992. Since then, the Detroit Red Wings have won three times and will make their fifth appearance in the Finals this year. You’ve got to watch hockey at its best, and this Finals will not disappoint.

Western Conference Finals

Last game: Detroit beat Dallas 4-1
won 4-2

Eastern Conference Finals

Last game: Pittsburgh beat Philadelphia 6-0
Pittsburgh won 4-1

Stanley Cup Finals

Game 1: Pittsburgh at Detroit Sat. at 5p PT on Versus

Candace Parker – the Real Deal

The number one overall draft pick Candace Parker absolutely tore up the court on Saturday, leading the L.A. Sparks to a 99-94 victory over the defending champion Phoenix Mercury in the season opener. Parker had 34 points, the most ever in a WNBA debut, to go with 12 rebounds and 8 assists. She wasn’t without help though, as Lisa Leslie, who missed last season on maternity leave, had a solid 17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks. Those two are going to be a force to reckon with, and they have got to be the early favorites for the championship. I caught some of the game, and I’m glad I did. Parker is a woman among girls, if you will, finishing just two assists shy of becoming the first WNBA rookie to record a triple-double.

Who said no one watches WNBA? With an attendance of 13,749, that’s far more than what the Indiana Pacers averaged this season, with a per-game attendance of 12,221. The Sparks have a whole week off and next play on Sunday against the Atlanta Dream at 12p PT.

A Look Ahead: Hatton Returns

Ricky Hatton returns to his hometown in Manchester, England to fight Juan Lazcano on Saturday. He is looking to rebound from the December knockout from Floyd Mayweather but did get one nice thing out of the defeat: he took home close to $40 million from the fight in Las Vegas. Catch Lazcano (37-4-1, 27 KO) v. Hatton (43-1, 31 KO) on Versus.